David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 85 (67):21-44 (2010)
Consistent materialists are almost bound to suggest that , if it exists at all, is no more than epiphenomenal. A correct understanding of the real requires that everything we do and say is no more than a product of whatever processes are best described by physics, without any privileged place, person, time or scale of action. Consciousness is a myth, or at least a figment. Plotinus was no materialist: for him, it is Soul and Intellect that are more real than the phenomena we misdescribe as material. Nor does he suppose that consciousness depends on language (as Stoics and modern materialists have sometimes said): wordless experience is actually superior. And much of what counts towards our present consciousness is to be discarded. It is better not to remember most of what now seems more significant to us; better to discard images; better that the intellect be than , losing any sense of separation between subject and object. The goal of the Plotinian intellectual is to join , but it is a mark of the good dancer that she is not conscious of what she does. There is therefore a strange confluence between Plotinus and modern materialists: our experience at least is transitory, deceitful, epiphenomenal, and is to be encountered when we have shed our illusions.
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References found in this work BETA
William James (1890/1981). The Principles of Psychology. Dover Publications.
Simone Weil (2002/1987). Gravity and Grace. Routledge.
Pauliina Remes (2007). Plotinus on Self: The Philosophy of the 'We'. Cambridge University Press.
Douglas Hedley & Sarah Hutton (eds.) (2008). Platonism and the Origins of Modernity: The Platonic Tradition and the Rise of Modern Philosophy. Springer.
Eric D. Perl (2007). Theophany: The Neoplatonic Philosophy of Dionysius the Areopagite. State University of New York Press.
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