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Noûs e Formas

sexta-feira 25 de março de 2022

V. 5-1
(Armstrong   Selection and Translation from the Enneads  )

[If the objects of the thought of Noûs (the Platonic Forms) are alive and intelligent (as Plotinus   maintains) then they and Noûs form a unity of some sort: if they are not, they must be either mere verbal expressions, or some sort of material realities, which leads to absurd consequences. And if they are not in Noûs there is no truth in Noûs, which means that truth does not exist at all.]

Either the objects of thought are without perception, and without any share of life or intelligence, or they have intelligence. If they have intelligence, then they have in them truth and the primary Noûs both at once, and we shall proceed to investigate how truth and the intelligible and Noûs are related in this unity-in-duality; are they together in one and the same reality, but also two and diverse, or how are they related? But if they are without intelligence and life, why are they real at all? Premises or axioms or expressions are not real. They are used in speaking about other things and are not real things themselves, as when one says ’Justice is beautiful’, though Justice and Beauty are different from the words used. But if our opponents say that the objects of thought are simple realities, Justice by itself and Beauty by itself, then first of all (if they are outside Noûs) the intelligible will not be a unity or in a unity, but each object of thought will be cut off from the others. Well, then, where will they be? What distances separate them? How will Noûs find them when it runs round looking for them? And how will it stay in its place? How will it remain identical with itself? Whatever sort of shape or imprint will it receive from them? Unless we assume that they are like images set up, made of gold or some other material by a sculptor or engraver. But if this is so, then Noûs which contemplates them will be sense-perception. And why should one of things like these be Righteousness, and another some other virtue? But the greatest objection of all is this. If one admits that the objects of thought are as completely as possible outside Noûs, and that Noûs contemplates them as absolutely outside it, then it cannot possess the truth of them and must be deceived in everything which it contemplates. They are the true realities; and on this supposition it will contemplate them without possessing them; it will only get images of them in a knowledge of this sort. If then it does not possess the true reality, but only receives in itself images of the truth, it will have falsities and nothing true. If it knows that what it has is false, it will admit that it has no part in truth: but if it does not know even this, and thinks it has the truth when it has not, the falsehood in it will be doubled and will set it far away from the truth. (This is the reason, I think, why there is no truth in the senses, only opinion; opinion is opinion because it receives something, and what it receives is different from that from which it receives it.) So if there is not truth in Noûs, then a Noûs without truth will not be truth, or truly Noûs, or Noûs at all. But then truth will not be anywhere else either.