chain of being

The Great Chain of Being is the title of a book by the American philosopher and historian of ideas A. O. Lovejoy (1873–1962), in which he explored the Neoplatonic and medieval notion of a hierarchy of actual existent things, ordered from the lowest, up through all possible intermediate gradations, including men, angels, and eventually culminating in God. The great literary celebration of this kind of hierarchy is the Divina Commedia of Dante . The notion connects to the view that it would be an inexplicable defect in the created universe if any real possibilities went unactualized. See also plenitude, sufficient reason.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • chain of being —  Цепь бытия …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

  • chain of being — a hierarchical order of all entities; especially : an uninterrupted hierarchy of all beings arranged according to an order of perfection …   Useful english dictionary

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  • Chain — (ch[=a]n), n. [F. cha[^i]ne, fr. L. catena. Cf. {Catenate}.] 1. A series of links or rings, usually of metal, connected, or fitted into one another, used for various purposes, as of support, of restraint, of ornament, of the exertion and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Chain belt — Chain Chain (ch[=a]n), n. [F. cha[^i]ne, fr. L. catena. Cf. {Catenate}.] 1. A series of links or rings, usually of metal, connected, or fitted into one another, used for various purposes, as of support, of restraint, of ornament, of the exertion… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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