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Self-KnowledgeA History$
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Ursula Renz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190226411

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190226411.001.0001

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Self-Knowledge in Plotinus

Self-Knowledge in Plotinus

Becoming Who You Are

Chapter:
(p.78) Chapter Four Self-Knowledge in Plotinus
Source:
Self-Knowledge
Author(s):

Pauliina Remes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190226411.003.0006

Plotinus (ca. A.D. 204–270) operates with an in his time novel distinction between the soul and the self that enables asking questions about self-knowledge more directly. His Enneads provide both epistemic and ethical discussions on self-knowledge. Plotinus presents an elaborate picture of self-reflexivity. His other main contribution lies in the discussion of self-knowledge that is not a given, but an accomplishment. Becoming self-knowledgeable coincides with self-transformation. The inner turn coincides with a process in which the infelicities found within are chiseled away. The theory has a proto-voluntarist aspect: human beings are points of identification and origins of self-improvement. Second, we are not devoid of any essence: at the core of each human being is an innate intellect, governing and directing our lives as rational beings. Self-knowledge is self-realization of this true nature of our selfhood, and thus ennobling.

Keywords:   Plotinus, self-transformation, introspection, self-identification, self-ennobling

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