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Stepping into the Void: Proclus and Damascius on Approaching the First Principle1

In: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition
Author: Marilena Vlad1
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In this article, I analyze the idea of “stepping into the void” (κενεµβατεῖν), which can be traced in the thinking of both Proclus and Damascius, but which sets their perspectives apart. Thus, I show how Proclus warns us that to speak about the absolute principle, taking it as an object of thought, is a negative “stepping into the void” that should be avoided. On the contrary, I show that Damascius starts from this warning and tries to prove that the only adequate manner in which we can trace the absolute principle and approach it is precisely through “stepping into the void,” yet, this time, in a positive sense, as a constant attempt to understand that the principle is an absolute void which reverses our discourse.

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