Have any of you lads read the newish Gerson translation of The Enneads? I finally finished up the Greeks but I can't decide if I should check out this one or the good ol' Loeb classic.

Attached: 1107001773.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SX500_.jpg (330x500, 23.8K)

Get the Gerson, then read a shit ton of secondary sources. This isn't a work that you just breeze through relying purely on the translation.

Not OP I've never read this because it's simply too intimidating. It seems like the literal final boss of Classical Greco-Roman thought. I feel like I'd need to spend years studying Plato before I could even attempt to read it.


Wouldn't recommend spending your neetbux on Loebs unless you know Greek. Also wouldn't recommend getting deep into classical philosophy unless you know Greek.

Interesting, I heard that Plotinus was extremely difficult but I've always been quite stubborn about sticking to the primary literature and forming my own conclusions. But almost confirms that I'm going to have to crack and pick up some commentaries and that book comparing and contrasting Plato and Plotinus (pic related). Fuck me the neoplatonists are going to be an expensive undertaking

Attached: 1472575210.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SX500_.jpg (315x500, 17.34K)

The Gerson translation is very good, and is one of the only modern full translations in English that makes use of all the research done in the last century that fixes up the messy manuscripts. The Loebs might be useful if you can read the Greek.

You're supposed to read secondary literature only after your read the primary text

I have it. It's pretty good, as you'd expect from a Plotinus scholar the level of Gerson. Plenty of footnotes and explanation, the translation itself is well done, though lacking some of the poetry of MacKennas. The upside of course is that a LOT of scholarship has been done on Neoplatonism since MacKennas time and all of that is included in Gersons translation and notes.

Basically if you have the money to spend there is no reason not to get the Gerson translation, it's the best available right now.

There's a lot of good literature to help you these days. Plotinus by Gerson is a fantastic companion to the Enneads. Theophany be Eric Perl is more focused on Proclus but still considered a great introduction to Neoplatonism. A book I have that is very underrated is the Structure of the Intelligble Universe According to Plotinus by Armstrong. It's short, only around 100 pages or so but it covers a lot of ground and thoroughly explains the three primary Hypostases of intelligible reality that form the core of Plotinus philosophy.

Attached: 1647672586106.jpg (324x500, 11.17K)

I'm not sure he's so hard; not harder than Aristotle anyway. Plato might be harder because he's so deceptively easy to read, but requires so much interpretation to make sense of. Plotinus is logically rigorous, which makes him hard insofar as following a thorough going logical account can test patience, but he's also overtly telling you what he thinks while Plato does things like present a beautiful mythic account and follow it up with another third or half of dialogue that somehow needs put together with the myth. (This is, for example, what he does in Symposium and Phaedrus, where the big myths aren't the end of the story, and the subsequent parts of the dialogue seem to be either a commentary on what it means to either misunderstand or give the myth.)

Wow, I just took a step back and thought about it and realized that you're right. I should read it, come to my own conclusions, and then take a look at a different perspective. I've been doing it wrong for years, but all that's to blame is my big ego.

Thanks lads, you've convinced me. I just placed the order for the Gerson

This is a good addition while you're going. Middle Platonism bridges the gap between Plato and Plotinus and George Boys-Stones was one of the contributors to Gersons Enneads.

Attached: 1629772799841.jpg (314x500, 32.34K)

Getting deep into classical philosophy without knowing much Greek can make you understand classical philosophy better than people who can read Greek but don’t go as deep as you into it. I mean what a dumb post, if you dedicate to studying it of course you’ll get a lot out of it and will inevitably become acquainted with Greek to some extent.

Most important Greek to know is Nous, psyche, pneuma, logos, arche, ousia, hypostasis, energeia and dynamis. If you know those terms you can get by pretty well.

Thanks for the suggestion, user.

I think I'm going to go back and read some commentaries on Plato. You summed it up really well. I found Aristotle super easy to understand, very logical and straight to the point. On the other hand, Plato is a lot more flowy. I found myself frequently getting caught up in Plato's storytelling and having to circle back to focus on his philosophy.

