From Daemonic Reason to Daemonic Imagination: Plotinus and Marsilio Ficino on the Soul's Tutelary Spirit


Authors
Anna Corrias
University College London
Abstract
This article explores Marsilio Ficino's interpretation of Plotinus's notion of tutelary daemon, as found in Enneads III.4. While Plotinus considered external daemons as philosophically insignificant and described one's personal daemon as the highest part of one's soul, Ficino placed great emphasis on the existence of outer daemonic entities which continuously interact with human beings. As a consequence, for Plotinus the soul's tutelary daemon corresponded to man's capability for intellectual knowledge, that is, to his ability to become emancipated from the material world, which, from a Platonic point of view, was made of appearances. Ficino, by contrast, tends to identify the soul's daemonic power with the faculty which he saw as the gateway for the action of external entities: the imagination. The imagination ? like a mirror ? reflects and retains images of other levels of life and acts as the surface on which external daemons project the forms of their own imagining. Ficino provides a complex account of the relationships between the soul and various layers of daemonic interventions, in which he combines Plotinus's view on personal daemons with elements coming from later forms of daemonology, such as that of Porphyry, Iamblichus, Synesius and Proclus
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2013.771608
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Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) : The Aesthetic of the One in the Soul.Tamara Albertini - 2010 - In Paul Richard Blum (ed.), Philosophers of the Renaissance. Catholic University of America Press. pp. 82-91.
Commentaries on Plato.Marsilio Ficino - 2008 - Harvard University Press.

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