David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 6 (1):27-80 (2012)
Abstract Plotinus did not set out to be obscure. Difficulties of interpretation arise partly from his style of writing, compressed, elliptical, allusive. The allusions, easily enough recognisable by those he was writing for, are often not recognised at all by the modern reader who no longer has at his fingertips the texts of Plato and Aristotle that Plotinus undoubtedly alludes to, but whose authors he has no need to name. So it is pre-eminently with his subtle use of earlier ideas in tackling the difficult question of the nature of matter and its place in the scheme of emanation. The frequent references to matter as `non-being' and as `privation' can be understood only if they are seen as a radical adaptation of the paradoxical definition of a `form that is, of what is not' in Plato's Sophist (258 D 5-7) and as a deliberate correction of Aristotle's unsuccessful attempt at including female desire in an analysis of privation in the Physics (i 9, 192 a 22-25). Only when the debt to Plato and Aristotle has been recognised for what it is are we able to appreciate that matter defined as `non-being' is not therefore `non-existent', and that the `privation' that is matter is not a terminus a quo of change, but a permanent substrate of change. The adaptation and the daring syncretism lead to deliberate paradox in Plotinus' own definition of matter as both `so to speak a form of sorts' and `formless' (I 8  3). The seeming inconsistency is Plotinus' acknowledgment of the use he has made of earlier ideas when he writes of matter, so defined, as `made' by a lower manifestation of soul, and therefore as the last and the least of the products flowing from, but not created by, the One
|Keywords||privation (steresis) non-being negation evil form creation darkness Matter contrariety|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Denis O'Brien (1999). La matière chez Plotin: son origine, sa nature. Phronesis 44 (1):45 - 71.
Denis O'Brien (1999). La matière chez Plotin: son origine, sa nature. Phronesis 44 (1):45-71.
Denis OBrien (2011). Plotinus on the Making of Matter Part I: The Identity of Darkness. International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 5 (1):6-57.
Gary M. Gurtler (1998). Plotinus (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 36 (1):128-130.
Rafael Pangilinan (2010). Evil in Plotinus’ Hypostases of Being. Philosophy Pathways (150).
Christian Schäfer (2004). Matter in Plotinus's Normative Ontology. Phronesis 49 (3):266 - 294.
Christian Schäfer (2004). Matter in Plotinus's Normative Ontology. Phronesis 49 (3):266-294.
Denis OBrien (2012). Plotinus on the Making of Matter Part II: A Corpse Adorned (Enn. II 4  5.18). International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 5 (2):209-261.
Jan Opsomer (2001). Proclus Vs Plotinus on Matter ("De Mal. Subs." 30-7). Phronesis 46 (2):154 - 188.
Jan Opsomer (2001). Proclus Vs Plotinus on Matter (De Mal. Subs. 30-7 ). Phronesis 46 (2):154-188.
Kenneth Dorter (2009). Metaphysics and Morality in Neo-Confucianism and Greece: Zhu XI, Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 8 (3):255-276.
Cinzia Arruzza (2011). Passive Potentiality in the Physical Realm: Plotinus' Critique of Aristotle in Enneads II 5 . Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 93 (1):24-57.
Werner Beierwaltes (2002). The Legacy of Neoplatonism in F. W. J. Schelling's Thought. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 10 (4):393 – 428.
Luc Brisson (2010). Between Matter and Body Mass () in the Sentences of Porphyry. International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 4 (1):36-53.
Added to index2012-03-14
Total downloads3 ( #267,324 of 1,096,179 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #218,857 of 1,096,179 )
How can I increase my downloads?