14 Facts About Nous


Nous, or Greek ????, sometimes equated to intellect or intelligence, is a concept from classical philosophy for the faculty of the human mind necessary for understanding what is true or real.

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Nous claimed that reality as perceived by the senses alone is not a world of truth at all, because sense perception is so unreliable, and what is perceived is so uncertain and changeable.

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Nous's description was in other words corporeal or mechanical, with the moon made of earth, the sun and stars made of red hot metal (beliefs Socrates was later accused of holding during his trial) and nous itself being a physically fine type of matter which gathered and concentrated with the development of the cosmos.

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Nous is associated with the rational part of the individual human soul, which by nature should rule.

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Nous is the Only Begotten; and is styled the Father, the Beginning of All, inasmuch as from him are derived immediately or mediately the remaining Aeons who complete the Ogdoad, thence the Decad (ten), and thence the Dodecad (twelve); in all, thirty Aeons constitute the Pleroma.

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Nous alone is capable of knowing the Propator; but when he desired to impart like knowledge to the other Aeons, was withheld from so doing by Sige.

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Similar conception of Nous appears in the later teaching of the Basilideans, according to which he is the first begotten of the Unbegotten Father, and himself the parent of Logos, from whom emanate successively Phronesis, Sophia, and Dunamis.

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Nous was clearly influenced by the same late classical world as neoplatonism, neopythagoreanism, but exactly how is less clear.

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Nous is the first known person to have done this in a clear way.

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Nous was the first philosopher known to have assumed the existence of a causal hierarchy of celestial spheres, and the incorporeal intelligences parallel to those spheres.

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Nous believed the soul was incorporeal, and the potential intellect was a disposition of it which was in the soul from birth.

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Nous used both the neoplatonic Nous, and the Platonic Form of the Good as equivalent terms for the Christian God, or at least for one particular aspect of God.

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Nous felt that lesser known Greek philosophers such as Democritus "who did not suppose a mind or reason in the frame of things", have been arrogantly dismissed because of Aristotelianism leading to a situation in his time wherein "the search of the physical causes hath been neglected, and passed in silence".

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Nous argued that individuals can only know sensations and ideas of objects, not abstractions such as "matter", and that ideas depend on perceiving minds for their very existence.

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