Volume 21, Issue 2, Autumn 2016
Iamblichus’ Response to Aristotle’s and Pseudo-Archytas’ Theories of Time
This article aims to shed light on certain aspects of Iamblichus’ theory of time that have not been sufficiently examined to date in the scholarly literature. As of today, there are a mere handful of scholarly works tackling Iamblichus’ solutions to the paradoxes of time in particular, and his contribution to the developments of the Neoplatonic theory of the subject more generally. This article attempts to redress the lack of literature on this topic by examining Iamblichus’ response to Aristotle’s and Pseudo-Archytas’ theories of time. It begins with a brief survey of the philosophical developments that led to and were formative for Iamblichus’ philosophical explorations of the area in question. Then it moves on to provide a detailed account of Iamblichus’ own unique and puzzling theory of time. The author applies the method of comparative analysis, scrutinizing Iamblichus’ solution to the paradoxes of time against the backdrop of Aristotle’s and Pseudo-Archytas’ theories. The author identifies firm scholarly grounds for doing so from within the tradition of Iamblichus studies initiated by the ground-breaking research of Shmuel Sambursky and Salomon Pines and continued, inter alia, in the subtly nuanced analysis of Richard Sorabji and John Dillon. The author concludes that Iamblichus successfully resolved the paradoxes of time and that his conception lent itself to a more effective highlighting of the ordering function of time.