Natural Perfection or Divine Fiat, 2022
By: Joshua Parens
Title Natural Perfection or Divine Fiat
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2022
Published in Plato's Republic in the Islamic Context. New Perspectives on Averroes's Commentary
Pages 233–252
Categories Nicomachean ethics, Politics, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Joshua Parens
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
As a reader of Averroes's Commentary on Plato's “Republic,” one is struck from the beginning by how much he omits from his commentary. Typically, this would be taken to indicate that Averroes does not comprehend Plato's intention. Indeed, the author can seem at times to confirm what many readers assume—namely, that he would rather have commented on a work by Aristotle. We will try to show that his major omissions—that is, of books 1, (most of ) 6, and 10, and especially what he substitutes for these omissions—form a coherent pattern and ultimately reveal a profound commentary on the omitted passages. That coherent pattern is already set within the first few pages of the work. From the beginning he seems to focus on the place of the Republic in relation to practical science and theoretical science. This comes as little surprise in a commentary on a work devoted to what I would like to call the philosopher-king conceit. The Republic is at least in part Plato's consideration of the relation between theoretical and practical science, as encapsulated in the person of the philosopher-king. Although Socrates does not get around to the centrality of this theme until Republic book 5, Averroes is on it from the beginning. He does so in part in order to place his discussion of the Republic in relation to his commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics—putatively the more theoretical of the two works. Be that as it may, we are most interested in what ties together the omissions of books 1, 6, and 10—and especially what Averroes substitutes for those omissions. We hope to show that the golden thread running through what Averroes substitutes is the theme of human perfection, in at least two senses: the philosopher-king and immortality. In each case, there is some element in Plato's original that Averroes needs to take into another register (from conventionalism in book 1 to fiat transplanted into the Second Treatise; from separate forms in book 6 to the active intellect in the Second Treatise; and from immortality of the soul in book 10 to conjunction with the active intellect in the Second Treatise). In effect, all these omissions are drawn together in the Second Treatise. For that reason, eventually, we will comment more closely on the most relevant section of the Second Treatise (60.17–74.12).

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Phantasia in Aristotle’s Ethics: Reception in the Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Latin Traditions, 2019
By: Jakob Leth Fink (Ed.)
Title Phantasia in Aristotle’s Ethics: Reception in the Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Latin Traditions
Type Edited Book
Language English
Date 2019
Publication Place London
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing
Series Bloomsbury studies in the Aristotelian tradition
Categories Aristotle, Nicomachean ethics, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Jakob Leth Fink
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle suggests that a moral principle ‘does not immediately appear to the man who has been corrupted by pleasure or pain’. Phantasia in Aristotle’s Ethics investigates his claim and its reception in ancient and medieval Aristotelian traditions, including Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Latin. While contemporary commentators on the Ethics have overlooked Aristotle’s remark, his ancient and medieval interpreters made substantial contributions towards a clarification of the claim’s meaning and relevance. Even when the hazards of transmission have left no explicit comments on this particular passage, as is the case in the Arabic tradition, medieval responders still offer valuable interpretations of phantasia (appearance) and its role in ethical deliberation and action. This volume casts light on these readings, showing how the distant voices from the medieval Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Latin Aristotelian traditions still contribute to contemporary debate concerning phantasia, motivation and deliberation in Aristotle’s Ethics.

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Natural Perfection or Divine Fiat, 2022
By: Joshua Parens
Title Natural Perfection or Divine Fiat
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2022
Published in Plato's Republic in the Islamic Context. New Perspectives on Averroes's Commentary
Pages 233–252
Categories Nicomachean ethics, Politics, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Joshua Parens
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
As a reader of Averroes's Commentary on Plato's “Republic,” one is struck from the beginning by how much he omits from his commentary. Typically, this would be taken to indicate that Averroes does not comprehend Plato's intention. Indeed, the author can seem at times to confirm what many readers assume—namely, that he would rather have commented on a work by Aristotle. We will try to show that his major omissions—that is, of books 1, (most of ) 6, and 10, and especially what he substitutes for these omissions—form a coherent pattern and ultimately reveal a profound commentary on the omitted passages. That coherent pattern is already set within the first few pages of the work. From the beginning he seems to focus on the place of the Republic in relation to practical science and theoretical science. This comes as little surprise in a commentary on a work devoted to what I would like to call the philosopher-king conceit. The Republic is at least in part Plato's consideration of the relation between theoretical and practical science, as encapsulated in the person of the philosopher-king. Although Socrates does not get around to the centrality of this theme until Republic book 5, Averroes is on it from the beginning. He does so in part in order to place his discussion of the Republic in relation to his commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics—putatively the more theoretical of the two works. Be that as it may, we are most interested in what ties together the omissions of books 1, 6, and 10—and especially what Averroes substitutes for those omissions. We hope to show that the golden thread running through what Averroes substitutes is the theme of human perfection, in at least two senses: the philosopher-king and immortality. In each case, there is some element in Plato's original that Averroes needs to take into another register (from conventionalism in book 1 to fiat transplanted into the Second Treatise; from separate forms in book 6 to the active intellect in the Second Treatise; and from immortality of the soul in book 10 to conjunction with the active intellect in the Second Treatise). In effect, all these omissions are drawn together in the Second Treatise. For that reason, eventually, we will comment more closely on the most relevant section of the Second Treatise (60.17–74.12).

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Phantasia in Aristotle’s Ethics: Reception in the Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Latin Traditions, 2019
By: Jakob Leth Fink (Ed.)
Title Phantasia in Aristotle’s Ethics: Reception in the Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Latin Traditions
Type Edited Book
Language English
Date 2019
Publication Place London
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing
Series Bloomsbury studies in the Aristotelian tradition
Categories Aristotle, Nicomachean ethics, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Jakob Leth Fink
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle suggests that a moral principle ‘does not immediately appear to the man who has been corrupted by pleasure or pain’. Phantasia in Aristotle’s Ethics investigates his claim and its reception in ancient and medieval Aristotelian traditions, including Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Latin. While contemporary commentators on the Ethics have overlooked Aristotle’s remark, his ancient and medieval interpreters made substantial contributions towards a clarification of the claim’s meaning and relevance. Even when the hazards of transmission have left no explicit comments on this particular passage, as is the case in the Arabic tradition, medieval responders still offer valuable interpretations of phantasia (appearance) and its role in ethical deliberation and action. This volume casts light on these readings, showing how the distant voices from the medieval Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Latin Aristotelian traditions still contribute to contemporary debate concerning phantasia, motivation and deliberation in Aristotle’s Ethics.

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