Cookies Policy
X

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Matter in Plotinus's Normative Ontology

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Phronesis

To most interpreters, the case seems to be clear: Plotinus identifies matter and evil, as he bluntly states in Enn. I.8[51] that 'last matter' is 'evil', and even 'evil itself'. In this paper, I challenge this view: how and why should Plotinus have thought of matter, the sense-making εσχατον of his derivational ontology from the One and Good, evil? A rational reconstruction of Plotinus's tenets should neither accept the paradox that evil comes from Good, nor shirk the arduous task of interpreting Plotinus's texts on evil as a fitting part of his philosophy on the whole. Therefore, I suggest a reading of evil in Plotinus as the outcome of an incongruent interaction of matter and soul, maintaining simultaneously that neither soul nor matter are to be considered as bad or evil. When Plotinus calls matter evil, he does so metonymically denoting matter's totally passive potentiality as perceived by the toiling soul trying to act upon it as a form-bringer. As so often, Plotinus is speaking quoad nos here rather than referring to 'matter per se ' (for Plotinus, somewhat of an oxymoron) which, as mere potentiality (and nothing else) is not nor can be evil. In short: matter is no more evil than the melancholy evening sky is melancholy – not in itself (for it isn't), but as to its impression on us who contemplate it. As I buttress this view, it will also become clear that matter cannot tritely be considered to be the αυτο κακον as a prima facie -reading of Enn. I.8[51] might powerfully suggest, but that the αυτο κακο&ν, far from being a principle of its own, has to be interpreted within the dynamics of Plotinus's philosophical thinking as a unique, though numerously applicable flaw-pattern for all the single κακα(hence the Platonic αυτο). To conclude, I shall offer a short outlook on the consistency of this interpretation with Plotinus's teaching on the soul and with the further Neoplatonic development of the doctrine of evil.

Loading

Full text loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/1568528042568631
Loading

Data & Media loading...

http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/1568528042568631
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1163/1568528042568631
2004-06-01
2016-12-10

Sign-in

Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
     
    Phronesis — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation