Who is Proklos?June 26, 2021
Proklos, who has proven his talent and inclination for abstract thinking with his achievements in mathematics, this pure mathematician also has imaginary thoughts about Gods. Proklos, a scholar with extensive knowledge, tried to collect the legends of various nations very well known into a system and to establish his system in a way that would explain it together with its reasons.
The characteristic point of this system is that it always tries to form groups of three and to establish relations between them. Thus, Proklos establishes a religious sky, (schedule) that we will later draft in Hegel as well.
The shortcoming of Proklos is that it does not make abstract observations. The exact observations that Aristotle and his school basically adopted have lost their importance in Neoplatonism. The truth began to be sought not in nature itself, but in “books”. One of the subjects that have been the focus of attention in the last period of Neoplatonism is “interpreting” Plato and Aristotle.
This trend of attempting to seek truth only in books is to be found throughout the late Antiquity, in a way throughout the Middle Ages. The idea of looking for the truth in the observed events, not in the books, will only reappear in the Renaissance.
Proklos lived in Athens and was director of the Academy. We see that the old schools of philosophy continued in Athens in the time of Proclus. M.S. Philosophy schools in Athens were closed in 529 by the Byzantine Emperor “Justinianus”. We can think of this event as the external image of the end of “Ancient Philosophy”.
Before moving on to the effects of Neoplatonism on its contemporaneous Christianity, we will review the currents of thought that we encountered at the end of the Ancient universe: In this period, the positive sciences advanced in their own way, completely independent of philosophy.
Among the sciences that this period gave importance to, we can count arithmetic, geometry and astronomy. Only because astronomy was mixed with astrology, it took on a religious character. In the field of grammar, studies have been carried out, which can be considered as a kind of beginning of scientific philology. Plants (botany) and animals (zoology) based on Aristotle were also in the field of interest in this period, which had a highly developed advanced geography.
As for philosophy: In this last period of antiquity, apart from the skepticism we encounter in the personality of Sextus Empiricus, we witness the existence of the Stoic school. However, we should perceive Neoplatonism with religious inclination as the philosophy movement of the period.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook