<history of philosophy, biography> Egyptian philosopher (205-270). In the Enneads (which were collected and published by his pupil Porphyry) Plotinus extrapolated from the writings of Plato a comprehensive view of reality in which everything flows in a series of emanations from the central unity outwards into ever less significant things. On this view, the chain of being extends from nous through psychÍ to physis. Although human beings are typically caught up in the lowest element of nature, Plotinus supposed each to be a microcosm of the universe as a whole, capable of contemplative awareness of the divine unity. Recommended Reading: Dominic J. O'Meara, Plotinus: An Introduction to the Enneads (Oxford, 1995); ed. by Lloyd P. Gerson (Cambridge, 1996); John N. Deck, Nature, Contemplation, and the One: A Study in the Philosophy of Plotinus (Larson, 1991); and Lloyd P. Gerson, Plotinus (Routledge, 1998).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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