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81. 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.
82. 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.
83. Chôra: Volume > 14
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.
84. Chôra: Volume > 14
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.
85. 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.
86. 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.
87. Chôra: Volume > 14
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.
88. 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.
89. Chôra: Volume > 14
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.
90. 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.
91. Chôra: Volume > 14
Monica Brinzei Unknown Fragments of Petrus de Treysa in the Codex Basel, Universitätsbibliothek A‑X‑44
92. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Anca Vasiliu Note liminaire: Quelques réflexions en guise d’introduction
93. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Mario Vegetti To siôpoumenon agathon
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La discussione sull’idea del buono (to agathon) occupa uno spazio marginale nel libro VI della Repubblica, ma comporta un eccezionale impegno teorico : di qui la vastita della letteratura esegetica che contrasta con la brevita del testo platonico. Il problema cruciale e questo : in Repubblica VI 504a‑509c to agathon non e piu solo un principio di valorizzazione e un criterio di valutazione di cose e condotte – com’e consueto in Platone – ma assume il ruolo di principio ontologico ed epistemologico. Questa posizione ha spesso suggerito interpretazioni di tipo “teologico” dell’idea del buono (identificata a volte con l’Uno neoplatonico, altre con il Demiurgo del Timeo). Quello che si puo affermare sulla base del testo, e che Platone ha conferito in queste pagine della Repubblica un primato al vertice etico del triangolo i cui altri vertici sono quello ontologico e quello epistemologico ; l’intento e quello di offrire una fondazione etica assoluta (antiprotagorea), mediante la connessione della sfera del valore con quelle dell’essere e della verita (quindi anche in ambito politico una giustificazione ultimativa al diritto dei filosofi a governare).L’unificazione delle dimensioni etica, ontologica ed epistemologica sarebbe parsa teoricamente insostenibile ad Aristotele, cui si deve una critica devastante alla teoria platonica del buono.
94. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Rafael Ferber Le Bien de Platon et le problème de la transcendance du Principe. Encore une fois l’ἐπέκεινα τῆς οὐσίας de Platon
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The article again treats the question of whether ≪the Idea of the Good is a Reality in the Universe, or beyond it. Is it immanent or transcendent ?≫ (Rufus Jones, 1863‑1948). Plato scholars such as Matthias Baltes (1940‑2003) and Luc Brisson have defended the thesis that Plato’s Idea of the Good is, on the one hand, beyond being (epekeina tes ousias) in dignity and power, but, on the other, is nevertheless not transcendent over being. The article delivers first (I) the most important arguments for the thesis of Baltes and Brisson. Then (II), it gives two counterarguments against the thesis. Third (III), it concludes with some general questions concerning the deflationist interpretation of Plato’s Republic 509b9‑10, and defends again the transcendence of the Idea of the Good.
95. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Franco Ferrari Platone ha effettivamente identificato il demiurgo del Timeo e l’idea del bene della Repubblica?: Riflessioni intorno a un’antica querelle filosofica
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Un debat tres vif eut lieu parmi les commentateurs medioplatoniciens sur le rapport entre la forme du bien de la Republique et le demiurge du Timee. Certains d’entre eux, comme Plutarque et Atticus, parvinrent a identifier ces deux entites, d’autres, comme Numenius, a situer les deux principes dans une relation hierarchique, en attribuant au bien la qualification de ≪premier dieu≫ et de pere (pater) et au demiurge celle de ≪second dieu≫ et de producteur (poietes). Cet article se propose d’examiner la question de l’identite de la forme du bien avec le demiurge sur des bases nouvelles, en prenant comme point de depart une interpretation metaphorique de la figure du demiurge, qui ne se presente pas comme un principe metaphysique independant, mais comme une description metaphorique de l’element causal‑efficient du monde des formes, c’est a dire du vivant intelligible. Le demiurge coinciderait donc avec la totalite active et dynamique du monde intelligible (panteles zoon). Dans la seconde partie de l’article est prise en consideration l’hypothese que la superiorite de la forme du bien par rapport aux autres formes est du meme genre que celle du demiurge, dans la mesure ou le bien aussi peut etre compris comme la totalite du kosmos intelligible. Il s’agit d’une hypothese qui ne va pas sans difficultes, mais qui merite d’etre examinee jusqu’au bout.
96. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Suzanne Husson Autarcie du Bien et dépendance de l’être?: De la République au Sophiste
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Self‑sufficiency of the Good and dependency of Being ? From Republic to Sophist. Even thought Parmenides doesn’t use αὐτάρκης and any noun derived from this root, the Being is conceived by him as self‑sufficient (v. 8,33). Plato, for its part, never uses this term concerning the intelligible reality ; however, in the Sophist, he allusively challenges Parmenides self‑sufficiency of Being and outlines an ontology that is conflicting with it. On the other hand self‑sufficiency is explicitly ascribed by Plato to the human good (Philebus, 20d, 67a), to the divine world (Timaeus, 33d), and also to the virtuous man (Republic, 387d). This paper aims to demonstrate that these facets (theological or anthropological) of self‑sufficiency are consistent with the supremacy of the idea of the Good in the Republic, which can be understood as a structural kind of self‑sufficiency.
97. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Mauro Bonazzi Le Bien selon Numénius et la République de Platon
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Among Plato’s dialogues, the Timaeus was the most authoritative for Middle Platonists. But alone it does not suffice to explain some of the most important tenets defended by these philosophers. A remarkable example is the doctrine of the three Principles (God, Ideas, matter), which characterizes imperial Platonism, and which cannot be stated on the basis of the Timaeus alone. In my paper I show that Numenius was influenced by the Republic as well : in the metaphor of the Sun he found the Good as first principle and an indication of a second principle which is further subdivided into an Intellect thinking the Ideas and a Demiurge ordering the universe. This interpretation provides him with some interesting solutions. But such an influence also raises difficulties insofar as the causal role of the first principle is concerned.
98. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Ricardo Salles Bonté, rationalité et impuissance chez le démiurge Stoïcien
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Why does the Stoic demiurge cause the conflagration ? In this paper, I revisit some issues addressed in Salles 2005 and argue that the conflagration is the result of an incapacity in the demiurge for creating an everlasting and uninterrupted cosmic order. Also, I bring out in more detail (a) the parallel between the Stoics and Plato at Tim. 75a‑c (section 1), (b) why cosmic order is the ultimate end pursued by the demiurge (section 2), (c) what is the physical mechanism that leads up to the conflagration (section 3), and (d) why the conflagration is contrary to the cosmic order (sections 1 and 4).
99. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Francesca Calabi Il bene migliore del bene in Filone di Alessandria
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Il y a chez Philon des expressions pour parler du bien qui sont apparemment contradictoires ou qui, au moins, font difficulte. Dans quelques passages l’Alexandrin parle de Dieu en termes de bien ; ailleurs il en parle comme de cause ou source du bien ; dans autres textes, enfin, Dieu est meilleur que le bien.Le theme de la possibilite de connaitre Dieu aussi pose des problemes : d’un cote nous avons le Dieu inconnaissable dont meme pas le nom ne peut etre dit, d’un autre, le Dieu demiurgique et providentiel dont quelques personnages parviennent a avoir une connaissance, au moins indirecte et partielle. Telle vision est proportionnelle au niveau du voyant. Cet article s’interroge a propos d’une solution similaire concernant la perception du bien, saisi par les hommes de facon differente selon leur niveau. Non pas, alors, Dieu comme bien, comme bon, comme meilleur que le bien, per se, mais en relation aux hommes qui n’arrivent pas a atteindre to agathon et cherchent vainement a lui attribuer un nom – quoique impropre –, de determiner ce qui est au dela de toute nomination, qualification, definition.
100. Chôra: Volume > 15/16
Fabienne Jourdan Sur le Bien de Numénius. Sur le Bien de Platon: L’enseignement oral de Platon comme occasion de rechercher son pythagorisme dans ses écrits
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Mauro Bonazzi has shown how Numenius based his theology on his interpretation of Plato’s Timaios and Politeia. However, by giving the title On the Good (Περὶ τἀγαθοῦ) to his own dialogue, Numenius inserts it in the line of the teaching that, according to the tradition, Plato would have orally given on this topic. After focusing briefly on this teaching and its problems, the paper examines how Numenius appropriated it, as it reached him. It will appear that Numenius conceives of the oral tradition as the Pythagorean core of Plato’s teaching, a core that, according to him, its transmitters did not understand properly, and that he claims to find himself in a good interpretation of that which he has direct access to : the writings of the Master.