Article/Publication Details

What Is That Which Is Always Becoming, and What Is That Which Always Is?

(Original title: What Is That Which Is Always Becoming, and What Is That Which Always Is?)
Filozofia, 2020, vol. 75, No 3, pp. 237-250.
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This paper explores the Neoplatonic interpretations of the distinction that Plato draws at the beginning of Timaeus (27d6 – 28a1) between “that which always is and has no becoming” and “that which is always becoming but never is”. Philoponus tries to show that Plato understands “generated” in the sense of “generated in time”, rejecting Aristotle’s incompatible thesis. According to the Neoplatonic reading that Plotinus inaugurates, and Porphyry subsequently develops, “generated” (γενητóν) has two meanings: to depend on a cause and to exist by virtue of a composition. The first meaning is assigned to the incorporeal – the Intelligence and the Soul; the two meanings, on the other hand, are assigned to bodies. The Intelligence depends on a cause, the One-Good; and, in turn, the Soul depends on a cause, the Intelligence. These realities are not in the range of “that which is always generated and never is”, but of “that which always is and is not genera- ted”, i.e. of “that which is without ceasing to be”.


Timaeus, Becoming, Cosmology, Generated, Neoplatonism, Plato