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A World Of Thoughts: Plotinus On Nature And Contemplation (Enn. III.8 [30] 1–6)

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Chapter Summary

Plotinus thoughts about the physical world did not have much of an impact, not even in antiquity and within the confines of his own schoolwhich is surprising, given that Plotinus was and remained such a towering figure in the collective imagination of all subsequent Neoplatonists. A reason for a widespread lack of familiarity with Plotinus philosophy of nature seems to be the prejudice that Plotinus was a hard-core metaphysician who had little or no interest in natural science. Plotinus invests his ontology with breathtaking elegance and simplicity, in such a way that, in contrast to Aristotle, the bottom-up view is connected to the top-down view of reality. This chapter discusses the striking oddity of Plotinus thesis: the idea that thought does not require or presuppose a brain that does the thinking, but that thought is prior to it, is familiar enough from other areas of Plotinus philosophy.

Keywords: Aristotle; Neoplatonists; physical world; Plotinus philosophy



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