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Causality And Sensible Objects: A Comparison Between Plotinus And Proclus

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Chapter Summary

The most familiar differences between Plotinus and Proclus namely those concerning prime matter and the undescended soul, are indicative of a deep opposition between the two philosophers, an opposition deriving from divergent conceptions of causality. This chapter substantiates the claims that (i) Plotinus Platonism constitutes an integral and consistent theory and (ii) that Plotinus occupies an exceptional position in the Neoplatonic tradition. It illustrates what is distinctive of Plotinus position, namely the following three points: (i) that Plotinus special causal dualism does not consist of an interaction between a formative principle and a potential substrate, but in a progressive separation of the external activities of the same immaterial cause; (ii) that Plotinus does not conceive of production as a necessary condition; and (iii) that Plotinus stresses the phenomenal (and non-ontological) nature of sensible objects.

Keywords: causality; neoplatonic tradition; Plotinus; Proclus; sensible objects



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