Proclus on Selfhood as the First Principle

Proclus on Selfhood as the First Principle A colloquium qith Antonio Vargas
Activity Date: 
Monday, Dec 17, 2018 to Thursday, Jan 10, 2019

In his talk, Antonio Vargas presented his research into the Neoplatonist Proclus, a Greek philosopher from the 5th century A.D., as an introduction to the field of history of philosophy and of one particular way of understanding the field, namely as the archaeology of ideal objects. Archaeology, because the goal is not to produce a narrative, but to recover an object, such as a system, argument, thesis or concept, and the archaelogy of ideal objects, because these are ideal objects akin to mathematical ones, not concrete objects such as pottery. He contextualized his efforts within the XXth century tendency known as “the end of metaphysics”, which motivated many to turn to the history of philosophy in order to pursue metaphysical interests, and also within contemporary re-appraisals of philosophers (such as Proclus) that had been neglected until recently because they had been dismissed as “mystics”. As part of his effort, he presented a passage of Proclus’ on the “one of the mind” (psyche), a faculty typically understood as a power for “mystical union”, but which Antonio showed to be more concretely Proclus’ account of the self, our ability to identify as a single "I". He went on to show how this new understanding of “the one of the mind” as our self could provide a new understanding of Proclus’ gods as absolute selves and the his first principle, the One itself, as Selfhood, i.e., what it is to be a self.

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