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BOOK REVIEWS 1 19 argues that by founding physical science on the doctrine of the four causes, Aristotle demonstrates how continuity and permanence are secured in natural things through the stability of the inhering forms. Ultimately, the world owes its stability to the first unmoved mover, understood as ken~tikon (able to move). With this principle Aristotle paves the way to First Philosophy, the purpose of which is to integrate logic and ontology as well as to found theology. In short, it terminates the search that started with the Physics. Having gone this far, the author feels tempted to contrast classical and modern physics, only to say that contemporary physics emerges out of the de-ontologizing of Aristotelian physics. Accordingly, the complete separation of these two disciplines ended in two directions; physics eventually became grounded in subjectivity and metaphysics became subjective. It was Kant who first worked out the implications this separation had for the problem of knowledge. Metaphysics in Aristotle's view studies being qua being and seeks to establish principles beyond the meaning of hypokeimenon as gignomenon. This is what modern philosophy and physics do not have the requisite means to do, and hence it may be simply a matter of wasting one's energy to try to bring the two together once again without first finding a way to found both disciplines on principles and axioms, either by ontologizing physics or bringing physics under a re-ontologized metaphysics. To some thinkers the quest is neither desirable nor feasible. One may also be seriously tempted to ask whether Aristotle's solution to the problem was not simply a fanciful outburst of his rational vision. Whatever the case may be, the author is convinced that Aristotle founded a conception of physics as a theoretical science through which "it became possible for physical science to grow and develop." It is a bold thesis and one our contemporary neopythagorean physicists may well want to challenge. JOHN P. ANTON University of South Florida Michael J. B. Allen, ed. Marsilio Ficino and the Phaedran Charioteer: Introduction, Texts, Translations. Publications of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, UCLA, Vol. 14. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1981. Pp. x + 274. $26-5oAmong the unforgettable passages in the writings of Plato---those which arrest the attention of readers today as vividly as they have for centuries--the famous image of the soul in the Phaedrus must surely rank among the most striking. The charioteer struggling to control his steeds in their flight to the divine realm remains a forceful symbol of man's quest for a vision of the eternal. It is not surprizing that the greatest of the Renaissance Platonists, Marsilio Ficino, drew inspiration from this poetic passage throughout his career and singled it out for special consideration in the notes and commentaries he composed to accompany his Latin translations of Plato's dialogues . Given the enormous influence Ficino's work had on generations of readers, 120 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 22:1 JAN 198 4 his portrayal of the Phaedrus myth is of profound importance for an understanding of later thinkers' approach to the text. Professor Allen, who has already provided a valuable edition and translation of Ficino's lengthy Philebus commentary, has now brought together the material relating most directly to the Phaedrus and in doing so has provided students of early modern philosophy with an extremely important source. His care in selecting, editing, translating and introducing the texts maintains the high standards we have come to expect from his previous work. Ficino never produced a detailed commentary on the Phaedrus, in a strict sense. What he apparently did rather was to wrestle with the text over a period of some thirty years, adding explanatory notes to accompany the dialogue in different editions in which it would appear. Thus the so-called "commentary" actually represents in its several layers the evolution of Ficino's response to the dialogue throughout his career. Professor Allen has used great care in distinguishing the periods in which the various components were added. In the 1484 Florence edition of Platonis Opera Omnia the Phaedrus was prefaced, as were the other dialogues, by...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 119-121
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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