chapter  4
34 Pages


This chapter discusses Plotinus who was the most important philosopher of Late Antiquity and the touchstone of Neoplatonism, was intimately connected with the intellectual life of Alexandria. Plotinus explains linguistic understanding in light of metaphysical principles, not primarily as the transfer of meaning from one mind to another. He considers language to be entirely incorporeal in essence, an activity which relates to the Forms. The chapter argues that Plotinus develops his theory in connection with the ethical and political dimensions of his philosophy, a topic of increasing interest in Plotinian studies. It reviews the unique blend of mystical rigor and practical concern that informs Plotinus' account of moral and political discourse. Plotinus considers language to be a case of the general intelligibility of everything governed by Soul, the bearer of Intellect. Plotinus' two world dualism of intelligible realities and sensible things unfolds from the emanation from the highest principle of perfect unity downwards into things enmeshed in matter.