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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2020

Chapter 2 - On Philosophy and Its Proper Subject (Chapter 1)


The first chapter of De mundo sets the tone and object of the treatise and aims to capture the reader’s attention with highly polished rhetoric, admittedly worthy of an address to Aristotle’s most famous pupil, Alexander. It advances the claim that philosophy is a divine matter because it deals with eternal, divine truths. Unlike specialised sciences, which study one or more parts of the universe in isolation, philosophy seeks to appreciate the universe as a harmonious, well-ordered whole. However, without understanding God and the way he is related to the world, the essential features of the world – its order, unity, eternity, beauty and goodness – cannot be appreciated. For this reason, the author of De mundo urges his addressee – Alexander, ‘the best of leaders’ – to pursue philosophy, which amounts to studying the universe as an effect of God and, in this sense, to theologise. This is a conception of philosophy that the author of De mundo seeks to ascribe to Aristotle.

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