By Madsen Pirie

ISBN-10: 0826423868

ISBN-13: 9780826423863

A consultant to one hundred and one thinkers within the background of philosophy. It summarizes the contribution one zero one key philosophers who've made to the advance of philosophical proposal, because the historic Greeks. It deals a glimpse into every one philosopher's existence and paintings.

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Despite his emphasis on the contemplative life and the mysticism he added to Platonism, Plotinus was apparently a practical man, appointed guardian to the children of friends who died. The divine cosmology of Plotinus has the universe as a succession of realities, each of which derives from the one above it, and gives existence to the one below. At the apex is the ‘One’, that which is perfect and complete, with no attributes and no parts to mar its unity. It is not even self-conscious, for that would require the duality of self and consciousness.

It is not that appearances and perceptions do not exist, just that we have to suspend judgment about what their true nature might be. Honey, for example, is called sweet, but the sweetness is not in the honey, but in our perception of it. To Sextus, scepticism brought peace of mind (‘ataraxia’) by the realization that truth could not be known, and by suspending judgment about it. Having no knowledge of what is objectively good, the sceptic feels no disquiet at falling short of it. He suspends judgement not only about ethics, but even about the reality of matter, time and space.

Plotinus, born in Egypt, became a teacher of philosophy in Rome, achieving a celebrity status that included the admiration of emperors. We know his thought through the Enneads, six sets of nine books edited from his notes and published after his death by his disciple Porphyry. Plotinus lived an ascetic life of which Porphyry said, ‘he seemed ashamed to be in his body’. Despite his emphasis on the contemplative life and the mysticism he added to Platonism, Plotinus was apparently a practical man, appointed guardian to the children of friends who died.

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101 Great Philosophers: Makers of Modern Thought by Madsen Pirie

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