Volume 2, Issue 4, 2018
Ancient Greek Philosophy: Neo-Platonic Philosophy
Oikeiôsis in Plotinus
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.