Alexander of Aphrodisias on fate, providence and nature

Forum. Supplement to Acta Philosophica 3:7-18 (2017)
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To study the influence of divinity on cosmos, Alexander uses the notions of ‘fate’ and ‘providence,’ which were common in the philosophy of his time. In this way, he provides an Aristotelian interpretation of the problems related to such concepts. In the context of this discussion, he offers a description of ‘nature’ different from the one that he usually regards as the standard Aristotelian notion of nature, i.e. the intrinsic principle of motion and rest. The new coined concept is a ‘cosmic’ nature that can be identified with both ‘fate’ and ‘divine power,’ which are the immediate effect of providence upon the world. In the paper it is exposed how the conception of providence defended by Alexander means a rejection of the divine care of the particulars, since the divinities are only provident for species. Several texts belonging to the Middle Platonic philosophers will convince us that such thinkers (and not directly Aristotle) are the origin of the thesis that will be understood as the conventional Aristotelian position, namely that divinity only orders species but not individuals.

Author's Profile

David Torrijos-Castrillejo
Universidad Eclesiástica San Dámaso


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