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Alcmaeon and Plato on Soul

Jaap Mansfeld

Résumé

The rather common view that Alcmaeon influenced Plato’s doctrine of the soul’s self-motion is false. In the doxography self-motion has spread from Xenocrates and Plato to their predecessors Thales, Alcmaeon and Pythagoras.

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Texte intégral

1

1The study of the fragments and testimonies to be found in our collections of Presocratic reliquiae quite often generates surprising combinations and spectacular explanations. The return to the sources, that is, the study of the works from which these texts derive and above all of the traditions to which these works, or elements in these works, belong, may produce much more modest or even disappointing results. Using Alcmaeon’s purported influence on Plato’s theory of soul as an example, I shall sketch a tradition that has its origin in Aristotle’s De anima, and try to find out to what extent subsequent efforts to update this original information have in various ways modified our evidence.

  • 1 Pl. Phdr. 245c–246a.
  • 2 Döring (1903) 144–149, Diels (1912) at Alcmaeon 14A10 DK3 = 24A12 DK5, Zeller – Nestle (1919) 599 n (...)

2 That Alcmaeon had a decisive influence on Plato’s view that soul is self-moved, and therefore also the ultimate cause of motion for other entities,1 seems to be a majority view.2

  • 3 The reading αὐτ[οκ]είνητον in Phdr. 245c of the prima manus at POxy 1017 col. xx.5-6, accepted by R (...)
  • 4 A ‘beginning’ may be followed by something else, a ‘source’ produces what is in it.

3 Plato’s first contention is that soul is ‘immortal’ (ἀθάνατος) because it is something that is ‘always-in-movement’ (ἀεικίνητον)3 and because what is always in movement is immortal—a neat syllogism. Further, the condition that has to be satisfied for being always in movement is to be something that ‘moves itself’ (τὸ αὑτὸ κινοῦν), for only such a thing will not only never ‘abandon itself’, or cease moving, but will also be the ‘source and beginning’ (πηγὴ καὶ ἀρχή) of movement for the other things that move. The introduction of the term archê leads to a further argument, viz., that (such) a ‘beginning’ must be without a beginning itself and so ‘ungenerated’ (ἀγένητον), which entails that it is ‘indestructible’ (ἀδιάφθορον) as well. We notice that archê here begins to acquire and include the sense of ‘principle’, thanks to the addition of the word πηγή, ‘source’.4 Accordingly, what moves itself is the principle—to use the acquired and fuller sense of archê—of movement, which can neither perish nor come to be, or else the whole heaven and the whole earth would fall apart and come to a halt and never again have something that will set things in motion. (The idea underlying this counterfactual seems to be that if the principle were perishable things could or would or should have vanished by now or even long ago, the familiar warum gibt es überhaupt Seiendes und nicht vielmehr Nichts issue). Thus, soul, i.e., ‘what of itself moves itself’ (τὸ αὐτὸ ἑαυτὸ κινοῦν), is necessarily ungenerated and immortal. Q.e.d.

  • 5 Anaxagoras 59B12, see Denniston (1952) 3–5 ; Melissus 30B7 and B8, Parmenides 22B7-8 DK. See Kahn ( (...)
  • 6 Melissus 30B2 DK, see Kahn (1958) 22–24.
  • 7 Pl. Phdr. 245d, ἀρχὴ δὲ ἀγένητον· ἐξ ἀρχῆς γὰρ ἀνάγκη πᾶν τὸ γιγνόμενον γίγνεσθαι, αὐτὴν δὲ μηδ’ ἐξ (...)
  • 8 Meliss. 30B2, ἀρχὴν οὐκ ἔχει … εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἐγένετο, ἀρχὴν ἂν εἶχεν.

4 This passage, with its alliterations and vowel rhymes, its recurrent words, its short and repetitive cola and its repeated use of ring composition, reminds one of the relentless advance of Presocratic prose, such as that of Anaxagoras and Melissus,5 or even of the (prosaic) poetry of the great ontological fragment of Parmenides. As a matter of fact Charles Kahn has demonstrated that Plato’s proof concerned with the ‘beginning’ (archê) that cannot have a ‘beginning’ (archê) is in some way related to a foundational argument of Melissus on what has ‘neither beginning (archê) nor end (teleutê)’.6 Plato’s phrase ‘a beginning does not come into being ; for what comes into being necessarily comes into being from a beginning, but the beginning itself not from anything at all’7 is quite close Melissus’ ‘it has no beginning … for if it came to be, it would have a beginning’.8 But as Kahn notes Melissus in contrast to Plato (of course) does not argue that what he is talking about is an archê.

