The Object of Knowledge and Definition. The Approach to the Problem of Universals in Boethius and Alexander of Aphrodisias

Tomasz Tiuryn

The paper presents the doctrine of universals formulated by Alexander of Aphrodisias, the most important and most infl uential ancient commentator on Aristotle. Point of departure for the paper is the specifi c approach found in the ancient debates on universals, namely their epistemological perspective. Th e paper shows that Alexander’s doctrine of universals is in fact just a part of his broader views on epistemology, science and the proper object of scientific cognition. An important achievement by Alexander is that he shows that the problems posed by Plato and Aristotle may be solved without positing any new kinds of entities – universal entities – and that it is enough to assume that individuals may be objects of scientifi c inquiry insofar as they participate in universal natures. Th e paper presents fi rst Polish translations of key texts on universals by Alexander (such as Qu. I.3, Qu. II.14).


Keywords: Alexander of Aphrodisias · Boethius · history of ontology · history of epistemology · the problem of universals

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