Did Theophrastus Reject Aristotle’s Account of Place?

Did Theophrastus Reject Aristotle’s Account of Place? Phronesis 55 (2010) 68-103 brill.nl/phro © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/003188610X12589452898840 Did Th eophrastus Reject Aristotle’s Account of Place? Ben Morison Philosophy Department, Room 208 – 1879 Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA bmorison@princeton.edu Abstract It is commonly held that Th eophrastus criticized or rejected Aristotle’s account of place. Th e evidence that scholars put forward for this view, from Simplicius’ commentary on Aristotle’s Physics , comes in two parts: (1) Simplicius reports some aporiai that Th eophras- tus found for Aristotle’s account; (2) Simplicius cites a passage of Th eophrastus which is said to ‘bear witness’ to the theory of place which Simplicius himself adopts (that of his teacher Damascius) – a theory which is utterly diff erent from Aristotle’s. But the aporiai have relatively straightforward solutions, and we have no reason to suppose that Th eophras- tus didn’t avail himself of them (and some reason to think that he did). Moreover, the text which Simplicius cites as bearing witness to Damascius’ view on closer inspection does not seem to be inconsistent with Aristotle’s account of place or natural motion. Keywords Aristotle, Th eophrastus, Simplicius, Damascius, place In the fi rst volume of their http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Phronesis Brill

Did Theophrastus Reject Aristotle’s Account of Place?

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Abstract

Phronesis 55 (2010) 68-103 brill.nl/phro © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/003188610X12589452898840 Did Th eophrastus Reject Aristotle’s Account of Place? Ben Morison Philosophy Department, Room 208 – 1879 Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA bmorison@princeton.edu Abstract It is commonly held that Th eophrastus criticized or rejected Aristotle’s account of place. Th e evidence that scholars put forward for this view, from Simplicius’ commentary on Aristotle’s Physics , comes in two parts: (1) Simplicius reports some aporiai that Th eophras- tus found for Aristotle’s account; (2) Simplicius cites a passage of Th eophrastus which is said to ‘bear witness’ to the theory of place which Simplicius himself adopts (that of his teacher Damascius) – a theory which is utterly diff erent from Aristotle’s. But the aporiai have relatively straightforward solutions, and we have no reason to suppose that Th eophras- tus didn’t avail himself of them (and some reason to think that he did). Moreover, the text which Simplicius cites as bearing witness to Damascius’ view on closer inspection does not seem to be inconsistent with Aristotle’s account of place or natural motion. Keywords Aristotle, Th eophrastus, Simplicius, Damascius, place In the fi rst volume of their

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PhronesisBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2010

Keywords: Aristotle; Simplicius; Damascius; place; Theophrastus

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