Cheers user. I will say that, if you're trying to grapple with Plotinus, you might not need to look to commentaries on Plato necessarily; especially if you get ahold of the Gerson translation, he has citations in the footnotes where Plotinus seems to be alluding to particular passages in Plato (and Aristotle). If you have access to the most important works Plotinus seems to rely on (Republic, Symposium, Phaedrus, Phaedo, Parmenides, Timaeus), then you should be fine, and if not, you can use google and look up "plato perseus [dialogue and stephanus page]" to get the passages you need quickly. Plotinus is, after all, an interpreter of Plato, and even the subsequent Neoplatonist commentaries are ultimately (even if not always) commenting in light of him.

In any case, you should be fine to tackle Plotinus without having to make a potentially long detour back through Plato (unless you want to). And, by the by, if you're still interested in one single great commentary on Plotinus, look up the commentary by Paul Kalligas, which comments on Porphyry's biography prefacing the Enneads, and the first three Enneads in full (there's supposed to be a second volume completing the last three, but I'm not sure when). You can download that on bookzz/bookfi/b.ok or whatever site with ebooks.

Oh hell, this looks good, thanks user

The newer the worse

I done read the whole thing, AMA.

As a side-note, I also read all of Plato beforehand which was a huge help as it helps to understand a lot of what Plotinus is talking about. I also read some Aristotle, but felt like I should've read more beforehand. Specifically I would read the Categories, Physics, De Anima, Nicomachean Ethics and Metaphysics, as bits and pieces come up here and there even though the overall 'world' is that of Plato.

Oh and going on to read Boethius and Augustine, and then scholastics after Plotinus is a real pleasure. In particular seeing Augustine weave so much of Plotinus into Christianity is wonderful.

If a complete version of Aristotle's Poetics was unearthed tomorrow, would you refuse to read the section on comedy?

Newer is worse, right? Not necessarily.

Yeah, it's strange how many people don't realize just how huge an influence Plotinus was on Augustine. Especially strange since so many Protestants claim they're in the "Augustinian tradition" and hold him up as their patron saint but then claim pagan philosophy corrupted the faith?

Attached: 1650724968550.png (535x630, 441.28K)

Why spend so much time studying that sort of thing? Do you believe it superior to more recent philosophy?

Not him, but classical philosophy is strictly superior to recent philosophy, because they're actually trying to make a case for what they believe is the ultimate truth.

Nowadays, recent philosophy is just varying shades of "truth is just a subjective opinion", so they don't have to try to make a coherent case for rational beauty - they degenerate into committedly irrational emotionalism based on critiquing modern political trends, and hope that you get swept up in it.

>Do you believe it superior to more recent philosophy?
Yes? Recent philosophy is garbage since they've completely given up on understanding reality and threw in the towel to become the handmaiden to empirical science. What is there to philosophize about when you believe that anything that can't be verified empirically is simply a subjective matter of opinion?

What do you think about Eriugena, if you read him?

Gerson? No, thanks. I'll stick to Stephen MacKenna's. it because his name sounds jewish?

It kind of sounds like gay son.

There's an user here who got BTFO by Gerson as a student and seethes eternally because of it

Attached: 1640075108543.png (937x523, 70.95K)

That user seems to have a point. The dialogues are almost all about questioning down consistent lines of inquiry.

What about Taylor?

it's mainly because he does a monistic reading of Plotinus

I’m the original guy. I don’t know if it’s superior or not as I haven’t reached ‘modern’ philosophy in my reading of primary sources, only what I know from other places like reading essays and so on. I just decided that if I want to read philosophy, i need to start with Plato ajd go forwards because philosophy is a dialogue through the ages. I felt that, if I jumped straight to, say, Hegel, he’ll make references to older things that I will not understand.

I don’t know if that’s trye or not, but it certainly feels like the right choice so far. I’m reading Anselm of canterbury at the moment and it’s wonderful to be able to link what he says back to Augustine, to Plotinus, to the stoics, to Aristotle, to Plato. Every time I read a new philosopher, it feels like the entirety of previous philosophy is part of them. There might be a break at some point, but that too will be interesting if it happens. I like to take a holistic approach to the activity, even though I realize I won’t be able to read literally everything.

