front cover of Parmenides, Venerable and Awesome. Plato, Theaetetus 183e
Parmenides, Venerable and Awesome. Plato, Theaetetus 183e
Proceedings of the International Symposium
Cordero, Néstor-Luis
Parmenides Publishing, 2012

In October of 2007, the Universidad Nacional de San Martín (Argentina) hosted an International Symposium on the philosophy of Parmenides to celebrate the creation of the University’s new Center for the Study of Ancient Philosophy. The event—co-organized by the HYELE Institute for Comparative Studies (Switzerland) and Parmenides Publishing—brought together scholars from around the world to present their latest work and participate in discussion. These Proceedings present the collected papers that were given—all fully translated into English—and edited by Néstor-Luis Cordero.

During the two years leading up to the International Symposium, no fewer than seven books on Parmenides were published. This revival and resurgence of interest in Parmenides and the critical reviews of traditional interpretations of his poem made this the perfect time for a global conference dedicated to the renowned figure known as the true father of philosophy.

The Symposium on Parmenides united the world's foremost Parmenidean scholars, with many participants having written one, if not several books on Parmenides. The proceedings volume therefore represents the most cutting-edge and in-depth scholarship on Parmenides available today, and will be a great and timely enrichment to the field of Presocratic Philosophy.


front cover of PLOTINUS Ennead I.1
What is the Living Thing? What is Man?: Translation with an Introduction and Commentary
Gerard O'Daly
Parmenides Publishing, 2017

Ennead I.1 is a succinct and concentrated analysis of key themes in Plotinus' psychology and ethics. It focuses on the soul-body relation, discussing various Platonic, Aristotelian, and Stoic views before arguing that there is only a soul-trace in the body (forming with the body a “compound”), while the reasoning soul itself is impassive and flawless. The soul-trace hypothesis is used to account for human emotions, beliefs, and perceptions, and human fallibility in general. Its problematic relation to our rational powers, as well as the question of moral responsibility, are explored. Plotinus develops his original and characteristic concept of the self or “we,” which is so called because it is investigated as something common to all humans (rather than a private individual self), and because it is multiple, referring to the reasoning soul or to the “living thing” composed of soul-trace and body. Plotinus explores the relation between the “we” and consciousness, and also its relation to the higher metaphysical entities, the Good, and Intellect.

front cover of Plotinus Ennead I.5
Plotinus Ennead I.5
On Whether Well-Being Increases with Time: Translation with an Introduction and Commentary
Danielle A. Layne
Parmenides Publishing, 2023
In Ennead I.5 Plotinus attempts to navigate a well-trodden path of inquiry by directly responding to a wide spectrum of popular theories on human flourishing, and insisting emphatically that well-being belongs to the present moment. Indeed, Aristotle—with his insistence that well-being be measured by “a complete life” (Nicomachean Ethics 1098a16–20) or a life measured by virtue, a modus vivendi sustained via the development of appropriate habits (hexis) and the avoidance of misfortunes—is one of Plotinus’ central targets. Nevertheless, it is also obvious that the Hellenistic schools, with their almost evangelical insistence that happiness is available to practitioners in the immediacy of the “now,” take pride of place in Plotinus’ short treatise on the subject. Layne analyzes in depth Plotinus’ unique conception of the value of the present moment by highlighting his dialogue with Aristotle and Hellenistic conceptions of the soul, pleasure and pain, time and eternity, and so forth.

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Plotinus Ennead II.4
On Matter: Translation with an Introduction and Commentary
A.A. Long
Parmenides Publishing, 2022
In Ennead II.4 Plotinus investigates the question of what underlies the forms that constitute the contents of our minds and senses. Aristotle had called this substrate “matter,” and Stoic philosophers followed suit. With a critical review of their notions, and reference to Plato’s so-called Receptacle, Plotinus develops an account of matter that makes it a supremely negative entity. How he describes the indescribable, and how he justifies incorporeal matter’s indispensability to bodies, are highlights of this tenaciously argued essay.
A. A. Long translates and interprets Plotinus’ treatise on the matter that underlies all physical and intelligible beings. With a wide-ranging introduction and probing analysis of details, he explains the intricate structure of the text. The book will appeal to everyone interested in the history of Platonism and ancient Greek theories of the world’s ultimate principles.

