A1 Journal article (refereed)
In Search of the Good : The Role of Recognition in Proclus and Maximus the Confessor (2016)

Riggs, T. (2016). In Search of the Good : The Role of Recognition in Proclus and Maximus the Confessor. Open Theology, 2, 457-470. https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0037

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Riggs, Timothy

Journal or series: Open Theology

ISSN: 2300-6579

Publication year: 2016

Volume: 2

Pages range: 457-470

Publisher: De Gruyter

Publication country: Germany

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0037

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/65707


The concept of recognition is increasing in importance in political and social philosophy as a means of explaining and dealing conceptually with the problems of multiculturalism. Nevertheless, the phenomena which this concept signifies, namely human capacities for intersubjectivity, belong to human beings even before the development of the modern concept. This article explores how the content of the concept of recognition plays a role in two Platonic philosophies of Late Antiquity, those of the Neoplatonic philosopher Proclus and the Christian philosopher, monk and theologian Maximus the Confessor. It is shown that their versions of a metaphysics of the Good provides the foundation for a moral and ethical vision of human life which makes recognitive judgements – which make acts of recognition possible – a necessity for human action. Although proper recognition pertains to the rational recognition of the First Cause as the true end of all human action, nevertheless Proclus and Maximus make recognitive judgements not only possible but a necessary function of even the lower, irrational faculties of soul. In this way, they explain how human beings have an innate capacity at all levels of cognition for recognizing things and other people as goods to be pursued or avoided.

Keywords: Platonism; metaphysics; intersubjectivity

Free keywords: philosophical psychology

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Last updated on 2023-10-01 at 15:41