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RE: [neoplatonism] Re: Agent intellect

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  • Adamson, Peter
    Hi Dennis, It means from one comes only one and refers to the (to us Neoplatonism fans) familiar idea that if you have a single first principle it will
    Message 1 of 17 , Feb 20, 2013
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      Hi Dennis,

      It means "from one comes only one" and refers to the (to us Neoplatonism fans) familiar idea that if you have a single first principle it will produce only one effect, yielding the usual puzzle about how multiplicity can be produced by such a principle. Ghazali talks about this as a problem for philosophers like Avicenna in his "Incoherence of the Philosophers."

      All coming soon on my podcast by the way... I'm getting to Islamic philosophy in a few weeks.

      Cheerio,
      Peter

      ________________________________
      From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com] on behalf of vaeringjar [vaeringjar@...]
      Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 4:40 AM
      To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Agent intellect



      Thanks, this is most interesting to me but certainly as one not at all familiar with Islamic philosophy, alas.

      But what about this "ex uno non fit nisi unum"?

      I had never heard this before - is it to be taken to mean, "one is only one", out of one nothing but itself can come? In other words "ex uno nunquam multa"? This is a tag then that could be applied to a thorough monism, such as that of Parmenides?

      I don't have the time just now to delve a bit even online to find out the origin of this...

      Thanks for the references to your papers, also - the one on the Virgin at Chartres caught my eye too. Thanks for sharing.

      Dennis Clark

      --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>, "Mark" wrote:
      >
      > Howdy, here's a passage from Henri Corbin that touches upon the question somewhat (from History of Islamic Philosophy, p.161)Best, Mark
      > http://fa.hole.ru/Hist_Iran_Phil_Corbin_part_I.pdf
      >
      > 4. The same can be said of the second distinctive doctrine, that of
      > the theory of the Intelligence and of the procession of Intelligences,
      > enjoined in al-Farabi by the principle ex uno non fit nisi unum (a
      > principle that was to be called into question by Nasir Thusi, whose
      > unacknowledged inspiration in so doing was the schema of the procession
      > of the pure Lights in al-Suhrawardi). The emanation of the First
      > Intelligence from the first Being, its three acts of contemplation which
      > are repeated in turn by each of the hierarchical Intelligences, and which
      > engender each time a triad composed of a new Intelligence, a new
      > Soul and a new Heaven, down to the Tenth Intelligence�this same
      > cosmogonic process was later described and expanded by Avicenna.
      > The first divine Essences, Aristotle's star-gods, become 'separate
      > Intelligences' in al-Farabi. Was it Avicenna who first gave them the
      > name of 'Angels', thus arousing the suspicions of al-Ghazali who failed
      > to find in them the exact image of the angel of the Quran? Did these
      > creative archangelic forms spell the ruin of monotheism? Yes indeed,
      > if what is in question is the exoteric version of monotheism and of
      > the dogma which supports it. On the other hand, esoteric and mystical
      > thinkers have never ceased to demonstrate that in its exoteric form
      > monotheism falls into the very idolatry that it is attempting the escape.
      > Al-Farabi was contemporary with the first great Ismaili thinkers. His
      > theory of the Ten Intelligences, when compared with that of Ismaili
      > esotericism, may be seen in a new light. In our brief analysis (see above,
      > II, B, 1,2) of the structure of the pleroma of the Ten among the Ismailis
      > of the Fatimid tradition, we noted that it differs from the schema of
      > the emanationist philosophers in that as principle it postulates a
      > Supra-Being beyond both being and non-being, and sees Emanation
      > as starting only with the First Intelligence. Moreover, Ismaili cosmogony
      > contains a dramatic element which is lacking in the schema
      > of al-Farabi and Avicenna.
      > Nevertheless, the Ismaili figure of the Tenth Angel (the celestial
      > Adam) corresponds perfectly to the Tenth Intelligence which our
      > philosophers here call the active Intelligence (al-'aql al-fa' 'al). This
      > correspondence makes us finally able to understand better the role
      > of the active Intelligence in the prophetology of al-Farabi, because in
      > his whole theory of the Intelligence, as well as in his theory of the
      > Sage-Prophet, al-Farabi is something more than a 'Hellenizing philosopher'.
      > He made a comparison which became popular, and which everyone repeated after him: 'The active Intelligence is to the possible
      > intellect of man what the sun is to the eye, which is potential vision
      > so long as it is in darkness.' This Intelligence, which in the hierarchy
      > of being is the spiritual being next above man and the world of men,
      > is always in act. It is called the 'Giver of Forms' {wahib al-suwar, dator
      > formarum), because it radiates forms into matter, and radiates into
      > the human potential intellect the knowledge of these forms.
      >
      > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>, "Adamson, Peter" wrote:
      > >
      > > Hi Mike and David,
      > >
      > > Nice to see Farabi getting some love on the Neoplatonism group. Agent Intellect doesn't correspond to universal soul (at least, not in the first instance -- one might try to see a connection in that it bestows forms on natural objects). Rather the primary point of reference here is the "maker intellect" of de Anima 3.5. It's pretty clear that Farabi's views in the Letter on Intellect grow out of the commentary tradition on Aristotle and especially de Anima 3.4-5, though the details are definitely up for further discussion. Alexander and the Alexandrian school are important background for sure. (Already al-Kindi, in a treatise of the same title, is drawing on that tradition, as was shown in a monograph some time ago by Jolivet.)
      > >
      > > As for Porphyry it's possible that his views on the union of the rational soul with intellect were known in Arabic. Avicenna complains at one point about Porphyry being admired by some unidentified Peripatetics, which might mean the Baghdad Aristotelians though probably he wouldn't mean Farabi in particular (since he generally admires Farabi and here the people he mentions are apparently considered by him to be low wattage bulbs). I published a paper a while back speculating that the text Avicenna is talking about could relate to Porphyry's disagreement with Longinus about the nature of the intellect. So on that basis, I guess Mike's suggestion is one I find plausible, but as I say there is lots more to be figured out here.
      > >
      > > Cheerio,
      > > Peter
      > >
      > > New postal address:
      > >
      > > Lehrstuhl VI f�r Sp�tantike und arabische Philosophie
      > > Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit�t M�nchen
      > > Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
      > > 80539 M�nchen
      > > Germany
      > >
      > > The History of Philosophy Podcast
      > > http://www.historyofphilosophy.net
      > > On Twitter @HistPhilosophy
      > > ________________________________
      > > From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>] on behalf of dgallagher@ [dgallagher@]
      > > Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2013 9:50 PM
      > > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Fwd: Panels for the 2013 ISNS Conference in Cardiff
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Mike,
      > >
      > > Does Agent Intellect correlate with Universal Soul, or "the living being"?
      > > I've been reading-contemplating Enneads IV. 5, and now wonder whether any
      > > of what you related can be connected with Plotinus's doctrine "that
      > > perception is due to the sympathy which unites the parts of the great living
      > > organism which is the physical universe." (Armstrong's footnote at the end of
      > > IV. 5. 8). Tentatively, it further seems to me that if we understand
      > > correctly what Plotinus means by "sympathy", we might 'sympathetically' better
      > > apprehend what he means by 'affections'.
      > >
      > > Advance thanks,
      > >
      > > David
      > >
      > >
      > > In a message dated 2/2/2013 3:13:39 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
      > > goya@ writes:
      > >
      > > Friends,
      > >
      > > I'm currently learning a whole lot by translating the latest work by the
      > > great scholar Ilsetraut Hadot on the notion of the harmonization of Plato
      > > and Aristotle in Neoplatonism. For instance, there's a reference to the
      > > following work, which I haven't seen but will, I suspect, be of interest
      > > to Dennis Clark:
      > >
      > > Andolfo, Matteo, L'Uno e il tutto. La sapienzia egizia presso i Greci, 2008
      > >
      > > Have also been reading one of two new translations of the works of
      > > al-Farabi by the somewhat (about 50 years) younger scholar Philippe
      > > Vallat: Al-Farabi, Epitre sur l'intellect, Paris: Les Belles Lettres 2012.
      > > This is a brilliant work, consisting of a substantive introduction, a
      > > translation of the brief Risala fi-l-`aql, and above all a very long essay
      > > on "L'intellect et les intellects chez Farabi". Vallat had already shown
      > > in his 2004 work Farabi et l'Ecole d'Alexandrie that this great
      > > philosopher was basically a Neoplatonist carrying on the tradition of the
      > > late Alexandrian commentators. Now, he concentrates on the junction
      > > between epistemology and metaphysics, showing, inter multa alia, that "the
      > > goal of the forms of the world is thus that they may be thought by man,
      > > once he has become intellect in itself" (p. 150). In other words, the
      > > entire goal of the process by means of which the Agent Intellect inserts
      > > the forms within matter, thus constituting the sensible world, is so that
      > > human beings may (with the help of the same Agent Intellect) render this
      > > these forms intelligible once again by thinking them, that is, by
      > > re-abstracting them from matter.
      > >
      > > Brilliant stuff. My only qualifier would be that I think Farabi gets most
      > > of his ideas not from Plotinus, Syrianus and Proclus, as Vallat thinks,
      > > but from Porphyry. But that would take a lot of work to prove...
      > >
      > > Best, Mike
      > >
      > > >
      > > Michael Chase
      > > CNRS UPR 76
      > > Paris-Villejuif
      > > France
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      >





