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Fw: BMCR 2007.10.11, Riccardo Chiaradonna , Studi sull'anima in Plotino

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    ... From: Bryn Mawr Reviews To: Bryn Mawr Reviews Sent: Friday, October 05, 2007 7:34 PM Subject: BMCR
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      Subject: BMCR 2007.10.11, Riccardo Chiaradonna , Studi sull'anima in Plotino

      > Riccardo Chiaradonna (ed.), Studi sull'anima in Plotino. Elenchos 42.
      > Naples: Bibliopolis, 2005. Pp. 415. ISBN 88-7088-482-1. EUR 50.00.
      > Reviewed by Peter Lautner, Pa/zma/ny Pe/ter Catholic University
      > (lautner@...)
      > Word count: 3307 words
      > -------------------------------
      > To read a print-formatted version of this review, see
      > http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2007/2007-10-11.html
      > -------------------------------
      > [Authors and titles are listed at the end of the review.]
      > The volume is a collection of papers presented in a conference at
      > Delphi and Padua. They are grouped in two sections, one discussing the
      > various problems in Enn. IV 7, examining it chapter by chapter, and the
      > other raising more general problems in Plotinus' theory of the soul.
      > The contribution of Matthias Baltes and Cristina D'Ancona consists of
      > two parts. Baltes offers a close reading of IV 7[2].8, a chapter
      > discussing the notion of the soul as harmony, while D'Ancona surveys
      > his interpretation of Plotinus and the Platonic notion of the
      > immortality of the soul. In analyzing the text, Baltes supplies us with
      > plenty of earlier parallels, beginning with Phaedo 88d-92d, and closes
      > by referring to some Neoplatonic texts from the 6th century A.D. He
      > shows that Plotinus is attacking the notion of the soul as harmony with
      > the assumption that, by harmony, we have to mean the harmony of bodily
      > ingredients, whereas many other Platonists were tempted to interpret it
      > in the wake of the Timaeus where, by harmony, Plato refers to the
      > proportionate structure of the various motions of the soul. In the
      > Timaeus, the soul cannot be a harmonious arrangement of bodily parts
      > for it is prior to the body. The Greek text of Plotinus does not
      > specify what kind of mixture the soul is supposed to be, but the Arabic
      > version says that, on this theory, the soul is a mixture of the four
      > humours.[[1]] Elsewhere, at VI 6 [41].16.43-45, Plotinus accepts a
      > harmony theory expressed in terms of mathematical proportions.
      > Surveying Baltes' interpretation of the Platonic notion of the soul's
      > immortality, D'Ancona stresses that for him the main thesis making up a
      > Platonic position is that there is an animating principle, itself
      > divine and hence immortal, which manifests itself both in human beings
      > and in the cosmos (51). She also mentions that, for Plotinus,
      > immortality characterizes "all sorts and grades of the soul" (55). If
      > so, one might ask how to explain Plato's usage in the Timaeus, where
      > appetite and spirit are called mortal parts of the soul (69c7-8).
      > Chiara Russi examines the three functions of the soul indicated in the
      > tractate On providence (III 3 [48].4.6-13). They are tied to the notion
      > of two <greek>lo/goi</greek>, one which produces things in the world
      > below, and the other which connects the superior principles with the
      > products. Russi's thesis is that the connecting principle coincides at
      > one level with the providential activity on account of which individual
      > souls are distributed in a universe preformed by the productive
      > principle, and at another level with the autonomous principle residing
      > in human beings (63). Thus we get a threefold hierarchy, with the
      > providence from above, which is the highest in rank, and the productive
      > and connective principles respectively. The hierarchy seems to
      > correspond to Plotinus' threefold picture of the soul at IV 3
      > [27].11.14-21: (1) there is a soul that remains always in itself and
      > has the function of a paradigm; (2) its most extreme part is connected
      > to <greek>lo/goi e)/nuloi</greek> and is productive of the things
      > below, while (3) there is a middle soul connecting the uppermost soul
      > with the productive one, which can also be seen as the inferior
      > providence.
