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Re: [neoplatonism] Re: The (Platonic) God Within Us; chapter 1

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  • Robert Wallace
    Edward, I am very grateful for this rich exposition, which I will study carefully. Do you plan at some point to publish an Intro to Platonism along these
    Message 1 of 26 , Jul 9, 2011
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      Edward, I am very grateful for this rich exposition, which I will
      study carefully. Do you plan at some point to publish an Intro to
      Platonism along these lines? I will be one of your first customers.
      Best, Bob

      On Jul 9, 2011, at 10:15 AM, jensav55 wrote:

      > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > I certainly wouldn't want to say, and
      > > wouldn't expect Plotinus/Proclus to say, that lesser realities
      > > "vanish" into the One. I would expect them to say that lesser
      > > realities have less reality than the One has; that their reality
      > > depends upon that of the One; just as images have less "real
      > reality"
      > > than Forms.
      >
      > I think that you are not taking proper account of Platonic
      > "optimism" with respect to the procession of Being. Each procession
      > is Good and on account of the Good. A body is not "less real" than
      > the One qua body, it simply has the kind of unity and the manner of
      > being that is appropriate for this plane of being, which, insofar as
      > it is supposed to be the site for transitory expressions of form, is
      > doing exactly what it ought to.
      >
      > But there is a bigger problem, it seems to me, in how you are
      > approaching this, namely what it means to say that something's
      > reality "depends upon that of the One". I would agree with this, but
      > I mean something completely different by it, I suspect, than you do.
      > I mean by it that every iterable (repeatable, instantiated) quality
      > of an entity depends upon the non-iterable existence (hyparxis) of
      > that entity. You, on the other hand, seem to use it to privilege
      > over the existence of each entity an hypostatized or reified
      > abstract entity to which it "owes" all it has on account of a sort
      > of sheer eminence of "reality".
      >
      > The relation to the principle of individuation cannot be assimilated
      > to that between Forms and images, however. The image of a form has
      > its being, qua instance of that form, in that form, not in itself;
      > the unit, by contrast, cannot be said to have its unity in the One,
      > because this would be to undo exactly what the One does: it makes
      > this one thing the individual that it is. This is a measure of how
      > the superior principle imparts more perfectly to the participant
      > that which it has to give. Hence the eminence of the One is
      > manifested precisely in its NOT being a one-over-many OR a one of
      > which the many are parts, aspects, faces, et al.
      >
      > > As for existential uniqueness, I have no doubt that you
      > > and I possess that. What we lack, I take it, is full individuation
      > and
      > > the "real reality" that goes with it. And when we fully appreciate
      > > this lack, we will appreciate that we aren't separate from each
      > other
      > > in the way that common sense assumes we are, that is, absolutely.
      > >
      >
      > First, I must note that you treat existential uniqueness as a very
      > lowly quality, as the sum of contingent and material factors. And
      > this is true in a sense, but it is a very important Platonic
      > principle that the lowest phenomena are the manifestations of the
      > highest principles. Therefore, the difference that we call merely
      > "numerical", just insofar as it falls below the threshold of formal
      > difference, expresses the action of principles *superior* to form.
      >
      > This alterity is present at its purest among the Gods, but the Gods
      > possess an individuality far superior to our own in that they are
      > autarchic (on this divine attribute, see especially chap. 19 of book
      > I of the Platonic Theology, and on the universal divine attributes
      > in general chaps. 13-29 of book I).
      >
      > As beings, however, we are indeed much less individual than the
      > Gods, because all of our iterable qualities--e.g., "human"--are by
      > that very fact parts of other wholes, whereas the Gods are
      > generative of all such wholes. Qua body, I am part of the whole of
      > matter; qua soul, part of the whole substance of Soul. However, the
      > latter already exhibits a superior form of individuation than the
      > former. So I am more individuated as a soul than I am as a body. The
      > common view may see a soul as *less* individuated, because it is
      > invisible. But they nevertheless recognize that bodies all behave
      > alike to a much greater degree than souls do.
      >
      > At the level of Intellect, we can account for the individual even
      > better, in the sense that we can see them as the sum of all their
      > essential and accidental qualities, and arrive at *virtual*
      > uniqueness--that is, indiscernibility--in this fashion. The
      > Aristotelian, indeed, goes no further.
      >
      > What lies beyond? We get the first taste of it in Plato quite early
      > on, if we think of the Phaedo as an "early" dialogue: behind the
      > form lies the cause, the form-bringer of the final argument in the
      > Phaedo; this "cause" shows up again much later as the fourth genus
      > in the Philebus, alongside limit, the unlimited, and the mixture. In
      > the Phaedo, the question of this principle is already posed, due to
      > the dialogue's context, in such a manner as to rule out any mere
      > essence or whatness: the question is not Socrates qua human, but
      > Socrates qua Socrates.
      >
      > The doctrine of metempsychosis here serves a function much like that
      > of eidetic variation in Husserl; if "Socrates", that is, the causal
      > agency responsible for the *taxis* (Rep. 618b), or class of
      > essential and accidental characteristics, that we know as Socrates,
      > is thinkable as once having been the son, not of Sophroniscus, but
      > of someone else altogether, or even a swan, or a lion, and being
      > something else again in the future, then we are capable in some
      > respect of thinking of this individual in his unique unity beyond
      > any iterable quality whatsoever, as a pure agency, a pure power of
      > choice definable only negatively insofar as we attempt to determine
      > it as some bundle of form-instances rather than in its positivity as
      > a form-bringer.
      >
      > This line of thought, I submit, is the substantive correlate in
      > Plato to the formal inquiry into unity in the Parmenides; it is, as
      > it were, the thought-experiment that substantiates as a positivity
      > the pure concept of unity adumbrated in the Parmenidean dialectic in
      > its negativity, and which in turn depends upon that concept for its
      > articulation. The negativity of the first principle is a matter,
      > therefore, not of eminence, but of conceptual necessity.
      >
      > Edward Butler
      > http://henadology.wordpress.com/
      >
      >
      >

