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No student of the history of ancient medicine and philosophy can escape an encounter with phrenitis. Galen mentions the disease innumerable times, patristic authors take it as a favourite allegory of human flaw, and no ancient doctor fails to diagnose it and attempt its cure. Yet the nature of this once famous disease has failed to be considered or understood properly by scholars. This book provides the first full history of phrenitis. In doing so, it surveys ancient ideas about the interactions between body and soul both in health and in disease. It also addresses ancient ideas about bodily health, mental soundness and moral 'goodness' and their heritage in contemporary psychiatric ideas. Readers will encounter an exciting narrative about health, illness and care as embedded in ancient 'life' but will also be forced to reflect critically on our contemporary ideas of what it means to be 'insane'.
Plato is a philosophical writer of unusual and impressive versatility. His works engage in argument but are also full of allegory, imagery, myth, paradox and intertextuality. He carefully characterises the participants whom he portrays in conversation. Sometimes he composes fictive dialogues in dramatic form while at other times he does so as narratives. In this book, world-renowned scholar Malcolm Schofield illustrates the variety of the literary resources that Plato deploys to achieve his philosophical purposes. He draws key passages for discussion particularly, but not only, from Republic and the less well-known Laws and also shows how reconstructing the original historical context of a dialogue and of its assumed readership is essential to understanding Plato's approach. The book will open the eyes of readers of all levels of expertise to Plato's masterly ability as a writer and how an understanding of this is crucial if we are to appreciate his philosophy.
Despite the common misconception that ancient philosophy was the domain of male thinkers, sources confirm that ancient women engaged in philosophical activity. Bringing together a collection of essays on ancient women thinkers, with special focus on their ideas and contributions to the history of philosophy, this volume is about the earliest women philosophers, their breakthroughs, and the methods we can use to excavate them. The essays survey the methodological strategies we can use to approach the surviving evidence, retrieve the largely unresearched thought and the original ideas of ancient women philosophers, and carve out a space for them in the canon. The broad focus includes women thinkers in ancient Indian, Chinese, and Arabic philosophy as well as in the Greek and Roman philosophical traditions. The volume will be valuable for a wide range of researchers, teachers, and students of ancient philosophy.
Plato's Charmides is a rich mix of drama and argument. Raphael Woolf offers a comprehensive interpretation of its disparate elements that pays close attention to its complex and layered structure, and to the methodology of reading Plato. He thus aims to present a compelling and unified interpretation of the dialogue as a whole. The book mounts a strong case for the formal separation of Plato the author from his character Socrates, and for the Charmides as a Platonic defence of the written text as a medium for philosophical reflection. It lays greater emphasis than other readings on the centrality of eros to an understanding of Socratic procedure in the Charmides, and on how the dialogue's erotic and medical motifs work together. The book's critical engagement with the dialogue allows a worked-out account to be given of how temperance, the central object of enquiry in the work, is to be conceived.
Why did some doctors in Classical Greece feel compelled to study the universe as a whole? How could cosmological principles be employed in clinical practice? This book explores the works of the cosmological doctors, such as On Breaths, On Flesh, and On Regimen, and argues that they form part of a much broader reorganization of medical knowledge in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. These healers used cosmological principles as a supplement to, rather than a replacement of, more traditional approaches to health and disease, creating theories about the cosmos whose obscurities can best be understood as the products of medical thinking. Through fresh readings of many ancient sources, the book revises customary views of the intersections between medicine and cosmology in Classical Greece and advances our understanding of one of the most remarkable periods in the history of ancient thought.
This is the first modern edition of Book X of the Historia Animalium. It argues that the first five chapters are a summary, from the hand of Aristotle, of a medical treatise by a physician practicing in the fourth-century BCE. This gives short shrift to Hippocratic staples such as trapped menses and the wandering womb, and describes a woman's climax during sex in terms that can be easily mapped onto modern accounts. In summarizing the treatise and examining its claims in the last two chapters, Aristotle follows the method described in the Topics for a philosopher embarking on a new field of study. Here we see Aristotle's ruminations over the conundrum of a woman's contribution to conception at an early stage in the development of his theory of reproduction. Far from being an insignificant pseudepigraphon, this is a central text for understanding the development of ancient gynaecology and Aristotelian methodology.
The Classical Greek sophists – Protagoras, Gorgias, Prodicus, Hippias, and Antiphon, among others – are some of the most important figures in the flourishing of linguistic, historical, and philosophical reflection at the time of Socrates. They are also some of the most controversial: what makes the sophists distinctive, and what they contributed to fifth-century intellectual culture, has been hotly debated since the time of Plato. They have often been derided as reactionaries, relativists or cynically superficial thinkers, or as mere opportunists, making money from wealthy democrats eager for public repute. This volume takes a fresh perspective on the sophists – who really counted as one; how distinctive they were; and what kind of sense later thinkers made of them. In three sections, contributors address the sophists' predecessors and historical and professional context; their major intellectual themes, including language, ethics, society, and religion; and their reception from the fourth century BCE to modernity.
