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Volume 14, 2016
La Médiation Discursive dans le Néoplatonisme

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1. Chôra: Volume > 14
Anca Vasiliu Note liminaire
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la mediation discursive dans le neoplatonisme
2. Chôra: Volume > 14
Marilena Vlad Présentation du dossier
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3. Chôra: Volume > 14
Dominic O’Meara Souls and Cities in Late Ancient Platonic Philosophy
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L’analogie établie dans la République de Platon entre l’âme (psychê) et la cité (polis) a fait l’objet d’intéressantes interprétations chez les philosophes platoniciens de l’Antiquité tardive. Cette étude présente d’abord la manière dont Plotin et ses successeurs ont conçu l’âme, prise en elle‑meme, comme membre d’une communauté intelligible unie dans la connaissance et dans une amitié transcendante. De sa patrie intelligible l’âme descend au monde corporel, pouvant perdre, dans cette descente, son rapport à sa communauté d’origine, s’aliénant en raison de sa soumission aux désirs corporels. Les platoniciens de l’antiquité tardive ont lié cette aliénation à l’émergence des régimes politiques corrompus dont Platon décrit les formes dans la République VIII et IX. Les régimes politiques corrompus correspondraient ainsi aux degrés de la corruption morale de l’âme dont ils seraient l’expression. Plotin décrit aussi une situation où l’âme domine son rapport au corporel en fonction de la connaissance dont elle bénéficie comme étant membre aussi d’une autre cité, une cité intelligible.
4. Chôra: Volume > 14
Pauliina Remes Plotinus on Starting Points of Reasoning
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Plotinus treats certain pre‑philosophical concepts as reliable or promising starting‑points for philosophical study. This article studies the way in which he, in the act of philosophizing, conceives of the passage from an unclear understanding, a kind of pre‑concept, to a better, philosophical conception. What are the sources of this passage ? What is the role of data given by sense‑perception ? In what way are innate conceptual and cognitive capacities involved ? It will be argued that the methodology suggested is a Platonic version of the Stoic appeal to common notions (koinai ennoia). Moreover, Plotinus seems to maintain several features of the empirical original. The concepts discussed are not primarily introspected or intuited, but seem to result from both experience and from innate tendencies. The bottom‑up approach of scrutinizing the combination of inquiries in the Enneads (and in a commentary of Proclus) and the methodological remarks made within these same inquiries, exposes, further, an interesting list of concepts significant for the Neoplatonic theory‑building : freedom, oneness, time and eternity, as well as good and evil.
5. Chôra: Volume > 14
Anca Vasiliu Penser l’Un ou la limite de la médiation selon Plotin
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Trying to reconstruct the specific definition of the noetic act from some excerpts of the fifth and seventh Treatises (Enneads, V, 9 and 4), one manages to circumscribe the operations by which Plotinus establishes in the context the unity between the intellect, the act of thinking, some form of «prime intelligibility» and the other, multiple, intelligibilities. Plotinus is striving to avoid several pitfalls in order not to endanger the unity of the noetic hypostasis and consequently to imperil the only possible way of thinking the One. At least four ways of bypassing possible impediments detectable in the context mentioned can be summarised : (i) averting the idea that the noetic act can be identified to the form and can thus be defined as «the thinking of forms» ; (ii) establishing that the precession of being as an «object of thought» is an a posteriori act of thought, and not the actual and necessary preeminence of the being on the noetic act ; (iii) debunking any temptation of considering thought as a mediation between the first and the second hypostasis ; and finally (iv) avoiding a definition of the noetic act through a sine qua non recourse to power, by establishing a specific statutary order of the noûs according to which the act and the power determine, or not, the possibility of intellection. An analysis of the texts will bring us to reconsider the so‑called theory of the two complementary acts and its Aristotelian origins, and also to recall the debates around Plotinus’ «idealism», demonstrating the appositeness and the specificities of that conception.
