Workshop in Ancient Philosophy (Thursday - Week 4, TT21)

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy

From the peculiar catalogue of aporiai in the opening to the extracts from books Β, Γ, and E of the Physics at the end, book K has always been a puzzling text inside the Metaphysics. My presentation aims at clarifying our understanding of the book and its implications on Aristotle’s Metaphysics and doctrine by confirming whether K is a dependable Aristotelian source.

The debate over the authorship of the book has always divided the scholars between those in favour of its authenticity and those against it. Is the dichotomy authentic/inauthentic the only way to interpret the text? In the course of the presentation, I argue that K is the result of a stratification: we can find Aristotle’s contribution, then Theophrastus and Eudemus’ hands, and finally the intervention of a late editor.

Particular focus will be given to certain passages and expressions that date to a later Greek than the one of Aristotle and that I ascribe to a late editor who intervened on parts of the book. On the other side, I will draw plausible connections with Theophrastus’ Metaphysics and the work of Eudemus of Rhodes.

Despite being a hotchpotch, K carries a meaning and it is not just a perfunctory repetition of something else better explained elsewhere in the corpus. Therefore, this research sheds light on the potential for new understanding derived from K, if not about Aristotle himself, at least on the school of thought he built and the first philosophy he was trying to define by conversing with his pupils and colleagues.

The Seminar will take place via Microsoft Teams. By clicking this link you will be redirected to a page in which you will be prompted to sign in with your Oxford SSO.

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy Convenors: Ursula Coope, Simon Shogry and Luca Castagnoli