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Problemas na leitura de Plotino

sexta-feira 25 de março de 2022


Excertos de «Plotinus   (Arguments of the Philosophers)»

I list here four problems that have in my opinion impeded the critical appreciation of Plotinus’ work. I mention them with the hope that precipitous judgments of Plotinus’ arguments may be forestalled.

(1) Owing to his dates, Plotinus is not easy to incorporate into the curricula of courses in either ancient or medieval philosophy. This means that he has received less attention by the people who potentially could write about him in a philosophical manner.

(2) A related point is that the root system of Plotinus’ philosophy is enormously tangled and extensive. Yet, the fruit of his philosophy is obscure and only harvested with difficulty. That Plotinus is a highly «derivative» philosopher in the way that. say. Hegel   is and Wittgenstein   is not is obvious upon a simple perusal of the index fond am of Henry and Schwyzer’s edition. This means that an enormous background is very nearly essential to appreciating and judging fairly much of what he says. And the advantage that we sometimes have in interpreting other philosophers by the explicit developments of their disciples is mostly lost in the case of Plotinus, for from Porphyry   to Proclus   and then on into Arabic and Christian scholasticism it is usually very difficult to see straightforward use made of arguments that are uniquely those of Plotinus.

(3) Plotinus’ philosophy is in some sense   systematic, but his works are anything but that. There is no single treatise which one could go to in order to discover anything like a definitive statement of his views on a central question. Since the treatises are frequently, as we have seen, occasional pieces written in response to questions or problems raised in classroom discussion, there is no plan of orderly exposition according to which they are produced. This fact is no doubt related to Plotinus’ conviction that the true system of philosophy has already been developed by Plato. Hence, it requires considerable effort and patience to assemble all of the evidence regarding Plotinus’ position on a philosophical problem. It is quite a challenge to arrive at a point at which one can feel confident that all the relevant evidence has been canvassed. I should say here, though, that I am very sceptical about claims regarding a development of Plotinus’ thought in the Enneads following the chronological ordering. I think that the fact that we have a relative chronology has just been a temptation to search for such schemes. There are certainly variations in nuance and emphasis, but I have not detected any substantial alterations in doctrinal content throughout the corpus  .

(4) The Enneads are written in a highly compressed, often obscure style, where dialectic, exegesis  , allegory  , and technical argument are often mixed together in a distressing fashion. It is an exotic work, both in form and content. I am conscious of having suppressed this exotic quality in two respects. First. I have been very selective in discussing Plotinus’ arguments. Occasionally, presumably for polemical reasons, Plotinus will indiscriminately evoke a veritable avalanche of arguments against a position.

Ver online : PLOTINO