Order From Disorder. Proclus' Doctrine of Evil and its Roots by Phillips, J.

By Phillips, J.

This booklet examines Proclus' doctrine of evil in mild of the culture of exegesis of Plato's therapy of evil in the colleges of old Platonism, from center Platonism to early Neoplatonism.

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Extra info for Order From Disorder. Proclus' Doctrine of Evil and its Roots in Ancient Platonism

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83,12 – 86,25] For the same reason, then, that pertains to their existence the gods are purveyors of all good and nothing evil [This is a continuation of the discussion in 17, p. 81,4 – 82,6]. For what is primarily good and brings into existence from itself all that is good also is not cause of the portion that is its opposite, since as well what produces life is not the cause of of lifelessness, and what creates beauty is distinct both from the beautyless and shameful nature and from its causes… Of those things that have a share of the Good, some preserve their share undefiled and, having accepted their appropriate good in their pure folds, they keep the portion of goods that are proper to them safe from loss because of their abundance of power; while others, situated at the last levels of the wholes, truly themselves enjoy the goodness of the gods as far as their nature allows…, but “having received such an effluence” (Phaedrus 2541b1–2), it is their nature not to keep the gift that has descended to them pure and unmixed, nor to maintain the permanence and sameness of their appropriate good, but becoming weak (asthenê), particular, material, and thoroughly filled with the lifelessness of the substrate, they produce disorder alongside (parhuphistêsi) order, irrationality alongside reason, and wickedness alongside and opposite virtue.

35 36 20 introduction While Proclan evil is privation, it nonetheless possesses certain features of Aristotelian matter. It should also be noted that Aristotle finds fault with Plato’s treatment of the “discordant and disorderly motion” of the elements (Timaeus 30a and 52d–53b) which existed before the Demiurge brought order in creating the universe. In his analysis of the distinction between natural and unnatural motions in bodies in De caelo (300b16–26), he asserts that all unnatural motions, by definition, contravene natural motions.

Cf. O’Meara (1999), 93 f. and 146; Baltes (1996), 495. 24 See the analysis of Sharples (1994), 171–181, on how the Stoics dealt with this problem. 25 De an. procr. 1015C. Cf. ; Long (1968), 333, and n. ; O’Meara (1999), 93 f. The argument is Chrysippean. See also Marcus Aurelius 6, 36. Long notes that, according to Aurelius, evil exists as exclusively a “by-product” of the good whether it is intended (hormêsanta) or is merely incidental (ep’ epakolouthêsin) to what is intended. 26 De Stoic. rep.

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