New Wine in Old Vessels: Alexander of Aphrodisias as a Source for Averroes’ Metaphysics, 2021
By: Matteo Di Giovanni
Title New Wine in Old Vessels: Alexander of Aphrodisias as a Source for Averroes’ Metaphysics
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2021
Published in Alexander of Aphrodisias in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
Pages 59–76
Categories Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentary, Aristotle, Metaphysics
Author(s) Matteo Di Giovanni
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
Besides his best-known merits as a philosopher, Averroes stands out in the history of the classical tradition as a unique testimony to Alexander’s lost commentary on Metaphysics Lambda and, through it, his interpretation of the argument running through the whole text of the Metaphysics. The gist of this interpretation is laid out in the elaborate prologue to the Lambda commentary that goes back to Alexander and is preserved by Averroes. Building on this textual evidence, the study investigates Averroes’ philosophical appropriation of the Alexander material that is interwoven into the fabric of the former’s exegesis, from the earlier epitome to the later long commentary on the Metaphysics. A number of doctrines turn out to be ultimately inspired by Alexander, including Averroes’ view of the tripartite structure of metaphysics, his notion of book Gamma as an epistemology (“specific logic”) for metaphysics, the function of Delta, the downgrading of both mental and accidental being in Epsilon, and Aristotle’s argument in Zeta. Averroes’ debt to his source is brought to the fore without prejudicing the further question, awaiting future research, of whether Averroes’ acquaintance with Alexander’s line of interpretation was always unmediated or any figures in the philosophical tradition played some role in its transmission.

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Ibn Rušd et les Premiers Analytiques d'Aristote. Aperçu sur un problème de syllogistique modale, 1995
By: Abdelali Elamrani-Jamal
Title Ibn Rušd et les Premiers Analytiques d'Aristote. Aperçu sur un problème de syllogistique modale
Type Article
Language French
Date 1995
Journal Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
Volume 5
Pages 51–74
Categories Logic, Alexander of Aphrodisias, al-Fārābī, Aristotle, Commentary
Author(s) Abdelali Elamrani-Jamal
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
Ibn Rušd devoted a certain number of works to Aristotle's Prior Analytics. In a series of opuscules written over a period of twenty years and following upon his Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics, he faced a problem particular to the modal syllogism - that of the mood of the conclusion in mixed syllogisms. The problem can be stated as follows: At the beginning of the Prior Analytics, Aristotle established a formal deductive principle - that of universal attribution (Pr. An. I.1.24b26–30). Applied to the modal syllogism, this principle is inadequate as stated. It is too general to be applied in a univocal manner in all modal syllogisms. To preserve a sense of coherence in Aristotle's declarations, the commentators had to interpret it. Presenting the interpretations of the commentators, primarily al-Fārābī and Alexander, on the basis of al-Fārābī's Large Commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics, Averroes criticizes them. Applied according to Alexander's interpretation, the principle of universal attribution is valid only for modal syllogisms one of whose premises is necessary and the other assertoric; according to al-Fārābī's interpretation, it is verified only when the minor premise is possible. Averroes proposes two preliminary solutions. Either this formal deductive principle must be applied differently according to the modal differences of the minor premises in mixed syllogisms (first solution) or would be used in two ways, generally or in keeping with each mood (second solution). These solutions are not satisfactory, for they call into question the unity and universality of the principle of universal attribution as established by Aristotle. What is the utility, Averroes asks, of a principle which does not hold for all modalities or does not apply to all the premises when the Prior Analytics ought to furnish formal and universal principles of deduction? And why did Aristotle define the principle of universal attribution without distinguishing its application according to each of the three modal premises? Returning at the end of his career to a literal exegesis of Aristotle's propositions and without harkening back to the earlier solutions, he proposes a theory of making the terms modal (fourth solution) in order to save Aristotle's declarations with respect to the principle of universal attribution and the mood of the conclusion of mixed syllogisms (Prior Analytics I. 9.30al5–20). Though formally inadequate, this solution, which had a continued history, proposes a new way of looking at the classification of modal propositions.

