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Evil as privation

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Chapter Summary

Proclus' treatment of evil as privation is in large part a response to the theories of his predecessors. Very early in DMS he summarizes one of the most difficult challenges to his own interpretation of Theaetetus. According to this, privation is absolute evil and "the complete contrary to the Good". Proclus' view of his predecessors in this regard, then, is that in their theories of evil they had too readily and without reflection adopted Aristotle's definition of privation as absolute deprivation of being. Plotinus' understanding of the manner in which evil is the privation of the Good can be gleaned from three passages in 1.8 and II.4. At he says that, if evil exists, it must be as a kind of "form" of not-being within things that have a share in not-being.

Keywords: Aristotle's definition; evil; privation; Theaetetus



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