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • John Dillon
      ... any ... Plato ... 2012. ... essay ... the ... that ... most ... Well, Dennis, I would take this principle to mean Œfrom one thing (sc. originating
      Message 2 of 17 , Feb 21, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Thanks, this is most interesting to me but certainly as one not at all
        > familiar with Islamic philosophy, alas.
        >
        > But what about this "ex uno non fit nisi unum"?
        >
        > I had never heard this before - is it to be taken to mean, "one is only one",
        > out of one nothing but itself can come? In other words "ex uno nunquam multa"?
        > This is a tag then that could be applied to a thorough monism, such as that of
        > Parmenides?
        >
        > I don't have the time just now to delve a bit even online to find out the
        > origin of this...
        >
        > Thanks for the references to your papers, also - the one on the Virgin at
        > Chartres caught my eye too. Thanks for sharing.
        >
        > Dennis Clark
        >
        > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> ,
        > "Mark" wrote:
        >> >
        >> > Howdy, here's a passage from Henri Corbin that touches upon the question
        >> somewhat (from History of Islamic Philosophy, p.161)Best, Mark
        >> > http://fa.hole.ru/Hist_Iran_Phil_Corbin_part_I.pdf
        >> >
        >> > 4. The same can be said of the second distinctive doctrine, that of
        >> > the theory of the Intelligence and of the procession of Intelligences,
        >> > enjoined in al-Farabi by the principle ex uno non fit nisi unum (a
        >> > principle that was to be called into question by Nasir Thusi, whose
        >> > unacknowledged inspiration in so doing was the schema of the procession
        >> > of the pure Lights in al-Suhrawardi). The emanation of the First
        >> > Intelligence from the first Being, its three acts of contemplation which
        >> > are repeated in turn by each of the hierarchical Intelligences, and which
        >> > engender each time a triad composed of a new Intelligence, a new
        >> > Soul and a new Heaven, down to the Tenth Intelligence—this same
        >> > cosmogonic process was later described and expanded by Avicenna.
        >> > The first divine Essences, Aristotle's star-gods, become 'separate
        >> > Intelligences' in al-Farabi. Was it Avicenna who first gave them the
        >> > name of 'Angels', thus arousing the suspicions of al-Ghazali who failed
        >> > to find in them the exact image of the angel of the Quran? Did these
        >> > creative archangelic forms spell the ruin of monotheism? Yes indeed,
        >> > if what is in question is the exoteric version of monotheism and of
        >> > the dogma which supports it. On the other hand, esoteric and mystical
        >> > thinkers have never ceased to demonstrate that in its exoteric form
        >> > monotheism falls into the very idolatry that it is attempting the escape.
        >> > Al-Farabi was contemporary with the first great Ismaili thinkers. His
        >> > theory of the Ten Intelligences, when compared with that of Ismaili
        >> > esotericism, may be seen in a new light. In our brief analysis (see above,
        >> > II, B, 1,2) of the structure of the pleroma of the Ten among the Ismailis
        >> > of the Fatimid tradition, we noted that it differs from the schema of
        >> > the emanationist philosophers in that as principle it postulates a
        >> > Supra-Being beyond both being and non-being, and sees Emanation
        >> > as starting only with the First Intelligence. Moreover, Ismaili cosmogony
        >> > contains a dramatic element which is lacking in the schema
        >> > of al-Farabi and Avicenna.
        >> > Nevertheless, the Ismaili figure of the Tenth Angel (the celestial
        >> > Adam) corresponds perfectly to the Tenth Intelligence which our
        >> > philosophers here call the active Intelligence (al-'aql al-fa' 'al). This
        >> > correspondence makes us finally able to understand better the role
        >> > of the active Intelligence in the prophetology of al-Farabi, because in
        >> > his whole theory of the Intelligence, as well as in his theory of the
        >> > Sage-Prophet, al-Farabi is something more than a 'Hellenizing philosopher'.
        >> > He made a comparison which became popular, and which everyone repeated
        >> after him: 'The active Intelligence is to the possible
        >> > intellect of man what the sun is to the eye, which is potential vision
        >> > so long as it is in darkness.' This Intelligence, which in the hierarchy
        >> > of being is the spiritual being next above man and the world of men,
        >> > is always in act. It is called the 'Giver of Forms' {wahib al-suwar, dator
        >> > formarum), because it radiates forms into matter, and radiates into
        >> > the human potential intellect the knowledge of these forms.
        >> >
        >> > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
        >> , "Adamson, Peter" wrote:
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Hi Mike and David,
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Nice to see Farabi getting some love on the Neoplatonism group. Agent
        >>> Intellect doesn't correspond to universal soul (at least, not in the first
        >>> instance -- one might try to see a connection in that it bestows forms on
        >>> natural objects). Rather the primary point of reference here is the "maker
        >>> intellect" of de Anima 3.5. It's pretty clear that Farabi's views in the
        >>> Letter on Intellect grow out of the commentary tradition on Aristotle and
        >>> especially de Anima 3.4-5, though the details are definitely up for further
        >>> discussion. Alexander and the Alexandrian school are important background
        >>> for sure. (Already al-Kindi, in a treatise of the same title, is drawing on
        >>> that tradition, as was shown in a monograph some time ago by Jolivet.)
        >>> > >
        >>> > > As for Porphyry it's possible that his views on the union of the
        >>> rational soul with intellect were known in Arabic. Avicenna complains at one
        >>> point about Porphyry being admired by some unidentified Peripatetics, which
        >>> might mean the Baghdad Aristotelians though probably he wouldn't mean Farabi
        >>> in particular (since he generally admires Farabi and here the people he
        >>> mentions are apparently considered by him to be low wattage bulbs). I
        >>> published a paper a while back speculating that the text Avicenna is talking
        >>> about could relate to Porphyry's disagreement with Longinus about the nature
        >>> of the intellect. So on that basis, I guess Mike's suggestion is one I find
        >>> plausible, but as I say there is lots more to be figured out here.
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Cheerio,
        >>> > > Peter
        >>> > >
        >>> > > New postal address:
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Lehrstuhl VI für Spätantike und arabische Philosophie
        >>> > > Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
        >>> > > Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
        >>> > > 80539 München
        >>> > > Germany
        >>> > >
        >>> > > The History of Philosophy Podcast
        >>> > > http://www.historyofphilosophy.net
        >>> > > On Twitter @HistPhilosophy
        >>> > > ________________________________
        >>> > > From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
        >>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
        >>> <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com> ] on behalf of dgallagher@
        >>> [dgallagher@]
        >>> > > Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2013 9:50 PM
        >>> > > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com <mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
        >>> > > Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Fwd: Panels for the 2013 ISNS Conference in
        >>> Cardiff
        >>> > >
        >>> > >
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Mike,
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Does Agent Intellect correlate with Universal Soul, or "the living
        >>> being"?
        >>> > > I've been reading-contemplating Enneads IV. 5, and now wonder whether
        any
        >>> > > of what you related can be connected with Plotinus's doctrine "that
        >>> > > perception is due to the sympathy which unites the parts of the great
        >>> living
        >>> > > organism which is the physical universe." (Armstrong's footnote at the
        >>> end of
        >>> > > IV. 5. 8). Tentatively, it further seems to me that if we understand
        >>> > > correctly what Plotinus means by "sympathy", we might 'sympathetically'
        >>> better
        >>> > > apprehend what he means by 'affections'.
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Advance thanks,
        >>> > >
        >>> > > David
        >>> > >
        >>> > >
        >>> > > In a message dated 2/2/2013 3:13:39 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
        >>> > > goya@ writes:
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Friends,
        >>> > >
        >>> > > I'm currently learning a whole lot by translating the latest work by the
        >>> > > great scholar Ilsetraut Hadot on the notion of the harmonization of >>>
        Plato
        >>> > > and Aristotle in Neoplatonism. For instance, there's a reference to the
        >>> > > following work, which I haven't seen but will, I suspect, be of interest
        >>> > > to Dennis Clark:
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Andolfo, Matteo, L'Uno e il tutto. La sapienzia egizia presso i Greci,
        >>> 2008
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Have also been reading one of two new translations of the works of
        >>> > > al-Farabi by the somewhat (about 50 years) younger scholar Philippe
        >>> > > Vallat: Al-Farabi, Epitre sur l'intellect, Paris: Les Belles Lettres >>>
        2012.
        >>> > > This is a brilliant work, consisting of a substantive introduction, a
        >>> > > translation of the brief Risala fi-l-`aql, and above all a very long >>>
        essay
        >>> > > on "L'intellect et les intellects chez Farabi". Vallat had already shown
        >>> > > in his 2004 work Farabi et l'Ecole d'Alexandrie that this great
        >>> > > philosopher was basically a Neoplatonist carrying on the tradition of
        the
        >>> > > late Alexandrian commentators. Now, he concentrates on the junction
        >>> > > between epistemology and metaphysics, showing, inter multa alia, that
        >>> "the
        >>> > > goal of the forms of the world is thus that they may be thought by man,
        >>> > > once he has become intellect in itself" (p. 150). In other words, the
        >>> > > entire goal of the process by means of which the Agent Intellect inserts
        >>> > > the forms within matter, thus constituting the sensible world, is so >>>
        that
        >>> > > human beings may (with the help of the same Agent Intellect) render this
        >>> > > these forms intelligible once again by thinking them, that is, by
        >>> > > re-abstracting them from matter.
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Brilliant stuff. My only qualifier would be that I think Farabi gets >>>
        most
        >>> > > of his ideas not from Plotinus, Syrianus and Proclus, as Vallat thinks,
        >>> > > but from Porphyry. But that would take a lot of work to prove...
        >>> > >
        >>> > > Best, Mike
        >>> > >
        >>>> > > >
        >>> > > Michael Chase
        >>> > > CNRS UPR 76
        >>> > > Paris-Villejuif
        >>> > > France
        >>> > >
        >>> > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >>> > >
        >>> > >
        >>> > >
        >>> > >
        >>> > >
        >>> > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >>> > >
        >> >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >

