Journal of Philosophical Investigations

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate of Philosophy, University of Isfahan

2 Associate Professor of Philosophy Department, University of Isfahan


Although there is not a fully developed theory of evil in Plato, some various remarks are interspersed throughout his dialogues which provided the main materials for subsequent Platonists to elaborate a systematic doctrine of evil. Proclus is the most distinguished philosopher of the later Neoplatonism whose view became authoritative within the School and thus is most representative of the Neoplatonic doctrine of evil. By a critical assessment of the antecedent theories of evil, Proclus attempts to give a monistic interpretation of Platonic remarks on the problem of evil. According to his explanation, the higher degrees and principles of Being are only and purely good and are not the causes of evils but the good things for all things alone. Evils, however, exist necessarily but only among particular beings in a relative, parasitic, accidental way and dependent upon the good. The parasitic accidental existence of evil does not have a real efficient cause. It arises due to an asymmetry between the activities of the several faculties or powers of a complex particular being. Moreover, the existence of evil is so mixed with and dependent upon the good that despite its opposition to the good, contributes, in its own manner, to the fulfillment of goodness of the whole Universe, being thus reconcilable with Divine Providence and Efficiency.


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