Discussion in 'History and Mythology' started by Nicholas Weeks, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

    Jul 21, 2010
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    Proclus - An Introduction by Radek Chlup is a recent book I admire for making Proclus' works more clear. Here is a bit from his Introduction:

    "Late Neoplatonism is one of the most complex metaphysical systems ever
    produced in the West. In spite of this, of all the areas of ancient thought
    it remains possibly the least familiar. While the founder of Neoplatonism,
    Plotinus, has already gained his place among the classics of philosophy,
    and his treatises are studied even by those who do not specialize in ancient
    thought, late Neoplatonists are still known to j ust a handful of experts,
    general philosophical awareness of them being minimal. Nowhere is this
    more obvious than in the case of Proclus of Lycia (AD 412-85). While not
    an entirely original thinker, Proclus produced the most systematic version
    of late Neoplatonic philosophy, and his position within the Neoplatonic
    tradition may perhaps be compared to that of Thomas Aquinas within
    scholasticism. His impact on later thought was considerable: he influence d
    Byzantine philosophy as well as Western scholasticism, was widely studied
    in the Renaissance, and left a deep impression on German idealism. In
    terms of the quantity of preserved works, he ranks among the top five of
    ancient philosophers. Yet few of these are regularly studied nowadays.
    The reasons for this neglect lie in the enormous intricacy of Proclus'
    system, as well as his predilection for technical terminology, which makes
    the reading of his treatises extremely difficult for beginners...

    It is the task of this book to remedy this state of affairs and provide
    easier access to the world of late Neoplatonism. My aim is to introduce
    Proclus to those who are generally interested in philosophy but have no
    knowledge of Neoplatonism, or indeed of ancient philosophy as such
    beyond its very basics. I take special care not to just summarize Proclus'
    ideas, but to bring them to life and show them as sophisticated answers
    to relevant philosophical problems. While many of ProcIus' conceptions
    must necessarily appear as bizarre today, I still strive to present them as a
    meaningful way of looking at the universe and finding one's way about it.
    To what extent I have achieved this is for the critical reader to judge."

    To my mind he has done a wonderful job, with many diagrams to assist in fathoming Proclus' system of thought.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
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  2. Nicholas Weeks

    Nicholas Weeks Bodhicitta

    Jul 21, 2010
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    From the Metaphysics chapter:

    "The philosophy of Neoplatonism is essentially holistic. For the Neoplatonists
    (as indeed for most ancient philosophers), metaphysics, ethics, logic
    or philosophy of nature are interconnected and can never be treated as
    independent disciplines, as they often are today. Accordingly, by Proclus'
    'metaphysics' I do not mean a self-contained discipline distinct from other
    branches of philosophy, but rather a system of basic principles that keep
    Proclus' conceptual universe together, turning it into a coherent whole.

    The fundamentally holistic nature of this complex body of principles
    makes any lucid exposition of it an onerous task. The elementary laws of
    Proclus' universe are limited in number, but they all refer to one another,
    being hard to grasp separately. Any linear explanation of them is thus
    extremely difficult, for ideally the reader would need to see all the principles
    at once. In order to be able to introduce them step by step, I will need to have
    recourse to a number of deliberate simplifications, concealing important
    points in early sections to reveal them fully later on. In many cases I will
    try to create a kind of cosmological narrative designed to throw light on
    various parts of Proclus' system. While some Proclus specialists may find
    such a method questionable, the beginner will hopefully appreciate it,
    being spared the shock of having to absorb all of the system at once."
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Sep 25, 2003
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    Worth a look ...

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