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Alexander Of Aphrodisias On Particulars And The Stoic Criterion Of Identity

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Chapter Summary

One could claim that for an Aristotelian philosopher, particulars are not a philosophical problem - at least not an epistemological one. For an Aristotelian philosopher daily confronted with Stoic theories of Providence and individuation, however, this was a haunting question. After all, what did Aristotle have to say on the status of the particulars not qua belonging to a species, but qua pure singularities taking place within the world? This chapter shows that even if Alexander is too much of an Aristotelian to have a real theory of the particular, his reaction to his historical context leads him to new insights on this topic. These insights, inturn, constitute a starting point out of which Avicenna and Leibniz developed their ideas about how fatalism could be avoided without giving up the principle that the entire effect corresponds to its full cause. The chapter sketches the main phases of this long and intricate story.

Keywords: Alexander; Aristotelian philosopher; Avicenna; Leibniz; stoic criterion



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