      > Eyjo/lfur Kjalar Emilsson discusses the problem of how the doctrine
      > that the soul can be present as a whole throughout the body (IV 2 [4];
      > IV 7 [2]) can be squared with other remarks in the Enneads. One might
      > think that Plotinus changed his mind on two related points. First, he
      > says that the soul is not really in its body, but the body is in the
      > soul (IV 3 [27].22). We do not find such a formulation in the early
      > treatises. As the two theses seem to contradict one another, an
      > explanation must be found for the inconsistency. In IV 2 [4], Plotinus
      > does claim that the soul is in the body in a peculiar way, whereas in
      > the later works he does not allow that. Second, he was taken to state
      > in IV 2 that the whole soul is simultaneously divisible and
      > indivisible, while according to the later treatises the soul has one
      > divisible and one indivisible part that do not blend. As for the first
      > point, Emilsson argues that there is no need to suppose a rupture in
      > Plotinus' development, only that minor modifications took place. He
      > points out that "body in the soul" is equivalent to "soul present to
      > body" (VI 4 [28].4.29-30). Thus we have two kinds of expression
      > reflecting different points of view on the relation between body and
      > soul. "Body in soul" represents the viewpoint of the body participating
      > in the soul, whereas expressions such as "soul is present to body"
      > witness the same relation from the viewpoint of the soul as descending
      > into the world below. In responding to the second query, the
      > explanation is that for no obvious reasons Plotinus leaves the rational
      > soul out of the picture in IV 2.1. Perhaps it is because he was
      > concentrating on the soul operating through the body.
      > Paul Kalligas shows that the criticism of the materialistic notion of
      > the soul as a body is remarkable for not resting on premises specific
      > to Platonist doctrines. The argument is carefully reconstructed to show
      > that Plotinus' intention was to refute Stoicizing notions by means that
      > can be accepted by his opponents as well. Thus, by using
      > <greek>a)ntilamba/nesqai</greek>, Plotinus tried to maintain a
      > theoretically non-committing stance. The verb signifies all kinds of
      > apprehension, sensory and intellectual alike, whereas
      > <greek>kata/lhyis</greek> mostly refers to sense-perception. The
      > general strategy is to demonstrate that if there is intellectual
      > cognition (<greek>to\ noei=n</greek>), then the soul is not corporeal.
      > It is concerned with objects of intelligible nature. Relying on this
      > point, Plotinus could also argue against the Aristotelian position.
      > Alessandro Linguiti deals with a similar problem and takes the same
      > route of reconstructing Plotinus' objections to the Stoic notion of the
      > soul. That entails a critique of the view that virtue is also corporeal
      > in a certain way. He reconstructs the line of thought as containing
      > two, partly separate, arguments which start from the same premises: (1)
      > virtues are situated in the soul, and (2) if one thing is situated in
      > another, both are in the same division of nature (in this case, they
      > are both either corporeal or incorporeal). The first argument takes the
      > following route: (3) if the soul is corporeal, the virtues are also
      > bodies, but (4) virtues (or some of them at least) are not bodies;
      > therefore the soul cannot be corporeal either. The second argument
      > continues like this: (5) virtues are eternal and permanent, and as such
      > (6) they are incorporeal. As one of the conceptions behind the
      > arguments, Linguiti mentions the thesis that qualities are incorporeal.
      > To take the example of courage: if it is considered as the
      > impassibility of the pneuma (123), and impassibility is a quality, then
      > courage is incorporeal, which contradicts the Stoic doctrine.
      > Riccardo Chiaradonna focuses on the critique of the Stoic notion
      > according to which body and soul form a perfect mixture (<greek>kra=sis
      > di' o(/lwn</greek>), and compares it to passages with similar content
      > in Calcidius and Priscian of Lydia's Solutiones ad Chosroen. Plotinus
      > rejects the idea that two bodies can interpenetrate one another, but
      > accepts the thesis that the soul pervades the body, which leads to the
      > conclusion that the soul cannot be bodily. The demonstration relies on
      > earlier, traditional arguments, and Chiaradonna draws attention to a
      > parallel text in Alexander of Aphrodisias' Mantissa 116.5-13. The
      > important difference between Alexander and Plotinus is that the latter
      > considers two different conceptions of mixture: in mixing up with one
      > another the ingredients (1) lose their being in actuality, or (2) can
      > conserve their nature in the perfect compound. The second conception
      > can be attributed to the Stoics. Plotinus uses the Stoic notion to
      > describe the relation of soul to body, with the important modification
      > that the soul is not corporeal. The first conception recalls
      > Peripatetic ideas of how bodies can form a mixture. One might note that
      > it is hard to say how this Peripatetic notion differs from the Stoic
      > concept of "blending" (<greek>su/gxusis</greek>), in which the
      > ingredients lose their peculiar nature. One possibility might be that
      > the Peripatetic notion is of a blend from which the original
      > ingredients can be recovered.
