Plotinus on Sense-Perception [Microform] a Philosophical and Historical Study. --

University Microfilms International (1984)
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Abstract

The thesis is a philosophical and historical study of Plotinus' views on sense-perception. Chapter I contains an exposition of Plotinus' metaphysics. Chapter II deals with Plotinus' views on man and the soul in general. In Chapter III Plotinus' views on visual transmission are discussed. It is argued that his doctrine of visual transmission, which Plotinus describes in terms of sympatheia, is to be regarded as a synthesis of Platonic, Aristotelian and Stoic elements. Like other ancient philosophers Plotinus holds that sense-perception involves an affection of the percipient. In Chapter IV his notion of affection in sense-perception is examined. It is argued that what Plotinus calls affections in this context are sensations, and differences between Plotinus' and certain modern views of sensations are pointed out. Plotinus has original views on the unity of the senses. In Chapter V these views, which Plotinus expresses in terms of the omnipresence of the soul as a whole in the body, are discussed and explained. It is also argued that though original Plotinus' position is to be seen as a development of views expressed by Plato and Aristotle, and in particular by Alexander of Aphrodisias. Plotinus' views on the objects of perception are a matter of debate. In Chapter VI it is argued that despite contrary appearances Plotinus consistently holds that the objects of sense-perception are external things. Chapter VI also contains an examination of Plotinus' notion of perceptions as judgements. Chapter VII deals with the notion of forms in Plotinus' theory of perception. Plotinus' view that the soul is active in perception is explained. It is suggested that in Plotinus' view the forms we are supposed to entertain when we perceive are developed from innate "unfolded forms", and that perceptual judgements are to be identified with the entertaining of forms. In the Appendix Plotinus' position on the mind-body relationship is discussed. It is argued that he rejects materialsm for interesting and original reasons

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Eyjolfur Emilsson
University of Oslo

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