Neoplatonism and the Philosophy of Nature

Hardcover | May 5, 2012

EditorJames Wilberding, Christoph Horn

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Despite Platonism's unquestioned claim to being one of the most influential movements in the history of philosophy, for a long time the conventional wisdom was that Platonists of late antiquity, or Neoplatonists, were so focused on otherworldly metaphysics that they simply neglected anyserious study of the sensible world, which after all is 'merely' an image of the intelligible world. Only recently has this conventional wisdom begun to be dispelled. In fact, it is precisely because these thinkers did see the sensible world as an image of the intelligible world that they devotedso much time and energy to understanding its inner workings. Thus we find Neoplatonists writing on embryology, physiology, meteorology, and astronomy, among other subjects.Neoplatonism and the Philosophy of Nature collects essays by leading international scholars in the field which shed new light on how the Neoplatonists sought to understand and explain nature and natural phenomena. It is thematically divided into two parts, with the first part - The GeneralMetaphysics of Nature - directed at the explication of central Neoplatonic metaphysical doctrines and their relation to the natural world, and the second part - Platonic Approaches to Individual Sciences - showing how these same doctrines play out in individual natural sciences such as elementalphysics, geography, and biology. Together these essays show that a serious examination of Neoplatonic natural philosophy has far-reaching consequences for our general understanding of the metaphysics of Platonism as well as for our evaluation of their place in the history of science.

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Despite Platonism's unquestioned claim to being one of the most influential movements in the history of philosophy, for a long time the conventional wisdom was that Platonists of late antiquity, or Neoplatonists, were so focused on otherworldly metaphysics that they simply neglected anyserious study of the sensible world, which after a...

James Wilberding is Professor in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany. His publications include Plotinus' Cosmology (OUP, 2006), Philoponus: On the Eternity of the World Books 12-18 (Cornell and Duckworth, 2006), and Porphyry: To Gaurus on How Embryos are Ensouled and On What Is in Our Power (Corn...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:May 5, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199693714

ISBN - 13:9780199693719

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Table of Contents

1. James Wilberding and Christoph Horn: IntroductionPart I: The General Metaphysics of Nature2. Lloyd P. Gerson: Plotinus on Logos3. Andrew Smith: The Significance of 'Physics' in Porphyry: The Problem of Body and Matter4. Stephen Menn: Self-Motion and Reflection: Hermias and Proclus on the Harmony of Plato and Aristotle on the Soul5. Alain Lernould: Nature in Proclus: From Irrational Immanent Principle to Goddess6. Christia Mercer: Platonism in Early Modern Natural Philosophy: The Case of Leibniz and ConwayPart II: Platonic Approaches to Individual Sciences7. Ian Mueller: Aristotelian Objections and Post-Aristotelian Responses to Plato's Elemental Theory8. Jan Opsomer: In Defence of Geometric Atomism: Explaining Elemental Properties9. Carlos Steel: Plato's Geography: Damascius' Interpretation of the Phaedo Myth10. James Wilberding: Neoplatonists on 'Spontaneous' Generation11. Christoph Horn: Aspects of Biology in PlotinusBibliographyIndex LocorumSubject Index