      > The aim of Christian Tornau's paper is to clarify the arguments against
      > the Aristotelian notion of the soul as "the entelechy of the natural,
      > organic body that is potentially alive". Plotinus very quickly reduces
      > it to saying that the soul is an immanent form of the body (IV 7
      > [2].8.6). After sketching the unfair tendencies of ancient
      > philosophical criticism, Tornau does his best to show that Plotinus'
      > objections were to some extent justified. They were directed against
      > the Aristotelian notion of the vegetative soul. As the lowest layer, it
      > is responsible for nutrition, growth and reproduction, and Plotinus
      > takes it to be the <greek>e)ntele/xeia</greek> of the living body.[[2]]
      > When rejecting the idea of the soul's inseparability from the body he
      > relies very much on the problems concerning this part of the soul.
      > Examining the status of the individual human soul, Alexandrine
      > Schniewind concentrates on the reason why they are called
      > <greek>a)mfi/bioi</greek>, a term which is a hapax in the Enneads. She
      > examines the passage IV 8 [6].4.31-5 and sets it in a double context:
      > the simile of the cave, which alludes to the soul chained by the
      > sensible world, and the Timaeus' description of the mixing bowl where
      > the Demiurge blends the World Soul and the human individual soul alike,
      > which refers to the positive character of the individual soul as akin
      > to the World Soul. The emphasis is on Plotinus' account of the
      > difference between these individual, amphibious souls: it is due to two
      > factors, nature and chance. Here Plotinus does not elucidate the
      > mechanism by which nature and chance determine the particular soul, but
      > in IV 3 we find remarks that explain quite a lot. There are six
      > features responsible for its differentiation (IV 3 [27].15.7-10):
      > difference of the body, chance, education, difference in the souls
      > themselves, differences due to all of these factors, and differences
      > due to some of them only.[[3]] As for the reason for the basic dualism
      > in the individual soul, Schniewind suggests that Plotinus' description
      > is deliberately vague. In the last resort, the generation of the
      > individual soul can be sufficiently described with reference to the
      > similes of the cave and mixing bowl.
      > The second part of the collection starts with Mauro Bonazzi's paper on
      > the notion of sense-perception and awareness. The key text he refers to
      > is Theaetetus 191cd, the description of the wax-tablet model. Plotinus
      > rejects the model (III 6 [26].3.28-30; IV 6 [41].3.71-79) when
      > criticizing Stoic theories. As Bonazzi notes -- to my mind rightly --
      > the model does not represent the Stoic views precisely (209). The main
      > thrust of Plotinus' critique is against the unity of perception (IV 7
      > [2].6.13-15), and relies on Plato's arguments in Theaetetus 184b-186e.
      > The upshot is the well-known thesis about the impassibility of the soul
      > functioning by means of judgments. The soul is capable of acquiring
      > knowledge only because of the capacity of judgment. The view that
      > perceptions are in fact judgements depends on the thesis of the unity
      > of the perceptual process. As an antecedent of such an approach
      > Plotinus hints at the sceptic attack against the reliability of sensory
      > experience (IV 6.1.28-32). Not only Hellenistic theories were exposed
      > to the sceptical challenge, but certain Platonic doctrines in the early
      > imperial age as well (221). Plotinus' response to the challenge entails
      > the revision of Plato's dictum that the similar knows the similar. One
      > might wonder, however, whether there is room in Plotinus for a
      > distinction between awareness and judgement in the process of
      > sense-perception. Even if judgement clearly entails awareness, still
      > one might think of those two phenomena as distinct.
      > Irmgard Ma+nnlein-Robert compares Plotinus' notion of the soul with the
      > few remarks we have on Longinus' views, and contrasts them both to
      > Epicurean and to Stoic doctrines. The study reveals the similar
      > attitudes the two Platonists showed towards their Hellenistic
      > predecessors. They objected to the view that the soul is an
      > <greek>a)naqumi/asis</greek>, a view that renders it corporeal and
      > perishable. Longinus seems to have criticized all sorts of
      > materialistic tendencies, Stoic and Epicurean alike, though the
      > evidence for his critique is extremely scanty. The comparison with Enn.
      > IV 7 shows that the arguments against Hellenistic theories were much
      > the same, which leads to the assumption that Plotinus and Longinus
      > relied on the same traditional patterns. Ma+nnlein-Robert also suggests
      > that the early phase of Plotinus' thought was characterized by ideas
      > shared by Longinus as well. One small difference is that Longinus
      > refers to the Stoics by name, whereas Plotinus gives unnamed references
      > only. In sum, in her view, the divergence between the two Platonists in
      > Porphyry's Vita Plotini seems to be a slight exaggeration.
