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The Concept of Hamartia in Plotinus

The Concept of Hamartia in Plotinus



Plotinus’ ascription of a double hamartia to the soul in tractate IV 8 [6] raises exegetical and philosophical issues which take us to the foundations of his ethics. As a preliminary stage in the clarification of these issues, his use of hamartia and related concepts must be undertaken. In part I of the paper, an attempt is made at identifying the sense and connotations of the concept in its different Enneadic contexts. In part II, the use of hamartia in IV 8 [6] is discussed in comparison with that of tolma in V I [10]. Part III is devoted to what may be regarded as a change of mind on Plotinus’ part when in I 8 [51] he ascribes the fall of the soul to a darkening of its illumination by matter, and in I 1 [52] 12, where he describes the descending soul as anamartÄ“tos.

Speaker BIO

Suzanne Stern-Gillet, Lic. Phil., MPhil, DPhil, is Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the University of Bolton and Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Manchester. She is the author of Aristotle’s Philosophy of Friendship,1995, the editor (or co-editor) of six collections, the latest being A Text Worthy of Plotinus, 2021 (with K. Corrigan and J. Baracat), and the author of sixty articles on ethics and moral psychology in ancient thought. She is currently at work on a monograph on Plato’s Ion and a translation with commentary of Plotinus’ Ennead I 2 [19].


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