Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Philosophy - Philosophy, Science and the Sciences

Ioannis Papachristou

Thesis: “Philoponus on τόπος. Redefining place in late antiquity”

The topic of my dissertation is Ioannes Philoponus’ accounts of place, void and motion presented in his commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, IV, 1-9 in three rather controversial parts of the commentary, namely the digressions on place and void (Philop., in Phys., 557.8- 585.4, 675.12- 695.8, CAG XVII) and the corollary on the motion of projectiles, in which Philoponus articulates the impetus theory (Philop., in Phys., 639.3- 642.26). First, the dissertation examines the general form of the commentary (called “θεωρία-λέξις”), the relationship of the running commentary with the digressions and the proem of the commentary and its role to the discussion of τόπος in the digressions. Second, the dissertation focuses on three issues: first, Philoponus’ criticism against Aristotle, Themistius and the Stoics; second, the “ontology of place” established by Philoponus defining place as a bodiless three-dimensional extension different from the bodies that come to be in it; third, Philoponus’ treatment of the concept of the void as a decisive ingredient of his theory of place and motion


Ioannis Papachristou has been a doctoral fellow of TOPOI Excellence Cluster 264 (Research Group D-II-2, “Place, Space and Motion”). His doctoral thesis is on Philoponus’ accounts of place, void and motion (Thesis: “Philoponus on τόπος. Redefining Place in Late Antiquity”). Currently he is a Visiting Researcher at Topoi (Humboldt- Universität zu Berlin). He has been a Visiting Student Research Collaborator at Princeton University, USA. He studied Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, University of Patras, Greece (Thesis: “The genesis of time in Plotinus’ treatise III.7 (45), On eternity and time”) and he was granted a Master’s degree in Philosophy and History of Science from the Department of Methodology, History and Theory of Sciences, University of Athens, Greece (Thesis: “Noesis and dianoia: two different ways of thinking in Plotinus”). He participated to the Summer Course on “Philosophy and Science in the Greek-Roman world”, organized by the Center for Hellenic Traditions- Central European University, Budapest. He studied Greek Paleography at the Historical and Paleographical Archive, Athens, Greece (MIET) and he participated in the Summer School “Griechische Paläographie, Handschriftenkunde und Editionswissenschaft„ held by the „Zentrum Grundlagenforschung Alte Welt“, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (BBAW).