Thesis: Syrianus' Reading of Aristotle's Metaphysics M and N
The central aim of my dissertation project is to explore the ontology and mathematical theory of the Late Antique philosopher Syrianus (375 A.D.- 437 A.D.) and his reception and interpretation of the works of Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus. The central text will be his commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics M and N.
M and N are known to be obscure. They seem to be a study of the discussion of the ontological status of mathematical entities in the Old Academy, and, moreover, a harsh criticism of this discussion. But all this is rather unclear. Furthermore, the place and function of the books in the whole treatise is a matter of much controversy, and a better understanding of them could lead to a more precise understanding of the whole Aristotelian ontology and theology.
Syrianus' commentary is our earliest extant treatment of these books. His commentary is often our only evidence for the attribution of a position to a certain philosopher and for the broader theoretical background of the position itself. But Syrianus is also a sophisticated and intelligent defender of the positions which are criticised by Aristotle, and this apology, together with his own criticism, is among the most interesting examples of a direct dispute between the Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy.
In my dissertation I want to investigate this dispute and show how we can understand Aristotle's argumentation better by relying on the information provided by Syrianus. Further I want to reconstruct Syrianus' own metaphysical system and the philosophical and historical intentions of his criticism of the Aristotelian philosophy.
Born in 1986 near Hannover I grew up on Norderney. In my schooldays I spent a year in Rome and a further year in Paris where I graduated from high school. I studied Greek and Latin at the Freie Universität Berlin and at the Philipps-Universität Marburg where I optained my Bachelor degree in 2009. Afterwards I studied for the MA in Classics at the Freie Universität, and spent two terms studying ancient philosophy at the University of Oxford. Since 2007 I have been a scholarship holder of the German National Merit Foundation.