Plotinus on the immortality of the soul

Conference, Philosophy, Online

Online registration

Conference, Philosophy

Online registration

New perspectives of interdisciplinary research on Enn. IV.7 (2)

The Enneadic treatise IV.7 (2) On the immortality of the soul is an unusual text. The work dates back to the earliest years of Plotinus’ activity as an author of philosophical treatises, and occupies the second place in the ‘chronological’ list included by Porphyry in the Vita Plotini. It is, indeed, Porphyry himself who included it in the fourth ennead, which comprehends the Plotinian writings on the third hypostases, the soul. However, it is preceded by the short philosophical treatise I.6 (1) On beauty, the first effort attempted by the thinker of Lycopolis to reflect on the issue of the immortality of the soul.

Prior to Plotinus’ treatment on the issue – as seen from the point of view of a Platonic school’s thinker – he wrote a controversial doxography aimed at demonstrating the false in the concepts proposed on the theme, by some of the most renowned philosophical schools in antiquity. He contested the epicurean theses, the stoic theses (soul as matter), the Pythagorean theses (soul as harmony), peripatetic theses (soul as entelechy). This digression occupies a very large part of the treatise. Thanks to Plotinus’ argumentative techniques, information provided on other systems of thought, this part of the treatise constitutes, perhaps, one of the most interesting aspects of the work. Treatise IV.7 is, indeed, at the heart of some crucial discussions in regard to the history of the text of the Plotinian corpus in late antiquity, the study of the manuscript tradition, the evaluation of the contribution of indirect tradition, the influence of the gnostic tradition, and the use of Arabic sources.

The conference aims to explore a wide range of research lines that can be found in IV.7 (2). Counting on the participation of Italian and international experts, there will be the opportunity to examine the Plotinian text through an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspective, able to address several issues raised by the treatise. We are firmly convinced of the fact that, given the level of specialization now reached by the various disciplines in the scientific field, only an approach of this type, based on the skills of a diverse team, can lead to truly new results. The text on which we will focus our results appears, as we have seen, extremely promising.

The event is organized in collaboration with the Higher School of Studies in Philosophy of the University of Rome Tor Vergata.

The conference is organized by Daniela P. Taormina and Lorenzo Ferroni.


H09:00 – Presentation of the conference and greetings by Adrian Brändli, Head of Science, Research, and Innovation

H09:30 – Daniela P. Taormina: Struttura e temi di Plotino IV.7 (2)

H10:15 – Lorenzo Ferroni: Observations critiques sur le texte de Plotin IV.7 (2)


H11:00 – Break


H11:15 – Nicolas D’Andrès: Cette autre espèce d’âme (Tim. 69 C) est-elle immortelle, chez Plotin, au même titre que l’âme rationnelle? (Enn. IV.’97, 13-14)

H12:00 – Gheorghe Pașcalău: En partant de la beauté vers l’Un à travers l’âme. The place du traité IV.7 (2) in the composition of the premiers écrits plotiniens

H14:30 – Luca Gili: Forms as Wholes. Plotinus’s critique of the Entelecheia-soul

H15:15 – Claudia Lo Casto: Il tema del ‘vero uomo’ in Plotino, Enn. IV.7 (2)  


H16:00 – Break


H16:15 – Jean-Marc Narbonne: Éléments de pensée gnostique dans le traité 2 de Plotin

H17:00 – Federico Maria Petrucci: Polemica e costruzione: gli avversari di Plotino in Enn. IV.7

The conference will be held in Italian, French and English.
Please register online to participate.