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Ennead II.5: On What Is Potentially and What Actually: Translation with an Introduction and Commentary
Cinzia Arruzza
Parmenides Publishing, 2015
The term dunamis (potentiality) entered into the philosophical vocabulary with Plato, but it was with Aristotle that it acquired, together with energeia (actuality), the strong technical meaning that the two terms have maintained, with variations, throughout subsequent philosophical tradition. 
The significance of the notions of actuality and potentiality in Plotinus’ thought can hardly be overstated. Throughout the Enneads, they are crucial to understanding the specific causality of intelligible realities and the relation of participation between intelligible and sensible realms. 
In Ennead II.5, Plotinus for the first time provides a systematic clarification of his peculiar use of these terms, through a sustained revision of Aristotle’s own elaboration of the topic and of his terminology. The treatise discusses the different meanings of potentiality and actuality as well as the way each of them applies or does not apply to the sensible realm, to the intelligible realm, and to matter. 
While the structure of the text unfolds in a coherent and cohesive manner, Plotinus’ writing in this treatise is dense and at times dry in its technicality. The detailed commentary guides the reader step by step, making an otherwise particularly difficult text accessible.  

front cover of PLOTINUS Ennead II.9
Against the Gnostics: Translation, with an Introduction and Commentary
Sebastian Gertz
Parmenides Publishing, 2017

How was the universe created, and what is our place within it? These are the questions at the heart of Plotinus’ Against the Gnostics. For the Gnostics, the universe came into being as a result of the soul’s fall from intelligible reality—it is the evil outcome of a botched creation. Plotinus challenges this, and insists that the soul’s creation of the world is the necessary consequence of its contemplation of the ideal forms. While the Gnostics claim to despise the visible universe, Plotinus argues that such contempt displays their ignorance of the higher realities of which the cosmos is a beautiful image.

Against the Gnostics is a polemical text. It aims to show the superiority of Plotinus’ philosophy over that of his Gnostic rivals, and poses unique challenges: Plotinus nowhere identifies his opponents by name, he does not set out their doctrines in any great detail, and his arguments are frequently elliptical. The detailed commentary provides a guide through these difficulties, making Plotinus’ meandering train of thought in this important treatise accessible to the reader.


front cover of Plotinus Ennead III.4
Plotinus Ennead III.4
On Our Allotted Guardian Spirit: Translation with an Introduction and Commentary
Wiebke-Marie Stock
Parmenides Publishing, 2020
On Our Allotted Guardian Spirit is a lively and at times perplexing text combining general reflections on the nature of the soul with a discussion of the phenomenon of a personal guardian spirit. Plotinus wants to interpret Plato, and aims to integrate Plato's various statements about daimones into one comprehensive theory. This leads to some views that are, if not exotic, then at least strange on first encounter. However, a closer reading reveals that Plotinus is not interested in demonology per se. Instead, the central concern of the treatise are ideas about the soul, the self, and self-consciousness. Plotinus' explorations produce a theory of the mind as the agent and activity responsible for a person’s ethical choices and conduct of life. The demon emerges as a philosophical tool passed down from Plato, but adapted and rationalized to try to explain motivation to action, the impulse toward the ethical life, and even the various differences in human ethical and psychological constitution. This innovative theory is a response to a strong and ongoing current of thought in the philosophical tradition.

The introduction offers an overview of ancient demonologies, starting with Homer and the Presocratics, and is followed by an in-depth examination of Plato, the Stoics, Plotinus, and later Neoplatonic developments. As such the book presents Plotinus’ specific rationalizing response to the idea of a guardian spirit in the context of ancient philosophical demonologies.

front cover of PLOTINUS Ennead IV.4.30-45 & IV.5
PLOTINUS Ennead IV.4.30-45 & IV.5
Problems Concerning the Soul: Translation, with an Introduction and Commentary
Gary M. Gurtler, SJ
Parmenides Publishing, 2015
Ennead IV.4.30–45 and IV.5 retrieves the unity in this last section of Plotinus’ treatise on Problems concerning the Soul. Combining translation with commentary, Gurtler enhances both the accuracy of the translation and the recovery of Plotinus’ often unsuspected originality. This is especially true for IV.5, where previous translations fail to convey the concise nature of his argument against both the Aristotelian and Platonic theories of vision. Plato and Aristotle each claim that vision depends on the light between the eye and the object, but Plotinus presents evidence that this is not the case and develops a novel theory of light as a second activity that moves from source to object directly, even arguing that color is in the light itself rather than merely a quality of the object. This theory of vision, in turn, depends on the nature of sympathy developed especially in IV.4.30–45, where Plotinus shows how action at a distance is both possible and necessary for the proper unity in diversity of the sensible cosmos.

