Message from the President
This issue of ELEUTHERIA contains the second part of James Lowry’s essay on Reason and Religion as well as the conclusion of my article on Hegel, Habermas, Piaget and Epistemology. Both articles distinguish between speculative reason and the modern appeals to what may be loosely called “quasi-rationalities”.
On April 9, 1994 the Institute held the first of a series of seminars on Plotinus’ Enneads. These seminars will concentrate on Book VI of the Enneads entitled “On the Kinds of Being”. There are three treatises on the kinds of being in the Enneads. On April 9th the seminar dealt with Chapter Two or number forty-three in Porphyry’s chronology. Chapter Two opens with a discussion of the Platonic categories of sameness, otherness, rest and motion as found in Plato’s Sophist and raises the issue of whether or not “being” itself is a category.
A substantial portion of Plotinus’ text focuses on the exclusivity of the categories. A crucial matter for exegetical insight into the text is how the interpreter is to understand Plotinus’ use of Aristotelian language and turns of phrase. It should be remembered that Neo-Platonists were required to study Aristotle before taking up Plato. The first writings of Proclus were, for example, commentaries on Aristotelian texts.
The description of Plotinus as a Neo-Platonist is misleading since even a cursory acquaintance with the Enneads reveals a wide-ranging synthesis and rearticulation of the complete history of the Greek philosophical tradition. The references are subtle and the arguments richly terraced. “On the Kinds of Being” is not simply a restatement of the Platonism of the Sophist or the Parmenides but an original metaphysics expressed in a refined and highly nuanced language.
In future issues of ELEUTHERIA we hope to publish a commentary on Plotinus that captures the work currently being undertaken in the Institute seminars.
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The Institute now has available for purchase Volumes One and Two in its MONOGRAPH SERIES. The monographs, entitled, Speculative Philosophy and Practical Life and Psyche and Cosmos, are by James Lowry, and originally appeared in ELEUTHERIA. Each volume in the MONOGRAPH SERIES contains a Concordance and Line Numbering for easy reference.