Philosophical commentary as a genre developed in late antiquity, several hundred years after Plato and Aristotle completed their major works. Generated by a revival of Platonic thought and the availability of the Aristotelian corpus, the commentaries themselves represent an abundance of material, but Miira Tuominen's study is the first systematic introduction to philosophical commentary as a literary form. A lecturer of philosophy at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, Tuominen presents the commentators as philosophers in their own right who used the commentary format as a vehicle for original and significant philosophical theory. The commentators-including Aspasius, Galen, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Porphyry, Proclus, Simplicius and others-worked in the Platonist-Aristotelian framework exploring themes such as the nature and justification of knowledge, the nature of the soul, epistemological concerns, psychological questions related to perception and intellect, ethical issues, and metaphysical debates. Building the book around the commentators' discussions of these themes, Tuominen explores the ways in which the ancient commen- taries are 'a rich source of arguments and developments in, sometimes also revisions and criticism of, the Platonic-Aristotelian tradition.' She goes on to relate the commentators' formulation of philosophical problems to similar contemporary problems, integrating them into the historical continuum of Western philosophy. 324 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
The study of the ancient commentators has developed considerably over the past few decades, fueled by recent translations of their often daunting writings. This book offers the only concise, accessible general introduction currently available to the writings of the late ancient commentators on Aristotle and, to a lesser extent, Plato. Miira Tuominen provides a historical overview followed by a series of thematic chapters on epistemology, science and logic, physics, psychology, metaphysics, and ethics. In particular, she focuses on the writings of Alexander of Aphrodisias, Themistius, Porphyry, Proclus, Philoponus, and Simplicius. Until recently, the late ancient commentators have been understood mainly as sources of information concerning the masters upon whose works they comment. This book offers new insights into their way of doing philosophy in their own right.