6. Chôra: Volume > 14
David Ellis Living a Double Life: Intellect, Soul, and Language in Plotinus
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This paper examines the degree to which language can express one’s own being and the being of other things. Using Plotinus’ IV 3[27], On Difficulties about the Soul I, it argues that discursive reason both hinders and assists this endeavor. Plotinus understands the soul as the source of discursivity. His account positions the human soul between Intellect and corporeality. Similarly, discursive reason operates between thought and perception, working with images from both. On the one hand, since discursivity remains immersed in images, it hinders the possibility of conveying one’s own being and another’s being. On the other hand, since it remains connected to thought, it enables the possibility of becoming directly aware of Being and Intellect. In section one, this paper examines how souls mediate between Intellect and bodies because they are more divided versions of intellects. In section two, discursive reason’s connection to the soul’s dynamic mediation between Intellect and bodies is established. The paper draws out the implications of this connection – namely, that Plotinus does not construct a closed system. He insists that we rarely become conscious of our thoughts and tend to be only aware of the images that represent them. So, section three examines the possibility of becoming directly aware of our thoughts and whether or not language obstructs that endeavor. The paper concludes by affirming that language is ambiguous in that it impedes and advances such insights. This ambiguity inherent in language reveals and depends on the amphibious nature of our soul.
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Francis Lacroix Logismos et dianoia chez Plotin
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The use of the terms λογισμός and διάνοια in the writings of Plotinus has already been discussed by H. J. Blumenthal in his book entitled Plotinus’ Psychology (1977). Blumenthal here defended the thesis that the terms were used as synonyms in the Enneads. Indeed, though some passages seem to indicate a difference between λογισμός and διάνοια, in the majority of cases Plotinus nonetheless seems to use these words interchangeably. We propose to analyze in detail the terms λογισμός and διάνοια by referring, inter alia, to Treatise 49 [V 3], 2‑3, where the terms seem indeed to be used synonymously, as well as other treatises such as Treatise 28 [IV 4], where Plotinus seems to give each word a different sense. Other scholars, namely E. K. Emilsson, think that we can establish a clear distinction between logismos and dianoia, by a thorough study of the World‑Soul, which has the dianoia, but not the logismos. After a review of Emilsson’s thesis, we will finally propose that Plotinus employs the word διάνοια when he refers to the soul’s capacity to store data for judgement, while he employs the term λογισμός to describe the process of judging this content, which may be distinguished from other processes.
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Andrei Timotin Langage discursif et non‑discursif chez Plotin: À propos de l’Ennéade IV, 3 [27], 18
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In Enn. IV, 3 [27], 18, Plotinus examines two related topics associated with the issue of the soul’s entry into the body, and with the theory of the undescended soul : the use of discursive reasoning, and of discursive language in the intelligible world. In this context, Plotinus explains that both the λογισμός, and the discursive language are inappropriate to the intelligible world ; they characterize the part of the soul that does not remain in the intelligible, and is oriented towards the sensible world. The present study shows that Plotinus seems nevertheless to consider, in the same context, a kind of discursive λογισμός compatible with the condition of the undescended soul. It also shows that the existence of a non‑discursive language, in relation with the Egyptian symbolic writing and with prayer, is equally considered in Enn. V, 8 [31] and V, 1 [10]. Such a solution is anticipated by Plutarch in an exegetical context related to the question how Socrates was able to communicate with his daimôn.
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Alain Lernould La διάνοια chez Proclus: pensée et discursivité
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According to the well known Platonic distinction of different types of knowing, discursive thought (διάνοια) is second to intellect (νοῦς), and above opinion (δόξα). Intellection intelligizes the entire intelligible cosmos, all at once (ἀθρόως), in an undivided manner. Discursive thought, involving temporal thinking, articulates into plurality the indivisible character of the intellectual life. I argue in this paper that Proclus does not reduce discursive thought to discursivity. Discursive thought is thought, i.e. intellection (διά‑νοια) before being discursive (διά‑νοια), intellection of Psychic Forms, and intellection in the manner of the soul.
