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Author: Justin Habash

Abstract

Justin Habash proposes that we reconceive our understanding of the chain of conceptions of nature that runs from the Presocratics through the so-called Sophists to later classical thinkers like Plato and Aristotle. Habash argues that despite their variations, conceptions of nature among the physiologoi almost invariably contain purposive strains that serve as precursors to Aristotle’s more fully developed conception of a teleological nature. The Sophists serve as an underappreciated link in the reception and development of the idea of purposive nature by robbing nature of its purposive and prescriptive elements and thus providing a conception for Plato and Aristotle to react against. On his reading then the purposive/teleological elements of Plato and Aristotle’s conceptions of nature serve as a defense of the proper way to understand nature that arises from but expands upon those first ideas of nature offered by the Presocratics.

In: Brill's Companion to the Reception of Presocratic Natural Philosophy in Later Classical Thought
Volume Editors: Chelsea C. Harry and Justin Habash
In Brill's Companion to the Reception of Presocratic Natural Philosophy in Later Classical Thought, contributions by Gottfried Heinemann, Andrew Gregory, Justin Habash, Daniel W. Graham, Oliver Primavesi, Owen Goldin, Omar D. Álvarez Salas, Christopher Kurfess, Dirk L. Couprie, Tiberiu Popa, Timothy J. Crowley, Liliana Carolina Sánchez Castro, Iakovos Vasiliou, Barbara Sattler, Rosemary Wright, and a foreword by Patricia Curd explore the influences of early Greek science (6-4th c. BCE) on the philosophical works of Plato, Aristotle, and the Hippocratics.

Rather than presenting an unified narrative, the volume supports various ways to understand the development of the concept of nature, the emergence of science, and the historical context of topics such as elements, principles, soul, organization, causation, purpose, and cosmos in ancient Greek philosophy.