  • 9 Phdr. 230e–234c. Think of the so-called myth of Protagoras, or of the speech of Aristophanes in Smp(...)

5 For all its seriousness and importance, from a stylistic point of view Plato’s homage to Presocratic thought is a pastiche, and not the only example in his oeuvre, even if we exclude (as probably we should not) the speech of Lysias in the same dialogue.9 What makes it especially interesting is that it derives an entity’s (i.e. soul’s) being ungenerated and indestructible from it’s being always in movement, whereas according to the Eleatics an entity’s (i.e. Being’s) ungeneratedness and indestructibility make it immobile and changeless. A combination of eternal mobility on the one hand and being both ungenerated and indestructible on the other was of course investigated by the Atomists and, to a lesser extent, Empedocles. A certain affinity between this Platonic soul and Anaxagoras’ noûs-qua-moving-cause cannot be denied either. But Plato’s virtuoso performance brings something new, which makes the question of the possible relation of his argument to one of Alcmaeon the more intriguing.

2

  • 10 The evidence of the commentators on An. 1.2.405a29 may be ignored, as they no longer had Alcmaeon’s (...)
  • 11 The item in Eusebius is at I p. 495.46-47, that in Diogenes Laertius at 24A1, the others are at 24A (...)

6The evidence on which the claim for Alcmaeon’s influence has been based by scholars consist of the following six items,10 which with one exception (the Boethus passage mentioned in the addenda) have been conveniently gathered in the Alcmaeon chapter of Diels-Kranz :11

  • 12 Arist. An. 1.2.405a29–b1, παραπλησίως δὲ τούτοις καὶ Ἀλκμαίων ἔοικεν ὑπολαβεῖν περὶ ψυχῆς· φησὶ γὰρ (...)

I. (Aristotle) : ‘Alcmaeon seems to have held a similar view about the soul as those men [sc. Thales, Diogenes and Heraclitus, briefly described by Aristotle before] ; for he says that it is immortal because it resembles the immortals ; this resemblance holds of it as a consequence of its being always in movement ; for all the divine beings, too, are always in continuous movement, sun, moon, the stars and the whole heaven’.12

  • 13 Aët. Plac. 4.2.2, ᾿Αλκμαίων φύσιν αὐτοκίνητον κατὰ ἀίδιον κίνησιν, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἀθάνατον αὐτὴν καὶ (...)

II. (Aëtius) : ‘Alcmaeon (says) that it [sc. the soul] is a nature that is self-moved according to eternal motion, and for this reason he assumes that it is immortal and resembles the divine beings.’13

  • 14 Cic. ND 1.27, Crotoniates autem Alcmaeo, qui soli et lunae reliquisque sideribus animoque praeterea (...)

III. (Cicero) : ‘But Alcmaeon of Croton, who ascribed divinity to sun and moon and all stars and on top of that to the soul, failed to realize that he ascribed immortality to mortal things’.14

  • 15 Boethus ap. Porph. ap. Eus. PE 11.28.8-9, τὸ μέντοι τῶν περὶ ἡμᾶς ὁμοιότερον μηδὲν γενέσθαι θεῷ ψυχ (...)

IV. (Boethus) : ‘with regard to which [sc. not only to the continuity and perpetuity of the movement which the soul produces in us, but also those of the soul’s mind] the natural philosopher from Croton said that it [sc. the soul] is immortal and because of its nature avoids every form of rest, just as those bodies which are divine’.15

  • 16 Clem.Al. Protr. 5.66, ὁ γάρ τοι Κροτωνιάτης Ἀλκμαίων θεοὺς ᾤετο τοὺς ἀστέρας εἶναι ἐμψύχους ὄντας.

V. (Clement of Alexandria) : ‘For Alcmaeon of Croton was convinced that the stars are gods, as they are ensouled’.16

  • 17 D.L. 8.83, ἔφη δὲ καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν ἀθάνατον καὶ κινεῖσθαι αὐτὴν συνεχὲς ὡς τὸν ἥλιον.

