ALEXANDER of Aphrodisias

ALEXANDER of Aphrodisias 2nd-3rd c.. Aristotelian commentator and Peripatetic philosopher. That he lived between the late 2nd and early 3rd c. AD is evident from the fact that at the beginning of his writing De fato p. 164,3, Bruns he directly addresses the emperors Severus and Antoninus i.e., Septimius Severus and Caracalla. A disciple of Aristocles and Sosigenes, he was not only Aristotle’s most erudite commentator, whom later commentators esp. Simplicius referred to and drew on, but also the philosopher who, by developing certain points of Aristotle’s thought, also influenced some exponents of Neoplatonism, such as Plotinus and Syrianus. Porphyry, Vita Plot. 14,1: 15,13 Brhier, mentions him as one of the authors read in Plotinus’s courses. His most distinctive original doctrine, to which some modern scholars such as Praechter, Wilpert and Walzer have drawn attention and on which Plotinus’s conception of the second hypostasis in part depends, is that of the active intelligence nouj poihtiko,j: combining the Aristotelian doctrines of book D of the Metaphysics, De anima III ch. 5, and De gen. anim. B, c. 3, 736b 27-28, Alexander identifies the nouj poihtiko,j present in man which Aristotle De an. III c. 5,430 a 10-25 had defined as cwristo,j separate, avpaqh,j impassible, avmigh,j uncontaminated, avqa,natoj kai. avidion immortal and eternal and in De gen. anim. B 736b 27-28 had considered divine and originating from outside with the first principle, also called nouj in book L of the Metaphysics; only to the first principle are the attributes cwristo,j, avpaqh,j, avmigh,j, avqa,natoj, avi dion appropriate, used by Aristotle in De an. III c. 5 regarding human intelligence see Alexander, De anima pp. 88,1789,22 Bruns. This nou j poihtiko ,j is productive intelligence par excellence, since it is the cause of the existence of all beings De an. 89,9-11. We are thus, on the one hand, very close to the Plotinian concept of nouj defined as cause Enn. V, 1, 8: vol. V 25,4- 26,1 Brhier; V, 9, 3, vol. V 163, 25-26, and on the other to the Platonic doctrine of nouj-aivti,a, present in Philebus 30 c-d, and to the Platonic doctrine of the summum bonum, cause of the existence of the ideas Rep. VI 509b. As H. Armstrong has shown Les sources de Plotin, Gen¨ve 1960, 408, two other doctrines which Alexander stressed and which also influenced the Plotinian concept of nouj are that of the complete identity between the divine thinking mind and the intelligible see Aristotle, Met. L 1072b 21; Alexander, De an. 87,29-88,2 Bruns; Mantissa 108,7-8 and that of the divine mind which thinks itself see Aristotle, Met. L 1072b 19-20, Alexander, Mantissa 109,4-7. Alexander’s influence can also be discerned on a point of the Plotinian doctrine of ideas: both Plotinus and Alexander say that each intelligible being is endowed with mind see Enn. V, 9, 8, vol. V 168,2-4 and Alexander, Mantissa 108,16-18. Alexander’s surviving writings in the Greek text that have been edited are 1 commentary on the Metaphysics; only the commentary on books I-IV is authentic, while that on books E-L is spurious and later, perhaps attributable to the 11th-c. Byzantine commentator Michael of Ephesus, who appears in the title of the commentary on book E, present in the Paris codex. gr. 1876 see Gercke, PWK I, 2, 1454-1455; Hayduck, CAG I, Berolini 1891, V-VII; Praechter in berweg, Grundriss der Gesch. der Philos. I, Berlin 1926, 564; the authentic and spurious parts have been edited together by M. Hayduck, CAG I, Berolini 1891; 2 commentary on book I of the Prior Analytics ed. M. Wallies, CAG II, I, Berolini 1883; 3 commentary on Topics ed. M. Wallies, CAG II, II, Berolini 1891; the last four books seem to be a compendium, however, and contain interpolations see Gercke PWK 1455; 4 commentary on De sensu ed. P. Wendland, CAG III, I, Berolini 1901; 5 commentary on Meteorologica ed. M. Hayduck CAG III, II, Berolini 1899; 6 De anima, also preserved in a 14th-c. Hebrew version, which is in turn based on an Arabic version see I. Bruns, Suppl. Aristotel. II, I, Berolini 1887, XIV-XV; ed. Bruns, op. cit., 1-100; 7 Mantissa ed. I. Bruns, Suppl. Aristotel. II, I, Berolini 1887, pp. 181-186; 8 Dubitationes et solutiones in three books ed. I. Bruns, Suppl. Aristotel. II, II, Berolini 1892, 1-116; 9 Problemata ethica in one book ed. I. Bruns, Suppl. Aristotel. II, II