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Plotinus ENNEADS - THE SIXTH ENNEAD Complete

Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.

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THE SIXTH ENNEAD:   1) ON THE KINDS OF BEING,   2) ON THE KINDS OF BEING ΙΙ,   3) ON THE KINDS OF BEING ΙΙΙ,   4) ON THE INTEGRAL OMNIPRESENCE OF THE AUTHENTIC EXISTENT,   5) ON THE INTEGRAL OMNIPRESENCE OF THE AUTHENTIC EXISTENT ΙΙ,   6) ON NUMBERS,   7) HOW THE MULTIPLICITY OF THE IDEAL-FORMS CAME INTO BEING: AND UPON THE GOOD,   8) ON FREE-WILL AND THE WILL OF THE ONE,   9) ON THE GOOD, OR THE ONE

THE SIXTH ENNEAD

FIRST TRACTATE.

ON THE KINDS OF BEING (1).

1. Philosophy at a very early stage investigated the number and character of the Existents. Various theories resulted: some declared for one Existent, others for a finite number, others again for an infinite number, while as regards the nature of the Existents — one, numerically finite, or numerically infinite — there was a similar disagreement. These theories, in so far as they have been adequately examined by later workers, may be passed over here; our attention must be directed upon the results of those whose examination has led them to posit on their awn account certain well-defined genera.

These thinkers rejected pure unity on the ground of the plurality observed even in the Intellectual world; they rejected an infinite number as not reconcilable with the facts and as defying knowledge: considering the foundations of being to be “genera” rather than elements strictly so called, they concluded for a finite number. Of these “genera” some found ten, others less, others no doubt more.

But here again there is a divergence of views. To some the genera are first-principles; to others they indicate only a generic classification of the Existents themselves.

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