        Well, Dennis, I would take this principle to mean Œfrom one thing (sc.
        originating principle) only one thing (sc. type of product) can come¹, e.g.
        From the One only one product should arise (viz. Intellect) -- unless one
        postulates some other supplementary process, such as self-constitution
        (authupostaton), which in turn generates something else. I see this as the
        problem that Speusippus felt he had to overcome, even back in the Old
        Academy. But I may be quite wrong about this! John


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • John Dillon
        ... Yes, Peter -- quite so! Should have read you first. John
        Message 3 of 17 , Feb 21, 2013
        • 0 Attachment
          > Hi Dennis,
          >
          > It means "from one comes only one" and refers to the (to us Neoplatonism fans)
          > familiar idea that if you have a single first principle it will produce only
          > one effect, yielding the usual puzzle about how multiplicity can be produced
          > by such a principle. Ghazali talks about this as a problem for philosophers
          > like Avicenna in his "Incoherence of the Philosophers."
          >
          > All coming soon on my podcast by the way... I'm getting to Islamic philosophy
          > in a few weeks.
          >
          > Cheerio,
          > Peter
          >
          > ________________________________
          > From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com] on behalf of
          > vaeringjar [vaeringjar@...]
          > Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 4:40 AM
          > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Agent intellect
          >
          >
          >
          > Thanks, this is most interesting to me but certainly as one not at all
          > familiar with Islamic philosophy, alas.
          >
          > But what about this "ex uno non fit nisi unum"?
          >
          > I had never heard this before - is it to be taken to mean, "one is only one",
          > out of one nothing but itself can come? In other words "ex uno nunquam multa"?
          > This is a tag then that could be applied to a thorough monism, such as that of
          > Parmenides?
          >
          > I don't have the time just now to delve a bit even online to find out the
          > origin of this...
          >
          > Thanks for the references to your papers, also - the one on the Virgin at
          > Chartres caught my eye too. Thanks for sharing.
          >
          > Dennis Clark
          >
          > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>,
          > "Mark" wrote:
          >>
          >> Howdy, here's a passage from Henri Corbin that touches upon the question
          >> somewhat (from History of Islamic Philosophy, p.161)Best, Mark
          >> http://fa.hole.ru/Hist_Iran_Phil_Corbin_part_I.pdf
          >>
          >> 4. The same can be said of the second distinctive doctrine, that of
          >> the theory of the Intelligence and of the procession of Intelligences,
          >> enjoined in al-Farabi by the principle ex uno non fit nisi unum (a
          >> principle that was to be called into question by Nasir Thusi, whose
          >> unacknowledged inspiration in so doing was the schema of the procession
          >> of the pure Lights in al-Suhrawardi). The emanation of the First
          >> Intelligence from the first Being, its three acts of contemplation which
          >> are repeated in turn by each of the hierarchical Intelligences, and which
          >> engender each time a triad composed of a new Intelligence, a new
          >> Soul and a new Heaven, down to the Tenth Intelligence—this same
          >> cosmogonic process was later described and expanded by Avicenna.
          >> The first divine Essences, Aristotle's star-gods, become 'separate
          >> Intelligences' in al-Farabi. Was it Avicenna who first gave them the
          >> name of 'Angels', thus arousing the suspicions of al-Ghazali who failed
          >> to find in them the exact image of the angel of the Quran? Did these
          >> creative archangelic forms spell the ruin of monotheism? Yes indeed,
          >> if what is in question is the exoteric version of monotheism and of
          >> the dogma which supports it. On the other hand, esoteric and mystical
          >> thinkers have never ceased to demonstrate that in its exoteric form
          >> monotheism falls into the very idolatry that it is attempting the escape.
          >> Al-Farabi was contemporary with the first great Ismaili thinkers. His
          >> theory of the Ten Intelligences, when compared with that of Ismaili
          >> esotericism, may be seen in a new light. In our brief analysis (see above,
          >> II, B, 1,2) of the structure of the pleroma of the Ten among the Ismailis
          >> of the Fatimid tradition, we noted that it differs from the schema of
          >> the emanationist philosophers in that as principle it postulates a
          >> Supra-Being beyond both being and non-being, and sees Emanation
          >> as starting only with the First Intelligence. Moreover, Ismaili cosmogony
          >> contains a dramatic element which is lacking in the schema
          >> of al-Farabi and Avicenna.
          >> Nevertheless, the Ismaili figure of the Tenth Angel (the celestial
          >> Adam) corresponds perfectly to the Tenth Intelligence which our
          >> philosophers here call the active Intelligence (al-'aql al-fa' 'al). This
          >> correspondence makes us finally able to understand better the role
          >> of the active Intelligence in the prophetology of al-Farabi, because in
          >> his whole theory of the Intelligence, as well as in his theory of the
          >> Sage-Prophet, al-Farabi is something more than a 'Hellenizing philosopher'.
          >> He made a comparison which became popular, and which everyone repeated after
          >> him: 'The active Intelligence is to the possible
          >> intellect of man what the sun is to the eye, which is potential vision
          >> so long as it is in darkness.' This Intelligence, which in the hierarchy
          >> of being is the spiritual being next above man and the world of men,
          >> is always in act. It is called the 'Giver of Forms' {wahib al-suwar, dator
          >> formarum), because it radiates forms into matter, and radiates into
          >> the human potential intellect the knowledge of these forms.
          >>
          >> --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>,
          >> "Adamson, Peter" wrote:
          >>>
          >>> Hi Mike and David,
          >>>
          >>> Nice to see Farabi getting some love on the Neoplatonism group. Agent
          >>> Intellect doesn't correspond to universal soul (at least, not in the first
          >>> instance -- one might try to see a connection in that it bestows forms on
