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Was The Vita Plotini Known In Arab Philosophical Circles?

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Chapter Summary

It is a well-known fact that the falâsifa had quite extensive knowledge of the philosophy of Plotinus. This chapter shows that there are traces of a knowledge of the Vita Plotini in the Arabic philosophical tradition. Porphyry, the author conclude, was well enough known and well enough thought of by falâsifa to justify his interpreting the material that has its origin in the Vita Plotini as not directed at the philosopher personally either as a man or as an author. In the Life of Plotinus, Porphyry points a finger at Plotinus? carelessness in writing, though this was no more than a lack of regard for form, in common with several other stylistic weaknesses that Porphyry mentions. And in criticising Porphyry?s writing, it was probably no more than the form, the philosopher?s way of expressing himself, that Avicenna wanted to bring to notice, relying on what he found in Vita Plotini.

Keywords: Arabic philosophical tradition; falâsifa; philosophy; Plotinus; Vita Plotini



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