I examine the relation between sensation and discursive thought (dianoia) in Plato, Plotinus, and Proclus. In Theaetetus, a soul whose highest faculty was sensation would have no unified experience of the sensible world, lacking universal ideas to give order to the sensible flux. It is implied that such universals are grasped by the soul's thinking. In Plotinus the soul is not passive when it senses the world, but as the logos of all things it thinks the world through its own forms. Proclus argues against the derivation of universal logoi from the senses, which alone can't make the sensible world comprehensible. At most they give a record of the original sense-impression in its particularity. The soul's own projected logoi give the sensible world stability. For Proclus, bare sensation does not depend on thought, but a unified experience of the sense-world depends on its paradigmatic logoi in our souls.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Dianoia, Discursive Reason, Greek Philosophy, Neoplatonism, Plato, Plotinus, Proclus, Sensation, Theaetetus
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1163/18725473-12341287
Journal International Journal of Platonic Tradition
Citation
MacIsaac, D.G. (2014). Non enim ab hiis que sensus est iudicare sensum. Sensation and Thought in Theaetetus, Plotinus and Proclus. International Journal of the Platonic Tradition, 8(2), 192–230. doi:10.1163/18725473-12341287