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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 2
Ancient Greek Philosophy: Pre-Socratic Philosophy

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Displaying: 1-10 of 106 documents


articles in english
1. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Valentin Kalan Personalization of Ethics in the First Ennead of Plotinus
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Plotinus’ ethics is based on our inner manner of looking towards the beauty of the good soul. Civic virtues must have an existential basis which is provided through a dialectical education. The greatest happiness is achieved in a transparent and rational life. The activity of thought is concealed, and can only be seen through the psychic acts of apprehension and reflection. Plotinus’ moral ideal is a virtuous person that receives the good from the transcendent good. If we neglected the meaning of meditation for an active life, we would destroy “the existence of happiness”. Evils are produced in the soul when it is looking towards becoming which has the matter as its principle. Plotinus pays close attention to the manner in which “we” perceive. The psychic capacity of sensation is based on the capacity to understand (ἀντιληπτικὴν) impressions in the soul, which are already objects of the intellect. In this way, Plotinus introduces the notion of the personal self, or “I” and the notion of the subjectivity. His ethics estimates each individual according to his own worth, at the same time taking into account the cosmic dimension of human existence.
2. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Menahem Luz Porphyry’s Philosophy of Art and Religious Imagery
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In the fragments of Porphyry’s On statues we find a coherent account of artistic appreciation by means of theological and metaphysical mechanisms, resolving some of the Platonic issues in Plotinus’ examination of art. He shows how divine wisdom is revealed on the level of myth and religious art, but also through philosophical contemplation. The former is through the influence of God’s powers (dynameis) by means of images akin to our perception used by the artist and grasped by the viewer. At the bottom level there comes sensation, through which imagery is conceived, but which imprints unclear (truths) by means of the sensually clear. Porphyry develops Plotinus’ analogy: we should learn to read truths about the gods from their imagery and statues as from books. We do not look at stelae as a mere matter of blocks of stone, but regard them as an expression of truth. Porphyry’s explanation of religious imagery offers us a new and modern rendition of artistic representation. The viewer uses the artist’s product in order to grasp conceptualized ideas behind the artist’s presentation, though some remain locked in a world of myth and physical representation, while others reach beyond to what art represents.
3. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Shervin Moghimi, Maryam Pirshodeh Political Implications of Plotinus’s Philosophy
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The majority of commentators, in particular those who concentrate on Plotinus’s philosophy, maintain that he, in contrast to Greek philosophy in its flourishing period, and especially in contrast to Plato as founder of political philosophy, does not pay any attention to politics and to planning a good political system as ground of ancient political philosophy. However, though Plotinus does not consider the state, the government, liberty and justice independently, and he is not a political philosopher - from this point of view - we can find some political implications in his “non-political” philosophy, and thereby design his “political philosophy”. We attempt in this article to enumerate some of the most important political implications of Plotinus’s philosophy and fit them together, so that we can offer a coherent view of his ideal politics. One of the most important and influential Platonic dialogues in political terms for the Enneads is Plato’s Laws, and in this paper we will examine some very significant passages from the Laws which Plotinus appeals to them for outlining his ideal politics.
4. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Yohei Nishimura The Death of Philosophers in Porphyry’s Sententiae 9
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The starting point of this paper is a proposition in Porphyry’s Sententiae. There he says, “death is of two sorts: the one is the generally recognized one involving the loosing of the body from the soul; the other is that of the philosophers, involving the soul loosing itself from the body” (9, 1-3). What is most problematic is the last passage of this sentence: «καὶ οὐ πάντως ὁ ἕτερος τῷ ἑτέρῳ ἕπεται». This can be translated as “it is not always necessary that either should follow upon the other” or “it is never the case that either should follow upon the other”. I read this line as a denial of both the natural death as a consequence of the death of philosophers and the reverse. Considering what Porphyry understands as the death of philosophers, I would like to give an insight into the Sententiae themselves, and into the fact that this work is entitled “Pathways to the intelligibles” (‘Ἀφορμαὶ πρὸς τὰ νοητά’) in the manuscripts.
5. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Daniel Regnier Oikeiôsis in Plotinus
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Plotinus’s debt to the Stoic thought is well documented. Not only was this debt a function of the general intellectual atmosphere in which Plotinus worked, but the philosopher frequently adopted and modified Stoic positions consciously and carefully. The concept of oikeiôsis / οἰκείωσις (and its cognates) plays an important role in Stoic thought. Indeed, some scholars assert that it provides the very foundations for Stoic ethics and political philosophy. In the present study, we will exam Plotinus’ use of this important concept. It shall become clear that, on account of the great differences between Neoplatonic and Stoic metaphysics, Plotinus employs the notion of oikeiôsis in manners that are very distinct from the ways in which it was deployed by various Stoic thinkers. Nevertheless, it shall also become evident that Plotinus’ appropriation of the concept of oikeiôsis accorded him a conceptual tool by which to better think problems concerning the nature of the self.
6. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Dimitrios A. Vasilakis Aspects of the Erotic Way of Life in Proclus
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The Neoplatonists have been criticized for giving forced interpretations of Plato. Can this verdict justify modern commentators’ not paying attention to the Neoplatonic views on central Platonic problems, such as the accusation of ‘moral egoism’? The issue of Platonic eros, a proposal for a modus vivendi, serves as a significant test-case in order to answer this challenge. My approach is based on Proclus’ Commentary on the First Alcibiades. The Platonic successor approaches Socrates’ relation to Alcibiades as mirroring the structure of the divine realm. From this point of view, which platonically merges ethics with metaphysics, Proclus repeatedly states that it is an essential feature of the divine lover, who patterns himself upon the god Eros, to elevate along with himself his beloved towards the intelligible Beauty. This seems to go against the Symposium, which might suggest that the lover needs his beloved, because the latter constitutes the means for the former to recollect the source of real beauty. In contrast, for Proclus the ideal loving relationship is parallel to the demiurge’s providential relation to the Receptacle, and that of the philosopher-king to his city. Hence, Proclus presents us the quintessence of the erotic way of life and responds to Plato’s critics.
articles in spanish
7. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
José María Nieva El mito como forma de vida en Damascio
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Damascius splits his Commentary of Phaedo in three parts. The last part is devoted to the eschatological myth which is also split in three parts. The descent in the Hades needs to be read together with two other platonic myths that tell about the soul destiny: Gorgias and the Republic. In such triadic conception, Damascius is in debt with Proclus who was the first in evidencing the imbrications in these three dialogues.According to Damascius, the purpose of the myth is to assign tén choristén diagogén after the souls are separated from the body thus acquiring a certain way of life embodied as the highest, intermediate or lowest perfection.Thus, this paper puts foward the hypothesis that the myth is revealed as a way of living present in the term “diagogé” in which a religious sense is hidden. That sense implies considering philosophy like an initiation in the mysteries. That will demand taking into account the reflections carried out by Damascius when he analyses the “argument of the affinity of the soul with the Ideas” of the Platonic dialogue and his consideration of the philosopher as the happiest man that has been completely identified with Dionysos.