VI. (Diogenes Laërtius) : ‘he further said that the soul is immortal and moves continuously like the sun’.17

  • 18 E.g., Guthrie (1962) 350 on texts II, III and V ; Barnes (1979) 117 : ‘We must … rely primarily on (...)
  • 19 ‘Cette brève doxographie sur l’âme semble très dépendante d’Aristote, De l’âme, I 2, 405 a 29 – b 1 (...)

7Evidence of the kind exemplified in testimonia II to VI has generally been linked with Theophrastus according to the well-known Usener-Diels hypothesis (not shared by the author of the present paper), which has allowed scholars to place these testimonia on one and the same level. They have also been placed on the same level as Aristotle’s testimony.18 This, again, has facilitated the interpretation of the latter in the sense of one or more of the former. That these texts are all about the same theme cannot, of course, be denied, but the chronology and eventual parti pris of their source authors must also be taken into account. Cicero’s spokesman in text III is a critical Epicurean, to whom the notions that the heavenly bodies are gods or the soul immortal are anathema. So his claim that Alcmaeon ascribed divinity to the soul as well, not paralleled in the other testimonies, is meant as a reductio ad absurdius. The resemblance between soul and stars is not expressed explicitly, but is of course there : all are divine. The testimony of Boethus (of Sidon ; the Peripatetic, I presume), text IV, is very close to that of Aristotle, text I : implicit resemblance between a soul which never rests and divine bodies that do not rest either. A difference is that Boethus seems to include cognitive activity in the movement of soul, which is not paralleled in the other testimonies. Text V, Clement’s cavalier note, endows the stars with souls, a view not paralleled in the other testimonies. Omitting the part about the souls resembling the stars it encapsulates the souls in the stars. The brief note in Diogenes Laërtius, text VI, preserves the main ingredients found in the majority of the other testimonies, viz. the soul, a heavenly body (surely exempli gratia) and continuous movement, the resemblance between soul ands star being implied. This phrase, as has been seen, is close to Aristotle’s testimony, text I.19

  • 20 Barnes (1979) 117, Hankinson (1998) 31–32.
  • 21 Dixit Hankinson (1998) 31.

8 Understandably scholars have scoured this body of evidence for a feasible argument concerned with the immortality of soul. Some among them have concluded that the evidence as (so to speak) formulated in the Aëtian lemma is the clearest, if not the only one.20 This text contains the term ‘self-moved’, which allows one to reconstruct a feasible chain of reasoning from the soul’s motion to its immortality. It is lacking in the ‘unimpressive analogy’21 of the Aristotelian passage and also in the other testimonies.

  • 22 For a preliminary text and translation of this ch. see below, Appendix, and for a preliminary discu (...)
  • 23 Aët. 4.3.1, ‘All those arrayed previously assume that the soul is incorporeal’ (οὗτοι πάντες οἱ προ (...)
  • 24 Lemma preserved in Stobaeus and Theodoret, not in ps.Plutarch.
  • 25 The Plato doxa (lemma 4.2.5 preserved in ps.Plutarch and Theodoret, not in Stobaeus) is paralleled (...)

9 But these scholars have omitted to look at this later piece of evidence in the context of the Aëtian chapter from which it derives.22 This chapter, capped with the short heading ‘On the soul’, deals with the category of substance, and only lists doxai that make the soul incorporeal, as is also clear from the summary of its contents in the first lemma of the next chapter.23 Now the first five lemmata, dealing with Thales, Alcmaeon, Pythagoras, Xenocrates and Plato, are all about souls that are self-moved. The doxographer has taken care to express this recurrent idea by means of stylistic variato : Thales’s soul is ‘a nature that is ever-moving, or rather self-moved’ (φύσιν ἀεικίνητον ἢ αὐτοκίνητον), Alcmaeon’s soul ‘a nature that is self-moved according to eternal motion’ (φύσιν αὐτοκίνητον κατὰ ἀίδιον κίνησιν), Pythagoras’ soul ‘a number moving itself’ (ἀριθμὸν ἑαυτὸν κινοῦντα), Xenocrates’ soul ‘similarly’ sc. to Pythagoras’ (ὁμοίως),24 and Plato’s soul ‘an intelligible substance, moved from itself’ (οὐσίαν νοητὴν ἐξ ἑαυτῆς κινητὴν).25

  • 26 Aët. 1.3.1, 1.3.7, see Mansfeld – Runia (2009) 73–96.
  • 27 Texts at Xenocrates frr. 60–65 Heinze, FF 85–118 2Isnardi Parente.
  • 28 Above, n. 11 and text thereto. For further examples of Aëtian lemmata deriving from Aristotle see M (...)