Cicero's De Officiis, perhaps his most influential philosophical work, ranges over a wide variety of themes, from the role of the family in society to the question of whether our duties can conflict with one another, and from the moral significance of offence to the question of whether it is right to kill a dictator. This Critical Guide, the first collection of essays devoted to the work, is helpfully organised in thematic sections and aims to illuminate both the main individual topics of De Officiis and their interconnections, with essays by an international team of contributors that will allow readers to appreciate the work's distinctive blend of philosophical theory and social and political reality. It will be valuable for a range of readers in fields including philosophy, classics and political theory.
Plato's moral realism rests on the Idea of the Good, the unhypothetical first principle of all. It is this, as Plato says, that makes just things useful and beneficial. That Plato makes the first principle of all the Idea of the Good sets his approach apart from that of virtually every other philosopher. This fact has been occluded by later Christian Platonists who tried to identify the Good with the God of scripture. But for Plato, theology, though important, is subordinate to metaphysics. For this reason, ethics is independent of theology and attached to metaphysics. This book challenges many contemporary accounts of Plato's ethics that start with the so-called Socratic paradoxes and attempt to construct a psychology of action or moral psychology that makes these paradoxes defensible. Rather, Lloyd Gerson argues that Plato at least never thought that moral realism was defensible outside of a metaphysical framework.
Aristotle thinks that happiness is an activity – it consists in doing something – rather than a feeling. It is the best activity of which humans are capable and is spread out over the course of a life. But what kind of activity is it? Some of his remarks indicate that it is a single best kind of activity, intellectual contemplation. Other evidence suggests that it is an overarching activity that has various virtuous activities, ethical and intellectual, as parts. Numerous interpreters have sharply disagreed about Aristotle's answers to such questions. In this book, Bryan Reece offers a fundamentally new approach to determining what kind of activity Aristotle thinks happiness is, one that challenges widespread assumptions that have until now prevented a dialectically satisfactory interpretation. His approach displays the boldness and systematicity of Aristotle's practical philosophy.
The account of the best life for humans – i.e. a happy or flourishing life – and what it might consist of was the central theme of ancient ethics. But what does it take to have a life that, if not happy, is at least worth living, compared with being dead or never having come into life? This question was also much discussed in antiquity, and David Machek's book reconstructs, for the first time, philosophical engagements with the question from Socrates to Plotinus. Machek's comprehensive book explores ancient views on a life worth living against a background of the pessimistic outlook on the human condition which was adopted by the Greek poets, and also shows the continuities and contrasts between the ancient perspective and modern philosophical debates about biomedical ethics and the ethics of procreation. His rich study of this relatively neglected theme offers a fresh and compelling narrative of ancient ethics.
This book sheds new light on Plato's cosmology in relation to Greek religion by examining the contested distinction between the traditional and cosmic gods. A close reading of the later dialogues shows that the two families of gods are routinely deployed to organise and structure Plato's accounts of the origins of the universe and of humanity and its social institutions, and to illuminate the moral and political ideals of philosophical utopias. Vilius Bartninkas argues that the presence of the two kinds of gods creates a dynamic, yet productive, tension in Plato's thinking which is unmistakable and which is not resolved until the works of his students. Thus the book closes by exploring how the cosmological and religious ideas of Plato's later dialogues resurfaced in the Early Academy and how the debates initiated there ultimately led to the collapse of this theological distinction.
Seneca stands apart from other philosophers of Greece and Rome not only for his interest in practical ethics, but also for the beauty and liveliness of his writing. These twelve in-depth essays take up a series of interrelated topics in his works, from his relation to Stoicism, Epicureanism, and other schools of thought; to the psychology of emotion and action and the management of anger and grief; to letter-writing, gift-giving, friendship, and kindness; to Seneca's innovative use of genre, style, and humor. Recalling Socrates's critique of philosophical writing in Plato's Phaedrus, this volume gives particular attention to Seneca's ideas about the techniques of reading, writing, and study that make philosophy beneficial to the individual and to society. Clear explanations and careful translations make the volume accessible to a wide range of readers.
