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The electronic version of Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics is available at: www.ceeol.com

2/2011

XLVIII (New Series: IV)
Issued: 25th November 2011
Biannual
Founded: 1964
Re-established as an international journal: 2008
ISSN: 0014 –1291
Language: English, German

Unitas Multiplex as the Basis of Plotinus’ Conception of Beauty

http://aesthetics.ff.cuni.cz/archive/295/unitas-multiplex-as-the-basis-of-plotinus-conception-of-beauty

 

The essay first succinctly points out shortcomings in previous interpretations of Plotinus’ notion of beauty. Beauty is to be connected primarily with Intellect, which is to be understood as a special unity in diversity. The section of the essay devoted to aesthetics is therefore preceded by a short analysis of Intellect’s unity and diversity. The hypothesis about the primary relation of beauty to the Intellect is then corroborated by a reading of Ennead V.8 and further developed. The emphasis is on three basic aspects of beauty: its being a unity of a mixture whose character is shared by all ontological levels; its function of referring to what is above it; and its fundamental accessibility. Though Plotinus opposes the Stoic notion of beauty as symmetry and stresses beauty’s simplicity, it follows for him that beauty has the character of unitas multiplex, albeit a special one.