Boethius’ Understanding of Philosophy and Chapters of PhilosophyJune 27, 2021
Boethius’ most important philosophical work is Consolatio Philosophiae. The work essentially creates an image similar to the situation of Socrates awaiting his execution. In this work, Boethius includes a whole history of philosophy and an allegory of philosophy that is very famous for philosophers.
The work is a work of high literary value. He is imprisoned because of what happened to him and he is writhing in despair. The place where his destiny has carried him is not at all heartwarming, and while Boethius is dealing with great grief, he is suddenly surrounded by the muses of poetry. With the help of these muses that came to him, he begins to write his great work. Meanwhile, an image appears before his eyes. Philosophy is in front of her disguised as a lady (Since the Latin word “philosophia, -ae” has a feminine character, it could not be more natural than for philosophy to appear in the guise of a lady). Boethius preferred the way of explaining the characteristics and classes of philosophy by transferring the details of this image in front of his eyes into lines.
In Greek mythology, the Moseses, the daughters of the goddess Mnemosyne, are the patron goddesses of literature and art. Hesiod tried to explain how important they were by dedicating the opening lines of his famous work Theogonia to the muses of Mount Helikon. There are nine of these muses, whose father is Zeus, and each is the patron of a particular art: Calliope (epic poetry), Thalia (comedy), Urania (astronomy), Erato (lyre-instrument), Klio (history), Euterpe (chute), Melpomene ( tragedy), Terpsichore (dance), and Polymnia (divine). In later periods, the muses were also referred to as “muses of inspiration”.
The philosophy in the image is, first of all, perfect. Every detail is very important. He has a respectable facial expression, which takes his place above Boethius. This expression is a sign that philosophy has a character that goes beyond human nature. It is lively; but also mature. Yet it is not comparable to Boethius’ age. It is clear that philosophy is a timeless activity, that it is an ongoing form of action (philosophia perennis). His stature pierces the skies on the one hand, and appears at the level of humanity on the other. Her dresses are made of extraordinarily bright, vibrant colors, and most importantly, this dress is woven by philosophy itself. Vitality and brilliance show that philosophy is in a structure that is not suitable for corruption, and that the dress is read by itself shows that philosophy acts independently.
According to Boethius, there are two Greek letters on this dress. Theta – q letter is on the upper part of the dress, and the pi – ¹ letter is on the lower part. In the space between these two letters, lines resembling stair steps appear. Theta letter symbolizes theoretical philosophy and the letter pi symbolizes practical philosophy. The lines in between show that there is a communication and continuity between these two philosophizing styles.
Boethius is the name in the history of philosophy who introduced the quadrivium into our thinking practice. As it is known, quadrivium is the top name of the four mathematical sciences. The music that took place here was also a branch of art that was somehow related to mathematics at that time. Philosophy and its distinctions, which were discussed above allegorically, actually developed as a result of a certain kind of concern of Boethius. Boethius did not just think of philosophy; but he also classified the sciences and tried to do this in two different ways. It is possible to call the first partitioning of these as peripatetic partitioning. This compartmentalization requires that philosophy be divided into two at the outset. As stated in the allegory above, philosophy is divided into two as “theoretical” and “practical” philosophy. Practical philosophy also emerges in three parts: Ethics, Economics and Politics. Theoretical philosophy also has three sub-sections: Natural philosophy, namely Physics, Mathematics and Theology. Theology here is not the kind of activity that deals with the problems and narratives of the Bible; but it is a theology in the Aristotelian sense. The most basic views on this kind of theology are found in Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Mathematics is again divided into two within itself: Multitude and Magnitude. Beneath the Multitude are Absolute Mathematics and Relative Music. There are three types of relative music, they are listed as Instrumental, Human and Cosmic. Magnitude is considered in two parts, Fixed Geometry and Moving Astronomy.
Peripatetics is the name given to the style of philosophy practiced in the Lyceum or Peripatos school founded by Aristotle. Peripatetic philosophers, too, are primarily composed of people who have participated in studies in this school. The main ones are Theophrastos (371-287 BC) and Strato (335-270 BC). Both, in turn, took over the Lykeion and managed the school. It is surprising to know that both of these names had important criticisms of Aristotle’s philosophy of physics. The most striking of the later names