front cover of Plotinus ENNEAD IV.8
Plotinus ENNEAD IV.8
On the Descent of the Soul into Bodies: Translation, with an Introduction, and Commentary
Barrie Fleet
Parmenides Publishing, 2012

front cover of PLOTINUS Ennead V.1
On the Three Primary Levels of Reality: Translation, with an Introduction and Commentary
Eric D. Perl
Parmenides Publishing, 2015
Plotinus' Treatise V.1 comes closer than any other to providing an outline of his entire spiritual and metaphysical system, and as such it may serve to some degree as an introduction to his philosophy. It addresses in condensed form a great many topics to which Plotinus elsewhere devotes extended discussion, including the problem of the multiple self; eternity and time; the unity-in-duality of intellect and the intelligible; and the derivation of intelligible being from the One. Above all, it shows that the so-called “three hypostases”—soul, intellect, and the One—are best understood not as a sequence of three things additional to one another, but as three levels of possession of the same content, so that each lower level—soul in relation to intellect and intellect in relation to the One—is an “image” and “expression” of its superior. Plotinus exhorts the human soul to overcome its alienation from its own true nature and its divine origin by first recognizing itself as superior to the body and the same in kind as the animating principle of the entire cosmos, and then discovering within itself the still higher levels of reality from which it derives: intellect and, ultimately, the One or Good, the supreme first principle of all things. To do so the soul must redirect its attention inward and upward to become aware of the divinity which is always within it but from which it is distracted by the clamor of the senses.

front cover of Plotinus Ennead V.8
Plotinus Ennead V.8
On Intelligible Beauty: Translation with an Introduction and Commentary
Andrew Smith
Parmenides Publishing, 2017
Plotinus’ Ennead V.8, originally part of a single work (with III.8, V.5, and II.9), provides the foundation for a positive view of the universe as an image of divine beauty against the Gnostic rejection of the world. Although it emphasizes the cosmic dimension of beauty, it is, as are most treatises of Plotinus, concerned with the individual soul. The notion that the artist has within him an idea of beauty that derives directly from the intelligible world in fact coincides with his theory that each one of us has access to Intellect through his or her own intellect. It is the exploitation of this theme that forms the central dynamic of the treatise, with its stress on our ability to "see" and be one with the intelligible world and its beauty.

front cover of PLOTINUS Ennead VI.4 and VI.5
PLOTINUS Ennead VI.4 and VI.5
On the Presence of Being, One and the Same, Everywhere as a Whole: Translation with an Introduction and Commentary
Eyjólfur K. Emilsson
Parmenides Publishing, 2015
Ennead VI.4-5, originally written as a single treatise, contains Plotinus’ most general and sustained exposition of the relationship between the intelligible and the sensible realms, addressing and coalescing two central issues in Platonism: the nature of the soul-body relationship and the nature of participation. Its main question is, How can soul animate bodies without sharing their extension? The treatise seems to have had considerable impact: it is much reflected in Porphyry’s important work, Sententiae, and the doctrine of reception according to the capacity of the recipient, for which this treatise is the main source, resonated in medieval thinkers.   

front cover of PLOTINUS Ennead VI.8
On the Voluntary and on the Free Will of the One: Translation, with an Introduction, and Commentary
Kevin Corrigan
Parmenides Publishing, 2017
Ennead VI.8 gives us access to the living mind of a long dead sage as he tries to answer some of the most fundamental questions we in the modern world continue to ask: are we really free when most of the time we are overwhelmed by compulsions, addictions, and necessities, and how can we know that we are free? Can we trace this freedom through our own agency to the gods, to the Soul, Intellect, and the Good? How do we know that the world is meaningful and not simply the result of chance or randomness?  
Plotinus’ On the Voluntary and on the Free Will of the One is a groundbreaking work that provides a new understanding of the importance and nature of free human agency. It articulates a creative idea of agency and radical freedom by showing how such terms as desire, will, self-dependence, and freedom in the human ethical sphere can be genuinely applied to Intellect and the One while preserving the radical inability of all metaphysical language to express anything about God or gods.

front cover of Plotinus Ennead VI.9
Plotinus Ennead VI.9
On the Good or the One: Translation with an Introduction and Commentary
Stephen R. L. Clark
Parmenides Publishing, 2020
This early treatise is placed by Plotinus’ editor at the very end of the Enneads, as the culmination of his thought, matching Plotinus’ own last recorded instruction, “to bring the god in you back to the god in the all.” It is a cosmological sketch, arguing that the being of anything depends on its being unified by its orientation to its own good, and so also the being of Everything, the All. The One, or the Good, is at once the goal of all things both individually and collectively, and also the transcendent source of all that we experience, mediated through an intelligible order. But it is also, and perhaps more importantly, intended as a guide to the proper education and discipline of our own motives and experience. We are encouraged to put aside immediate sensory data, egoistic prejudice and sensual impulse, first to grasp at least a little of the intelligible order within which we all live, and at last to purge even those last intellectual attachments and experience what cannot be adequately described: the unity of being.

