Thursday, 7 May 2015

Anna Zhyrkova: Maximus the Confessor’s Attempts at Creating a Logic of Hypostases

This paper examines various conceptual devices that Maximus the Confessor develops in order to construct an account of individual being. This account is built mainly for Christological purposes. However, some of its proposals also grow out of anthropological concerns. Maximus’ approach to the individual does not consist in advancing a consistent philosophical theory. Rather, he tries to adapt the view of the individual inherited from Porphyrian logic. This adaptation relies on him rephrasing Porphyry’s claims in the Patristic language of hypostasis. As he proceeds to draw conclusions from these rephrased claims within a broadly Patristic context, a number of conceptual devices are created, emerging as combinations of elements drawn from Stoicism, post-Chalcedonian theology, and Porphyrian logic.
Because Maximus views the ideas thus created as binding logical norms of one kind or another, these count as conceptual devices rather than concepts. These are the “mirror law of hypostasis and nature,” according to which things of the same nature do not share their hypostasis and things of the same hypostasis do not share their natures, the analogous inner structure of natures and individuals, which appear to be constructed as, and from, logoi, and the doubled ontological status of logoi, which seem to belong to both the world of linguistic utterances and that of natures. In particular, the paper will seek to analyze just how consistent the latter two devices are with the broad picture Maximus tries to offer.

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