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Ibn Rušd et les Premiers Analytiques d'Aristote. Aperçu sur un problème de syllogistique modale, 1995
By: Abdelali Elamrani-Jamal
Title Ibn Rušd et les Premiers Analytiques d'Aristote. Aperçu sur un problème de syllogistique modale
Type Article
Language French
Date 1995
Journal Arabic Sciences and Philosophy
Volume 5
Pages 51–74
Categories Logic, Alexander of Aphrodisias, al-Fārābī, Aristotle, Commentary
Author(s) Abdelali Elamrani-Jamal
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
Ibn Rušd devoted a certain number of works to Aristotle's Prior Analytics. In a series of opuscules written over a period of twenty years and following upon his Middle Commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics, he faced a problem particular to the modal syllogism - that of the mood of the conclusion in mixed syllogisms. The problem can be stated as follows: At the beginning of the Prior Analytics, Aristotle established a formal deductive principle - that of universal attribution (Pr. An. I.1.24b26–30). Applied to the modal syllogism, this principle is inadequate as stated. It is too general to be applied in a univocal manner in all modal syllogisms. To preserve a sense of coherence in Aristotle's declarations, the commentators had to interpret it. Presenting the interpretations of the commentators, primarily al-Fārābī and Alexander, on the basis of al-Fārābī's Large Commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics, Averroes criticizes them. Applied according to Alexander's interpretation, the principle of universal attribution is valid only for modal syllogisms one of whose premises is necessary and the other assertoric; according to al-Fārābī's interpretation, it is verified only when the minor premise is possible. Averroes proposes two preliminary solutions. Either this formal deductive principle must be applied differently according to the modal differences of the minor premises in mixed syllogisms (first solution) or would be used in two ways, generally or in keeping with each mood (second solution). These solutions are not satisfactory, for they call into question the unity and universality of the principle of universal attribution as established by Aristotle. What is the utility, Averroes asks, of a principle which does not hold for all modalities or does not apply to all the premises when the Prior Analytics ought to furnish formal and universal principles of deduction? And why did Aristotle define the principle of universal attribution without distinguishing its application according to each of the three modal premises? Returning at the end of his career to a literal exegesis of Aristotle's propositions and without harkening back to the earlier solutions, he proposes a theory of making the terms modal (fourth solution) in order to save Aristotle's declarations with respect to the principle of universal attribution and the mood of the conclusion of mixed syllogisms (Prior Analytics I. 9.30al5–20). Though formally inadequate, this solution, which had a continued history, proposes a new way of looking at the classification of modal propositions.

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New Wine in Old Vessels: Alexander of Aphrodisias as a Source for Averroes’ Metaphysics, 2021
By: Matteo Di Giovanni
Title New Wine in Old Vessels: Alexander of Aphrodisias as a Source for Averroes’ Metaphysics
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2021
Published in Alexander of Aphrodisias in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
Pages 59–76
Categories Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentary, Aristotle, Metaphysics
Author(s) Matteo Di Giovanni
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
Besides his best-known merits as a philosopher, Averroes stands out in the history of the classical tradition as a unique testimony to Alexander’s lost commentary on Metaphysics Lambda and, through it, his interpretation of the argument running through the whole text of the Metaphysics. The gist of this interpretation is laid out in the elaborate prologue to the Lambda commentary that goes back to Alexander and is preserved by Averroes. Building on this textual evidence, the study investigates Averroes’ philosophical appropriation of the Alexander material that is interwoven into the fabric of the former’s exegesis, from the earlier epitome to the later long commentary on the Metaphysics. A number of doctrines turn out to be ultimately inspired by Alexander, including Averroes’ view of the tripartite structure of metaphysics, his notion of book Gamma as an epistemology (“specific logic”) for metaphysics, the function of Delta, the downgrading of both mental and accidental being in Epsilon, and Aristotle’s argument in Zeta. Averroes’ debt to his source is brought to the fore without prejudicing the further question, awaiting future research, of whether Averroes’ acquaintance with Alexander’s line of interpretation was always unmediated or any figures in the philosophical tradition played some role in its transmission.

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