88 - Simplicity Itself: Plotinus on the One and Intellect

Plotinus posits an absolutely transcendent first principle, the One. What is it (or isn’t it), and how does it relate to Intellect?

Press 'play' to hear the podcast: 

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Further Reading: 

• H.A. Armstrong, “The Background of the Doctrine ‘that the Intelligibles are not Outside the Intellect,’” in Les Sources de Plotin (Geneva: 1960), 393-413.

• J.R. Bussanich, The One and its Relation to Intellect in Plotinus (Leiden: 1988).

• E.K. Emilsson, Plotinus on Intellect (Oxford: 2007).

• S. Slaveva-Griffin, Plotinus on Number (Oxford: 2009).

Adam's picture


Thanks for the as-always wonderful podcast!

I thought I'd submit one unimportant quibble into the record. We can actually be confident that Plotinus did NOT contemplate the sunflower as he wrote about the unity of plants. The sunflower is a New World crop and didn't arrive in Europe until European exploration of the Americas in the 1500s.

Peter Adamson's picture


Wow, I didn't know that -- interesting, thanks! So I should have gone with the potato then. (Just kidding.)

Musa Askari 's picture

Plotinus - mystic philosopher

Thank you for illuminating podcasts. I am especially fond of the following words from Plotinus (mystic-philosopher)from his writing On Beauty "This is not a journey for the feet; the feet bring us only from land to land; nor need you think of coach or ship to carry you away; all this order of things you must set aside and refuse to see: you must close the eyes and call instead upon another vision which is to be waked within you, a vision, the birthright of all, which few turn to see." www.spiritualhuman.wordpress.com