TRUE LIES: HOMERIC ??????? AS THE POSSIBILITY AND COMPLETION OF THE RATIONAL SOUL’S SELF-CONSTITUTION IN THE SIXTH ESSAY OF PROCLUS’ COMMENTARY ON THE REPUBLIC
Watson, Daniel James
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Proclus is part of a long exegetical tradition that understands Plato and Homer to be in agreement. The Sixth Essay of his Commentary on Plato’s Republic particularly significant because it is the only extant ancient text that attempts to prove the concord of Plato and Homer philosophically. Yet, despite his uniquely reasoned approach, this endeavour suffers from charges of irrationalism. The necessity that drives him to seek this conciliation is thought to come from the pious attachment he has to Homer as an authority rather than the properly philosophical demands of his rational system. The aim of this thesis is to show that Proclus’ need to show Plato and Homer’s agreement is not an irrational adjunct to an otherwise rational outlook, but that it follows from the central doctrines of his philosophy. This will be accomplished through a detailed consideration of Proclus’ doctrine of the poetic ????????. In looking at how Proclus’ reading of Plato in the Sixth Essay is informed by his understanding of ????????, we will see how Homer becomes the means, both of taking the traditional criticisms of Plato’s apparent self-contradiction seriously and also of defending him against them. In looking in turn at how the soul actually experiences the ??????? of Homer’s inspired poetry, it shall become apparent that Homer does not just save the coherence of rational thought in this exterior way, but that his poetry operates as both the possibility and perfection of the rational soul’s various powers.