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Open Access Platonismo e aristotelismo a confronto sulla dialettica nel prologo degli «Scolî» di Proclo al «Cratilo»: riprese plotiniane e punti di convergenza con Siriano ed Ermia alla scuola platonica di Atene nel V sec. d. C.

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Platonismo e aristotelismo a confronto sulla dialettica nel prologo degli «Scolî» di Proclo al «Cratilo»: riprese plotiniane e punti di convergenza con Siriano ed Ermia alla scuola platonica di Atene nel V sec. d. C.

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In his commentary on Plato’s Cratylus, Proclus (5th century ad) interprets the dialogue not as a mere work on logic or linguistics, but as having a full psychological and theological import.Late ancient Platonists had already proposed a similar reading for another Platonic dialogue, i.e. the Parmenides. In that case too they rejected the logical interpretation, and aimed to find in the text the description of the hierarchy of reality, particularly of the highest beings. As a result, the Parmenides was seen as the accomplished expression of Plato’s theology.Proclus too draws a comparison between the Cratylus and the Parmenides in order to stress their theological significance. He also contrasts Plato’s dialectic (which he considers as a synthesis of logic and ontology/theology) with Aristotle’s dialectic (which he sees as mere logic). Proclus’ interpretation of dialectic is best understood if it is compared to the doctrines of his master Syrianus and of one of his co-disciples, i.e. Hermeias, at the Platonic school of Athens in the 5th century ad. Contrary to what is sometimes assumed, in this milieu Platonists were not always committed to the task of reconciling the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. As it happens, they could (following Plotinus’ example) strongly disagree with and even attack Aristotle, and side with Plato. In particular, they greatly valued Plato’s dialectic, which they viewed as the correct form of reasoning and at the same time as a theory of the utmost theological significance. On the other hand, Aristotle’s dialectic was considered as “bare” logic, i.e. as a mere set of logical rules and arguments with no specific contents.On the basis of a problematic Cratylus’ passage Proclus defends a theory of truth according to which not only propositions, but also names can be true or false. This allows him to view names as substitutes of propositions. This is particularly the case in the application of the four dialectical methods of definition, division, demonstration and analysis. Proclus’ approach arguably provides a basis—to pagan as well as Christian tradition—for the study of divine names as a part of theology, for the name of a god is held to reveal its attributes.

Affiliations: 1: Università DEGLI Studi DELL’Aquilaangela.longo@univaq.it

In his commentary on Plato’s Cratylus, Proclus (5th century ad) interprets the dialogue not as a mere work on logic or linguistics, but as having a full psychological and theological import.Late ancient Platonists had already proposed a similar reading for another Platonic dialogue, i.e. the Parmenides. In that case too they rejected the logical interpretation, and aimed to find in the text the description of the hierarchy of reality, particularly of the highest beings. As a result, the Parmenides was seen as the accomplished expression of Plato’s theology.Proclus too draws a comparison between the Cratylus and the Parmenides in order to stress their theological significance. He also contrasts Plato’s dialectic (which he considers as a synthesis of logic and ontology/theology) with Aristotle’s dialectic (which he sees as mere logic). Proclus’ interpretation of dialectic is best understood if it is compared to the doctrines of his master Syrianus and of one of his co-disciples, i.e. Hermeias, at the Platonic school of Athens in the 5th century ad. Contrary to what is sometimes assumed, in this milieu Platonists were not always committed to the task of reconciling the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. As it happens, they could (following Plotinus’ example) strongly disagree with and even attack Aristotle, and side with Plato. In particular, they greatly valued Plato’s dialectic, which they viewed as the correct form of reasoning and at the same time as a theory of the utmost theological significance. On the other hand, Aristotle’s dialectic was considered as “bare” logic, i.e. as a mere set of logical rules and arguments with no specific contents.On the basis of a problematic Cratylus’ passage Proclus defends a theory of truth according to which not only propositions, but also names can be true or false. This allows him to view names as substitutes of propositions. This is particularly the case in the application of the four dialectical methods of definition, division, demonstration and analysis. Proclus’ approach arguably provides a basis—to pagan as well as Christian tradition—for the study of divine names as a part of theology, for the name of a god is held to reveal its attributes.

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2015-03-10
2017-09-20

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