front cover of Presocratics and Plato
Presocratics and Plato
Festschrift at Delphi in Honor of Charles Kahn
Richard Patterson
Parmenides Publishing, 2012
This celebratory Festschrift dedicated to Charles Kahn comprises some 23 articles by friends, former students and colleagues, many of whom first presented their papers at the international "Presocratics and Plato" Symposium in his honor (European Cultural Center of Delphi, Greece, 3–7 June, 2009). The conference was organized and sponsored by the HYELE Institute for Comparative Studies, Parmenides Publishing, and Starcom AG, with endorsements from the International Plato Society, and the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. While Kahn's work reaches far beyond the Presocratics and Plato, it is in these subject areas that the distinction of his scholarship has come to be regarded as virtually unrivaled. The articles contributed to this volume are by some of the most renowned scholars working on these topics today, their breadth and depth bearing witness to his profound impact and influence on the discipline of Ancient Greek Philosophy.

Charles Kahn taught Classics and Philosophy at Columbia University from 1957 to 1965, and has since been teaching in the Philosophy Department of the University of Pennsylvania. He spent a year as Visiting Professor at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, and had additional Visiting Fellowships at Balliol College, Oxford and Clare Hall, Cambridge, and a term as Visiting Professor at Harvard. He is the recipient of several prestigious research grants, from the American Council of Learned Societies (1963/64 and 1984/85), the National Endowment for the Humanities (1974/75 and 1990/91), and the Guggenheim Foundation (1979/80). In 2000 he was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of Anaximander and the Origins of Greek Cosmology, The Verb “Be” in Ancient Greek, The Art and Thought of Heraclitus, Plato and the Socratic Dialogue, Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, and Essays on Being. His latest book,Plato and the Post-Socratic Dialogue, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

Julia Annas 
Sarah Broadie 
Lesley Brown
Tomás Calvo-Martínez
Diskin Clay
John M. Dillon
Dorothea Frede
Arnold Hermann
Carl A. Huffman 
Enrique Hülsz Piccone
D. M. Hutchinson
Paul Kalligas
Vassilis Karasmanis
Aryeh Kosman
Anthony A. Long
Richard McKirahan
Susan Sauvé Meyer
Alexander P.D.Mourelatos
Satoshi Ogihara
Richard Patterson
Christopher J. Rowe
David Sedley
Richard Sorabji

front cover of The Second Alcibiades
The Second Alcibiades
A Platonist Dialogue on Prayer and on Ignorance
Harold Tarrant
Parmenides Publishing, 2023
Providing a challenging new interpretation of the Second Alcibiades from the Platonic corpus, this treatment sees the dialogue not only as a work of philosophic ethics, but also as one steeped in ancient literature, particularly Euripidean tragedy. The dialogue’s philosophy is underpinned by an epistemology paying special attention to one’s personal viewpoint, as its language shows. Dramatically, it presents a Socrates who falls into a similar trap from the one he steers Alcibiades away from, facing the dangers of a tragic character thanks to their mutual attraction. Understood in this way the dialogue, here retranslated to bring out such features, is revealed as the work of an author with linguistic and literary gifts who is deeply conscious of the human condition. While reminiscent of the Academic Skeptic picture of Plato, it is the work of somebody still moving cautiously in that direction.

front cover of A Stranger's Knowledge
A Stranger's Knowledge
Statesmanship, Philosophy, and Law in Plato's Statesman
Xavier Márquez
Parmenides Publishing, 2012
The Statesman is a difficult and puzzling Platonic dialogue. In A Stranger's Knowledge Marquez argues that Plato abandons here the classic idea, prominent in the Republic, that the philosopher, qua philosopher, is qualified to rule. Instead, the dialogue presents the statesman as different from the philosopher, the possessor of a specialist expertise that cannot be reduced to philosophy. The expertise is of how to make a city resilient against internal and external conflict in light of the imperfect sociality of human beings and the poverty of their reason. This expertise, however, cannot be produced on demand: one cannot train statesmen like one might train carpenters. Worse, it cannot be made acceptable to the citizens, or operate in ways that are not deeply destructive to the city’s stability. Even as the political community requires his knowledge for its preservation, the genuine statesman must remain a stranger to the city.

Marquez shows how this impasse is the key to understanding the ambiguous reevaluation of the rule of law that is the most striking feature of the political philosophy of the Statesman. The law appears here as a mere approximation of the expertise of the inevitably absent statesman, dim images and static snapshots of the clear and dynamic expertise required to steer the ship of state across the storms of the political world. Yet such laws, even when they are not created by genuine statesmen, can often provide the city with a limited form of cognitive capital that enables it to preserve itself in the long run, so long as citizens, and especially leaders, retain a “philosophical” attitude towards them. It is only when rulers know that they do not know better than the laws what is just or good (and yet want to know what is just and good) that the city can be preserved. The dialogue is thus, in a sense, the vindication of the philosopher-king in the absence of genuine political knowledge. 


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