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분야 : 인문과학 > 기타(인문과학)
발행기관 : 서울대학교 인문학연구원
간행물정보 : 인문논총, 2013 pp.7~41 (총 35pages)
 
 
영문초록
How are we to live? Socrates understands this question as follows: How are we to live in order to live well? He takes it for granted that we all want to live well. His answer to the question is that we are to live virtuously. Thus, virtue (arete) is the key to the good life, namely happiness (eudaimonia). Socrates` approach of aspiring to human excellence is opposed to one that is concerned with minimal decency. Most of the ancient philosophers share Socrates` aspiration, but especially the Platonists cherish the extreme version of ethical idealism. They ambitiously define the goal of their philosophy as ‘assimilation to god’ and believe that it is virtue that leads to god. In order to become godlike or divine, we need to be virtuous. For the ancient Platonists, the ideal philosopher is a virtuous man (spoudaios) as well as a divine man (theios aner). What does such an ideal philosopher look like? What is his virtue? How are we to conceive of the god whom he is emulating? To approach these questions, I suggest looking at a portrait of the ideal philosopher presented in Porphyry`s Life of Plotinus (Vita Plotini), a biography of a Platonist hailed as a pagan saint in Late Antiquity. It is shown that the biographer reconstructs the hero`s life in virtue of his theory of a scale of virtues representing different levels in an upward movement of divinization of the human soul, namely: (1) political, (2) purificatory, (3) theoretical virtues. Thereby the hero emerges as a perfect philosopher possessing all virtues. In addition, I argue that the portrait of the holy and divine Plotinus reflects much of the biographer`s own ascetic ideal of philosopher propounded in De abstinentia. Furthermore, it is noted that Porphyry attributes to Plotinus a divine power which goes beyond the levels of virtues. In conclusion, the holy philosopher portrayed in the Life of Plotinus is an ascetic and wonder-worker like the Christian saints, but, unlike them, a sage (sophos) embodying perfect virtue. The ideal of life envisaged by ancient Platonists like Plotinus and Porphyry offers an alternative or a challenge to the view that one can do philosophy without engaging in virtue and holiness, as well as to the view that one can be virtuous and holy without philosophy.
 
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