Causation and Creation in Late Antiquity by Anna Marmodoro, Brian D. Prince

By Anna Marmodoro, Brian D. Prince

Written via a gaggle of top students, this exact number of essays investigates the perspectives of either pagan and Christian philosophers on causation and the production of the cosmos. established in elements, the quantity first seems to be at divine enterprise and the way overdue vintage thinkers, together with the Stoics, Plotinus, Porphyry, Simplicius, Philoponus and Gregory of Nyssa, tackled questions reminiscent of: is the cosmos everlasting? Did it come from not anything or from anything pre-existing? How used to be it prompted to come back into lifestyles? Is it fabric or immaterial? the second one half appears at questions pertaining to human corporation and accountability, together with the matter of evil and the character of will, contemplating thinkers akin to Plotinus, Porphyry, Proclus and Augustine. Highlighting the most very important and fascinating features of those philosophical debates, the amount should be of serious curiosity to upper-level scholars and students of philosophy, classics, theology and historical historical past.

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The first one is when the centre of the cosmos stops burning and ‘sinks’ or ‘collapses’ (συνίζει). It is not immediately clear what this could mean and, in what follows, I devote some space to interpreting this claim. The key to understanding this claim resides in the meaning of the verb συνίζειν. The only use of συνίζειν attested specifically for Cleanthes is t3. But the term or its cognates appear sometimes in other sources on Stoicism, and there is no reason for thinking that its meaning in t3 is any different from its meaning in these other sources.

And this necessarily excludes the possibility that some of the fire of the conflagration persists beyond the start of the cosmogony. As t2 indicates, the whole of matter is transformed into water ‘through air’ (δι’ ἀέρος), a claim that we also find in t1 and t3. The reason for this is not given in any of the three texts. 6 The four elements change into one another by expansion and contraction of a basic matter. And given that air is denser than fire and thinner than water, any portion of fire that is to be transformed into water must first be transformed into air.

Nature. 5 Be that as it may, the distinction between the causation of intelligible substances and a kind of craftsmanlike causation based on calculation or discursive reasoning is a recurring aspect of passages where Plotinus focuses on how true intelligible causes act on the physical world. 3 conflicts with Plotinus’ usual theory of metaphysical principles, since logos comes to be something like a fourth hypostasis). Criticism in Rist 1967: 90–7. See Opsomer 2005a. I dwell on this issue in Chiaradonna 2014a.

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