Philosophical Inquiry

Volume 43, Issue 3/4, Summer/Fall 2019

Christos Ath. Terezis
Pages 2-19

“Remaining” as the Natural Expression of the Ontological Monism in Proclus and Pseudodionysius the Areopagite

This study is a comparative investigation of Proclus’ and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite’s positions about “remaining” as demonstrative of the ontological monism. Focusing the attention, first of all, to the Neoplatonist philosopher, who represents polytheism, it comes that “remaining” indicates the state of standstill and unchangeability of those beings which are able to function as productive principles. Thus, a transcendental and a productive plane are identified, a parameter which combines the apophatic with the affirmative approaches. The theory about “unparticipated-participated-participating” brings to the light a middle phase between “remaining” and “procession”, in order the relation “one-multitude” to develop. In Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, “remaining” appears in two planes: a) the transcendent One, which does not take part in the production process, b) the One which includes all the beings in the form of archetypical reasons. Note that this is not an eternal co-existence or an ontological identification of the beings with the One’s substance or a transition from the first One to the second, as Proclus suggests. Pseudo-Dionysius just describes the providential function of the One, which is manifested owing to its goodness. In conclusion, the main difference between the two thinkers is how they conceive the notion of “metaphysical multitude”: in Proclus, it indicates a hierarchy of beings, while, in Pseudo-Dionysius, it expresses the inner richness of the unity. In both the worldviews though, the ontological prospect which is formed is actually an optimistic one.