      > Elena Gritti examines the Plotinian notion of <greek>fantasi/a</greek>
      > in connection with the assumption that the soul is not subject to
      > affection. She concentrates on two schemes within which the capacity
      > was discussed. On the one hand, the capacity is located between
      > <greek>dia/noia</greek> and <greek>ai)/sqhsis</greek>; on the other
      > hand, Plotinus is ready to speak about two <greek>fantastika/</greek>
      > in IV 3 [27].31. The latter may explain the claim that one aspect/part
      > of the capacity deals with the sensible world, whereas the other is
      > directed towards the intelligible. As an internal sense-perception,
      > <greek>fantasi/a</greek> forms <greek>tu/poi</greek> that are
      > intelligible in a certain way. It produces a unique image out of the
      > many sensible qualities, while the contents of the intellect are
      > developed into a <greek>lo/gos</greek>, possessing propositional form
      > (271). In playing such a role, <greek>fantasi/a</greek> turns into a
      > psychic analogue of matter, carrying various images that will be used
      > by intellectual capacities.
      > Dimitri Nikulin examines the arguments for the individual nature of the
      > soul. What are the conditions for a soul to possess an individual
      > nature? Due to its participation in the divisible nature within bodies,
      > the soul is both one and many (IV 9 [8].2.24-28; IV 2 [4].2.45-47). As
      > a unitary entity it is one, but due to its descent into bodies it is
      > many as well. Furthermore, the relation between the singe universal
      > soul and the many embodied souls is explained with reference to the
      > alternative Plotinus was faced with (IV 9.5.1-3). Either the universal
      > soul is present in all individual souls, or they all come from the one
      > that remains in its original state. Individual souls have a similar
      > structure -- they are both one and many -- which is the result of their
      > connection with the Intellect. The relation of the individual souls to
      > one another and to the universal soul is defined by the aid of the
      > one-many model of theoretical knowledge. Their unity with one another
      > is understood not as actual, but rather "as a potential actualization
      > of the theorems" (289). But this does not account for the nature of
      > individuation. To explain it, one has to see not only the reason why
      > the soul is manifold, but the nature of the differences as well.
      > Plotinus rejects an account of individuation in terms of form if there
      >only exist forms of universals (V 9 [5].12.8-11), and he also avoids
      > assigning the principle of individuation to matter. Thus, he arrives at
      > the conclusion that the individuality of the soul hinges on the
      > existence of the forms of individuals. In the case of the soul, the
      > difference is due to the <greek>lo/gos</greek> that is present to a
      > thing as a representation of the form. This is why the difference is
      > called "logical" (see V 7 [18].3.7-13).[[4]]
      > Marco Zambon reconstructs Plotinus' position on the vehicle of the
      > soul. Understandably, he draws much on the various expositions of the
      > issue we find in the Chaldaean Oracles, and in Iamblichus and Proclus.
      > He also admits that Plotinus was not very much interested in the issue.
      > The main source, however, is Porphyry, whose thesis depends on
      > Plotinus' answers to questions about the unity of body and soul in
      > human beings. As a compromise between Platonic and Aristotelian notions
      > of the separability of body and soul, the theory of the soul-vehicle
      > also served to bridge the gap between Platonic and Hellenistic
      > theories. Porphyry's bipartite psychology determines his views on the
      > soul-vehicle. There is an intellective substance, our true self, which
      > is impassible and thus capable of leaving the bodily world, whereas the
      > passionate part inclines towards the sensible world. Porphyry's
      > position is between the two extremes represented by Plotinus, with his
      > notion of the undescended part of the individual soul, and Proclus, for
      > whom the whole soul is encosmic with no parts remaining in the
      > intelligible realm (318). Interestingly enough, Porphyry's views were
      > adopted by Iamblichus who considered the soul-vehicle a mediating
      > entity between the rational soul and the body.
      > Iamblichus is also discussed in the paper by John Dillon, this time
      > with the aim of elucidating his critique of Plotinus' concept of the
      > undescended part of the individual human soul. Plotinus also maintains
      > that the non-rational part of the soul is exempt from affection. It is
      > striking that he proves the claim by using Aristotelian arguments (III
      > 6 [26].3.4-11, 27-35). Iamblichus criticizes the thesis of undescended
      > individual soul in many places, notably in his De Anima (section 6
      > Dillon-Finamore = Stobaeus, Ecl. I 365.5-21 W.) and in Tim. (fr. 87
      > Dillon = Proclus, in Tim. III 334.3 - 335.2 Diehl). The strongest
      > statement is to be found in ps.-Simplicius' in DA, which says that the
      > soul is a mean in the strongest possible sense. Thus it cannot remain
      > in the intelligible world.
