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Open Access Apprehension of Thought in Ennead 4.3.30

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Apprehension of Thought in Ennead 4.3.30

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Plotinus maintains that our intellect is always thinking. This is due to his view that our intellect remains in the intelligible world and shares a natural kinship with the hypostasis Intellect, whose being and activity consists in eternal contemplation of the Forms. Moreover, Plotinus maintains that although our intellect is always thinking we do not always apprehend our thoughts. This is due to his view that “we” descend into the sensible world while our intellect remains in the intelligible world. Furthermore, Plotinus maintains that it is only when logoi unfold the content of our thoughts into the imagination that we apprehend them. This is due to a complex account between, on the one hand, the relationship between intellect and discursive reasoning, and on the other hand, the relationship between discursive reasoning and language. Plotinus tells this story with remarkable brevity in Ennead 4.3.30. In this paper I explain the role the imagination plays in the apprehension of thoughts through a close analysis of this treatise in connection with Ennead 1.4.10.


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Affiliations: 1: Dept. of Philosophy, St. Olaf College Holland Hall, Northfield, MN, Email:


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