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Neoplatonism and the Philosophy of Nature$
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James Wilberding and Christoph Horn

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199693719

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199693719.001.0001

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Nature in Proclus:

Nature in Proclus:

From irrational immanent principle to goddess

(p.68) 4 Nature in Proclus
Neoplatonism and the Philosophy of Nature

Alain Lernould

Oxford University Press

In the prologue of his commentary on Plato’s Timaeus Proclus defines Nature as the last of the productive causes of the corporeal, as an incorporeal essence inseparable from bodies. Nature is both an immanent (following Aristotle) ontological principle and a transcendent one (following Plato). It is an intermediate hypostasis between soul and the corporeal, possessing the reason-principles of sensible bodies—an hypostasis which Proclus identifies with the Divisible Essence that becomes in bodies, mentioned at Timaeus 35a2f. Immanence and transcendence can here be reconciled by the distinction between Nature as monad and the many natures dependent from this monad. Another important point is the distinction between nature qua nature and nature qua soul, intellect, One. Nature is so defined as ‘divine art’ and ‘instrument of the gods’—an instrument which is not deprived of self-motion and is integrated in the divine order.

Keywords:   Nature, reason-principles, incorporeal essence, Divisible Essence, divine art, instrument of the gods, immanent, transcendent, productive cause, monad

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