If it were permitted by the editors, my comment could be titled, Plotinus: Thinker of Radical Matter. I will attempt to present Plotinus’s complex view of matter in II 4, which examines the nature of matter as the substrate in relation to the corporeal, with the different relation of qualitative and quantitative qualities to bodies and matter, and the consequent difference in the application of privation, ugly and evil to matter. An examination of comments about matter as the principle of evil contrary to the Good and as the cause of the weakness of the soul in I.8.6 & 14 do not introduce any radical change in Plotinus’s understanding of matter. Radical matter remains so precisely as formless.
EnneadIV 5 has been poorly served by translators and commentators, misreporting what Plotinus wrote and, with these mangled results, asserting that this part of his treatise on the “Problems about the Soul” is merely a disjointed series of doxographical fragments with little compelling contribution to make. More careful translation and analysis reveal something strikingly different and original. First, he gives a cogent critique of the theories of Plato and Aristotle concerning the body between and the role of daylight. Second, he substitutes his own account in terms of both sympathy and the principle of two acts, explaining vision both during the day as well as at night, notably deficient in previous accounts. Third, he derives some surprisingly original corollaries about the nature of light and the source of color.