Not yet, but he is on the list. As i was saying in the post above, I’m on Anselm at the moment and then I’ll take a break to read some fiction and decide where to go next. Could do Eriugena, I also want to go back a bit and read Origen to get a more Orthodox perspective on that moment in time before the great schism. Could also say fuck it and jump forward to Aquinas. Any prticular Eriugena collection I should look at?

If you want a more pre-schism Orthodox perspective, try St John of Damascus, St Maximus the Confessor, St Basil the Great or St Gregory the Theologian.

Origen is anathematised as a heretic by the Orthodox Church because in his works he kept some Platonic presuppositions that were not Orthodox - but, his works are worth reading in many ways anyway. One things the Fathers do say about him, is something like, "Where Origen is good, no-one was better, and where Origen was bad, no-one was worse."

>"Where Origen is good, no-one was better, and where Origen was bad, no-one was worse."
Ridiculous hyperbole. Origen dabbled in speculative theology that was later anathematized, in his own time he was a thoroughly Orthodox Christian. The idea that someone can be a true Christian in their own lifetime and become a heretic centuries later is utterly retarded. You're tacitly admitting the doctrine of the Church changes.

Dumb posts. Obviously haven't engaged with much modern philosophy. Would probably call Cicero or Sextus Empiricus "postmodernists" if they read them without knowing who they were

Zizek is the only notable contemporary philosopher and it's because he's a living meme.

Sorry user but that comment is rather ignorant. Especially since 'modern philosophy' means much more than just 'literally contemporary 2022 philosophy' -- though even in that case there is a lot of good work being done (see the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy). The worst trait in a student of philosophy is arrogance. Cicero talks about this a lot -- how can someone know the school of thought that he subscribes to is the best when he has only ever been taught by that one school? A novice is not in a position to judge which wise man is the wisest, because he is himself not yet wise.

Name one modern philosopher that makes the case that there is an absolute truth that isn't a continually changing temporary consensus between subjective perspectives.

I do want more Orthodox stuff yes, and I’ve heard of some of those writers so I’ll have a look. At some point, but this will likely be later on as a parallel, I want to read the Philokalia, or at least part of it. 500-1000AD is a really interesting time for philosophy and one could easily spend an entire lifetime just reading that and nothing modern, so I’m happy to take some more time on it.

To relate this back to the arguments in the thread, I think part of what’s interesting about ancient or let’s say pre-modern pholosophy is that, reading it, it feels like these people genuinely believe what they’re saying, are genuinely trying to make sense of the world around them. From my limited experience with it, a good amount of modern philosophy reads like thought experiments, like a sort of ‘what-if’ scenario, and so comes across more like an academic discussion, but once said discussion is finished the writer goes on with their lives. Reading Plotinus, for example, one gets the sense that they are witnessing his life, there is no ‘other life’ outside of these writings, he’s not an academic for whom the essays are his job and then he goes on to do other stuff.

But of course once I get to primary modern sources I’m sure some moden thinkers might be similar. Wittgenstein comes to mind.

Name names.

>From my limited experience with it, a good amount of modern philosophy reads like thought experiments, like a sort of ‘what-if’ scenario, and so comes across more like an academic discussion, but once said discussion is finished the writer goes on with their lives. Reading Plotinus, for example, one gets the sense that they are witnessing his life, there is no ‘other life’ outside of these writings, he’s not an academic for whom the essays are his job and then he goes on to do other stuff.
Precisely. Excellent observation. Modern philosophy is bad because the "philosophers" who practice it treat it like idle speculation rather than an exercise that actually determines how they should live their lives. Any philosopher who denies their claims bind them to certain concrete actions or ways of living should be disregarded as they are not serious thinkers. Any philosopher who makes a claim about how reality is should be prepared to back up their words and live accordingly, while making the case that their philosophy provides the best basis for their way of life.

Very uninformed comment. The main problem is that no sceptic would argue there is no objective truth. That would be a dogmatism. The point is whether or not we can access it -- whether we know when we *know* something. This is something that even the most stringent idealists like Plato and Kant emphasise -- the precious difficulty of verification, and how cautious we must be about thinking we have knowledge (hence Socrates' challenging people to prove that they know what they think they know). Cicero makes the case that scepticism is the most prudent of all philosophies, and I think it is a strong argument -- especially when we consider the ways that the schools of thought in his time have been contradicted by the evidence presented by medieval and modern sciences. One should not assent willy-nilly, just because one has the idea that not believing in objective truth is a bad thing. If objective truth is obtainable, we must not treat it like a whore.

