Workshop in Ancient Philosophy (Thursday - Week 8, HT23)

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy

Aristotle’s distinction of four types of opposites is relatively familiar and ubiquitous in his extant writings. However, several aspects of the distinction remain unclear. Such aspects include the philosophical motivation behind the introduction of the distinction and some, at least prima facie, idiosyncratic features of the way in which Aristotle speaks about it. In this paper, I sketch a story about some of those unclear aspects. I submit that several of them can be taken as the result of Aristotle’s implicit but systematic engagement with Plato’s Sophist. In the first part of the paper, I review the issue of whether and to what extent Aristotle refers to Plato’s Sophist in Met. N2. I argue that he does so at a deeper and more philosophically interesting level than has been acknowledged so far. Furthermore, I suggest that N2 may give us a clue as to why Aristotle thought that he needed to distinguish the four types of opposites on top of distinguishing the categories. In the second part of the paper, I turn to a few passages on negation and otherness and suggest that they should be read against the backdrop of the Sophist too.

Although a hand-out will be provided, those who attend may find it helpful to bring their own copies of Aristotle’s Metaphysics and/or Plato’s Sophist.

If you would like to go out to dinner with the speaker after the talk, then please contact the chair of the meeting before Tuesday. The meals of the chair and the speaker are covered by the faculty; others attend at their own expense.

Chair: Chiara Martini

Workshop in Ancient Philosophy Convenors: Ursula Coope, Simon Shogry and Alexander Bown