The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200-600 AD: Physics

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Cornell University Press, 2005 - Philosophy - 401 pages
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This is the first work to draw on the four hundred years of transition from ancient Greek philosophy to the medieval philosophy of Islam and the West. During this period, philosophy was often written in the form of commentaries on the works of Plato and Aristotle. Many ideas wrongly credited to the Middle Ages derive from these centuries, such as that of impetus in dynamics and intentional objects in philosophy of mind. The later Neoplatonist commentators fought a losing battle with Christianity, but inadvertently made Aristotle acceptable to Christians by ascribing to him belief in a Creator God and human immortality. The commentators provide a panorama of up to a thousand years of Greek philosophy, much of which would otherwise be lost. They also serve as the missing link essential for understanding the subsequent history of Western philosophy.

The second volume of The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200–600 AD, A Sourcebook, deals with physics. The physics of the commentators was innovative: the Neoplatonists thought that the world of space and time was causally ordered by a nonspatial, nontemporal world, and this view required original thinking. Of the sixth-century Neoplatonists, Simplicius considered his teacher's ideas on space and time to be unprecedented, and Philoponus revised Aristotelianism to produce a new physics built around the Christian belief in God's Creation of the world. The thinkers of the Middle Ages borrowed from Philoponus and other commentators the proofs of a finite past, the idea of degrees of latitude in change and mixture, and in dynamics the idea of impetus and the defense of motion in a vacuum. All sources appear in English translation and are carefully linked and cross-referenced by editorial comment and explanation. Bibliographies are provided throughout.

 

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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

The final volume of this series was hardest for me to read through. The commentaries on Aristotle's categories, universals and particulars are frankly quite difficult to read in english because the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

Like the first volume of this series, this book is an easily accessible compilation of excerpts from neoplatonic and aristotelian writings. I say easily accessible because the writings are grouped by ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Nature
33
le Relation of nature to providence and to fate
54
Change
61
Divine Knowledge and Power
69
3b Divine power limitations
78
Providence and Evil
79
4f Is matter evil?
105
place actively holds bodies together
237
13h Simplicius
243
Infinite Space
244
Vacuum
251
17f Is space matter according to Plato?
259
Body
269
19b Light corporeal or incorporeal?
275
19e Light not like the activity of colour
288

5e Possibility
120
5k Relation between fate and providence
133
6g Agent and patient have a single action located in the patient
148
Bodies as Bundles of Gods Ideas
158
8e What is Platos demiurgic creator?
170
9b Why not sooner? argument against the universe beginning
180
Infinity and Infinite Divisibility
189
10f Infinite speed in absence of resistance in a vacuum
193
11e Paradoxes about the unreality of time and answers
206
11f Does time require change?
215
Eternity
221
no place of the cosmos or
231
Mixture
290
20e Bodies in the same place in Neoplatonism
306
20h Growth differs from mixture
315
Dynamics
327
22e Celestial motion
337
22f Impetus theory
348
The Heavens
357
23b Heavens matterless?
367
Scientific Astronomy
375
The Ancient Commentators on Aristotle translation series
383
Main Thinkers Represented in the Sourcebook
389
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