Plotinus and the Presocratics
A Philosophical Study of Presocratic Influences in Plotinus' Enneads
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Gratefully, I would like to acknowledge all those who have assisted me in this work. First and foremost, I would like to thank Professor Rosemary Wright for her constant encouragement, insightful instruction, and philosophical inspiration throughout this project. Her help was invaluable and I owe her gratitude...
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Plotinus (ad 204–205) and the Presocratic thinkers (ad c. 6th–5th c.) designate the historical boundaries of ancient Greek philosophy. Whereas the Presocratics determine the beginning of Greek philosophy, Plotinus initiates the last period of Greek intellection which is usually marked by the closure of...
Chapter 1 The Origins of Plotinus’ Philosophy
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A comparative study of the origins of Plotinus’ philosophy presupposes, first, an investigation into his philosophical sources and, second, an analysis of his philosophical method. Modern scholarship recognizes the importance of both. In the last fifteen years many studies on Plotinus focus on his philosophical sources as well as the manner in which these sources are...
Chapter 2 One and Unity
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The One is the fundamental principle in Plotinus’ philosophy; it is the transcendent source of being, intelligence, life beyond substance, and form.1 The One is the First Hypostasis of Being, the supreme non-composite metaphysical principle prior to any plurality, multiplicity, and opposition. It is the...
Chapter 3 Intellect and Being
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Plotinus’ theory of Intellect (Nους) is one of the most original concepts of Greek philosophy.1 It links Plotinus’ Neoplatonic philosophy not only with the philosophy of Middle-Platonism and especially with Numenius and Albinus, 2 but also with the original Presocratic, Platonic, and Aristotelian tradition...
Chapter 4 Eternity and Time
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Plotinus’ central discussion on eternity (αι>ω} ν) and time (χρóνος) appears in Ennead III.7, On Eternity and Time.1 The treatise is divided into thirteen chapters: after a first introductory chapter in which Plotinus presents his method of research, in chapters 2–6, he speculates upon the nature of eternity, in chapters...
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Plotinus’ theory of Matter (υ&λη)1 is a philosophical synthesis of Plato’s Receptacle of becoming (υ< ποδοχη} ) in the Timaeus (48e–52d), and Aristotle’s theory of matter as Substrate (υ< ποκει}μενον) in Physics 192a3 (II.4.1; III.6.13–14).2 For Plotinus, matter is sterile and undesignated nonbeing, the formless and insubstantial receptacle of the Platonic Forms; the unqualified...
Chapter 6 Conclusion
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Plotinus belongs to a philosophical tradition originating with Presocratic thought. In using the Presocratics frequently in the Enneads, Plotinus’ aim is to show that his philosophy is not an innovation, but that the fundamental principles of his system were rooted in the teaching of the ancients. Since key Presocratic theories were first stated before Plato and the Platonic adaptation...
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Page Count: 282
Illustrations: 4 tables
Publication Year: 2007
Series Title: SUNY series in Ancient Greek Philosophy
Series Editor Byline: Anthony Preus