Providence ‘transferred’? Alexander of Aphrodisias on divine care
In his treatise On providence, Alexander of Aphrodisias claims to set out Aristotle’s conception of providence. Moreover, Alexander discusses and objects to Epicurean and Stoic theories of providence. However, as far as is known today, Aristotle did not write a treatise on providence. Some interpreters even assume that Aristotle’s theory of the unmoved mover is incompatible with what is conventionally understood as providence. Thus, Alexander’s claim raises several questions, such as, for instance, did he in fact draw on Aristotelian material. And if so, did he provide a coherent conception of providence? How can this be taken as a kind of transfer of Aristotelian thought? What role do the Hellenistic philosophers play? These are some of the issues this paper will address. It will be suggested that ‚transfer’ can be understood in a fairly productive way, i.e. transfer into new contexts of discussion, which could also go together with an advancement of original theories and conceptions so that new solutions are provided to questions raised in very different theoretical contexts.