plenitude, principle of
Name given by the American historian of ideas A. O. Lovejoy (1873–1962) to a principle he detected in much Greek and medieval thought, that the existence and abundance of creation must be as great as the possibility of existence, commensurate therefore with an infinite and inexhaustible source. For if such a source could have reason to make any possibility actual, which we know it to have since there is an actual world, then it would have reason to actualize every possibility consistent with its nature. The non-existence of anything that could have existed would argue a niggardliness, or ‘envy’, in the creative principle that could have brought it about. The principle infused many versions of the view that there is a great chain of being, stretching from the lowest invisible worm to the highest seraph (for it also ensures that there are creatures intermediate between us and God); it also infuses the optimistic view, found as late as the 18th and 19th centuries, that the soul will, or at least could, rise through a perpetual progress of degrees of perfection (an idea effectively criticized by the American Samuel Johnson as giving rise to a version of Zeno's paradox ). See also Dante, Neoplatonism.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • plenitude, principle of —    The principle of plenitude is the principle that God s boundless goodness expresses itself in creating every possible sort of being or, at least, that God has created as many beings as could possibly coexist (other beings couldn t coexist with …   Christian Philosophy

  • plenitude principle of —  Полноты принцип …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

  • principle of plenitude — plenitude, principle of …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Plenitude principle — The plenitude principle or principle of plenitude asserts that everything that can happen will happen.The historian of ideas Arthur Lovejoy was the first to discuss this philosophically important Principle explicitly,… …   Wikipedia

  • perfection, principle of — The principle associated with Leibniz and parodied by Voltaire in Candide, that this is the best of all possible worlds. For God to have failed to create the best possible world would imply a fault. See also panglossian ; plenitude, principle of …   Philosophy dictionary

  • plenitude — plenitude, principle of …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Mediocrity principle — Mediocre redirects here. For the album by Ximena Sariñana, see Mediocre (album). The mediocrity principle is the notion in philosophy of science that there is nothing very unusual about the evolution of our solar system, the Earth, any one nation …   Wikipedia

  • Great Chain of Being — ▪ philosophy also called  Chain of Being        conception of the nature of the universe that had a pervasive influence on Western thought, particularly through the ancient Greek Neoplatonists and derivative philosophies during the European… …   Universalium

  • History of evolutionary thought — This article is about the history of evolutionary thought in biology. For the history of evolutionary thought in the social sciences, see Sociocultural evolution. For the history of religious discussions, see History of the creation evolution… …   Wikipedia

  • St. Clare of Assisi —     St. Clare of Assisi     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► St. Clare of Assisi     Cofoundress of the Order of Poor Ladies, or Clares, and first Abbess of San Damiano; born at Assisi, 16 July, 1194; died there 11 August, 1253. She was the eldest… …   Catholic encyclopedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”