          >>> natural objects). Rather the primary point of reference here is the "maker
          >>> intellect" of de Anima 3.5. It's pretty clear that Farabi's views in the
          >>> Letter on Intellect grow out of the commentary tradition on Aristotle and
          >>> especially de Anima 3.4-5, though the details are definitely up for further
          >>> discussion. Alexander and the Alexandrian school are important background
          >>> for sure. (Already al-Kindi, in a treatise of the same title, is drawing on
          >>> that tradition, as was shown in a monograph some time ago by Jolivet.)
          >>>
          >>> As for Porphyry it's possible that his views on the union of the rational
          >>> soul with intellect were known in Arabic. Avicenna complains at one point
          >>> about Porphyry being admired by some unidentified Peripatetics, which might
          >>> mean the Baghdad Aristotelians though probably he wouldn't mean Farabi in
          >>> particular (since he generally admires Farabi and here the people he
          >>> mentions are apparently considered by him to be low wattage bulbs). I
          >>> published a paper a while back speculating that the text Avicenna is talking
          >>> about could relate to Porphyry's disagreement with Longinus about the nature
          >>> of the intellect. So on that basis, I guess Mike's suggestion is one I find
          >>> plausible, but as I say there is lots more to be figured out here.
          >>>
          >>> Cheerio,
          >>> Peter
          >>>
          >>> New postal address:
          >>>
          >>> Lehrstuhl VI für Spätantike und arabische Philosophie
          >>> Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
          >>> Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
          >>> 80539 München
          >>> Germany
          >>>
          >>> The History of Philosophy Podcast
          >>> http://www.historyofphilosophy.net
          >>> On Twitter @HistPhilosophy
          >>> ________________________________
          >>> From: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
          >>> [neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>] on
          >>> behalf of dgallagher@ [dgallagher@]
          >>> Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2013 9:50 PM
          >>> To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com<mailto:neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com>
          >>> Subject: Re: [neoplatonism] Fwd: Panels for the 2013 ISNS Conference in
          >>> Cardiff
          >>>
          >>>
          >>>
          >>> Mike,
          >>>
          >>> Does Agent Intellect correlate with Universal Soul, or "the living being"?
          >>> I've been reading-contemplating Enneads IV. 5, and now wonder whether any
          >>> of what you related can be connected with Plotinus's doctrine "that
          >>> perception is due to the sympathy which unites the parts of the great living
          >>> organism which is the physical universe." (Armstrong's footnote at the end
          >>> of
          >>> IV. 5. 8). Tentatively, it further seems to me that if we understand
          >>> correctly what Plotinus means by "sympathy", we might 'sympathetically'
          >>> better
          >>> apprehend what he means by 'affections'.
          >>>
          >>> Advance thanks,
          >>>
          >>> David
          >>>
          >>>
          >>> In a message dated 2/2/2013 3:13:39 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
          >>> goya@ writes:
          >>>
          >>> Friends,
          >>>
          >>> I'm currently learning a whole lot by translating the latest work by the
          >>> great scholar Ilsetraut Hadot on the notion of the harmonization of Plato
          >>> and Aristotle in Neoplatonism. For instance, there's a reference to the
          >>> following work, which I haven't seen but will, I suspect, be of interest
          >>> to Dennis Clark:
          >>>
          >>> Andolfo, Matteo, L'Uno e il tutto. La sapienzia egizia presso i Greci, 2008
          >>>
          >>> Have also been reading one of two new translations of the works of
          >>> al-Farabi by the somewhat (about 50 years) younger scholar Philippe
          >>> Vallat: Al-Farabi, Epitre sur l'intellect, Paris: Les Belles Lettres 2012.
          >>> This is a brilliant work, consisting of a substantive introduction, a
          >>> translation of the brief Risala fi-l-`aql, and above all a very long essay
          >>> on "L'intellect et les intellects chez Farabi". Vallat had already shown
          >>> in his 2004 work Farabi et l'Ecole d'Alexandrie that this great
          >>> philosopher was basically a Neoplatonist carrying on the tradition of the
          >>> late Alexandrian commentators. Now, he concentrates on the junction
          >>> between epistemology and metaphysics, showing, inter multa alia, that "the
          >>> goal of the forms of the world is thus that they may be thought by man,
          >>> once he has become intellect in itself" (p. 150). In other words, the
          >>> entire goal of the process by means of which the Agent Intellect inserts
          >>> the forms within matter, thus constituting the sensible world, is so that
          >>> human beings may (with the help of the same Agent Intellect) render this
          >>> these forms intelligible once again by thinking them, that is, by
          >>> re-abstracting them from matter.
          >>>
          >>> Brilliant stuff. My only qualifier would be that I think Farabi gets most
          >>> of his ideas not from Plotinus, Syrianus and Proclus, as Vallat thinks,
          >>> but from Porphyry. But that would take a lot of work to prove...
          >>>
          >>> Best, Mike
          >>>
          >>>>
          >>> Michael Chase
          >>> CNRS UPR 76
          >>> Paris-Villejuif
          >>> France
          >>>
          >>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >>>
          >>>
          >>>
          >>>
          >>>
          >>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >>>
          >>
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          Yes, Peter -- quite so! Should have read you first. John
        • vaeringjar
          Oh, fascinating, thanks, Peter and John - this is an approach, a difficulty that I am ashamed I never considered, as it is put in these terms exactly, what can
          Message 4 of 17 , Feb 22, 2013
          • 0 Attachment
            Oh, fascinating, thanks, Peter and John - this is an approach, a difficulty that I am ashamed I never considered, as it is put in these terms exactly, what can proceed from the One itself, yet now when I think about it, it's a summing up and a neat and succinct one of the basic issue that no one cannot be aware of with Neoplatonism, of the many from the one, the main challenge, I do believe.

