Plotinus has been so highly regarded as a mystic that his importance as a philosopher has sometimes been thrown into eclipse. Yet neoplatonic philosophy lives in and through his works; indeed, his original development of Platonic and Aristotelian themes stands as a kind of summation of Greek philosophy as it first came to be known in the Christian West. In Nature, Contemplation, and the One, Professor Deck has undertaken a reappraisal of Plotinus' thought from the standpoint of a central doctrine in the Enneads, that of nature as contemplation. This new view enables him to show that the producing of the physical world by means of contemplation is an internally consistent doctrine with ramifications throughout the Plotinian view of being, causality, and the generation of a plural universe by the self-subsistent One.
The result is a systematic account of Plotinus' major teachings, and a fresh view of their meaning and philosophic importance. Professor Deck has appended a new translation of the parts of the Enneads which are central to the doctrine of nature as contemplation, and his study proceeds by careful reference to the original texts. Students, philosophers, and historians will welcome this important and unusually clear-headed approach to a major figure in Western thought.