Christopher Noble
Syracuse University
In this paper, I investigate the foundations of Plotinus’ innovative theory that prime matter is unaffectable. I begin by showing that Plotinus’ main arguments for this thesis (in Ennead 3.6) all rely upon the controversial assumption that the properties prime matter underlies are not properties of prime matter itself. It is then argued that prime matter’s privation of sensible qualities has its conceptual basis in an idiosyncratic understanding of form-matter composition generally, and its primary doctrinal basis in Aristotle’s critical reports on the Platonists’ substratum in Physics 1.9. While Plotinus finds Platonic authority for unaffectible matter in the Receptacle passage of the Timaeus, it is Aristotle’s testimony that provides the crucial impetus for reading that text in this way. On this basis, Plotinus develops a Platonist conception of form’s inherence in matter with distinctively non-Aristotelian features.
Keywords Plotinus  matter  hylomorphism  change  Timaeus
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References found in this work BETA

The Persistence of Aristotelian Matter.Alan Code - 1976 - Philosophical Studies 29 (6):357 - 367.
Sensation and Scepticism in Plotinus.Sara Magrin - 2010 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 39:249-297.
Chrysippus on Physical Elements.John M. Cooper - 2009 - In Ricardo Salles (ed.), God and Cosmos in Stoicism. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Aristotle’s Physics as an Authoritative Work in Early Neoplatonism.Riccardo Chiaradonna - 2021 - In Michael Erler, Jan Erik Heßler & Frederico Petrucci (eds.), Authority and Authoritative Texts in the Platonist Tradition. Cambridge University Press. pp. 163-177.
La materia e i composti sensibili nella filosofia di Plotino.Riccardo Chiaradonna - 2016 - In Viano Cristina (ed.), Materia e causa materiale in Aristotele e oltre. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura. pp. 149-170.

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