            Is this also perhaps another instance of the principle of like only from like? Is there a name for that concept in Greek philosophy, I wonder?

            Yet not to be 'cute', but I can't help also thinking, yes, well, if it is the One itself only "ex uno", a sort of identity statement exclusively and utterly rigorously, then yes, we still have, in the end, but One. But if it deals, this particular statement, and trying to be very precise here, with any emanation, as apparently it does, then even "unum ex uno" does give us two! In total, ultimately, correct? Or am I thinking too spatially or chronologically? I know at least with Plotinus there is nothing at all sequential or temporal about the One, that it is not to be thought of as some point or beginning of a line, to use a metaphor, but ever present, so to speak.


            Unless of course you say, the One is above being - as certain Neoplatonists certainly did - and then the One that comes from One is actually the first existent, while the One from which it came is rather above being, One without all attribute. (Am I putting way too much into all of this and onto that little preposition "ex"?!?)


            But that first existent one in Neoplatonis is indeed Intellect, but - crucially, I do think I see now, if I am correct - the power of Intellect to reflect, to think of the One, links itself and all below, all multiplicity, back to that One without actually forcing a direct descent, in other words, by that link that is only thought and the first and greatest thought, from the One to the Many, yet maintaining still a sort of connection. Thus we have it both ways, so to speak - we get only a one from one but it's the one that can lead to multiplicity since it has within itself by virtue of Thought already a splitting. (I think this is largely what Iamblichus was trying to accomplish with his more complex scheme at the top.)

            Is that all obvious, and I am just getting it for the first time in all these years (!), that distinction I am making about the function of the thought of Intellect? Or am I jusr wrong here and should stop?

            And if that is a good understanding of one element of Neoplatonism, is that function of thought a poor solution to the One to Many problem, not a strong enough element, a weak link, so to speak? In that it's a bit too facile perhaps, almost naive in a way, to use thought as such?

            I ask this for another reason: in all these years, it struck me at times that the huge and crucial importance and 'rank' given Intellect was a bit odd, to be honest, in Neoplatonism. Why privilege it so?

            But if what I am saying here is true, then I guess I would have been wrong to think that, that indeed it serves a most essential (oops, sorry for another bad pun!) purpose after all.

            Dennis Clark


            --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, John Dillon <jmdillon@...> wrote:
            >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > Thanks, this is most interesting to me but certainly as one not at all
            > > familiar with Islamic philosophy, alas.
            > >
            > > But what about this "ex uno non fit nisi unum"?
            > >
            > > I had never heard this before - is it to be taken to mean, "one is only one",
            > > out of one nothing but itself can come? In other words "ex uno nunquam multa"?
            > > This is a tag then that could be applied to a thorough monism, such as that of
            > > Parmenides?
            > >
            > > I don't have the time just now to delve a bit even online to find out the
            > > origin of this...
            > >
            > > Thanks for the references to your papers, also - the one on the Virgin at
            > > Chartres caught my eye too. Thanks for sharing.
            > >
            > > Dennis Clark
            > >
          • Tzvi Langermann
            Dennis, There are some good studies you can have a look at it to see how the issue was handled over the ages, for example, Arthur Hyman, From What is One and
            Message 5 of 17 , Feb 25, 2013
            • 0 Attachment
              Dennis,

              There are some good studies you can have a look at it to see how the issue was handled over the ages, for example, Arthur Hyman, "From What is One and Simple only What is One and Simple Can Come to Be," in Lenn Goodman, ed., Neoplatonism and Jewish Thought (1992), 111-135.
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: vaeringjar
              Sent: 02/23/13 01:08 AM
              To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Agent intellect

              Oh, fascinating, thanks, Peter and John - this is an approach, a difficulty that I am ashamed I never considered, as it is put in these terms exactly, what can proceed from the One itself, yet now when I think about it, it's a summing up and a neat and succinct one of the basic issue that no one cannot be aware of with Neoplatonism, of the many from the one, the main challenge, I do believe.

              Is this also perhaps another instance of the principle of like only from like? Is there a name for that concept in Greek philosophy, I wonder?

              Yet not to be 'cute', but I can't help also thinking, yes, well, if it is the One itself only "ex uno", a sort of identity statement exclusively and utterly rigorously, then yes, we still have, in the end, but One. But if it deals, this particular statement, and trying to be very precise here, with any emanation, as apparently it does, then even "unum ex uno" does give us two! In total, ultimately, correct? Or am I thinking too spatially or chronologically? I know at least with Plotinus there is nothing at all sequential or temporal about the One, that it is not to be thought of as some point or beginning of a line, to use a metaphor, but ever present, so to speak.