      > Finally, Giovanni Catapano turns to Augustine, where he finds traces of
      > Plotinus' concept of the soul. He points to striking textual parallels
      > between Ep. 66 and De trinitate on the one hand and the Enneads on the
      > other. He also investigates Augustinian influences in Hincmar of Reims
      > (9th century). Augustine clearly refers to Plotinian doctrines in
      > claiming (De trinitate IV 6.8, see also Hincmar, De diversa et
      > multiplici ratione animae 2, in Patrologia Latina CXXV 934D) that the
      > whole soul senses (tota sentit) and as a whole nothing escapes it
      > (totam non latet).
      > All in all, the book is a welcome contribution, not only to Plotinus,
      > but also to the study of Neoplatonic theories of the soul in general.
      > It is furnished with indices of ancient and medieval names, as well as
      > of modern authors.
      > ------------------------------------------------
      > Contents
      > M. Baltes - C. D'Ancona, "Plotino, L'immortalita\ dell'anima. IV 7 [2],
      > 8," 19-59
      > C. Russi, "Provvidenza, <greek>lo/gos</greek> connettivo e
      > <greek>lo/gos</greek> produttivo. Le tre funzioni dell'anima in enn.
      > III 3 [48], 4.6-13," 59-79
      > E. K. Emilsson, "Soul and <greek>merismo/s</greek>," 79-95
      > P. Kalligas, "Plotinus against the corporealists on the soul. A
      > commentary on Enn. IV 7 [2], 8.1-23," 95-113
      > A. Linguiti, "Plotino contro la corporeita\ delle virtu\. Enn. IV 7
      > [2],8,24-45," 113-127
      > R. Chiaradonna, "L'anima e la mistione stoica. Enn. IV 7 [2],8,"
      > 127-149
      > Ch. Tornau, "Plotinus' criticism of Aristotelian entelechism in enn. IV
      > 7[2],8.25-50,"
      > 149-179
      > A. Schniewind, "Les a^mes amphibies et les causes de leur diffe/rence.
      > A\ propos de Plotin, enn. IV 8 [6], 4.31-5," 179-200
      > M. Bonazzi, "Plotino, il Teeteto, gli Stoici. Alcune osservazioni
      > intorno alla percezione e alla conoscenza," 203-223
      > I. Ma+nnlein-Robert, "Longin und Plotin u+ber die Seele. Beobachtungen
      > zu methodischen Differenzen in der Auseinandersetzung platonischer
      > Philosophen des 3. Jahrhunderts n.Chr. mit Epikur und Stoa," 223-251
      > E. Gritti, "La <greek>fantasi/a</greek> plotiniana tra illuminazione
      > intellettiva e impassibilita\ dell' anima," 251-275
      > D. Nikulin, "Unity and individuation of the soul in Plotinus," 275-305
      > M. Zambon, "Il significato filosofico della dottrina dell'
      > <greek>o)/xhma</greek> dell' anima," pp. 305-337
      > J. Dillon, "Iamblichus' criticisms of Plotinus' doctrine of the
      > undescended soul," 337-353
      > G. Catapano, "Tota sentit in singulis. Agostino e la fortuna di un tema
      > plotiniano nella psicologia altomedievale," 353-401.
      > ------------------
      > Notes:
      > 1. See A. Badawi, Aflutin 'inda l-'arab. Plotinus apud Arabes.
      > Theologia Aristotelis et fragmenta quae supersunt (Cairo, 1966),
      > 52.16-18.
      > 2. One might be puzzled by the distinction Plotinus draws between
      > soul and <greek>e)ntele/xeia</greek> in IV 7 [2].8.28-32. Aristotle's
      > response might rely on the definition according to which soul is an
      > <greek>e)ntele/xeia</greek> of the organic body. Thus, if a part of a
      > plant is withering, it might not be considered as living. Therefore, it
      > cannot be related to the <greek>e)ntele/xeia</greek> of the living
      > being either.
      > 3. It is far from being clear how to account for the difference in
      > the souls themselves. If it is not due to the influence of the body, or
      > to education, is it to be found in the discarnate souls as well?
      > 4. Interpretation of V 7 is vexed, to say the least. For a convincing
      > case, see F. Ferrari, 'Esistono forme di <greek>kaq' e(/kasta</greek>?
      > Il problema dell' individualita\ in Plotino e nella tradizione
      > platonica antica', Atti della Accademia delle Scienze di Torino: Classe
      > di Scienze Morali, Storiche e Filologiche 131 (1997), 23-63.
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