Abstract

In earlier work, Bernard R. Goldstein and the present author have introduced a procedural rule for historical inquiry, which requires that one take pains to establish the credibility of any citation of ancient thought by later writers in antiquity through a process of verification. In this paper, I shall apply what I call the Rule of Ancient Citations to Simplicius' interpretation of Aristotle's remarks in Meta [Lambda]. 8, which is the primary point of departure for the modern understanding of Greek planetary theory. I first sketch several lines of argument that lead me to conclude that Simplicius' interpretation should not be accepted because it assumes a concern with planetary phenomena unknown to the Greeks before the late 2nd and early 1st centuries BC. Then, after showing that there is a fairly well defined range of readings of Aristotle's remarks more in keeping with what we actually know of astronomy in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, I conclude that neither Aristotle's report about the Eudoxan and Callippan accounts of the celestial motions nor Simplicius' interpretation of this report is a good starting point for our understanding of early Greek planetary theory.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9274
Print ISSN
1063-6145
Pages
pp. 155-167
Launched on MUSE
2003-02-27
Open Access
No
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