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David Vachon Contemplation et théurgie: les facultés de l’âme au·dela de la pensée discursive chez Proclus
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In this article, we want to analyse the principal characteristics of three faculties of the soul in Proclus’ work : discursive thinking, contemplation and theurgic practice. We will then establish links between these faculties and the process of purification, divided into philosophical, dialectic and telestic types. We will then analyse these types of purification in relation with three metaphors exploited by Proclus : the naked soul, the flower of the intellect, and silence. The goal of this article consists in proving that dianoia (discursive thinking), even if it has to be overcome by other faculties (contemplation and theurgic practice), still operates implicitly in the process of assimilation to the One. In other words, contemplation and theurgic practice are not a substitute for rational thinking, but rather its ultimate achievement.
11. Chôra: Volume > 14
Lela Alexidze Dianoia in Ioane Petritsi’s Commentary on Proclus’ Elements of Theology
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The aim of this paper is to analyze the concept of dianoia (discursive mode of thinking) as soul’s activity, and related issues, in the twelfth century work by Ioane Petritsi : his Georgian translation of Proclus’ Elements of Theology and his Commentary on this text, including his prologue to it. The themes related to the discursive mode of cognition are also discussed in the 129th proposition of the Georgian version of the Elements (which is absent in the Greek manuscripts) and in Petritsi’s commentary on it. While analyzing the issues related to dianoia in Petritsi’s work, we focus our attention on the inter‑relationship of ontological, epistemological, linguistic and also existential aspects of this concept as they were interpreted by Petritsi in his Commentary.
12. Chôra: Volume > 14
Carolle Metry-Tresson Comment l’âme peut saisir l’un: l’anagogie damascienne comme transgression de l’apophasis
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For Damascius, the last great Neoplatonist of late Antiquity, the answer to the question “how to go beyond the plurality of human thought for the purpose of really attaining the one ?” is not to be found on the side of the via negativa – which is the dynamics of a rejection of plurality –, but in a positive, unifying and integrative dialectic by which the plurality of the soul is not denied any more, but gathered, contracted and simplified in an undifferentiated unity for the purpose of really attaining the one. Setting himself apart from his predecessors due to a new conception of the ‘one’ understood as ‘all(ness)’, Damascius aims to deconstruct, and then abandon, the via apophatica, for it becomes in his eyes an illusory, unsuitable and counterproductive way in the vertiginous ascent of the soul towards its origin. Indeed, a number of passages of his masterpiece, De Principiis, reveal his radically critical decision to reject the immoderate use of negative discourse to express the one, as well as the cathartic status and the anagogical purpose generally allowed to apophatism. It is stated here that ‘negation’ is only the reflection of our own cognitive powerlessness, a dangerous illegitimate (‘bastard’) reasoning, or simply an artifice of language, even if authorized in certain circumstances. Is the one not beyond any discourse, distinction and exclusion ? Making obsolete any triumphalism of hyperapophatism, judged as unacceptable and contradictory, Damascius offers the human soul the promise of an authentic, as well as lucid anagogy towards the principle.