              Unless of course you say, the One is above being - as certain Neoplatonists certainly did - and then the One that comes from One is actually the first existent, while the One from which it came is rather above being, One without all attribute. (Am I putting way too much into all of this and onto that little preposition "ex"?!?)


              But that first existent one in Neoplatonis is indeed Intellect, but - crucially, I do think I see now, if I am correct - the power of Intellect to reflect, to think of the One, links itself and all below, all multiplicity, back to that One without actually forcing a direct descent, in other words, by that link that is only thought and the first and greatest thought, from the One to the Many, yet maintaining still a sort of connection. Thus we have it both ways, so to speak - we get only a one from one but it's the one that can lead to multiplicity since it has within itself by virtue of Thought already a splitting. (I think this is largely what Iamblichus was trying to accomplish with his more complex scheme at the top.)

              Is that all obvious, and I am just getting it for the first time in all these years (!), that distinction I am making about the function of the thought of Intellect? Or am I jusr wrong here and should stop?

              And if that is a good understanding of one element of Neoplatonism, is that function of thought a poor solution to the One to Many problem, not a strong enough element, a weak link, so to speak? In that it's a bit too facile perhaps, almost naive in a way, to use thought as such?

              I ask this for another reason: in all these years, it struck me at times that the huge and crucial importance and 'rank' given Intellect was a bit odd, to be honest, in Neoplatonism. Why privilege it so?

              But if what I am saying here is true, then I guess I would have been wrong to think that, that indeed it serves a most essential (oops, sorry for another bad pun!) purpose after all.

              Dennis Clark

              --- In neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com , John Dillon wrote:
              >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Thanks, this is most interesting to me but certainly as one not at all
              > > familiar with Islamic philosophy, alas.
              > >
              > > But what about this "ex uno non fit nisi unum"?
              > >
              > > I had never heard this before - is it to be taken to mean, "one is only one",
              > > out of one nothing but itself can come? In other words "ex uno nunquam multa"?
              > > This is a tag then that could be applied to a thorough monism, such as that of
              > > Parmenides?
              > >
              > > I don't have the time just now to delve a bit even online to find out the
              > > origin of this...
              > >
              > > Thanks for the references to your papers, also - the one on the Virgin at
              > > Chartres caught my eye too. Thanks for sharing.
              > >
              > > Dennis Clark
              > >




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • vaeringjar
              Thanks very much, I happen to have that volume, so I will definitely take a look at that piece. Excellent! Dennis Clark
              Message 6 of 17 , Feb 25, 2013
              • 0 Attachment
                Thanks very much, I happen to have that volume, so I will definitely take a look at that piece. Excellent!

                Dennis Clark

                --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Tzvi Langermann" <langermann@...> wrote:
                >
                > Dennis,
                >
                > There are some good studies you can have a look at it to see how the issue was handled over the ages, for example, Arthur Hyman, "From What is One and Simple only What is One and Simple Can Come to Be," in Lenn Goodman, ed., Neoplatonism and Jewish Thought (1992), 111-135.
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: vaeringjar
                > Sent: 02/23/13 01:08 AM
                > To: neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com
                > Subject: [neoplatonism] Re: Agent intellect
                >
                > Oh, fascinating, thanks, Peter and John - this is an approach, a difficulty that I am ashamed I never considered, as it is put in these terms exactly, what can proceed from the One itself, yet now when I think about it, it's a summing up and a neat and succinct one of the basic issue that no one cannot be aware of with Neoplatonism, of the many from the one, the main challenge, I do believe.
                >
                > Is this also perhaps another instance of the principle of like only from like? Is there a name for that concept in Greek philosophy, I wonder?
                >
                > Yet not to be 'cute', but I can't help also thinking, yes, well, if it is the One itself only "ex uno", a sort of identity statement exclusively and utterly rigorously, then yes, we still have, in the end, but One. But if it deals, this particular statement, and trying to be very precise here, with any emanation, as apparently it does, then even "unum ex uno" does give us two! In total, ultimately, correct? Or am I thinking too spatially or chronologically? I know at least with Plotinus there is nothing at all sequential or temporal about the One, that it is not to be thought of as some point or beginning of a line, to use a metaphor, but ever present, so to speak.
                >
                >
                > Unless of course you say, the One is above being - as certain Neoplatonists certainly did - and then the One that comes from One is actually the first existent, while the One from which it came is rather above being, One without all attribute. (Am I putting way too much into all of this and onto that little preposition "ex"?!?)
                >
                >
                > But that first existent one in Neoplatonis is indeed Intellect, but - crucially, I do think I see now, if I am correct - the power of Intellect to reflect, to think of the One, links itself and all below, all multiplicity, back to that One without actually forcing a direct descent, in other words, by that link that is only thought and the first and greatest thought, from the One to the Many, yet maintaining still a sort of connection. Thus we have it both ways, so to speak - we get only a one from one but it's the one that can lead to multiplicity since it has within itself by virtue of Thought already a splitting. (I think this is largely what Iamblichus was trying to accomplish with his more complex scheme at the top.)
                >
                > Is that all obvious, and I am just getting it for the first time in all these years (!), that distinction I am making about the function of the thought of Intellect? Or am I jusr wrong here and should stop?
                >
                > And if that is a good understanding of one element of Neoplatonism, is that function of thought a poor solution to the One to Many problem, not a strong enough element, a weak link, so to speak? In that it's a bit too facile perhaps, almost naive in a way, to use thought as such?
                >
                > I ask this for another reason: in all these years, it struck me at times that the huge and crucial importance and 'rank' given Intellect was a bit odd, to be honest, in Neoplatonism. Why privilege it so?
                >
                > But if what I am saying here is true, then I guess I would have been wrong to think that, that indeed it serves a most essential (oops, sorry for another bad pun!) purpose after all.
                >
                > Dennis Clark
                >
                > --- In neoplatonism%40yahoogroups.com , John Dillon wrote:
                > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Thanks, this is most interesting to me but certainly as one not at all
                > > > familiar with Islamic philosophy, alas.
                > > >
                > > > But what about this "ex uno non fit nisi unum"?
                > > >
                > > > I had never heard this before - is it to be taken to mean, "one is only one",
                > > > out of one nothing but itself can come? In other words "ex uno nunquam multa"?
                > > > This is a tag then that could be applied to a thorough monism, such as that of
                > > > Parmenides?
                > > >
                > > > I don't have the time just now to delve a bit even online to find out the
                > > > origin of this...
                > > >
                > > > Thanks for the references to your papers, also - the one on the Virgin at
                > > > Chartres caught my eye too. Thanks for sharing.
                > > >
                > > > Dennis Clark
                > > >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • Mark
                ... I think Al-Farabi and Avicenna and the like tend use more Aristotelian arguments than Plotinian - like the concept of unity in book iota of the Metaphysics
                Message 7 of 17 , Feb 26, 2013
                • 0 Attachment
                  --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "vaeringjar" <vaeringjar@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I had never heard this before - is it to be taken to mean, "one is only one", out of one nothing but itself can come? In other words "ex uno nunquam multa"? This is a tag then that could be applied to a thorough monism, such as that of Parmenides?
                  >
                  I think Al-Farabi and Avicenna and the like tend use more Aristotelian arguments than Plotinian - like the concept of unity in book iota of the Metaphysics - Although they do reference the ''Theology of Aristotle'' which seems to be a sort of monotheistic, Aristotelian rendering of the the Enneads, books 4-6, but tend to emphasis the Aristotelian aspects, so it's sort of Aristotelian cosmological structure, but with an emanation chain of being dynamic.

