divisione; classificazione; genere; specie; dialettica; definizione; biologia; Platone; Aristotele
CrivelliPaolo (2019), Division and Classification: Philebus 14c‒20a, in Dimas Panos (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 34-54.
CrivelliPaolo (2019), Law and Its Imitations in Plato’s Statesman, in Teoria
Schiaparelli Annamaria (2017), Platonic Ideas and Appearance in Aristotle’s Topics, in Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie
, 99(2), 129-155.
CrivelliPaolo (2017), Being-Said-Of in Aristotle’s Categories, in Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica
, 109, 531-556.
SchiaparelliAnnamaria (2016), The Concept of Differentia in Aristotle’s Topics, in Gourinat Jean-Baptiste (ed.), Vrin, Paris, 231-257.
CrivelliPaolo, Measurement in Plato’s Statesman, in Giardina Giovanna (ed.), Ousia, Brussels.
CrivelliPaolo, Negative Kinds in Plato’s Statesman, in Annales de l’Institut de philosophie de l’Université Libre de Brussels
The concept of classification plays important roles in philosophy: it was at the forefront of ancient thought and it is still at the centre of today’s debates of philosophers of science and scientists. How should we carve up reality by establishing the genera and the species of which individuals are members? What is the ontological status of genera and species? What is it to divide a genus into its subordinate species? The present research project focuses on the reflections about these themes that were developed in Plato's school, the Academy. In this context, the thinkers who gave the most important contributions to this area were Plato himself and the young Aristotle. Specifically, in the later phase of his philosophy (in the Phaedrus, Sophist, Statesman, and Philebus), Plato identified dialectic, namely the highest form of philosophical reflection, with the methods of division and collection (where collection is the process that leads from what is more specific to what is more generic while division is its reverse). In his early logical works (especially in the Categories, the Topics, and the Sophistical Refutations), which were most probably written during his student years in the Academy, Aristotle displays an ambivalent attitude with respect to division: on the one hand, he criticises it from various angles; on the other, he appeals to it both in his philosophical practice and in his reflections on philosophical method. The aim of the present research project is reconstruct and evaluate the views on classification and division that circulated in Plato's Academy by focussing on the major characters of the debate, namely Plato himself and the young Aristotle. The methodology employed in pursuing this aim is a combination of the procedures of classical philology (essentially, a disciplined use of all the available instruments for a faithful reconstruction of the position of the authors under examination) and of those of philosophical inquiry in the analytical tradition broadly construed (one of the criteria of success is that the theories which get attributed to the thinkers under examination be coherent and plausible, and whatever theories are attributed to them must be evaluated from a philosophical point of view). For both approaches, the keywords are rigour and precision: rigour and precision are needed both in the historical enterprise of discovering a faithful reconstruction and in the philosophical enterprises of finding coherent and plausible theories and evaluating them from a philosophical point of view. Particular attention will be given to recent debates on the proper way of classifying biological species, the hope being that the live discussion of modern philosophers will shed light on the positions put forward by ancient thinkers.