Berolini 1892, 117-163; II Praechter, op. cit., 564, who doubts its authenticity; 10 De fato, against the rigid determinism of the Stoics ed. I. Bruns, Suppl. Aristotel. II, II, Berolini 1892, 164-212; 11 De mixtione ed. I. Bruns, Suppl. Aristotel. II, II, Berolini 1892, pp. 213-238. Besides the commentary on books E-L of the Metaphysics mentioned above, the following are considered spurious: 1 commentary on Sophistici elenchi ed. M. Wallies, CAG II, III, Berolini 1898, which in some codices e.g. Paris. gr. 1972f. 761r, Vat. gr. 241f. 6r, see Wallies p. V is attributed to Michael of Ephesus; 2 Problemata physica in four books the first two were edited by I.L. Ideler, Physici et medici Graeci minores, I, Berolini 1841, pp. 3-80; the third and fourth by Usener, Al. Aphrodis. quae feruntur problematorum liber III et IIII recensuit H. Usener, Diss. inaug. u. Progr. d. Joachimsth. Gymn. 4, Berlin 1859; 3 De febribus ed. I.L. Ideler, Physici et medici Graeci minores, I, Berolini 1841, pp. 81-106. On the spurious origin of these three writings see Gercke, PWK I, 2, 1455 and Praechter, op. cit., 564. On the oldest bibl., see JAW 96 1899 72-73 and P. Moraux, Alexandre d’Aphrodise Exg¨te de la Notique d’Aristote, Li¨geParis 1942, 226-227. Modern bibl.: C.A. Brandis, ber die Reihenfolge der B¼cher des aristotelischen Organons und ihre griechische Ausleger, AAWB hist. phil. Kl. 1833, Berlin 1835, 278, 297-299; A. Gercke: PWK I, 2, 1453-1455; E. Zeller, Die Philosophie der Griechen in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung, III, 1, Leipzig 5 1923, 817-831; K. Praechter in berweg, Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie I, Berlin 1926, 564-565; C. Prantl, Geschichte der Logik im Abendlande I: Berlin 1927, 620-626; P. Wilpert, Die Ausgestaltung der aristotelischen Lehre vom Intellectus agens bei den griech. Kommentatoren und in der Scholastik des 13 Jahrhunderts: BGPhM, Suppl. 3 1935 447- 462; P. Moraux, Alexandre d’Aphrodise Exg¨te de la Notique d’Aristote, Li¨ge-Paris 1942; E. Montanari, Per un’edizione del peri. kra,sewj di Alessandro di Afrodisia: AATC 36 1971 17- 58; B.C. Bazan, L’authenticit du De Intellectu attribu   Alexandre d’Aphrodisie: RPhL 71 1973 468-487; R. Walzer, Aristotle’s Active Intellect nouj poihtiko,j in Greek and Early Islamic Philosophy, in Plotino e il Neoplatonismo in Oriente e in Occidente, Rome 1974, 428-430; B. Todd, Alexander of Aphrodisias on Stoic Physics: A Study of the De mixtione, Leiden 1976 Philosophia antiqua 28; R.W. Sharples, Alexander of Aphrodisia: Scholasticism and Innovation: ANRW II 362 1987 1176-1243; G. Movia ed., Alessandro di Afrodisia e la Metafisica di Aristotele, Milan 2003. On the Arabic versions and their editions see esp. J. Freudenthal, Die durch Averroes erhaltenen Fragmente Alexanden zur Metaphysik des Aristoteles, AAWB hist. phil. Kl. 1884, Berlin 1885; A. Badawi, Aristote chez les Arabes, Le Caire 1947, 253-308; Id. La transmission de la philosophie grecque au monde arabe, Paris 1968, 121-165; Id. Commentaires sur Aristote perdus en et autres p®tres, Beirut 1971; J. Finnegan, Texte arabe du peri. nou d’Alexandre d’Aphrodise, d»   Jshaq ibr Honein IXe si¨cle: MUB 33 1955 157-202; Al-Farabi et le peri. nou d’Alexandre d’Aphrodise, Mlanges L. Massignon, Damas 1956-1957; H. G¤tje: Zur arabischen berlieferung des Alexander von Aphrodisia, ZDMG 116 1966 255-278; Id. Die arabische bersetzung der Schrift des Alexander von Aphrodisias ¼ber die Farbe, NAWG philol. hist. Kl. 1967, 10. On the Latin medieval versions and their editions see esp. C. Thurot, Alexandre d’Aphrodisias. Commentaire sur le trait d’Aristote De sensu et sensibili dit avec la vieille traduction latine. Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Biblioth¨que nationale 25, Paris 1875; L. Labowsky, William of Mombike’s Manuscript of Alexander of Aphrodisias: MRS 5 1961 155-162; P. Thillet, Alexandre d’Aphrodise De fato ad imperatores. Version de Guillaume de Moerbeke Etudes de philosophie mdivale 51, Paris 1963; A.J. Smet, Alexandre d’Aphrodisias. Commentaire sun les mtores d’Aristote. Traduction de Guillaume de Moerbeke, Louvain-Paris 1968. On the Greek, besides the above-cited editions of the works of Alexander, see also A. Wartelle, Inventaire des manuscrits grecs d’Aristote et de ses commentateurs, Paris 1963, 183.
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