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A version published: In John Shannon Hendrix, Robert Grosseteste: Philosophy of Intellect and Vision, Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 2010.


Alexander of Aphrodisias (fl. c. 198–209) was born somewhere around 150, in Aphrodisia on the Aegean Sea. He began his career in Alexandria during the reign of Septimius Severus, was appointed to the peripatetic chair at the Lyceum in Athens in 198, a post established by Marcus Aurelius, wrote a commentary on the De anima of Aristotle, and died in 211. According to Porphyry, Alexander was an authority read in the seminars of Plotinus in Rome. He is the earliest philosopher who saw the active intellect implied in Book III of the De anima of Aristotle as transcendent in relation to the material intellect. He connected the active intellect with the incorporeal and eternal cause of the universe described by Aristotle in Book XII of the Metaphysics. Plotinus would make a similar connection, between the One as First Cause and the Intellectual in which it participates.