                  > > Thanks for the references to your papers, also - the one on the Virgin at Chartres caught my eye too. Thanks for sharing.

                  You're welcome - the Aristotle paper got the most visits by far for some reason - that Chartres paper gets a lot of visits too, for some reason - maybe it's because of this new book that seems pretty good:
                  http://www.amazon.com/Virgin-Chartres-History-through-Liturgy/dp/030011088X

                  Cheers,

                  Mark
                • david.gallagher70
                  In a message dated 2/26/2013 12:36:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, marcusaurelius09@yahoo.ca writes: the Aristotle paper got the most visits by far for some
                  Message 8 of 17 , Feb 26, 2013
                  • 0 Attachment
                    In a message dated 2/26/2013 12:36:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
                    marcusaurelius09@... writes:

                    the Aristotle paper got the most visits by far for some reason - that
                    Chartres paper gets a lot of visits too, for some reason - maybe it's because
                    of this new book that seems pretty good:
                    _http://www.amazon.com/Virgin-Chartres-History-through-Liturgy/dp/030011088X
                    _
                    (http://www.amazon.com/Virgin-Chartres-History-through-Liturgy/dp/030011088X)

                    Cheers,
                    Mark


                    Recent interest in the cathedral and all things "Chartres" has been
                    stimulated by the so called labyrinth revival which received a kick-start with
                    the appearance of
                    _http://www.amazon.com/Walking-Sacred-Path-Rediscovering-Labyrinth/dp/1573225479/_
                    (http://www.amazon.com/Walking-Sacred-Path-Rediscovering-Labyrinth/dp/1573225479/) in 1996. Beginning from the date of that
                    publication, annually increasing numbers of tourists (pilgrims) have been
                    coming to the cathedral to see/walk the labyrinth and attend labyrinth
                    workshops/symposia held there. Frustrated visitors typically found the labyrinth
                    covered with chairs. Pressure for access has resulted in a regular weekly
                    schedule of times when the labyrinth is uncovered and "open". Over the
                    past 10-12 years thousands of labyrinths have been installed at/in schools,
                    universities, hospitals, nursing homes, churches, public parks, quite a few
                    prisons in the US and yards and meadows around private homes -- many of
                    them based upon the Chartres design. Thousands of portable versions have been
                    created painted on canvass. And there's even a Labyrinth Locator website,
                    _http://labyrinthlocator.com/_ (http://labyrinthlocator.com/) , which was
                    compiled and launched to help the curious find them. Roughly 500 new
                    labyrinths are added to the Locator each year.

                    David Gallagher
                    Executive Director

                    _http://labyrinthsociety.org/_ (http://labyrinthsociety.org/)

                    (avocational Neoplatonism student, especially Plotinus)




                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Goya
                    ... M.C. That s certainly been the standard view. But Philippe Vallat gives good arguments to show that Farabi is much more of a Neoplatonist that an
                    Message 9 of 17 , Feb 26, 2013
                    • 0 Attachment
                      > --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "vaeringjar" <vaeringjar@...> wrote:
                      >>
                      >> I had never heard this before - is it to be taken to mean, "one is only
                      >> one", out of one nothing but itself can come? In other words "ex uno
                      >> nunquam multa"? This is a tag then that could be applied to a thorough
                      >> monism, such as that of Parmenides?
                      >>
                      > I think Al-Farabi and Avicenna and the like tend use more Aristotelian
                      > arguments than Plotinian - like the concept of unity in book iota of the
                      > Metaphysics - Although they do reference the ''Theology of Aristotle''
                      > which seems to be a sort of monotheistic, Aristotelian rendering of the
                      > the Enneads, books 4-6, but tend to emphasis the Aristotelian aspects, so
                      > it's sort of Aristotelian cosmological structure, but with an emanation
                      > chain of being dynamic.

                      M.C. That's certainly been the standard view. But Philippe Vallat gives
                      good arguments to show that Farabi is much more of a Neoplatonist that an
                      Aristotelian. It's not clear, however that Farabi "references" the
                      Theology of Aristotle: it depends on whether or not the Kitab al-jam'
                      bayna raìy al-hakimayn, i.e. Book on the Concordance of the Two Sages, is
                      by Farabi or not. Some excellent recent scholarhsip has tended to show
                      it's either spurious or else dates from a very early stage in Farabi's
                      career. Yet the this is the only passage in which Farabi explicitly quotes
                      the Theology, so it's quite likely he knew the work was not by Aristotle.

                      By the way, the Theology of Aristotle is monotheistic, to be sure, but in
                      what sense is it "Aristotelian"?


                      >

                      Michael Chase
                      CNRS UPR 76
                      Paris-Villejuif
                      France
                    • Mark
                      ... Good to hear - the Concordance text is the one I had in mind. ... The Arabic Plotinus apparently tends to dwell on Plotinian passages that discuss
                      Message 10 of 17 , Feb 28, 2013
                      • 0 Attachment
                        > M.C. That's certainly been the standard view. But Philippe Vallat gives good arguments to show that Farabi is much more of a Neoplatonist that an Aristotelian. It's not clear, however that Farabi "references" the Theology of Aristotle: it depends on whether or not the Kitab al-jam' bayna raìy al-hakimayn, i.e. Book on the Concordance of the Two Sages, is by Farabi or not. Some excellent recent scholarhsip has tended to show it's either spurious or else dates from a very early stage in Farabi's career. Yet the this is the only passage in which Farabi explicitly quotes the Theology, so it's quite likely he knew the work was not by Aristotle.>

                        Good to hear - the Concordance text is the one I had in mind.

                        > By the way, the Theology of Aristotle is monotheistic, to be sure, but in what sense is it "Aristotelian"?

                        The Arabic Plotinus apparently tends to dwell on Plotinian passages that discuss Aristotle and adds comments using Aristotle's psychological concepts, for example on passages dealing with Aristotle's notion of the soul being the form of the body.
                      • Mark
                        ... Cool - I have noticed labyrinth activities being held - they do seem quite popular.
                        Message 11 of 17 , Feb 28, 2013
                        • 0 Attachment
                          > David Gallagher wrote:
                          > Recent interest in the cathedral and all things "Chartres" has been stimulated by the so called labyrinth revival which received a kick-start with the appearance of
                          > _http://www.amazon.com/Walking-Sacred-Path-Rediscovering-Labyrinth/dp/1573225479/_
                          > (http://www.amazon.com/Walking-Sacred-Path-Rediscovering-Labyrinth/dp/1573225479/) in 1996. Beginning from the date of that
                          > publication, annually increasing numbers of tourists (pilgrims) have been > coming to the cathedral to see/walk the labyrinth and attend labyrinth workshops/symposia held there.

