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The Integration Of Aristotelian Physics In A Neoplatonic Context: Proclus On Movers And Divisibility

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Chapter Summary

Plato's and Aristotle's theories of motion were harmonised and integrated into an encompassing theory by Proclus and other late Neoplatonists. Both Plato and Aristotle start from the fundamental premise that there can be no infinite series of extrinsically moved movers: a causal series needs to have a beginning, i.e. needs to be headed by a moving cause that is not itself moved by anything external to it. In Plato's view this first principle of motion is moved by itself, according to Aristotle it is not moved at all. Aristotle restricted motion to the physical world, as for him there is no other world than the physical. The overall argument of the Elements of Physics tries to establish the necessity of an unmoved efficient cause of motion. Proclus emphasizes the intermediary nature of both the soul and mathematical objects with respect to divisibility and indivisibility.

Keywords: Aristotelian physics; Aristotle; Elements of Physics; Neoplatonists; Proclus



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