This course will primarily focus on Plotinus’ explanation and justification for the affirmation of the One over above the Many, or, more specifically, over the Intellect. The speculative lead-up to this conclusion, however, draws on a very rich and often ignored Aristotelian tradition. “His writings … are full of concealed Stoic and Peripatetic doctrines. Aristotle’s Metaphysics, in particular, is concentrated in them.” (Porphyry, On the Life of Plotinus and the Order of his Books, 14.6-8) We will focus on the Platonic esoteric teachings, as it is understood by Aristotle and several other Platonic witnesses. We will spend time studying the Middle Platonists, notably, Alcinous, and then progress our study into Alexander of Aphrodisias’ Commentary on the De Anima, whose interpretation of Aristotle via the Middle Platonists significantly influenced Plotinus’ reading of Aristotle. All this will help us understand the philosophical presuppositions influencing Plotinus’ doctrine of the One and his Neo-aristotelian accent.
Wednesday 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.