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PlotinusMyth, Metaphor, and Philosophical Practice$
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Stephen R. L. Clark

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226339672

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226339702.001.0001

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The Plotinian Imaginary

The Plotinian Imaginary

(p.147) Part III The Plotinian Imaginary (p.148)

Stephen R. L. Clark

University of Chicago Press

Here I speak of the “Plotinian Imaginary”, as it can be distinguished from the world as we “moderns” imagine it to be. Our Imaginary encompasses far more than can easily be perceived, or even proved: dinosaurs and dark matter, artificial minds and interstellar empires. But most of us are confident that demons and the Olympian gods are fictions, that the earth is in orbit around the sun, that magic and astrological predictions do not work, and that “the real world” is the one we ordinarily perceive (although we are also confident that the real world uncovered by scientific enquiry is unimaginably vaster and more odd than ever we suspected). The question in interpreting and developing the Plotinian story then becomes whether we can adapt his methods and conclusions to our own very different world, or whether instead we might profitably “imagine ourselves” back into his. What, in particular, can be made of his references to ‘daimones’, and what might it mean to think of ordinary life as a dream, from which we might reasonably expect to wake?

Keywords:   Plato, Spheres, Stars, Magic, Demons, Dreams

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