Raoul Mortley

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“Plotinus, Self and the World” – Raoul Mortley

Plotinus, Self and the World addresses the question of the individual subject in its relationship with the world, the ‘all’. It traces the self through its experience of memory and forgetfulness, looks at whether the idea of the subconscious exists in Plotinus, and notes the probable impact of Plotinus’ thought on the development of the autobiography, in the form of Augustine’s Confessions. Augustine historicises the Plotinian individual self. The book reinterprets the idea of to oikeion in Plotinus and places great emphasis on the importance of the idea of ‘having’, and the ability to possess is itself linked to being: thus we are close to the idea of personal authenticity. Lastly the book examines Plotinus’ view of images and art, and notes his respect for the beauty of the human face. His positive view of the physical world is stressed.

  • Addresses new questions about Plotinus’ view of self in its environment
  • Reflects on Plotinus’ positive view of the world, thereby helping to stimulate a reappraisal of his otherworldliness
  • Emphasises Plotinus’ respect for the beauty of the human face, thereby allowing him to be placed in his social and artistic context

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REVIEW: Timothy D. Knepper, Negating Negation. Against the Apophatic Abandonment of the Dionysian Corpus, Cascade Books, Eugene, Oregon, 2014. Kindle edition at Amazon Kindle Store.

Timothy Knepper has written a book on Dionysius which exhibits an extraordinarily thorough knowledge of the text and a robustly philosophical manner of exegesis: he places his analysis within a broad debate over the philosophy of religion, without however labouring this.  This book on Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite revolves around the issue of ineffability, and whether […]

REVIEW: Apophatic Elements in the Theory and Practice of Psychoanalysis: Pseudo-Dionysius and C.G. Jung, by David Henderson, Routledge 2014

This is a highly significant book which recovers a long and deep tradition in Western Thought, and ties it to a context of modern psychoanalysis. It is a voyage which takes the author from Plato to Freud, and to Jung, but via the immensely important figure of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. This last figure stands ambiguously […]

A Comment on the Cover of my Plotinus Book

  • February 18, 2014
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Plotinus refers to the luminosity of the human face, and his biographer also sees light in Plotinus’  face. It was, of course the light of intelligence, which comes from above and which pervades all reality, but especially the human mind, which transparently expresses itself through the human face. In the painting chosen for the cover, […]

UNIVERSITIES – MOOCS and the Future of the Walled Institution

PLACE Originally universities were centred on libraries, collections of manuscripts on papyrus or parchment. Of course we may point to the activities of Socrates or the Stoics who simply walked around engaging in scholarship through dialogue. But the Hellenistic age was the age of writing and documents, and thus universities required a place, for example […]

National Narcissism – Raoul Mortley Talks

Narcissism has a definition in modern psychology, but also a long history in the culture of the West. This address goes back to the deep roots of the Western understanding of narcissism, looks at the myth itself and the poem of Ovid, the commentary of Plato, and modern philosophical vestiges of the ancient western fable. […]

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