The essays in this volume consider the relevant historical discourses, important contemporary philosophical reflections and artistic perspectives on this subject-matter. The goal is to obtain a multifaceted survey of the concepts, the relationship of the various concepts and their advantages as well as their disadvantages. Leading scholars of many different traditions, countries and disciplines have contributed to this collection.
Pauliina Remes, University of Uppsala - ‘For Itself and from Nothing’: Plotinus’ One as an Extreme Ideal for Selfhood
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University of Uppsala
‘For Itself and from Nothing’: Plotinus’ One as an Extreme Ideal for Selfhood
Ancient philosophy includes a controversial ideal of becoming godlike. This ideal can be interpreted as a call to become a perfect, invulnerable being untouched by worldly desires and contingencies. If so, then it embodies, then so one might argue, both an unrealistic and inhumane ideal to become another kind of creature. One may wonder what the ethical benefits of such a goal are: The best life for human beings would be a life that actually does not resemble a human living at all, and would not, thus, be an actualization of humanity or its best part, but an abandonment of it. (For a related accusation in Platonism, see Annas 1999, ch. VI). Moreover, since there seems to be a rupture between human and non-human, one may also raise a question whether this is an impossible telos, a breach of categories, as it were.
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