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Plotinus ENNEADS - THE SECOND ENNEAD Complete

Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.

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And are the distinct Qualities in the Authentic Realm to be explained in the same way? Are they differing Realities centred in one Reality or gathered round Being — differences which constitute Realities distinct from each other within the common fact of Reality?

This is sound enough; but it does not apply to all the qualities of this sphere, some of which, no doubt, are differentiations of Reality — such as the quality of two-footedness or four-footedness — but others are not such differentiations of Reality and, because they are not so, must be called qualities and nothing more.

On the other hand, one and the same thing may be sometimes a differentiation of Reality and sometimes not — a differentiation when it is a constitutive element, and no differentiation in some other thing, where it is not a constitutive element but an accidental. The distinction may be seen in the [constitutive] whiteness of a swan or of ceruse and the whiteness which in a man is an accidental.

Where whiteness belongs to the very Reason-Form of the thing it is a constitutive element and not a quality; where it is a superficial appearance it is a quality.

In other words, qualification may be distinguished. We may think of a qualification that is of the very substance of the thing, something exclusively belonging to it. And there is a qualifying that is nothing more, [not constituting but simply] giving some particular character to the real thing; in this second case the qualification does not produce any alteration towards Reality or away from it; the Reality has existed fully constituted before the incoming of the qualification which — whether in soul or body — merely introduces some state from outside, and by this addition elaborates the Reality into the particular thing.

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/plotinus/enneads-2.asp?pg=76