On the Existence of Evils (Ancient Commentators on Aristotle)

By Proclus

Proclus' On the life of Evils isn't really a remark, yet is helping to atone for the shortage of Neoplatonist moral commentaries. The imperative query addressed within the paintings is: how can there be evil in a providential global? Neoplatonists agree that it can't be brought on by greater and worthier beings. Plotinus had acknowledged that evil is topic, which, not like Aristotle, he collapsed into mere privation or lack, therefore lowering its fact. He additionally safe better explanations from accountability by way of announcing that evil can result from a mixture of products. Proclus gadgets: evil is genuine, and never a privation. relatively, it's a parasite feeding off sturdy. Parasites haven't any right reason, and better beings are therefore vindicated as being the motives simply of the great off which evil feeds.

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253. cf. TP three. eight, p. 34,1-3. 254. Phil. 27A11. 122 Notes to pages 83-85 255. Phil. 27B1-2; cf. additionally 27B6-C1. 256. cf. Resp. 335D. 257. to hou heneka, an expression that already in Gorg. 467D-468C is expounded to the proposal of the nice and is contrasted with to heneka tou, ‘that that's for the sake of [something else]’. 258. cf. Leg. 1, 636D7-E1. See additionally Hom. Iliad 24,527-8, quoted by way of Plato, Resp. 2, 379D3-4. 259. cf. 28,28. 260. we'd virtually name subject solid, have been it now not that it's the final within the hierarchy: there isn't any being less than it for which subject could be the objective. topic is then neither solid nor undesirable, yet, as whatever invaluable, intermediate. 261. cf. in Remp. 1,37,30-38,3. See Philoponus’ feedback: Contra Procl. nine, 403,22-404,1; De Haas (1997), p. 2. 262. subject is critical for the immanent (‘enmattered’) types, no longer for the transcendent, freestanding kinds. 263. cf. ET prop. eight. 264. Plot. 1,8[51],7,19-20: ‘and this final, and then not anything else might come into being, is evil. ’ 265. back Plotinus’ view: 1,8[51],6,36-59. 266. cf. chs 8-9. 267. If evil doesn't exist by itself, it can't be pointed out with topic, on account that subject exists by itself, and never in whatever else, as additionally Plotinus affirms (1,8[51],10,8-9). yet in fact Plotinus doesn't concede that evil has no separate life. 268. cf. Phaedo 60B8-C1; In Parm. 741,3. 269. See Aristotle’s definition of ‘contrary’: Cat. 6, 6a17-18. with a purpose to make the declare opposite of substance is feasible and certainly exists (namely, matter-evil), Plotinus needed to truncate Aristotle’s definition of contraries as ‘things which stand furthest aside within the similar genus’ to ‘things which stand furthest apart’. An severe contrariety may indicate, so he claims, that the contraries don't have anything in any respect in universal, now not even their genus (1,8[51],6,54-9). This development is the following rejected by means of Proclus. See additionally 45,15-17, with n. 327. 270. within the etymological feel of ‘belonging to an analogous genus’. 271. i. e. universal to either the great and the main allegedly homogeneous to it. 272. cf. 7,28-50. 273. based on Calcidius in Tim. 288, this is often Aristotle’s view. evaluate Plot. 1,8[51],11,1. 274. This passage is comparable to Aristotle Phys. 1. nine, 192a13-25, who criticises ‘certain thinkers’ (Platonists regrettably) for now not distinguishing subject and privation. Privation, that's the opposite of the shape and in its personal nature doesn't exist, isn't like the substrate, which wants shape and in simple terms unintentionally doesn't exist. Aristotle says that if one considers privation (‘the different a part of the contrariety’, i. e. ‘that that is opposite’ and consequently the destruction of the shape) as an evil agent (kakopoios, an analogous notice is utilized by Proclus – malificam in Moerbeke’s translation: 38,4; additionally 38,29), it might nearly look to not exist in any respect. He explains that privation is opposite to what's divine, reliable, and fascinating, while subject wants this and yearns for it. Now, if one conflates topic and privation, the end result is that the opposite wants its personal extinction, ‘as contraries are at the same time harmful’ (cf.

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