articles in greek
8. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 4
Χριστίνα Πλακούτση Το Γράμμα προς Μαρκέλλαν του Πορφυρίουκαι οι αριστοτελικές επιρροές του
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Το Γράμμα προς Μαρκέλλαν του Πορφύριου είναι ένας προτρεπτικός λόγος για τη φιλοσοφία. Με την επιστολή αυτή παροτρύνεται η σύζυγός του Μαρκέλλα να συνεχίσει να διάγει φιλοσοφικό βίο και να ακολουθεί πιστά τις αρετές του βίου αυτού. Η συγκεκριμένη επιστολή θυμίζει έντονα το Βιβλίο Κ των Ηθικών Νiκομαχείων, όπου ο Αριστοτέλης αναφέρεται στον θεωρητικό βίο. Στην ανακοίνωσή μας θα προσπαθήσουμε να βρούμε τα κοινά στοιχεία ανάμεσα στα δυο έργα. Και οι δυο φιλόσοφοι θεωρούν το θεωρητικό βίο και την άσκηση της νοητικής δραστηριότητας κοπιαστικό έργο που απαιτεί αφοσίωση και σκληρές δοκιμασίες. Όμως μέσα από το βίο αυτό ο άνθρωπος-φιλόσοφος μπορεί να ξεπεράσει την ανθρώπινη υπόστασή του και να ανέλθει σε ένα ανώτερο επίπεδο. Η φιλοσοφία είναι τόσο για τον Αριστοτέλη όσο και για τον Πορφύριο ο μόνος δρόμος προς το θείο. Βεβαίως όλοι οι άνθρωποι δεν μπορούν να διάγουν αυτόν τον βίο, γι’ αυτό και οι δυο φιλόσοφοι διαχωρίζουν τρία είδη βίων ή νόμων και στην κορυφή βάζουν το νόμο του θεού ή το θεωρητικό βίο. Βασική ιδιότητα και για τους δυο είναι η αυτάρκεια που επιτρέπει στον φιλόσοφο να είναι ανεξάρτητος από τους άλλους ανθρώπους. Βασιζόμενοι στα παραπάνω φαίνεται πως ο Πορφύριος είχε δεχτεί και αριστοτελικές επιρροές.
articles in english
9. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Dimitrios Dentsoras Intermediate and Perfect Appropriate Actions in Stoicism
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The essay examines the Stoic notion of appropriate actions (καθήκοντα), focusing on the relationship between the perfectly appropriate actions of the virtuous person (the Stoic κατορθώματα) and “intermediate appropriate actions” (καθήκοντα μέσα). I present some of the philosophical motivations behind the general Stoic theory of καθήκοντα, and argue against the common interpretation of μέσα καθήκοντα as action types that make no reference to the manner of their performance, and of κατορθώματα as μέσα καθήκοντα that are rightly performed by an agent with a virtuous disposition. Instead, I claim that the different types of καθήκοντα should be distinguished with reference to the kinds of things they aim at, rather than the manner in which they are performed. So, μέσα καθήκοντα should be understood as actions aiming at natural advantages that are indifferent, and κατορθώματα as actions aiming at the only true good, i.e., virtue. I discuss some of the advantages of the alternative view and outline the account of virtuous motivation that arises from it.
10. Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy: Volume > 2 > Issue: 3
Panos Eliopoulos Passions and Individual Responsibility in Seneca
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For Seneca passions are not just bad judgments that need to be defeated. Even though he generally agrees with Chrysippus on the matter of the ontology of passions, Seneca differentiates mainly in his emphasis that passions are the reason why man leads an inauthentic, unhappy and undignified life. The Roman philosopher employs practical techniques that refer to the ordinary man, the man who rationally desires to change his merely-being into well-being. But that action requires the energetic engagement of the individual and the admittance of his particular responsibility. The role of individuality is particularly stressed, especially on the premises that man needs to make this constant and conscious effort to help himself, and to cure his own soul, often with the aid of others who share the same path. Under this prism, the treatment of passions leads to a culmination where man is not only bound to achieve his ontological excellence, but also to relieve his soul from the traumas of passions and to connect himself with the moral and existential safety that the presence of “recta ratio” guarantees. Seneca in De Ira defines passion as the result of an ‘impetus’, an horme, which lacks self-control and is closed to reason and counsel. As such, a passion makes the soul unfit to know the right and the true. In such a condition, man loses contact with the firm cognitive criteria that would allow him this knowledge and would ensure a eudaemonistic living “secundum naturam”. Although Seneca is convinced that the stoic teaching should address literally everyone in order to ameliorate one’s life and make it authentic and right, he upholds that it is better to totally exclude passions from the soul than try to control them. That gives certain gravity to the recognition that virtue, although it potentially belongs to every human being, is an absolute good, the only good that can be attained. But virtue, through this condition of emancipation from passion and of correction, is not an idealistic situation. Virtue is necessary, because only virtue can save man from leading an unhappy life, since it is the crucial prerequisite for the life of a rational and conscientious being.