13. Chôra: Volume > 14
Marilena Vlad Defying Words: Damascius and the Travail of the Unsayable
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Dans cet article, nous nous concentrons sur le problème du principe premier chez Damascius. La question est celle de savoir dans quelle mesure la discursivité – le fait d’en parler – affecte ce problème et l’accès de notre pensée. Bien que le principe premier se veut indicible, toute tentative de le suggérer ne nous rend qu’une image discursive et donc inadéquate de lui. Toute tentative de raffiner notre perspective sur le principe ne fait que nous en éloigner d’avantage. Quelle est alors la solution de Damascius ? Comment peut‑on toujours parler du principe, tout en le reconnaissant indicible ? Quel est le rôle du discours dans la saisie du principe ? Peut‑il devenir plus qu’une entrave ? Nous analysons la manière dont Damascius comprend son propre discours sur le principe et comment il transforme ce discours inévitablement inadéquat, en une manière de produire la conscience du principe. Le principe n’est pas décrit, mais plutôt rendu manifeste par un véritable “travail d’enfantement” (ὠδίς) de la pensée. Nous analysons les manières de ce travail d’enfantement, afin de montrer comment l’indicible se manifeste à travers lui, sans recevoir une expression concrète, qui risquerait de le transformer en objet de notre pensée. Nous montrerons que le travail d’enfantement n’est pas le signe de l’impossibilité de saisir le principe et d’un indépassable tourment qui accablerait la pensée à cause de cette incapacité. Au contraire, il représente une manière indirecte, non‑descriptive, mais très technique et rigoureuse, dont on peut obtenir la conscience de l’indicible, dans le cadre du discours et par sa médiation.
14. Chôra: Volume > 14
Francesca Calabi Il Parmenide e Filone di Alessandria
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Cet article s’interroge sur la possibilité de dénicher des relations entre le Parménide platonicien et l’oeuvre de Philon d’Alexandrie. Le dialogue platonicien n’est jamais explicitement nommé ni cité par Philon. Il y a une discussion entre chercheurs modernes sur la connaissance que l’Alexandrin peut en avoir eu. D’un côté, Runia pense que le Parménide n’était pas très connu au premier siècle, d’un autre côté, Whittaker considère que, à propos de la transcendance divine, Philon peut avoir fait référence à la première hypothèse du Parménide avec la médiation du Pythagorisme platonisant de son époque. Quant à Dillon, il voit une forte influence du dialogue sur le Platonisme Alexandrin pre‑philonien. De mon côté, je pense qu’on trouve chez Philon des argumentations qu’on peut comparer avec les deux premières hypothèses du Parménide. On ne peut probablement pas déterminer s’il s’agit d’une influence directe ou pas, si certains thèmes viennent du texte platonicien ou d’autres sources. Ce que je chercherai à voir est si Philon utilise – revus et reformulés dans un langage adapté à l’exégèse biblique – des arguments qui rappellent le texte platonicien. Dans ses thèses de théologie négative on trouve parfois des allégations qui semblent ne pas s’accorder trop avec le texte biblique. Elles en reprennent caractères et aspects, mais avec des nuances différentes eu égard à celles du texte originaire. Dans cette perspective, j’essaierai de rapprocher des textes de Philon et quelques passages du Parménide. Naturellement, je ne prétends pas trouver une pleine correspondance entre ces textes. Il s’agit de suggestions, sans que je ne m’attende à donner une réponse univoque à une question peut être indécidable. La mienne est une simple hypothèse de lecture.
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Davide Susanetti Folie, écriture et usages des mythes dans l’Hyppolite d’Euripide
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The aim of this essay is to focus the different strategies the dramaturgy of Hippolitus adopts in order to problematize the use of mythical paradigms, poetic tradition and writing when tragic characters are to deal with the force of desire. Ancient myths, handed down by poets, are quoted and exploited by the nurse in a sophistic perspective that tries to justify natural instincts by cultural tradition. This perspective is opposite to the corpus of orphic writings and the paradigm of purity linked to Hippolitus. Coping with the provocative rhetoric of the nurse and the intransigence of Hippolitus, Phaedra produces her own writing that reacts to the “knot” tied by the logoi of her interlocutors.
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Monica Brinzei Unknown Fragments of Petrus de Treysa in the Codex Basel, Universitätsbibliothek A‑X‑44
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comptes rendus
17. Chôra: Volume > 14
Michele Corradi Senza dualismo. Nuovi percorsi nella filosofia di Platone
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Maria Zoubouli Divines techniques. Arts et langage homérique à la fin de l’Antiquité
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Daniel Coman Richard FitzRalph: His life, times and thought
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