Is it necessary to read Neoplatonic works (e.g. Plotinus, Porphyry, etc…) to understand St. Augustine’s books?

Why is Plotinus important?

Plotinus is considered to be the founder of Neoplatonism. Taking his lead from his reading of Plato, Plotinus developed a complex spiritual cosmology involving three foundational elements: the One, the Intelligence, and the Soul.

Why is Augustine important?

Augustine is perhaps the most significant Christian thinker after St. Paul. He adapted Classical thought to Christian teaching and created a powerful theological system of lasting influence. He also shaped the practice of biblical exegesis and helped lay the foundation for much of medieval and modern Christian thought.

What is Neoplatonism contribution to Augustine’s thought?

As a neoplatonist, and later a Christian, Augustine believed that evil is a privation of good and that God is not material. Perhaps more importantly, the emphasis on mystical contemplation as a means to directly encounter God or the One, found in the writings of Plotinus and Porphyry, deeply affected Augustine.

What is the Neoplatonic good?

Neoplatonic philosophy is a strict form of principle-monism that strives to understand everything on the basis of a single cause that they considered divine, and indiscriminately referred to as “the First”, “the One”, or “the Good”.

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What is matter Plotinus?

According to Plotinus, matter is the condition for the possibility of there being images of Forms in the sensible world. From this perspective, matter is identified with the receptacle or space in Plato’s Timaeus and the phenomenal properties in the receptacle prior to the imposition of order by the Demiurge.

What is the difference between Plotinus and Plato?

Unlike Plato, Plotinus argued that the One/Good must transcend Being. Since the intelligible realm of the forms is ultimate reality—that which truly is—Plotinus argued, the source of the intelligible realm must somehow “be no Being” since it generates being (the intelligible realm).

What can we learn from Augustine?

God uses the truth, wherever it is found, to bring about His plans for His people. From Augustine’s life we can have confidence that God will bring His elect to faith, even if the path of some pass through pagan philosophy, deceptive teachings, and the lure of the lusts of this world.

What is St Augustine’s philosophy?

Augustine argued that Skeptics have no basis for claiming to know that there is no knowledge, and he believed that genuine human knowledge can be established with certainty. He believed reason to be a uniquely human cognitive capacity that comprehends deductive truths and logical necessity.

What were Saint Augustine’s beliefs?

In his struggle against evil, Augustine believed in a hierarchy of being in which God was the Supreme Being on whom all other beings, that is, all other links in the great chain of being, were totally dependent. All beings were good because they tended back toward their creator who had made them from nothing.

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What is Epicurean theory?

Epicureanism argued that pleasure was the chief good in life. Hence, Epicurus advocated living in such a way as to derive the greatest amount of pleasure possible during one’s lifetime, yet doing so moderately in order to avoid the suffering incurred by overindulgence in such pleasure.

What is Neoplatonism and why is it important?

Neoplatonist ideas are more explicitly religious than those of Plato, and they developed largely to counter dualistic interpretations of Plato’s thought. For example, Neoplatonism sought to overcome the Platonic cleavage between thought and reality, or Ideal and Form.

What is the central belief of Renaissance neoplatonism?

Neoplatonist beliefs are centered on the idea of a single supreme source of goodness and being in the universe from which all other things descend. Every iteration of an idea or form becomes less whole and less perfect. Neoplatonists also accept that evil is simply the absence of goodness and perfection.

Why was Neoplatonism important in the Renaissance?

Summary. Renaissance Neoplatonism was the creation of the fifteenth-century Florentines Marsilio Ficino and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and had a profound and far-reaching impact on the cultural as well as the intellectual and religious life of Europe for well over two centuries.

What is the difference between Neoplatonism and Platonism?

Neoplatonism is the modern name given to the form of Platonism developed by Plotinus in the 3rd century ce and modified by his successors. It came to dominate the Greek philosophical schools and remained predominant until the teaching of philosophy by pagans ended in the second half of the 6th century ce.

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What’s the meaning of Neoplatonism?

Definition of Neoplatonism

1 : Platonism modified in later antiquity to accord with Aristotelian, post-Aristotelian, and eastern conceptions that conceives of the world as an emanation from an ultimate indivisible being with whom the soul is capable of being reunited in trance or ecstasy.

Who wrote Plato?

Republic (Plato)

Title page of the oldest complete manuscript: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Gr. 1807 (late 9th century)
Author Plato
Original title Πολιτεία
Country Ancient Greece
Language Greek

Who dismisses the Cartesian dualism?


In The Concept of Mind (1949), Ryle dismisses the Cartesian view as the fallacy of “the ghost in the machine,” arguing that the mind—the ghost—is really just the intelligent behaviour of the body.