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3076Re: Cornford's Pythagoreanism

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  • vaeringjar
    Mar 2, 2010
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      > Dennis ­ this is a most interesting query of yours, once again! There is
      > indeed an intriguing tension within Pythagoreanism between monism (an
      > indefinite dyad arising from some action by a One), and dualism (an original
      > pair of Monad and Dyad), and this is inherited by Plato. There is a very
      > interesting fragment of Speusippus (apud Proclus, In Parmenidem) relating to
      > this, which you will readily find in my chapter on Speusippus in the Heirs
      > of Plato. John

      And often it's difficult to know exactly which "One" is being referred to in any given source, particularly when the Greek used is "monas". I tend myself to think of the two as "One" versus "one of two" but that's just my own shorthand.

      The scholarship on these Pythagorean issues I am finding is quite deep - Thesleff's introduction to his collection has a nice summary of the earlier work, starting in the 19th century, and there certainly is a good deal that was done in the earlier 20th, including all the work of Delatte, some of which is still in print, by the way. I don't really know how anyone can master all this - if you consider the two quite extensive books that Carl Huffman wrote just on Philolaus and Archytas, how complex the arguments can get on just two Pythagoreans. Burkert's Lore and Science is itself really quite dense with references on all the controversial issues, and then recently I have been looking also at the doxographical tradition, particularly some of what Jaap Mansfeld describes in his book on Hippolytus, and it's very complex too for the Pythagoreans. Many of the same ideas get repeated in these different sources, with variations here and there, but trying to get a grasp of any fairly clean lines of development of any one notion with a set chronology...Mansfeld is by the way against seeing Eudorus as a Pythagorean, making the point that he could easily report a Pythagorean doctrine without actually advocating it! An interesting idea, one I hadn't considered, that we may be too hastly to attribute concepts extant only in brief, doxographical sources.

      As if it weren't already complicated enough.

      Did Mansfeld and David Runia finish their study of Aetius? I know there is one volume from Brill. Is that a good place to start a more in depth study of the doxographical tradition? Til now I never really had much to deal with it, and I suppose it's the sort of thing most grad students pick up somehow along the way, but not being in philosophy proper I never really did.

      Dennis Clark
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