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Volume 11, 2013

Études sur l'intellection, l’âme, les formes poétiques et le théâtre

Claudia Maggi
Pages 79-89

The Plotinian Rethinking of Dyad and Numbers in Ennead VI 6

The aim of this paper is to show how some passages in the treatise VI 6 (34) of the Enneads (On numbers) could be considered a Plotinian attempt to achieve a sort of mediation between Plato’s dialogues and the Academic models concerning the generation of numbers and ideas by the two principles of the One and the Indefinite Dyad. Through a complex exegetical contamination, Plotinus gets to identify numbers, ideas and the Dyad with the hypostasis of the Intellect, saving for the One the condition of the sole principle of every reality. This new reading modifies the ontological role played by ideal numbers : they gain an ontological priority on any other being, thanks to their being conceived as the a priori condition of the display of multiplicity. The so-called Intermediates, on the other hand (as far as they are linked to computation and quantity), have a reshaped status, as a result of the fact that calculation is unable to grasp the essence of a given reality.