Plotinus on Care of Self and Soul
Keywords:Care, Self, Soul, Plotinus, Virtue
Plotinus’ philosophical project includes an important Socratic element. Plotinus is namely interested in both self-knowledge and care of soul and self. In this study I examine how through his interpretation of three passages from Plato (Timaeus 35 a, Phaedrus 246 band Theatetus 176 a-b), Plotinus develops an account of the role of care in his ethics. Care in Plotinus’ ethical thought takes three forms. First of all, care is involved in maintaining the unity of the embodied self. Secondly, situated in a providential universe, our souls – as sisters to the world soul - take part in the providential order by caring for ‘lower’ realities. Finally, Plotinus develops an ethics of going beyond virtue, a process which involves care for the higher, potentially divine, self.
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