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Traces of Good in Plotinus's Philosophy of Nature: Ennead VI.7.1-14

From: Journal of the History of Philosophy
Volume 49, Number 2, April 2011
pp. 161-180 | 10.1353/hph.2011.0023



The paper explores Plotinus's discussion in VI.7 of the place of teleological explanations in biology. The paper's main claim is that although Plotinus argues in the first three chapters that the use of teleological explanations is incompatible with the priority of Intellect over the physical world, his ultimate aim is not to prohibit the appeal to notions such as utility and benefit in the study of nature. Rather, in the first fourteen chapters of the treatise Plotinus attempts to show that not only animal organs, but their utility and benefits as well have their origin in Intellect.

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