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Irrational nature

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Chapter Summary

In certain contexts Proclus attributes a particular role in the generation of the disorderly motion to an irrational nature (alogos phusis): nature "inspires" the disorderly motion in the "corporeal" before the latter participates in the ordering powers of intellect and soul, that is, before it becomes a fully formed body. This chapter finds that this irrational nature is in the Platonic tradition closely related both to that part of the mortal form of soul that Blumenthal has labeled the "sub-sensitive soul" and, much to the consternation of the Peripatetics, to Aristotle's nutritive soul, and that Platonists appropriated that term from the Stoics. The concept of phusis in the sense that Proclus gives it serves an important function in the history of Platonic doctrines of evil, that is, to help Platonists parry certain objections levied against their cosmogonies by their opponents, especially the Aristotelians.

Keywords: Aristotle; irrational nature; Platonic doctrines of evil; Proclus; Stoics



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