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Orphans of the One or the Deception of the Immanence

Essays on the Roots of Secularization


Alba Papa-Grimaldi

Through a collection of essays in metaphysics, epistemology and ethics, this book explores the evolution of the idea of the One and Many.
Since Parmenides’ dichotomy of One and Many, the One of the ancient cosmogonies has been reduced to a pole of our thought, a sterile identity which has been identified with truth but cannot bring forth nor give order to the Many. The author reflects on how the Parmenidean dichotomy has led, for many centuries after Parmenides, to the metaphysical attempts to reduce the Many to the One, causing unsolvable epistemological problems, and to the metaphysical dissolution of the One in the Many of time, causing the moral crisis of the West. Further, this study analyses the epistemic and spiritual impasse of the West and shows a possible solution to this problem: to unearth the forgotten dichotomy, the key to understand millenarian philosophical problems, such as consciousness, movement and causality, which are deadlocked because they all stem from the reduction of temporal phenomena within the framework of a rational thought which is unable to account for the non-identical.


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Essay III: Aristotle’s Ontologization of Change: Many is actually One 95


95 Essay III: Aristotle’s Ontologization of Change: Many is actually One In Aristotle we have on one hand separate substance, form, on the other we have matter with a tendency towards form. From the encounter of matter and form, formed substances arise, in which the potentiality or tendency of matter becomes actual. What makes substance actual, is movement or more generically change. Change is according to the definition of Physics III 1,201 a 10: the becoming real of the possible ‘That which is by virtue of its possibility becomes by virtue of its entelechy’. This animation of matter by form is indispensable for substances to exist. From the encounter ab aeterno of the universal element (One) with matter, the particular (Many) is or should be born. This is how, precisely, Aristotle tries to save Many, the plurality of life and becoming, in harmony with the unifying principle necessary to its intelligibility. Change, impressed by the intelligible principle itself, should, therefore, mediate between form and matter. Matter is what changes, form is what engenders the change. What is, more specifically, the essence of this mediation? Matter that changes in Aristotle is not the Many of Parmenides’ dichotomy, for it is already subsumed under the One of form. Change, as the non-identical, the true becoming is, in fact, in the formed substance, lost, and it will be forever lost to Western thought. The Aristotelian solution of the Parmenidean dichotomy is, then, another crucial moment in the shaping of the nihilistic conscience...

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