Re: [neoplatonism] Re: What's the fuss all about ?
- On Sep 30, 2007, at 8:58 PM, Bob Wallace wrote:
> Dear Mike,M.C. Far from being ignorant, it opens a huge can of worms and shows me
> You wrote:
> > The Aristotelian answer would be that the universe is such that
> >when a thing reaches its perfection, it
> >reproduces/engenders/creates/shares its goodness. The supreme
> >is perfect, therefore it reproduces/engenders/creates/shares its
> >goodness. I'm not sure whether this is a metaphor or rather an
> >If one were to continue the chain of Why-questions and ask, Why is
> >universe such that this is the case ? I suspect both Aristotle and
> >Plotinus would either find the question not worth answering, or else
> >simply point to the ultimate principle of teleology : because it is
> >best for the universe to be full of the widest possible variety of
> >forms. This is Lovejoy's "principle of plenitude", in IMHO it's still
> >hard to beat his exposition (The Great Chain of Being, pp. 62ff. of
> >1976 reprinting).
> Here is a probably ignorant question: Where does Aristotle say that
> the supreme principle reproduces/engenders/creates/shares its
> goodness? Are we supposed to infer this from the fact that he says
> God is alive?
I spoke too quickly and/or carelessly.
Clearly, there is no anthropomorphic Supreme Deity in Aristotle who
might be ascribed intentions such as "sharing goodness" : I simply [?]
meant that Plotinus took over Aristotle's biologically-based scheme
(that which is perfect/fully developed reproduces) and applied it,
mutatis mutandis, to his own First Principle.
Aristotle was no creationist, of course, and the closest one comes to
the idea of a Supreme Being in his thought is that of the Unmoved
Mover. But what precisely the Unmoved Mover *does* has never been fully
clear, even after more than 2000 years. Current scholarship (Kahn,
Broadie, Berti, Bradshaw) has tended to attribute to it final and
perhaps even efficient causality; others disagree (Natali).
>M.C. I guess so. In the part of my message that the internet *daimones*
> (In Plato, I take it, the supreme citation is Timaeus 29e: "being
> free of jealousy, [the demiurge] wanted everything to become as much
> like himself as was possible." What you've been discussing is, in
> effect, why would the demiurge want this?
refused to transmit, I argued that this is one of the main Platonic
arguments for creation. It works by reductio : if the Demiurge did not
create, it would be becuase he is jealous. But he is not jealous.
Therefore he creates (in a non-temporal sense, of course).
>M.C. You're absolutely right that the ancestors of what I've called
> There's also the very positively tinged discussion of "birth in
> beauty," in the Symposium, culminating in the possibility of "giving
> birth to true virtue" (212a). [Are there other passages in Plato that
> I should be thinking of?])
the "Aristotelian" conception are already present in nuce in Plato. The
Symposium is indeed the key dialogue here, but see also, for instance,
Phaedrus 251a, Theaetetus 150b, Timaeus 91a.
>M.C. Not sure the above will do the trick, but it's the best I can do
> It's been a long time since I looked at Lovejoy. I'll do so as soon
> as I can. If you can clarify the Aristotle question in the meantime,
> I'd appreciate it.
CNRS UPR 76
7, rue Guy Moquet
- --- In email@example.com, Bob Wallace <philosop@...> wrote:
> felt like doing. What's wrong with this notion? It's the idea that
> something could _be_ "God," could be perfect and self-sufficient,
> without being in relation to an actual finite world. Why is this
> mistaken? It's mistaken because perfection and self-sufficiency areand
> contrast terms. They're the "opposite" of imperfect and
> un-self-sufficient. So that the being that's described as perfect
> self-sufficient, gets its definition from its relation to what isor
> imperfect and un-self-sufficient. But that means that through his
> her very _definition_, the conventional "God" depends upon abut
> relationship to what's imperfect and non-self-sufficient. And that
> means that the conventional "God" simply isn't self-sufficient! The
> conventional "God" fails to be what he or she is supposed to be.
> What's to be done about this? We need to conceive of God, Hegel
> suggests, not through a contrast which makes God fail to be God,
> through an Identity. God will be the finite world's self-overcomingdefined
> (self-transcendence). Understood in this way, God will not be
> by his or her relation to what he or she _isn't_; instead, God willfinite
> be defined by what he or she _is_, namely, the finite world
> (surpassing itself). So this God will escape the the conventional
> "God"'s fate of being rendered non-self-sufficient by its own
> definition. But this God will also escape the finite world's
> imperfection and non-self-sufficiency, because this God is the
> world's self-_surpassing_ (self-transcendence): its passage intoA most interesting argument that I had never heard before, but then I
> infiniteness. So in both respects, God will be perfect and
> self-sufficient, after all. This is the "true infinity."
know almost nothing, I am sad to say, about Hegel, though there a
number of books upstairs that would perhaps help remedy that if I
ever get to them.
This locks creator with created and vice-versa rather tightly
together, doesn't it? Rather as does the argument about dynamis or
potential that I was probably not all that lucidly trying to make
Thanks for sharing this - I need to consider it more.