The possibility of reading the Plotinian noetic thought as non-predicative




Plotinus, Enneads, Intellect, non-predicative


The characterization of thought as a subject reflection about a given object is expressed by an enunciation of predicative order. The introduction of the possibility of a type of thought that it is not constituted in virtue of this presupposition brings a lot of difficulties, which is responsible for why Lloyd (1970) treats this theme as an enigma of Greek philosophy, i.e, non-discursive thinking. Plotinus seems to make a distinction between rational and intellectual thought, taking as a starting point the sui generis definition of a thinking that thinks itself. The intriguing nature of this description, i.e, the self-thinking as non-discursive thought, has raised studies with the primary aim to understand how it works this type of thinking. Then to clarify what does it mean to adopt the non-discursive approach. This paper intends to analyze the cited problem in the light of the “non-predicative” of Santos (2018). The hypothesis is that by applying this concept to the discussion it will contribute to increase clarification on the distinction between reason and Intellect. That exercise will be conducted in majority through the reading of V.3 [49] of Plotinus Enneads. The nature of the intellectual thought would be non-predicative and the rational would be predicative.


Download data is not yet available.


ABBAGNANO, N. (2007). Dicionário de Filosofia. Trad. Ivone Castilho. São Paulo, Martins Fontes.

ALFINO, M. (1988). Plotinus and the Possibility of Non-Propositional Thought. Ancient Philosophy 8, p. 273-284.

ARMSTRONG, A. H. (1980). From Intellect to matter: The return to the One. In: The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p 250-259.

BRANDÃO, B. (2007). Só em direção ao só: considerações sobre a mística de Plotino. Horizonte 6, n. 11, p.151-158.

CASSIN, B. (2015). Se Parmênides. O tratado anônimo de Melisso Xenophane Gorgia. Trad. Cláudio Oliveira. Belo Horizonte, Autêntica.

CRYSTAL, I. (1998). Plotinus and the Structure of Self-Intellection. Phronesis 43, p. 264-286.

EMILSSON, E. K. (1995). Plotinus on the Objects of Thought. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 77, p. 21-41.

EMILSSON, E. K. (2007). Plotinus on Intellect. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

FRONTEROTTA, F. (2007). Some Remarks on Noein in Parmenides. In: STERN-GILLET, S.; CORRIGAN, K. (eds.). Reading Ancient Texts. Vol. 1: Presocratics and Plato. Essays in Honour of Denis O’Brien. Boston, Brill, p. 3-19.

GERSON, L. (2013). Ennead V.5: That the Intelligibles are not External to the Intellect, and on the Good. Translation, Introduction and Commentary. Chicago, Parmenides Publishing.

GOLLNICK, S. (2005). Ontologia e conhecimento no V.3 (49) de Plotino. Dissertação de Mestrado em Filosofia. Florianópolis, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina.

LLOYD, A. C. (1970). Non-Discursive Thought: An Enigma of Greek Philosophy. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 70 (new series), p. 261-274.

MENN, S. (2001). Plotinus on the Identity of Knowledge with its Object. Apeiron 34, n. 3, p. 233-246.

MURACHCO, H.; MAIA JR., J.; SANTOS, J. T. (trads.) (2011). Platão. O Sofista. Lisboa, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

NINCI, M. (2016). Corporeal matter, indefiniteness and multiplicity: Plotinus’ critique of Epicurean atomism. In: LONGO, A.; TAORMINA, D. P. (eds.). Plotinus and Epicurus matter, perception, pleasure. New York, Cambridge University Press, p. 133-159.

OOSTHOUT, H. (1991). Modes of Knowledge and the Transcendental. An Introduction to Plotinus Ennead 5.3 with a Commentary and Translation. Amsterdan, B. R. Gruner.

PEREIRA, M. R. (trad.) (2001). Platão. A República. Lisboa, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.

PERL, E. (2014). The Motion of Intellect On the Neoplatonic Reading of Sophist 248e-249d. International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 8, p. 135-160.

RAPPE, S. (2008). Reading Neoplatonism: Non-Discursive Thinking in the Texts of Plotinus, Proclus, and Damascius. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

REUTER, M. (1994). Plotinus on the role of Nous in Self-Knowledge. Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Toronto, University of Toronto.

SANTOS, J. T. (2003). Parmênides. Da Natureza. Tradução, introdução e comentário. São Paulo, Loyola.

SANTOS, J. T. (2013). For a non-predicative Reading of esti in Parmenides, the Sophists and Plato. Méthexis 24, p. 39-50.

SANTOS, J. T. (2015). Parménides e a antepredicatividade. Filosofia 32, p. 9-33.

SANTOS, J. T. (2018). Metamorphoses of logos: from non-predicative to predicative. Archai 24, p. 179-206.

SILVA, J. L. (2014). Sobre alguns problemas de interpretação difícil no Poema de Parmênides. Hypnos 32, p. 108-129.

SILVA, R. (2019). Por uma distinção entre pensamentos racional e intelectual no tratado V.3 [49] das Enéadas de Plotino. Guairacá 35, p. 75-86.

SORABJI, R. (1992). Myths about Non-Propositional Thought. In: SCHOFIELD, M.; NUSSBAUM, M. (eds.). Language and Logos: Studies in Ancient Greek Philosophy. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p. 295-314.

STAMATELLOS, G. (2007). Plotinus and the presocratics: a philosophical study influences in Plotinus Enneads. Albany, State University of New York.



How to Cite

Silva, R. B. B. da. (2020). The possibility of reading the Plotinian noetic thought as non-predicative. Revista Archai, (30), e03036.