Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


Journal of Studies on Ancient Thought

Ed. by Alesse, Francesca / Chiaradonna, Riccardo / Spinelli, Emidio

Editorial Board: Aronadio, Francesco / Berti, Enrico / Brancacci, Aldo / Centrone, Bruno / Decleva Caizzi, Fernanda / Dorandi, Tiziano / Ioppolo, Anna Maria / Opsomer, Jan / Rashed, Marwan / Reydams-Schils, Gretchen / Sedley, David

CiteScore 2018: 0.22

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.111
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.522

See all formats and pricing
More options …

Destructible Worlds in an Aristotelian Scholion (Alexander of Aphrodisias’ Lost Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, Frag. 539 Rashed)

André Laks
Published Online: 2018-11-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/elen-2018-0022


Does Anaxagoras admit that the world is destructible? Aëtius’ doxographical handbook says as much, and so does a doxographical scholion derived from Alexander of Aphrodisias’ lost commentary on Aristotle’s Physics (Frag. 539 Rashed) according to the transmitted text. However, because of other difficulties occurring in the same scholion, Rashed was led to correct not only this text, thus making it contradict Aëtius’ testimony, but also the entry dedicated to Plato. My article suggests that while Rashed’s corrections are superfluous, the problems that triggered them are of great interest for the history of the doxographical tradition, for the way in which this tradition was used by Alexander of Aphrodisias and Simplicius in their commentaries on Aristotle’s Physics and, last but not least, for the understanding of the difficulties that ancient interpreters had to confront when they had to make sense of the lines now known as Anaxagoras B12 DK – difficulties that modern interpreters have still to confront.

Keywords: doxography; Alexander of Aphrodisias; Simplicius; Anaxagoras; Plato


  • Betegh, G. 2016. “Archelaus on Cosmogony and the Origins of Social Institutions”, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 51, 1–40.Google Scholar

  • Bodnar, I., Chase M., Share M. 2012. Simplicius. On Aristotle Physics 8.1-5 (tranls.), London, Bristol Classical.Google Scholar

  • Cooper, J. 1997 (ed.). Plato Complete Works, Indianapolis/Cambridge, Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar

  • Cornford, F. M. 1934. “Innumerable Worlds in Presocratic Philosophy”, The Classical Quarterly 28, 1–16.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Curd, P. 2007. Anaxagoras of Clazomenae: Fragments and Testimonia, Toronto/Buffalo/London, Toronto University Press.Google Scholar

  • Laks, A. 1993. “Mind’s Crisis. On Anaxagoras’ Nous”, The Southern Journal of Philosophy 31, Supplement (Proceedings of the 1992 Spindel Conference), 19–38.Google Scholar

  • Laks, A. 2002. “Les fonctions de l’intelligence. Derechef à propos du Nous d’Anaxagore”, Methodos 2, 7–31 (http://methodos.revues.org). Also in A. Laks, Histoire, Doxographie, Vérité, Louvain, Peeters, 2007, 132–148.

  • Laks, A., Most, G. W. 2016a. Early Greek Philosophy (Loeb Collection), 9 vols., Cambridge (Mass.), Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Laks, A., Most, G. W. 2016b. Les Débuts de la philosophie. Des premiers penseurs Grecs à Socrate, Paris, Seuil.Google Scholar

  • Lesher, J. 1995. “Mind’s Knowledge and Powers of Control in Anaxagoras DK B12”, Phronesis 40, 125–142.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Louguet, C. 2002. “Note sur le fragment B4a d’Anaxagore : pourquoi les autres mondes doivent-ils être semblables au nôtre ?”, in A. Laks et C. Louguet, Qu’est-ce que la philosophie présocratique ?/What is Presocratic Philosophy ?, Villeneuve d’Ascq, Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 497–528.Google Scholar

  • Mansfeld, J., Runia D. T. 2009. Aëtiana: The Method and Intellectual Context of a Doxographer, vol. II/2: Aëtius Book II. Specimen Reconstructionis, Leiden/Boston, Brill.Google Scholar

  • Rashed, M. 2007. Essentialisme: Alexandre d’Aphrodise entre logique, physique et cosmologie, Berlin/New York, de Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Rashed, M. 2011. Alexandre d’Aphrodise, commentaire perdu à la Physique d’Aristote (livres IV-VIII): les scholies byzantines: édition, traduction et commentaire, Berlin/Boston, de Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Sedley, D. 2007. Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity, Berkeley/Los Angeles/ London, University of California Press.Google Scholar

  • Silvestre, M. L. 1989. Anassagora nella storiografia filosofica: dal V sec. a.C. al VI sec. d.C. Roma, Ed. Dell’Ateneo.Google Scholar

  • Zeller, E. 1963 (1919/1923). Die Philosophie der Griechen in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung, ed. W. Nestle, 6 vols., Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2018-11-24

Published in Print: 2018-11-30

Citation Information: Elenchos, Volume 39, Issue 2, Pages 403–420, ISSN (Online) 2037-7177, ISSN (Print) 0392-7342, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/elen-2018-0022.

Export Citation

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in