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3951Re: [neoplatonism] Book Recommendation

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  • dgallagher@aol.com
    Dec 3, 2010
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      Fascinating thread on all accounts. Not responding to Curt per se here,
      but rather the overall corpus of discussion. Another provocative
      juxtaposition in this vein is, in my opinion, Enneads VI.6.10 and Proclus PT Book 3,
      ch. 18.

      What are the ontological and metaphysical meanings of "comprehension"?
      What is the distinction between intellect knowing itself and a self-generated
      unity of all things/bodies?

      Proclus: "For the cause of bound imparts that which is uncoordinated with
      other things; and an exempt transcendency. For that which comprehends,
      says Timaeus, all such animals as are intelligible, will not be the second with
      any other; since again, it would be requisite that there should be another
      animal about it. Hence that which comprehends in one all intelligible
      animals is a whole. But everywhere whole is referred to bound, and parts to
      infinity." PT 3.18

      Plotinus: "In general, then, it must be accepted that everything, whatever
      it is, which is predicated of something else came to it from something else
      or is the active actuality of the thing of which it is predicated. And if
      it is of such a kind as not to be sometimes present and sometimes not, but
      to be always with that thing, if that thing is substance, it also is
      substance, and what it is predicated of is no more substance than it is; but if
      one does not grant it substance, at least it belongs to the real beings and
      exists. And if that thing could be thought of without its actual activity,
      that activity could none the less be simultaneous to it, but ranked later
      by us in our thought. But if it cannot be thought except along with what
      is predicated of it, as “man” cannot be thought without the “one”, it is
      either not posterior to but co-existent with it, or prior to it, so that
      the thing may exist through the activity; but we maintain that the one and
      number are prior." 6.6.10

      If that "ranked later by us in our thought" is necessarily comprehended by
      it's predicated prior, must "that" not be the actual actuality of the
      prior; that is "that which comprehends in one all intelligible animals is a
      whole"? In other words, are the distinction of the whole and its parts
      constituted by us through our thought; a by-product, so to speak, of predication;
      a distinctionless distinction?


      In a message dated 12/3/2010 7:21:38 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
      curt@... writes:

      On 12/3/10 12:06 AM, Thomas Mether wrote:
      > <snip>
      > Basically, what I remember is that, for More, a body is by definition
      simply a volume. A volume does not have to be solid. Also, a body can be
      organic (have functional parts - organs) without being a solid body. So, More
      argued, there can be a spiritual organic body.<snip>

      The ancient Stoic view was that anything that exists must be a "body",
      while at the same time, they held that all bodies everywhere throughout
      the Cosmos interact with all other bodies at all times. The Stoic
      explanation of how this works is very similar to what is called
      "interpenetration" in Mahayana Buddhism, a concept especially associated
      with the Hua Yen (Avatamsaka) Sutra.

      In his book on Plotinus, Lloyd Gerson refers to what he deems "the truly
      bizarre Stoic doctrine of the total interpenetration of bodies. This is
      the doctrine that there can and do exist certain mixtures of bodies [of
      which the Cosmos itself is an example] such that each part of the
      mixture is coextensive with each other. All parts are present in any
      part, regardless of how small. The principle point of this doctrine
      seems to have been to explain the presence of active soul-body or pneuma
      everywhere in the type of body that is the passive recipient of the
      active principle." [p. 114]

      Gerson takes Plotinus' side, however, and presents the Stoic view only
      in the context of explaining how Plotinus' rejection of it is convincing
      (to Gerson). A view more sympathetic (if you will) to the Stoic position
      is found in "Senecan Drama and Stoic Cosmology" by Thomas G. Rosenmeyer,
      especially his chapters 4 & 5: "Body, Tension, and Sumpatheia", &
      "Krasis, The Flame and the Moist".

      Curt Steinmetz

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