Plotinus Treatise on the Virtues

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Topics: Virtue, Plato, Soul
84

RUSSIAN STUDIES IN PHILOSOPHY

Russian Studies in Philosophy, vol. 42, no. 1 (Summer 2003), pp. 84–95. © 2003 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All rights reserved. 1061–1967/2003 $9.50 + 0.00.

D.V. BUGAI

Plotinus’s Treatise On the Virtues (I.2) and Its Interpretation by Porphyry and Marinus

Manibus tatianae magistrae

As is well known, Plotinus’s philosophy served as the starting point for the development of all Neoplatonism. It created the basic schema that set the framework for the thought of all later representatives of this tendency from Porphyry to Damascius. The doctrine of the transcendence of the One, of the three original hypostases, the application of the categories of Plato’s Parmenides in the construction of ontology—all this and much else besides became the property of the Neoplatonic schools, which were scattered throughout the Roman empire, and was incorporated partly into the Christian theology, which was then in the process of formation. Naturally, as a result of its wide dissemination and the change in its cultural and social environment, Plotinus’s legacy appeared in a different light and took on new forms; through these changes in form we can try to understand the difference in content. For this purpose Plotinus’s treatise on the virtues is of special interest. The point is that Porphyry relies precisely on this treatise and at times even literally borrows large fragments from it in setting out the doctrine concerning the virtues in the thirty-second maxim (Athormaì
English translation © 2003 M.E. Sharpe, Inc., from the Russian text © 2002 the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “Traktat Plotina ‘O Dobrodeteliakh’ (I.2) i ego interpretatsiia Porfiriem i Marinom,” Voprosy filosofii, 2002, no. 8, pp. 134–41. A publication of the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences. Dmitrii Vladimirovich Bugai is a candidate of philosophical sciences and a senior research associate of the Faculty of Philosophy at Moscow State

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