This Companion provides a comprehensive guide to ancient logic. The first part charts its chronological development, focussing especially on the Greek tradition, and discusses its two main systems: Aristotle's logic of terms and the Stoic logic of propositions. The second part explores the key concepts at the heart of the ancient logical systems: truth, definition, terms, propositions, syllogisms, demonstrations, modality and fallacy. The systematic discussion of these concepts allows the reader to engage with some specific logical and exegetical issues and to appreciate their transformations across different philosophical traditions. The intersections between logic, mathematics and rhetoric are also explored. The third part of the volume discusses the reception and influence of ancient logic in the history of philosophy and its significance for philosophy in our own times. Comprehensive coverage, chapters by leading international scholars and a critical overview of the recent literature in the field will make this volume essential for students and scholars of ancient logic.
Galen's Health (De sanitate tuenda) was the most important work on daily exercise, diet and health regimes in antiquity. This book presents the first reliable scholarly translation of this work in English, alongside the related theoretical work Thrasybulus. A substantial introduction and thorough annotation elucidate both works and contextualize them within the framework of ancient health practices, ancient conceptions of the body and debates between medical and philosophical schools. The texts are of enormous interest from three points of view: (1) the wide range of insights they give into ancient everyday lifestyles, especially as regards diet, bathing, exercise and materia medica, as well as aspects of daily intellectual life; (2) the light they shed on ancient debates within medicine and philosophy, on fundamental conceptions of the body and the relationship between body and mind; (3) the enormous influence that Health had in mediaeval and early modern times.
Plato's Phaedo is a literary gem that develops many of his most famous ideas. David Ebrey's careful reinterpretation argues that the many debates about the dialogue cannot be resolved so long as we consider its passages in relative isolation from one another, separated from their intellectual background. His book shows how Plato responds to his literary, religious, scientific, and philosophical context, and argues that we can only understand the dialogue's central ideas and arguments in light of its overall structure. This approach yields new interpretations of the dialogue's key ideas, including the nature and existence of 'Platonic' forms, the existence of the soul after death, the method of hypothesis, and the contemplative ethical ideal. Moreover, this comprehensive approach shows how the characters play an integral role in the Phaedo's development and how its literary structure complements Socrates' views while making its own distinctive contribution to the dialogue's drama and ideas.
The role of Greek thought in the final days of the Roman republic is a topic that has garnered much attention in recent years. This volume of essays, commissioned specially from a distinguished international group of scholars, explores the role and influence of Greek philosophy, specifically Epicureanism, in the late republic. It focuses primarily (although not exclusively) on the works and views of Cicero, premier politician and Roman philosopher of the day, and Lucretius, foremost among the representatives and supporters of Epicureanism at the time. Throughout the volume, the impact of such disparate reception on the part of these leading authors is explored in a way that illuminates the popularity as well as the controversy attached to the followers of Epicurus in Italy, ranging from ethical and political concerns to the understanding of scientific and celestial phenomena. This title is also available as Open Access on Cambridge Core.
Extensively trained as a philosopher, Cicero was also a working politician with a keen awareness of the distance between pure intellectual endeavor and effective strategies of persuasion. This volume explores a series of interrelated problems in his works, from the use of emotion, self-correction, and even fiction in intellectual inquiry, to the motives of political agents and the morality of political arguments, to the means of justifying the use of force in international relations. It features close readings of works from all periods of Cicero's philosophical career, from the threshold of Rome's civil war to the year following the assassination of Julius Caesar. For a richer body of evidence, the volume also makes use of material from Cicero's personal letters and political speeches. Power and Persuasion in Cicero's Philosophy will be essential reading not only in Roman philosophy but also for the political and rhetorical culture of the Roman Republic.
This book tells an overlooked story in the history of ideas, a drama of cut-throat politics and philosophy of mind. For it is Cicero, statesman and philosopher, who gives shape to the notion of will in Western thought, from criminal will to moral willpower and 'the will of the people'. In a single word – voluntas – he brings Roman law in contact with Greek ideas, chief among them Plato's claim that a rational elite must rule. When the republic falls to Caesarism, Cicero turns his political argument inward: Will is a force in the soul to win the virtue lost on the battlefield, the mark of inner freedom in an unfree age. Though this constitutional vision failed in his own time, Cicero's ideals of popular sovereignty and rational elitism have shaped and fractured the modern world – and Ciceronian creativity may yet save it.
Generation and Corruption II is concerned with Aristotle's theory of the elements, their reciprocal transformations and the cause of their perpetual generation and corruption. These matters are essential to Aristotle's picture of the world, making themselves felt throughout his natural science, including those portions of it that concern living things. What is more, the very inquiry Aristotle pursues in this text, with its focus on definition, generality, and causation, throws important light on his philosophy of science more generally. This volume contains eleven new essays, one for each of the chapters of this Aristotelian text, plus a general introduction and an English translation of the Greek text. It gives substantial attention to an important and neglected text, and highlights its relevance to other topics of current and enduring interest.