David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Phronesis 53 (s 4-5):406-432 (2008)
Porphyry's account of the nature of seeds can shed light on some less appreciated details of Neoplatonic psychology, in particular on the interaction between individual souls. The process of producing the seed and the conception of the seed offer a physical instantiation of procession and reversion, activities that are central to Neoplatonic metaphysics. In an act analogous to procession, the seed is produced by the father's nature, and as such it is ontologically inferior to the father's nature. Thus, the seed does not strictly speaking contain a full-fledged vegetative soul. Rather, it acquires its vegetative soul only while it is being actualized by an actual vegetative soul. This actualization takes place primarily at conception, where the seed as it were reverts back and becomes obedient to the mother's nature, but continues through the period of gestation. In this way, Porphyry can account both for maternal resemblance and for ideoplasty. He uses the Stoic language of complete blending to describe the mother's relation to the seed and embryo, and this reveals that he thinks of individuals as having their own unique individual natures (as opposed to sharing in a single universal nature). In the course of developing this theory, Porphyry makes significant revisions to his philosophical predecessors' views in both embryology and botany. He revises Aristotle's verdict on the relative importance of the female in generation as well as Theophrastus' explanation of the biological mechanics of grafting. Although Plotinus nowhere addresses embryology in the same detail as Porphyry does, we can conclude from his remarks on seeds and plants that his own views were similar to those of his student.
|Keywords||SEEDS PLOTINUS EMBRYOLOGY NEOPLATONISM PSYCHOLOGY PORPHYRY|
|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
Rüdiger Arnzen (2013). Proclus on Plato's Timaeus 89e3–90c7. Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 23 (1):1-45.
Similar books and articles
Seamus O'neill (forthcoming). Porphyry the Apostate: Assessing Porphyry's Reaction to Plotinus's Doctrine of the One. Heythrop Journal.
John Phillips (2003). Numenian Psychology in Calcidius? Phronesis 48 (2):132-151.
J. Phillips (2003). Numenian Psychology in Calcidius? Phronesis 48 (2):132 - 151.
Frans A. J. De Haas (2001). Did Plotinus and Porphyry Disagree on Aristotle's "Categories"? Phronesis 46 (4):492 - 526.
Frans A. J. de Haas (2001). Did Plotinus and Porphyry Disagree on Aristotle's Categories? Phronesis 46 (4):492-526.
Robbert van Den Berg (2011). Procheirisis: Porphyry Sent. 16 and Plotinus on the Similes of the Waxen Block and the Aviary. International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 4 (2):163-180.
Andrew Smith (1974). Porphyry's Place in the Neoplatonic Tradition: A Study in Post-Plotinian Neoplatonism. M. Nijhoff.
Porphyry (1988). Porphyry's Launching-Points to the Realm of Mind: An Introduction to the Neoplatonic Philosophy of Plotinus. Phanes Press.
Vandana Shiva (2009). Women and the Gendered Politics of Food. Philosophical Topics 37 (2):17-32.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads37 ( #50,322 of 1,101,983 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #91,864 of 1,101,983 )
How can I increase my downloads?