John Philoponus on Physical Place

Ioannis Papachristou (Author),

Series: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy - Series 1 60

Category: Philosophy

Language: English

ISBN: 9789462702745

Publication date: June 16, 2021

€71.50 (including 6% VAT)

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Number of pages: 193

Size: 234 x 156 x 14 mm

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Stock item: 142616

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Series: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy - Series 1 60

Category: Philosophy

Language: English

DOI: 10.11116/9789461663856

ISBN: 9789461663856

Publication date: June 16, 2021

€61.00 (including 6% VAT)

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Number of pages: 193

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First philosophical monograph exclusively focusing on John Philoponus’ theory of place and the void.

This book examines the place of physical bodies, a major topic of natural philosophy that has occupied philosophers since antiquity. Aristotle’s conceptions of place (topos) and the void (kenon), as expounded in the Physics, were systematically repudiated by John Philoponus (ca. 485-570) in his philosophical commentary on that work. The primary philosophical concern of the present study is the in-depth investigation of the concept of place established by Philoponus, putting forward the claim that the latter offers satisfactory solutions to problems raised by Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition regarding the nature of place. Philoponus’ account proposes a specific physical model of how physical bodies exist and move in place, and regards place as an intrinsic reality of the physical cosmos. Due to exactly this model, his account may be considered as strictly pertaining to the study of physics, thereby constituting a remarkable episode in the history of philosophy and science.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Acknowledgments Preface

Chapter 1. Form, Method and Structure of the Physics Commentary

1.1 The form of the Physics commentary
1.2 A note on Vitelli’s edition
1.3 The form of the commentary and Philoponus’ philosophical contributions
1.4 Levels of interpretation
1.5 Dividing Aristotle’s Physics into lectures
1.6 Introduction to the digressions
1.7 The argument of the digressions
1.8 A note on Philoponus’ sources and targets in the digressions

Chapter 2. Place as Extension: Problems and Solutions

2.1 Aristotle’s rejection of place as extension
2.2 Themistius’ exegesis of Aristotle’s argument
2.3 Philoponus’ exegesis of Aristotle’s argument
2.4 Philoponus refuting the infinity of places
2.5 Philoponus refuting changing and coinciding places

Chapter 3. The Ontology of Place According to Philoponus

3.1 Three-dimensionality of place
3.2 Place as measure
3.3 Place and the ‘violation’ of nature
3.4 The empty universe
3.5 Place, substance, qualities and quantity

Chapter 4. Philoponus on Void as Place

4.1 The concept of plērōsis
4.2 The void is place
4.3 Motion through void and motion through a corporeal medium
4.4 Motion of bodies in Philoponus’ cosmological system
4.5 Philoponus on physical place

Chapter 5. Philoponus against Aristotle and the Peripatetic Tradition

5.1 Aristotle’s definition of place
5.2 The equality between place and the bodies in it
5.3 The immobility of place
5.4 Motion through surfaces
5.5 The place of the heavens

Secondary literature

Index Locorum Index Nominum

Ioannis Papachristou

Ioannis Papachristou holds a PhD in Philosophy from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He is a post-doctorate researcher in the Project ‘Sourcebook of Byzantine Philosophy’ at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Overall, Papachristou’s book is a valuable contribution to the study of place, void, and extension in ancient physics in general and of Philoponus’ thought in particular. It offers readers a persuasive interpretation of Philoponus’ theory of place, adding perceptibly to our understanding of the discussion of place and void in ancient physics. Hopefully, it will stimulate further discussions of Philoponus’ notion of extension in his commentaries on Aristotle as well as in his polemical works.Maria Varlamova, Bryn Mawr Classical
Review 2022.06.24

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