The Peripatetics: Aristotle's Heirs 322 BCE - 200 CE, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Peripatetics

Aristotle's Heirs 322 BCE - 200 CE, 1st Edition

By Han Baltussen


190 pages

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The Peripatetics explores the development of Peripatetic thought from Theophrastus and Strato to the work of the commentator Alexander of Aphrodisias. The book examines whether the internal dynamics of this philosophical school allowed for a unity of Peripatetic thought, or whether there was a fundamental tension between philosophical creativity and the notions of core teachings and canonisation. The book discusses the major philosophical preoccupations of the Peripatetics, interactions with Hellenistic schools of thought, and the shift in focus among Greek philosophers in a changing political landscape. It is the first book of its kind to provide a survey of this important philosophical tradition.


This is an accessible and reliable introduction to a little-known, but historically pivotal, tradition within ancient thought: the followers of Aristotle from his immediate successors to the great commentator Alexander of Aphrodisias. Baltussen is particularly interesting on the question of authority. He shows that allegiance to Aristotle was compatible with originality, and charts disagreements between the Peripatetics as well as their attempts to defend the Aristotelian position against rival schools. Ultimately Aristotle would become "the" philosopher, and study of his works would become synonymous with philosophy itself; Baltussen explains the pre-history of that development.

- Professor Peter Adamson, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany

"…it is clear that this new book by Han Baltussen well serves its purpose, namely, to become an introductory reading for students and scholars interested in the development of an important but relatively neglected tradition."

- Eugene Afonasin, Novosibirsk State University, Russia, in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Table of Contents

Sources and Abbreviations


1 Aristotle’s Heirs

2 The Natural World and its (hidden) Foundations

3 Things and Words: Language, Logic and Reasoning

4 Ethics and Politics: On Morality and Citizenship

5 Continuity and Criticism in the Peripatos

6 Intellectual Context: Rivals and Devotees

7 Epilogue: From Theophrastus to Alexander of Aphrodisias

Appendix A: Known Peripatetics 322 BCE – 250 CE

Appendix B: Modern Editions & Commentaries on the Peripatetics



About the Author

Han Baltussen is Hughes Professor of Classics at the University of Adelaide, Australia. After completing his PhD at Utrecht (Netherlands), he held postdoctoral positions in Utrecht, Washington, and London. His research interests include intellectual history and the history of ideas, as well as ancient philosophy.

About the Series

Ancient Philosophies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General
PHILOSOPHY / History & Surveys / Ancient & Classical