10 Obviously the doxai attributed Thales and Pythagoras, the founding fathers of the Ionian and Italic diadochai,26 are un-historical and interesting solely from the point of view of reception. The Plato doxa (for text and references see below, Appendix) summarizes the doctrine of Timaeus without excluding passages in other dialogues. The Xenocrates doxa is quite frequently paralleled elsewehere.27 Both Plato and Xenocrates in fact attributed self-motion to soul, so these two lemmata are acceptable from a historical point of view. But the soul’s self-motion has spread from Xenocrates to Pythagoras, rather than conversely as the doxography would have us believe. The Thales doxa has been enriched with the two concepts of everlasting motion and self-motion (the latter even being preferred to the former) that for the first time occur together at Plato, Phaedrus 245c–e. The emphasis on the concept of self-motion throughout the first part of the chapter and its spread to the doxai of Thales and Pythagoras suggest that the presence of self-motion in the Alcmaeon doxa is also a matter of interpretatio and encroachment. I submit that this becomes certain as soon as one realizes that this lemma (in the abridged format typical of the Placita) is a calque of the passage of Aristotle I have quoted as text I.28

11 The main ingredients are there both times : we have the term ‘immortal’ (ἀθάνατον) ; we have the ‘resemblance with the things divine’, as Aëtius’ προσεμφερῆ τοῖς θείοις corresponds with Aristotle’s τὸ ἐοικέναι τοῖς ἀθανάτοις and τὰ θεῖα πάντα ; and we have the ‘eternal movement’, as Aëtius’ κατὰ ἀίδιον κίνησιν corresponds with Aristotle’s ἀεὶ κινουμένῃ· κινεῖσθαι … συνεχῶς ἀεί. The inference from eternal motion to immortality is the same as well. Indeed, only Aëtius’ term ‘self-moved’ is not paralleled in Aristotle.

  • 29 As believed by Horn (2005) 157.
  • 30 The entire concept of the World Soul hardly occurs in the Placita. All one can find elsewhere is th (...)

12 The conclusion must be that the Aëtian testimony has no value beyond what it shares with Aristotle. And Aristotle clearly speaks of the human soul, not of the World Soul,29 for to declare that the soul is immortal because of the resemblance of its motion to the motion of the divine beings (heavenly bodies and heaven itself) only makes sense if this soul is something else than those divinities. The chapters on the soul in Aëtius Book 4 are all about the human soul, references to a World Soul or Soul of the Cosmos being the exception.30

13 Plato may have found the concept of eternal motion in Alcmaeon, but the concept of self-motion was not to be found there. This conclusion is the result of our inquiry into the ramifications of the traditions of doxography and Aristotelian dialectic. No spectacular discovery of self-motion for Alcmaeon, and thus a perhaps disappointing reduction of the significance of the evidence concerned with the continuous movement of his ‘soul’. But I cannot find that the attribution of this discovery to Plato himself is really disappointing.

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Bibliographie

Barnes, J. (1979), The Presocratic Philosophers vol. 1, London (rev. ed. 1982)

Burkert, W. (1972) Lore and Science in Ancient Pythagoreanism, Cambridge MA

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Horn, C. (2005), ‘Der Begriff der Selbstbewegung bei Alkmaion und Platon’, in : Rechenauer, G. ed., Frühgriechisches Denken, Göttingen, 152–173

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Kahn, Ch. H. (1958), ‘Anaximander and the arguments concerning the ἄπειρον at Physics 203b4–15’, in : FS Kapp, Hamburg, 19–29

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Kalogerakos, I. G. (1996), Seele und Unsterblichkeit. Untersuchungen zur Vorsokratik bis Empedokles, Stuttgart - Leipzig

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Annexe

Aëtius ch. 4.2

Titulus β΄ Περὶ ψυχῆς

§1

[1]

Θαλῆς ἀπεφήνατο πρῶτος τὴν ψυχὴν φύσιν

[2]

ἀεικίνητον ἢ αὐτοκίνητον

§2

[1]

Ἀλκμαίων φύσιν αὐτοκίνητον κατὰ ἀίδιον κίνησιν,

[2]

καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἀθάνατον αὐτὴν καὶ προσεμφερῆ τοῖς

[3]

θείοις ὑπολαμβάνει.

