This chapter presents the English translation of Paul Kalligas’s commentary on the second Enneads of Plotinus. The second Ennead deals with “natural philosophy, including the physical universe and subjects connected with it” (VP 24.37–39). Because Plotinus is generally thought to have had little interest in the workings of the sensible world, it is not surprising that this part of his work has attracted relatively little attention on the part of modern scholarship. However, a careful reading of its contents reveals its crucial importance for understanding his philosophy as a whole. The reason is that it includes a series of detailed studies in conceptual analysis, which may serve as a kind of toolbox for reading the rest of his work and for understanding its logical structure and architecture. And, after all, both his complex metaphysical theories and his detailed treatment of psychological issues are in the last analysis meant to provide explanations of the functioning of the world of our common, everyday experience. We thus also come to appreciate better the reasons for his conflict with the Gnostics, who refused to see the sensible world as anything but a place of depravity and corruption.
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