                          Cool - I have noticed labyrinth activities being held - they do seem quite popular.
                        • Goya
                          ... M.C. I m afraid I don t believe either of these claims is accurate. The only discussion in the Theology of the soul as the form of the body, as far as I
                          Message 12 of 17 , Mar 1, 2013
                          • 0 Attachment
                            >> M.C. That's certainly been the standard view. But Philippe Vallat gives
                            >> good arguments to show that Farabi is much more of a Neoplatonist that
                            >> an Aristotelian. It's not clear, however that Farabi "references" the
                            >> Theology of Aristotle: it depends on whether or not the Kitab al-jam'
                            >> bayna raìy al-hakimayn, i.e. Book on the Concordance of the Two Sages,
                            >> is by Farabi or not. Some excellent recent scholarhsip has tended to
                            >> show it's either spurious or else dates from a very early stage in
                            >> Farabi's career. Yet the this is the only passage in which Farabi
                            >> explicitly quotes the Theology, so it's quite likely he knew the work
                            >> was not by Aristotle.>
                            >
                            > Good to hear - the Concordance text is the one I had in mind.
                            >
                            >> By the way, the Theology of Aristotle is monotheistic, to be sure, but
                            >> in what sense is it "Aristotelian"?
                            >
                            > The Arabic Plotinus apparently tends to dwell on Plotinian passages that
                            > discuss Aristotle and adds comments using Aristotle's psychological
                            > concepts, for example on passages dealing with Aristotle's notion of the
                            > soul being the form of the body.

                            M.C. I'm afraid I don't believe either of these claims is accurate. The
                            only discussion in the Theology of the soul as the form of the body, as
                            far as I can tell occurs at p. 55 Badawi, and closely follows Plotinus's
                            discussion at Ennead IV 7 8.5. Like Plotinus (and Porphyry, for that
                            matter, who wrote a treatise against Aristotle on the subject), the author
                            rejects the concept, or at least severely qualifies it. Cf. Theology II,
                            71, p. 211 Lewis: "If the soul is a form, adhering and not
                            separating...then how does she withdraw in sleep, and separate from the
                            body ..if the soul were a perfection of the body qua body, she would not
                            separate from it and would not know the remote...and that is not so."
                            Plotinus' other main discussion of the notion of the soul as entelechy
                            (Enn. 4, 2, 1) has no parallel in the Theology.

                            Since the Theology passes itself off as being written by Aristotle, it has
                            to contain some echoes of Aristotle to make the forgery credible. But its
                            most characteristic elements - creation of the world ex nihilo and outside
                            of time, separability of the soul, doctrine of the First principle as pure
                            being, doctrine of emanation - have nothing to do with Aristotle and are
                            purely Neoplatonic. Neoplatonism had, of course, integrated a number of
                            Aristotelian doctrines, so it's not surprising if the Neoplatonica Arabica
                            contain some traces of them. But they are far from being the dominant
                            aspect, These writings were, in fact, invented to supplement Aristotle by
                            providing a Neoplatonic-style theology that was absent in his theory.

                            Peter Adamson will, I hope, correct me if I'm wrong.

                            Best, Mike




                            Michael Chase
                            CNRS UPR 76
                            Paris-Villejuif
                            France
                          • Mark
                            Maybe Aristotelian rendering of Plotinus sounds too stong - what I meant was that the Arabic Plotinus seems to be concerned with certain Aristotelian
                            Message 13 of 17 , Mar 2, 2013
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                              Maybe 'Aristotelian rendering of Plotinus' sounds too stong - what I meant was that the Arabic Plotinus seems to be concerned with certain Aristotelian questions and is adding commentary on the Plotinian perspective based on a familiarity with Aristotle's works, adding Aristotelian terminology not found in the Plotinian passage, although the interesting example below, while being expanded discussion on an Aristotelian question, admittedly seems more like a standard Platonic argument to the Aristotelian problem, not much in the way of extra Aristotelian elements.

                              Cheers,

                              Mark

                              > M.C. I'm afraid I don't believe either of these claims is accurate. The
                              > only discussion in the Theology of the soul as the form of the body, as
                              > far as I can tell occurs at p. 55 Badawi, and closely follows Plotinus's
                              > discussion at Ennead IV 7 8.5. Like Plotinus (and Porphyry, for that
                              > matter, who wrote a treatise against Aristotle on the subject), the author
                              > rejects the concept, or at least severely qualifies it. Cf. Theology II,
                              > 71, p. 211 Lewis: "If the soul is a form, adhering and not
                              > separating...then how does she withdraw in sleep, and separate from the
                              > body ..if the soul were a perfection of the body qua body, she would not
                              > separate from it and would not know the remote...and that is not so."
                              > Plotinus' other main discussion of the notion of the soul as entelechy
                              > (Enn. 4, 2, 1) has no parallel in the Theology.
                              >
                              > Since the Theology passes itself off as being written by Aristotle, it has
                              > to contain some echoes of Aristotle to make the forgery credible. But its
                              > most characteristic elements - creation of the world ex nihilo and outside
                              > of time, separability of the soul, doctrine of the First principle as pure
                              > being, doctrine of emanation - have nothing to do with Aristotle and are
                              > purely Neoplatonic. Neoplatonism had, of course, integrated a number of
                              > Aristotelian doctrines, so it's not surprising if the Neoplatonica Arabica
                              > contain some traces of them. But they are far from being the dominant
                              > aspect, These writings were, in fact, invented to supplement Aristotle by
                              > providing a Neoplatonic-style theology that was absent in his theory.
                              >
                              > Peter Adamson will, I hope, correct me if I'm wrong.
                              >
                              > Best, Mike
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Michael Chase
                              > CNRS UPR 76
                              > Paris-Villejuif
                              > France
                              >
                            • Mark
                              Here s a pretty decent summary of Avicenna s cosmology (McGinnis): Avicenna s modal ontology yet again provides him with a neat solution to this problem of
                              Message 14 of 17 , Mar 19, 2013
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                                Here's a pretty decent summary of Avicenna's cosmology (McGinnis):

                                Avicenna's modal ontology yet again provides him with a neat solution to this problem of medieval cosmology. From the necessary Existent there emanantes fro Avicenna the Intellect associated witht eh outermost celestial sphere. This Intellect must itself already be composite, for it is something possible in tiself but necessary through another. Now, continues Avicenna, when this Intellect contemplates the Necessary Existent, there emanates from that first Intellect another Intellect-let this second Intellect be the one associated with the fixed stars. In addition to contemplating the Necessary Existent, the first Intellect also contemplate itself, but, as has already been seen, it si something composite consisting of its won possible existence and the necessary existence it has from another. Thus, according to Avicenna's own unique emanative scheme, when the first Intellect contemplates itself as something merely possible in itself, there emanates from it a certain celestial body, whereas when it contemplates itself as necessary through another, it emanates that celestial body's soul. This process continues at the level of the second Intellect. Now, however, the second Intellect contemplates its relation the first Intellect and the Necessary Existent. This emanative process continues cascading downward with new Intellects, souls, and clestial bodies being produced until reaches the Active Intellect or Giver of Forms, which is the Intellect that produces the Moon and lunar soul.
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