Metaphysical Diagrams


In late antique schools, a new educational method came to the fore. Thanks to visualizations, a kinder introduction than rote learning and beatings became feasible in the teaching of philosophy to the young.

The most ingenious of these diagrams was the arbor porphyriana, devised to explain Aristotle's doctrine of categories. Platonists were not to be left out. Calcidius devised his own program of diagrams to explain Plato's theories of attributes and of the four elements.

Via Cassiodorus, we know that a variety of other ontologies were also taught in late antique schools with the help of elaborate branching diagrams

Each of these types is discussed separately in this library:

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