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Calling Philosophers NamesOn the Origin of a Discipline$
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Christopher Moore

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195056

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195056.001.0001

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Aristotle’s Historiography of Philosophia

Aristotle’s Historiography of Philosophia

The Idea of the Discipline Named Philosophia

(p.260) 9 Aristotle’s Historiography of Philosophia
Calling Philosophers Names

Christopher Moore

Princeton University Press

This chapter proceeds from the belief that Heraclides' Pythagoras story implies a historical account of the development of the discipline of philosophia. It describes the rise of this historiography of philosophy, one that materializes only in the Academy. Aristotle's writings provide the clearest evidence. When in the intellectual-historical mode, Aristotle circumscribes philosophia as an engagement with the ideas of others, living or dead, whom one takes also to be or have been engaged in philosophia. This includes Thales's views, for example, since Aristotle can reconstruct them as addressing certain questions and open to critique by successors, including himself in particular, but not those of Hesiod, Orpheus, or other admittedly wise authors, who are not as amenable to this kind of virtual conversation. Aristotle does not explain his departure from Plato's interpersonal picture of philosophia to a disciplinary one, but the density of conversations, memories, texts, and positions found in the Academy probably prompted his new view. Since progress in philosophy matters, and is possible, one should bring to bear everything of relevance to any possible question, not just the ideas of one's immediate interlocutors.

Keywords:   philosophia, Aristotle, historiography, Plato, Pythagoras story, Plato's Academy, Aristotle's writings, Aristotle's historiography

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