As for your question itself, the problem is I don't know specific philosophers (real philosophy is not being done by 'big names) but in my reading encounter objectivist positions all the time. We had a thread the other day about the statistics showing a lot of professional atheist philosophers believe in objective morality. Even so, that shouldn't be your criterion for dismissing modern philosophy, given the prevalence of sceptical points of views in some of the best ancient philosophical schools (in Hellenic and Indian philosophy alike).

>As for your question itself, the problem is I don't know specific philosophers
...You were just claiming that there is worthwhile modern philosophy though? How the fuck can you say that if you haven't read anything by any particular modern philosopher you can name?

Ok, so you can't name one.

Modern philosophers discarded. I want to know the truth, not listening to self-refuting retards say that there is no truth... which would mean that it is true that there is no truth.

The Philokalia is largely a compendium of extracted works from other Church Fathers, particularly the ascetic ones.

One of those works in full, is the Ascetical Homilies of St Isaac the Syrian, which is from the 500-1000 AD period you mentioned. It's very thorough, and presents a very full picture of Orthodox anthropology.

Let us be very careful with our terms. Can the two of you define what you mean by modern philosophy? Tell me the exact era you are referring to. To my knowledge, modern philosophy begins with Descartes. I would argue that the Empiricists and the Rationalists are very worthwhile. Kant is very worthwhile as well. Is it that you meant to say contemporary philosophy? If so, then I concur that there are no worthwhile contemporary philosophers.

>Can the two of you define what you mean by modern philosophy?
Within the past 50 years

>To my knowledge, modern philosophy begins with Descartes.
Are you kidding me nigger? Descartes lived FOUR HUNDRED years ago. He's closer to Aquinas than he is to us.

Just curious user, did you ever go back and read the presocratics? I'd like to know your opinion on how they stack up

It seems like we are in agreement then. I agree that philosophy within the past 50 years is not worthwhile. Partially due to its straying from objective truth. However, you must stop using the term 'modern' in a colloquial sense. In philosophical discourse, the term 'modern' refers to the period of philosophy following medieval philosophy. In academic circles, the modern period is generally agreed to begin with Descartes.

Not really, I mean only through what comes across from them in Plato and Aristotle (and Plotinus to some extent since Pythagorean ideas flow to his thinking too).

Not to mention that we don’t have much left from them. But when I started it was fairly clear to me that I should start with Plato, he’s the beginning of Western though put down on paper so to speak, and through mentions from him and Aristotle (perhaps moreso Aristotle since he’s more thorough and mentions the various guys who talked about the formation of the Earth like Anaxagoras) you can get enough of a sense for what they were on about, and going forward they don’t really get mentioned much anymore except for the famous examples (i.e. Zeno, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, etc.) which you’ll likely know of by that point anyway.

Actually to pick up from this: I think it’s much more useful to read Homer, Hesiod and the Greek myths than the presocratics if you want a sort of grounding for further philosophy as all that stuff gets mentioned a lot more. It struck a chord in Greek and Roman society on a much deeper level than some other individual thinkers. Not to mention that it becomes relevant again during the Renaissance and going forward in a way that the presocratics never managed to after antiquity.

Why did Plotinus devote so much attention to shitting on Gnosticism but never even mention Christianity? Was Gnosticism that much of a bigger force at the time?


Attached: 9519A91E-9430-4411-8379-8AA10CC87080.png (3072x3118, 2.31M)

>You're tacitly admitting the doctrine of the Church changes.
It blatantly does, I don’t know how many mental gymnastics someone would have to go through to earnestly believe that the treatise-entangled bureaucratic clusterfucks that modern denominations have become are in any way identical to the practices of the early Christians

>self-refuting retards say that there is no truth... which would mean that it is true that there is no truth.
no modern philosopher says this. Can you make one who does?

Probably because the more recent philosophy is just reiterating and reframing the exact same shit that the old stuff does, only way worse