Working Papers by Author

Phillip Sidney Horky - Classics Department, Stanford University

051002 CHAPTER 1 of The City-State Commensurate: Plato and Pythagorean Political Philosophy: “Aristotle’s Description of Mathematical Pythagoreanism in the 4th Century BCE”
Philip Sidney Horky, Stanford University
Download PDF Abstract: Scholars of the history of ancient philosophy have been hesitant to attribute particular characteristics to those Pythagoreans called “mathematical” by Aristotle. Aristotle himself,to be sure, not only felt it important to distinguish this type of Pythagorean from the more traditional “acousmatic” type, but he also invested in this distinction the basic tenets of his own philosophical methodology regarding the pursuit of knowledge from first principles. In this chapter, I describe the philosophical system (pragmateia) of the mathematical Pythagoreans by analyzing and comparing the accounts of Pythagoreanism in both the surviving treatises of Aristotle (especially Metaphysics) and the fragmentary works on the Pythagoreans preserved in Iamblichus’ On the General Mathematical Science and On the Pythagorean Way of Life. This is the newest version of the first chapter of a book-length study in which I describe the philosophical and political history of the mathematical Pythagoreans and their influence on Plato’s later thought.