In the three chapters of "On the Heavens" dealt with in this volume, Aristotle argues that the universe is ungenerated and indestructible. In Simplicius' commentary, translated here, we see a battle royal between the Neoplatonist Simplicius and the Aristotelian, Alexander, whose lost commentary on "On the Heavens" Simplicius partly preserves. Simplicius' rival, the Christian Philoponus, had conducted a parallel battle in his "Against Proclus" but had taken the side of Alexander against Proclus and other Platonists, arguing that Plato's "Timaeus" gives a beginning to the universe. Simplicius takes the Platonist side, denying that Plato intended a beginning. The origin on which Plato refers is, according to Simplicius, not a temporal origin, but the divine cause that produces the world without beginning.
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Author Biography - of Cilicia Simplicius
R.J. Hankinson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. His translations of Simplicius: On Aristotle On the Heavens 1.1-4 and Simplicius: On Aristotle On the Heavens 1.5-9 are also available in the series.