Speusippus, teleology and the metaphysics of value: Theophrastus’ Metaphysics 11a18–26

Journal of Hellenic Studies 140:143-175 (2020)
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Abstract

This paper reexamines Theophrastus’ Metaphysics 11a18–26, an obscure testimony about Speusippus, the second head of the Platonic Academy. As opposed to the traditional interpretation, which takes this passage as Theophrastus’ polemic against Speusippus’ doctrine of value, I argue that he here dialectically takes advantage of, rather than launches an attack on, the Platonist. Based on this new reading, I further propose a revision and a reassessment of the ‘gloomy metaphysics’ of Speusippus which will shed new light on his ethics.

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Wei Cheng
Peking University

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