§3

[1]

Πυθαγόρας ἀριθμὸν ἑαυτὸν κινοῦντα, τὸν δὲ ἀριθμὸν

[2]

ἀντὶ τοῦ νοῦ παραλαμβάνει.

§4

[1]

ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ Ξενοκράτης.

§5

[1]

Πλάτων οὐσίαν νοητὴν ἐξ ἑαυτῆς κινητὴν κατ᾿

[2]

ἀριθμὸν ἐναρμόνιον κινουμένην.

§6

[1]

Ἀριστοτέλης ἐντελέχειαν πρώτην σώματος φυσικοῦ,

[2]

ὀργανικοῦ, δυνάμει ζωὴν ἔχοντος· τὴν δ’ ἐντελέχειαν

[3]

ἀκουστέον ἀντὶ τοῦ εἴδους καὶ τῆς ἐνεργείας.

§7

[1]

Δικαίαρχος ἁρμονίαν τῶν τεσσάρων στοιχείων.

§8

[1]

Ἀσκληπιάδης ὁ ἰατρὸς συγγυμνασίαν τῶν αἰσθήσεων.

§1 Thales 11A22a DK ; §2 Alcmaeon 24A12 DK ; §3 Pythagoras – ; §4 Xenocrates fr. 60 Heinze, fr. 90 2Isnardi-Parente ; §5 cf. Plato Phdr. 245c, Tim. 35a–36b, 41d, [Plato] Def. 411c ; §6 cf. Aristoteles An. 2.1.412a27–b1 ; §7 Dicaearchus fr. 12(a–c) Wehrli, cf. ad fr. 21A Mirhady ; §8 Asclepiades –

2 On the soul

§1 Thales was the first to declare that the soul is a nature which is ever-moving, or rather self-moved.

§2 Alcmaeon (says) that it is a nature which is self-moved according to eternal motion, and for this reason he assumes that it is immortal and resembles the divine beings.

§3 Pythagoras (says) that it is a number moving itself ; he takes number as denoting Mind,

§4 and similarly Xenocrates as well.

§5 Plato (says) that it is an intelligible substance, mover from itself, in motion according to a numerical harmony.

§6 Aristotle that it is the first entelechy [i.e. ‘actuality’] of a body that is natural, functional, and potentially possessing life ; and this entelechy must be understood to denote form and activity.

§7 Dicaearchus that it is a harmony of the four elements.

§8 Asclepiades the physician that it is a common exercising of the senses.

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Notes

1 Pl. Phdr. 245c–246a.

2 Döring (1903) 144–149, Diels (1912) at Alcmaeon 14A10 DK3 = 24A12 DK5, Zeller – Nestle (1919) 599 n. 1, Capelle (1935) 109 n. 1, Skemp (1942) 36–51, Hackforth (1952) 68 with reservations, Guthrie (1962) 351, Skemp (1976) 134–140, Barnes (1979) 116–117, Kirk – Raven – Schofield (1983) 347, Rowe (1986) 174, Dumont (1988) 1258 n. 10, Kalogerakos (1996) 159, Hankinson (1998) 33, Horn (2005) 154–168. Cautious : Huffman (2008) sect. 2.5. Eternal movement only : Stella (1939) 276–277, Festugière (1945) 64–65 = (1971) 434–435, Yunis (2011) 136. Against : Burkert (1972) 296 with n. 97.

3 The reading αὐτ[οκ]είνητον in Phdr. 245c of the prima manus at POxy 1017 col. xx.5-6, accepted by Robin in the Budé ed. of the dialogue, was corrected by the secunda manus to ἀεικίνητον. In his commentary on the papyrus Haslam (1999), CCP Parte I vol. 1*** 265–267, once and for all proves the diorthôtês to be right. The word αὐτοκίνητος occurs for the first time at Aristotle, Ph. 8.5.258a2, and is a hapax in his oeuvre. It occurs twice in the present ch. (and is cited from this ch. at 4.3.1), but not elsewhere in the Placita. An overview of occurrences of this term and related expressions is at Mansfeld (1971) 38–40. The word ἀεικίνητος occurs for the first time at Plato, Phdr. 245c, and is a hapax in his oeuvre ; on its special character see Dover (1997) 103–105. It does not occur in Aristotle.

