Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.07.02

Chiaradonna on Rappe on Chiaradonna.   Response to 2004.06.43

Response by Riccardo Chiaradonna (

In her interesting review of my book Sostanza movimento analogia. Plotino critico di Aristotele, Sara Ahbel-Rappe writes: "Riccardo Chiaradonna's book aims to show that Plotinus is actually responsible for the doctrine of harmony (scil. between Plato and Aristotle), even though his infamously sprawling work, On the Genera of Being, is evidently a series of ad hominem attacks against Aristotle's Categories (...). According to C., Plotinus' dialectical strategy against Aristotelian positions cleared the way for the later compromise that roughly saw Aristotle as yielding valid results for the sensible world and Platonic tradition as relevant for understanding the intelligible world."

Unfortunately, these words totally miss the point of my book, which is intended to show that Plotinus criticized radically Aristotle's views on logic and physics. In fact, whatever the value of my interpretation may be, I do not maintain that Plotinus was in any way responsible for the "harmony thesis". See e.g. p. 53 : "Da un simile progetto concordista (i.e. Porphyry's "harmonic" reading of Plato and Aristotle) -- che riprende, raffindandoli, i temi del medioplatonismo -- diverge la posizione di Plotino". As I see it, the reception of Aristotle among the Greek commentators from Porphyry onwards was, at least in part, a reaction against Plotinus' criticism. For a correct (and critical) presentation in English of my points see F.A.J. de Haas, 'Did Plotinus and Porphyry Disagree on Aristotle's Categories?', Phronesis, 46 (2001), 492-526 and 'Context and Strategy of Plotinus' Treatise On the Genera of Being (Enn. VI 1-3)', in V. Celluprica-C. D'Ancona (eds.), Aristotele e i suoi esegeti neoplatonici. Logica e ontologia nelle interpretazioni greche e arabe, Bibliopolis, Napoli 2004, 37-53.

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