6280Re: [neoplatonism] A Pythagorean homily on the Posterior Analytics
- Apr 22, 2014I suspect that al -adad al-mustawiy in fact renders the Greek for plane
numbers (epipedoi arithmoi), cf. Plato Theaetetus 147dff.; Euclid VII,
Def. 16. Yet this would make the statement that four is the first plane
number strange, since Plato says the first plane number is three.
Don't know whether what we have here is a "homily", but it looks like
Nicomachean arithmetic is being used to comment on Aristotle in a very
interesting way. The whole topic of the four questions of APO II and their
metamorphoses in Greek, Latin, Syriac and Arabic is fascinating.
> I have been asked by a colleague to have a look at the opening chapter ofMichael Chase
> Isaac Israeliâs book on fevers. The chapter deals with epistemology,
> based mainly on Aristotleâs Posterior Analytics, to which specific
> reference is made. The author is the same person about whom Alexander
> Altmann and S.M. Stern published a book under the title âIsaac Israeli:
> A Neoplatonic Philosopher of the Early Tenth Centuryâ, and his
> interpretation of some passages from Aristotle, which I can only describe
> as odd, may come from a neoplatonic or neopythagorean tradition, which is
> why I am posting this query.
> Aristotle opens book II with his famous list of four inquiries that are
> made in science. He begins with a statement that the number of inquiries
> is equal in number to the things to be learned. It is important to
> emphasize that Aristotle says âequal in numberâ (isa ton arithmon),
> because Israeliâs disquisition is built upon ânumberâ, more
> specifically in his reading, âan equivalent numberâ (al-âadad
> al-mustawiy, which likely is based on some variant in the Greek or maybe
> Syriac text), âequivalentâ meaning here âsquareâ, that is, the
> product of two numbers which are equal to each other. This then explains
> why there are four inquiries. Israeli then responds to a hypothetical
> objection, that one could have said there are nine or sixteen inquiries;
> the answer is that four is the first square number.
> Israeliâs direct quote of Aristotleâs opening sentence is unlike any
> of the known translations or recensions, now conveniently laid out for us
> by Riccardo Strobino in Oriens 40 (2012), pp. 367-368 (the paper can be
> downloaded from PhilPapers) ; only Averroes, in his middle commentary,
> reproduces Aristotleâs arithmon (Arabic âadad). Is this a Pythagorean
> homily on Aristotle? Or have I completely misunderstood?
> Thanks in advance,
CNRS UPR 76
- << Previous post in topic