4 A ‘beginning’ may be followed by something else, a ‘source’ produces what is in it.

5 Anaxagoras 59B12, see Denniston (1952) 3–5 ; Melissus 30B7 and B8, Parmenides 22B7-8 DK. See Kahn (1958) 24, ‘Plato’s style in the Phaedrus proof tries to recapture the solemn, archaic tone of the old Ionian philosophy’. He further argues that this Melissus fragment as well as Pl. Phdr. 245d–e and Arist. Phys. 3.4.203b4–15 derive from a (lost) argument of Anaximander about archê as archê-less (cf. also Kahn (1960) 238), but one may doubt that the word archê is an original ingredient in the evidence about Anaximander’s principle rather than a Peripatetic technical term ; see now Mansfeld (2011) 2–4, arguing for the latter option. On hymnic style see already Deichgräber (1933).

6 Melissus 30B2 DK, see Kahn (1958) 22–24.

7 Pl. Phdr. 245d, ἀρχὴ δὲ ἀγένητον· ἐξ ἀρχῆς γὰρ ἀνάγκη πᾶν τὸ γιγνόμενον γίγνεσθαι, αὐτὴν δὲ μηδ’ ἐξ ἑνός.

8 Meliss. 30B2, ἀρχὴν οὐκ ἔχει … εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἐγένετο, ἀρχὴν ἂν εἶχεν.

9 Phdr. 230e–234c. Think of the so-called myth of Protagoras, or of the speech of Aristophanes in Smp.

10 The evidence of the commentators on An. 1.2.405a29 may be ignored, as they no longer had Alcmaeon’s text (or the monograph Πρὸς τὰ Ἀλκμαίωνος αʹ listed in the Aristotelian catalogue at D.L. 5.25). See Phlp. in An. 88.14–16, ‘the writings of these men are not accessible to us and Aristotle provides no further information’ (οὔτε γὰρ τὰ συγγράμματα τῶν ἀνδρῶν τούτων πρόχειρα ἡμῖν εἰσιν οὔτε ὁ Ἀριστοτέλης πλέον τι τούτων ἱστόρησε), and Simp. (Prisc. ?) in An. 32.6–7 ‘as one may infer from these words he seems to have been an excellent philosopher, for he says that the soul is immortal because it resembles the immortals’ (ἔοικε δὲ ἄριστα φιλοσοφεῖν, ὡς ἐκ τῶν νῦν λεγομένων τεκμαίρεσθαι· ἀθάνατον γὰρ λέγει τὴν ψυχὴν ὡς ἐοικυῖαν τοῖς ἀθανάτοις).

11 The item in Eusebius is at I p. 495.46-47, that in Diogenes Laertius at 24A1, the others are at 24A12 DK.

12 Arist. An. 1.2.405a29–b1, παραπλησίως δὲ τούτοις καὶ Ἀλκμαίων ἔοικεν ὑπολαβεῖν περὶ ψυχῆς· φησὶ γὰρ αὐτὴν ἀθάνατον εἶναι διὰ τὸ ἐοικέναι τοῖς ἀθανάτοις· τοῦτο δ’ ὑπάρχειν αὐτῇ ὡς ἀεὶ κινουμένῃ· κινεῖσθαι γὰρ καὶ τὰ θεῖα πάντα συνεχῶς ἀεί, σελήνην, ἥλιον, τοὺς ἀστέρας καὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν ὅλον.

13 Aët. Plac. 4.2.2, ᾿Αλκμαίων φύσιν αὐτοκίνητον κατὰ ἀίδιον κίνησιν, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἀθάνατον αὐτὴν καὶ προσεμφερῆ τοῖς θείοις ὑπολαμβάνει. Preserved in Stobaeus and Theodoret, not in ps.Plutarch.

14 Cic. ND 1.27, Crotoniates autem Alcmaeo, qui soli et lunae reliquisque sideribus animoque praeterea divinitatem dedit, non sensit sese mortalibus rebus inmortalitatem dare.

