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Call for Papers

Chora. Revue d'études anciennes et médiévales

Special issue 2016

Discursive Mediation in Neoplatonism


The 2016 issue of Chora-Revue d'études anciennes et médiévales will be devoted to the question concerning "discursive mediation" in Neoplatonism. There is a major paradox in Neoplatonic thinking concerning the place and the role of the discursive soul. The soul has the role of mediating between two horizons that seem unconnected to each other and very different from the soul's nature: the sensible world-which essentially remains distinct from the conceptual pattern we may apply to it-and the intelligible realm, which the Neoplatonic philosophers systematize and expose as the highest union of being and thinking, governed and surpassed by an absolute principle, the One. The discursive soul, however, does not have direct access to the intelligible realm, and even less to the first principle of all. In both cases-on the sensible side, as well as on the intelligible and supra-intelligible side-we are dealing with an exceeding of the soul's grip. The soul lives in a double inadequacy, being twice surpassed by the abundance of reality. Yet, soul is a relational entity, making connection between a non-conceptual world of senses and an ultimate supra-conceptual horizon. The paradox, however, is deeper: even if all the levels of reality that we might identify ultimately pass through the discursive mediation of the soul, the Neoplatonic philosophers rebuke discursiveness and dismiss it as inadequate for capturing the higher levels of reality.

Submitted articles may focus on but are certainly not limited to the following questions: How can the soul's discursiveness lead to discover something non-discursive? Since everything passes through soul's mediation, how can one reach the certitude of what is beyond the soul? Why do Neoplatonic philosophers come to despise discursive knowledge, which they cannot escape? How to explain their uneasiness with the discursive nature of our thinking? Does discourse simply block the passage beyond, or does it rather prepare the way for the vision of what lies beyond, through its own weakness and inadequacy? If so, can the discovery of the principles depend on the nature of our soul and on its inner insufficiency? What kind of relationship does the soul have with the superior reality? Is the principle something "in itself", in us, or rather in a kind of "sudden" coincidence, in which the soul itself can no longer discriminate? Should we place the intelligible and the first principle in an untouchable sphere above everything, or do the principles ultimately reflect our manner of speaking and of being?


Submissions in English, French, German and Italian will be accepted (max. 70.000 characters, including spaces and footnotes, English abstract and 5 keywords).

Deadline for submissions is December 15, 2015.

Extended deadline: March 15, 2016.

The papers should be sent to: marilena.vlad@gmail.com




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