Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
Peripatetic Philosophy, 200 BC to AD 200:
An Introduction and Collection of Sources in Translation
by R. W. Sharples, Cambridge University Press, 2010
Reviewed by Tiberiu Popa
I put off reading Major Pettigrew's Last
Stand since it looked like a mere romance novel.
The roughly four centuries of Peripatetic tradition covered by
Sharples' recent book have been somewhat of a blank spot on the map
of ancient philosophy. While a considerable number of articles have
dealt with particular figures pertaining to late Peripatetic
philosophy, there have been few attempts at providing a
comprehensive view of this fascinating, if complicated, landscape,
and Sharples' contribution may just be the most helpful and
substantial outline of this kind.
All the passages were translated by Sharples, some of these
translations from Greek and Latin having been published previously.
They are grouped in four main sections - 'Individuals', 'Logic and
Ontology', 'Ethics', and 'Physics' - subdivided into twenty-seven
shorter thematic segments; the one on 'Physics', for example,
includes subsections on the nature of time and place, the eternity
of the world, fate, soul etc. Each of the twenty-seven sets of
translations is followed by a discussion which provides some
essential background, explicates the central arguments in each
passage, and places those texts in a larger context that helps us
to make connections between cognate philosophical topics or to
follow the history of some exegesis.
Sharples' book assumes that its readers are rather familiar with
Aristotle. This being said, anyone interested in ancient philosophy
and particularly in the Aristotelian tradition, in the impact of
ancient interpretations on our own understanding of Aristotle and
in the intellectual history between roughly 200 BC and AD 200 will
find this to be an extremely helpful guide.
- Tiberiu Popa is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Butler