Proclus' Theory of Evil: An Ethical Perspective

Radek Chlup
2009 The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition  
While the metaphysical aspects of Proclus' theory of evil have recently been studied by a number of scholars, its ethical implications have largely been neglected. In my paper I am analysing the moral consequences that Proclus' concept of evil has, at the same time using the ethical perspective to throw more light on Proclus' ontology. Most importantly, I argue that the diff erence between bodily and psychic evil is much more substantial that it might seem from On the Existence of Evils alone.
more » ... ce of Evils alone. Th ough both kinds of evil are characterized by their 'parasitical existence' (parhypostasis), evil in bodies is unavoidable, resulting from a wide network of cosmic corporeal interactions that no partial being can ever have control of. Psychic evil, on the other hand, is a product of human choice and is independent of external circumstances, depending wholly on the soul's ability to keep its proper vertical hierarchy. In this regard it is evil in a much more serious sense of the word, being actively caused (though unintentionally) rather than just passively suff ered. In the last section of my paper I throw further light on this more dangerous kind of evil, showing it as resulting from an essential bi-dimensionality of human beings.
doi:10.1163/187254708x397405 fatcat:qci6xzpbffayhiiwbvjwvdlgb4