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Individuation, particularisation et détermination selon Plotin

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image of Phronesis

Plotinus' formulation of the problem of the individual should not be reduced to the question of whether or not one can accept Forms of Individuals. First, if Plotinus does indeed posit an intelligible foundation of individuality, there are no grounds to identify this foundation with a Form: it must rather be considered a logos. Second, we must, in addition to this intelligible “principle of distinction”, allow for a sensible “principle of individuation”: the living body. Finally, we have to distinguish a third level: that of the hêmeis, the individual as a person, capable of freedom and consciousness. This latter's compatibility with the other two seems problematic, so that the real difficulty may lie in this tension, in Plotinus' thought, between an ontological and an ethical concept of the individual.

Affiliations: 1: CNRS – UPR 76 – Centre Jean Pépin, 7 rue Guy Môquet, 94801 Villejuif Cedex, France;, Email:


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