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Commentary On Van Den Berg

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image of Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy

I agree with Robbert Van den Berg that Plotinus endorses Socratic intellectualism, but I challenge his view that Plotinus rejects the phenomenon of akrasia. According to Van den Berg, the only form of akrasia acknowledged by Plotinus is a conditional, or ‘weak,’ akrasia. I provide some reasons for thinking that Plotinus might have accepted complete or ‘strong’ akrasia—full stop. While such strong forms of akrasia are usually taken to conflict with Socratic intellectualism, I argue that Plotinus’s complex, dual-self psychology allows a way in which he, unique among ancient philosophers (and perhaps any thinker in the history of philosophy), could simultaneously endorse Socratic intellectualism and hard akrasia.


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