      Robert Wallace
      website: www.robertmwallace.com
      email: bob@...
      phone: 414-617-3914











      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jason Wingate
      Edward, I also loved what you wrote here. I d echo Bob:
      Message 2 of 26 , Jul 10, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        Edward,

        I also loved what you wrote here.

        I'd echo Bob:

        <<Do you plan at some point to publish an Intro to Platonism along these lines? I will be one of your first customers.>>


        It would certainly be a more interesting 'polytheistic theology' than the kinds of things already on Amazon.

        Having said that, your 'Henadology' blog is already plenty to be getting on with! I liked the essay on the 'Henadic Manifold' which posits amongst much else of interest that "desiring the One/Good, entities desire their individual integrity". This is relevant as against Bob's "progression as dissolution of otherness". There is also a neat tieback to Thomas's 'metabolism' where you say, "Desire of the One is desire as self-production."

        I came to learn and wasn't disappointed... jw

        ___________________________________________________
        Lightning in an Oak Box





        -----Original Message-----
        From: Robert Wallace <bob@...>
        To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Sun, 10 Jul 2011 5:12
        Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Re: The (Platonic) God Within Us; chapter 1


        Edward, I am very grateful for this rich exposition, which I will
        study carefully. Do you plan at some point to publish an Intro to
        Platonism along these lines? I will be one of your first customers.
        Best, Bob

        On Jul 9, 2011, at 10:15 AM, jensav55 wrote:

        > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, Robert Wallace <bob@...> wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > I certainly wouldn't want to say, and
        > > wouldn't expect Plotinus/Proclus to say, that lesser realities
        > > "vanish" into the One. I would expect them to say that lesser
        > > realities have less reality than the One has; that their reality
        > > depends upon that of the One; just as images have less "real
        > reality"
        > > than Forms.
        >
        > I think that you are not taking proper account of Platonic
        > "optimism" with respect to the procession of Being. Each procession
        > is Good and on account of the Good. A body is not "less real" than
        > the One qua body, it simply has the kind of unity and the manner of
        > being that is appropriate for this plane of being, which, insofar as
        > it is supposed to be the site for transitory expressions of form, is
        > doing exactly what it ought to.
        >
        > But there is a bigger problem, it seems to me, in how you are
        > approaching this, namely what it means to say that something's
        > reality "depends upon that of the One". I would agree with this, but
        > I mean something completely different by it, I suspect, than you do.
        > I mean by it that every iterable (repeatable, instantiated) quality
        > of an entity depends upon the non-iterable existence (hyparxis) of
        > that entity. You, on the other hand, seem to use it to privilege
        > over the existence of each entity an hypostatized or reified
        > abstract entity to which it "owes" all it has on account of a sort
        > of sheer eminence of "reality".
        >
        > The relation to the principle of individuation cannot be assimilated
        > to that between Forms and images, however. The image of a form has
        > its being, qua instance of that form, in that form, not in itself;
        > the unit, by contrast, cannot be said to have its unity in the One,
        > because this would be to undo exactly what the One does: it makes
        > this one thing the individual that it is. This is a measure of how
        > the superior principle imparts more perfectly to the participant
        > that which it has to give. Hence the eminence of the One is
        > manifested precisely in its NOT being a one-over-many OR a one of
        > which the many are parts, aspects, faces, et al.
        >
        > > As for existential uniqueness, I have no doubt that you
        > > and I possess that. What we lack, I take it, is full individuation
        > and
        > > the "real reality" that goes with it. And when we fully appreciate
        > > this lack, we will appreciate that we aren't separate from each
        > other
        > > in the way that common sense assumes we are, that is, absolutely.
        > >
        >
        > First, I must note that you treat existential uniqueness as a very
        > lowly quality, as the sum of contingent and material factors. And
        > this is true in a sense, but it is a very important Platonic
        > principle that the lowest phenomena are the manifestations of the
        > highest principles. Therefore, the difference that we call merely
        > "numerical", just insofar as it falls below the threshold of formal
        > difference, expresses the action of principles *superior* to form.
        >
        > This alterity is present at its purest among the Gods, but the Gods
        > possess an individuality far superior to our own in that they are
        > autarchic (on this divine attribute, see especially chap. 19 of book
        > I of the Platonic Theology, and on the universal divine attributes
        > in general chaps. 13-29 of book I).
        >
        > As beings, however, we are indeed much less individual than the
        > Gods, because all of our iterable qualities--e.g., "human"--are by
        > that very fact parts of other wholes, whereas the Gods are
        > generative of all such wholes. Qua body, I am part of the whole of
        > matter; qua soul, part of the whole substance of Soul. However, the
        > latter already exhibits a superior form of individuation than the
        > former. So I am more individuated as a soul than I am as a body. The
        > common view may see a soul as *less* individuated, because it is
        > invisible. But they nevertheless recognize that bodies all behave
        > alike to a much greater degree than souls do.
        >
        > At the level of Intellect, we can account for the individual even
        > better, in the sense that we can see them as the sum of all their
        > essential and accidental qualities, and arrive at *virtual*
        > uniqueness--that is, indiscernibility--in this fashion. The
        > Aristotelian, indeed, goes no further.
        >
        > What lies beyond? We get the first taste of it in Plato quite early
        > on, if we think of the Phaedo as an "early" dialogue: behind the
        > form lies the cause, the form-bringer of the final argument in the
        > Phaedo; this "cause" shows up again much later as the fourth genus
        > in the Philebus, alongside limit, the unlimited, and the mixture. In
        > the Phaedo, the question of this principle is already posed, due to
        > the dialogue's context, in such a manner as to rule out any mere
        > essence or whatness: the question is not Socrates qua human, but
        > Socrates qua Socrates.
        >
        > The doctrine of metempsychosis here serves a function much like that
        > of eidetic variation in Husserl; if "Socrates", that is, the causal
        > agency responsible for the *taxis* (Rep. 618b), or class of
        > essential and accidental characteristics, that we know as Socrates,
        > is thinkable as once having been the son, not of Sophroniscus, but
        > of someone else altogether, or even a swan, or a lion, and being
        > something else again in the future, then we are capable in some
        > respect of thinking of this individual in his unique unity beyond
        > any iterable quality whatsoever, as a pure agency, a pure power of
        > choice definable only negatively insofar as we attempt to determine
        > it as some bundle of form-instances rather than in its positivity as
        > a form-bringer.
        >
        > This line of thought, I submit, is the substantive correlate in
        > Plato to the formal inquiry into unity in the Parmenides; it is, as
        > it were, the thought-experiment that substantiates as a positivity
        > the pure concept of unity adumbrated in the Parmenidean dialectic in
        > its negativity, and which in turn depends upon that concept for its
        > articulation. The negativity of the first principle is a matter,
        > therefore, not of eminence, but of conceptual necessity.
        >
        > Edward Butler
        > http://henadology.wordpress.com/
        >
        >
        >

        Robert Wallace
        website: www.robertmwallace.com
        email: bob@...
        phone: 414-617-3914











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