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ERIC Number: ED514238
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 422
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-4915-4
Being and Sign in the "Enneads"
Tomulet, Daniel
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Dallas
The intention of this work is to show that Plotinus' metaphysics, his theory of Intellect, can be interpreted as a philosophy of the sign. The fact that Plotinus describes Intellect, the world of real beings, as a sign or a trace of the One is well-known, and we use this aspect in our work. However, what is even more important from our perspective is the fact that the way in which Forms coexist inside Intellect allows us to describe them as signs of one another. The Plotinian world of Forms becomes a system of interdependent signs, which can be characterized in ways similar to those in which Ferdinand de Saussure and Umberto Eco, for example, understand the system of language. What makes this aspect of Plotinus' philosophy even more interesting is the fact that he develops his semiotic metaphysics in accordance with a theory of the sign which he himself constructs as a part of his understanding of nature. Thus, Plotinus works with a triadic notion of the sign based on the interaction involving at least two things and a witness. His notion is practically indistinguishable from that of Charles Sanders Peirce. Besides the signifier, the signified, and the interpreter, Plotinus describes two more aspects associated with semiosis. Thus, he first argues that the act of signification is possible only within an autonomous system of signs that point to one another. Then he also believes that such a system is impossible without an end that focuses its entire semiotic life. The main body of the work, therefore, contains the proofs that Intellect is such a semiotic system. In spite of significant difficulties, it can be demonstrated that the Plotinian Intellect has all the five semiotic aspects we mentioned above, which allows us to conclude that Plotinus' theory of Being is fundamentally semiotic. What determines Plotinus to reach such results, we believe, is the crisis of ancient metaphysics, at the core of which lies the problem of truth, as it was formulated in the language of mind-reality dualism. Thus, in our first chapter, we attempt to describe the theoretical problems that prompted this Plotinian development, which is followed by the demonstration of the Intellect's semiotic character in the remaining chapters. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A