15 Boethus ap. Porph. ap. Eus. PE 11.28.8-9, τὸ μέντοι τῶν περὶ ἡμᾶς ὁμοιότερον μηδὲν γενέσθαι θεῷ ψυχῆς, οὐ πολλῆς ἄν τις δεηθεὶς πραγματείας πιστεύσειεν, οὐ μόνον διὰ τὸ συνεχὲς καὶ ἄπαυστον τῆς κινήσεως, ἣν ἐν ἡμῖν ἐνδίδωσιν, ἀλλὰ τοῦ καθ’ ἑαυτὴν νοῦ. εἰς ὅπερ ἀπιδὼν καὶ ὁ Κροτωνιάτης φυσικὸς εἶπεν ἀθάνατον αὐτὴν οὖσαν καὶ πᾶσαν ἠρεμίαν φύσει φεύγειν, ὥσπερ τὰ θεῖα τῶν σωμάτων.

16 Clem.Al. Protr. 5.66, ὁ γάρ τοι Κροτωνιάτης Ἀλκμαίων θεοὺς ᾤετο τοὺς ἀστέρας εἶναι ἐμψύχους ὄντας.

17 D.L. 8.83, ἔφη δὲ καὶ τὴν ψυχὴν ἀθάνατον καὶ κινεῖσθαι αὐτὴν συνεχὲς ὡς τὸν ἥλιον.

18 E.g., Guthrie (1962) 350 on texts II, III and V ; Barnes (1979) 117 : ‘We must … rely primarily on Aristotle and the doxographers for the reconstruction of Alcmaeon’s argument’ ; Horn (2005) 154–158.

19 ‘Cette brève doxographie sur l’âme semble très dépendante d’Aristote, De l’âme, I 2, 405 a 29 – b 1’ writes J.-F. Balaudé ad loc., in Goulet-Cazé (1999) 1009.

20 Barnes (1979) 117, Hankinson (1998) 31–32.

21 Dixit Hankinson (1998) 31.

22 For a preliminary text and translation of this ch. see below, Appendix, and for a preliminary discussion Mansfeld (1990) 3065–3082, 3089. Horn (2005) 155 wonders what 4.2.2 αὐτὴν refers to, so should have looked at the chapter heading Περὶ ψυχῆς, see Mansfeld – Runia (2009) 199–201 (Horn infers that the soul is meant from Aristotle’s testimony).

23 Aët. 4.3.1, ‘All those arrayed previously assume that the soul is incorporeal’ (οὗτοι πάντες οἱ προτεταγμένοι ἀσώματον τὴν ψυχὴν ὑποτίθενται κτλ.)

24 Lemma preserved in Stobaeus and Theodoret, not in ps.Plutarch.

25 The Plato doxa (lemma 4.2.5 preserved in ps.Plutarch and Theodoret, not in Stobaeus) is paralleled in the chaper on the soul’s motion with lemmata only for Plato and Aristotle : Aët. 4.6.1, ‘Plato (says that) the soul is ever-moving’ (Πλάτων ἀεικίνητον μὲν τὴν ψυχήν), lemma in ps.Plutarch partly paralled in Stobaeus. We note the presence of ἀεικίνητον not αὐτοκίνητον.

26 Aët. 1.3.1, 1.3.7, see Mansfeld – Runia (2009) 73–96.

27 Texts at Xenocrates frr. 60–65 Heinze, FF 85–118 2Isnardi Parente.

28 Above, n. 11 and text thereto. For further examples of Aëtian lemmata deriving from Aristotle see Mansfeld (2005) 28–37 plus 41–42 = Mansfeld - Runia (2010) 482–491 plus 496–497, on Aët. 3.1–2, 3.5–6, 3.3.4, 3.3.7.

29 As believed by Horn (2005) 157.

30 The entire concept of the World Soul hardly occurs in the Placita. All one can find elsewhere is the doxa on the Soul of the Cosmos (kosmou psychê) of Diogenes, Cleanthes and Oenopides at Aët. 1.7.17, while Aët. 4.3.12 attributes a World Soul and 4.7.2 a Soul of the All to … Heraclitus.

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Jaap Mansfeld, « Alcmaeon and Plato on Soul », Études platoniciennes [En ligne], 11 | 2014, mis en ligne le 15 avril 2015, consulté le 20 novembre 2017. URL : http://etudesplatoniciennes.revues.org/508 ; DOI : 10.4000/etudesplatoniciennes.508

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Jaap Mansfeld

Professeur émérite de l’Université d’Utrecht

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