|Author/Contributor(s):||Karamanolis, George E|
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
Plato. Platonists were guided in their judgement about Aristotle's proximity to, or distance from, Plato by their own assumptions about what Plato's doctrines were. Also crucial for their judgement were their views about which philosophical issues particularly mattered. Given the diversity of views rehearsed in Plato's works, Platonists were flexible enough to decide which were Plato's own doctrines. The real reason behind the rejection of Aristotle's testimony was not to defend the purity of Plato's philosophy, as Platonists sometimes argued in a rhetorical fashion. Aristotle's testimony was rejected, rather, because Platonists assumed that Plato's doctrines were views found in Plato's work which Aristotle had discarded or criticized. The evaluation of Aristotle's testimony on the part of the Platonists also depends on their interpretation of Aristotle himself. This is particularly clear in the case of Porphyry, with whom the ancient discussion reaches a conclusion which most later
Platonists accepted. While essentially in agreement with Plotinus's interpretation of Plato, Porphyry interpreted Aristotle in such a way that the latter appeared to agree essentially with Plato on all significant philosophical questions, a view which was dominant until the Renaissance. Karamanolis argues that Porphyry's view of Aristotle's philosophy guided him to become the first Platonist to write commentaries on Aristotle's works.