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Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Volume 54$
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Victor Caston

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198825128

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198825128.001.0001

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Dialectical Method in Alexander of Aphrodisias’ Treatises on Fate and Providence

Dialectical Method in Alexander of Aphrodisias’ Treatises on Fate and Providence

(p.279) Dialectical Method in Alexander of Aphrodisias’ Treatises on Fate and Providence
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Volume 54

Peter Adamson

Oxford University Press

This article offers an analysis of the argumentative method of two treatises by Alexander of Aphrodisias, On Fate and On Providence, the latter of which is preserved only in Arabic translation. It is argued that both texts use techniques from Aristotelian dialectic, albeit in different ways, with On Fate adhering to methods outlined in Aristotle's Topics whereas On Providence uses the ‘aporetic’ method familiar from texts such as MetaphysicsΒ‎. This represents a revision of a previous study of Alexander's method in On Fate by Jaap Mansfeld, which emphasized parallels between that method and the techniques of ancient scepticism. It is, however, suggested that Alexander does reflect developments in epistemology during the Hellenistic period, especially in so far as he ‘upgrades’ the status of endoxa to play something like the role of common conceptions in the dogmatic Hellenistic schools.

Keywords:   Alexander of Aphrodisias, dialectic, Aristotle, fate, determinism, providence, epistemology, Topics, Stoicism

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