Platos Rivalry with Medicine: A Struggle and Its Dissolution

Hardcover | September 8, 2014

bySusan B. Levin

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While scholars typically view Plato's engagement with medicine as uniform and largely positive, Susan B. Levin argues that from the Gorgias through the Laws, his handling of medicine unfolds in several key phases. Further, she shows that Plato views medicine as an important rival for authorityon phusis (nature) and eudaimonia (flourishing). Levin's arguments rest on careful attention both to Plato and to the Hippocratic Corpus. Levin shows that an evident but unexpressed tension involving medicine's status emerges in the Gorgias and is explored in Plato's critiques of medicine in the Symposium and Republic. In the Laws, however, this rivalry and tension dissolve. Levin addresses the question of why Plato's rivalry withmedicine is put to rest while those with rhetoric and poetry continue. On her account, developments in his views of human nature, with their resulting impact on his political thought, drive Plato's striking adjustments involving medicine in the Laws.Levin's investigation of Plato is timely: for the first time in the history of bioethics, the value of ancient philosophy is receiving notable attention. Most discussions focus on Aristotle's concept of phronesis (practical wisdom); here, Levin argues that Plato has much to offer bioethics as itworks to address pressing concerns about the doctor-patient tie, medical professionalism, and medicine's relationship to society.

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While scholars typically view Plato's engagement with medicine as uniform and largely positive, Susan B. Levin argues that from the Gorgias through the Laws, his handling of medicine unfolds in several key phases. Further, she shows that Plato views medicine as an important rival for authorityon phusis (nature) and eudaimonia (flourish...

Susan B. Levin is Professor of Philosophy at Smith College. She has previously published The Ancient Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry Revisited: Plato and the Greek Literary Tradition (OUP, 2001) and numerous articles.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:September 8, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199919801

ISBN - 13:9780199919802

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Table of Contents

TermsIntroduction1. The Gorgias' Innovative Lens on Human Existence1. Introduction2. Technai v. Empeiriai: The Gorgias' Account of What Is and Is Not Worth Doing3. The Gorgias' Soul-Body Division4. Goods Set Apart from the Good5. Hedonism and Antithetical Ways of Life6. Order as the Key to Virtue and the Good7. The Gorgias on Punishment8. Gorgias 517d-518a and the Dialogue's Final Hierarchy of Human Endeavors9. The Gorgias' Preeminent Techn^ of Politics2. Medicine in the Gorgias: A Collision Course with Philosophy Is Set1. Introduction2. Medicine's Role as Aid and Support to the Gorgias' Castigation of Rhetoric3. Taking Stock of the Gorgias' Parallels and Debts to Medical Writings4. The Roots of What Will Become Plato's Head-On Rivalry with Medicine4.1 Medicine on the Highest Good and the Big Three Epithumiai4.2 Pain4.3 Soul4.4 Microcosmic Hubris5. Looking Ahead3. Eryximachus' Tale: The Symposium's Challenge to Medicine's Preeminence1. Introduction2. Eryximachus as Emcee?3. Macrocosmic Occupations: The Logos of Eryximachus and Its Hippocratic Backdrop4. Eryximachus' Appropriation and Critique of Heraclitus and Anaximander5. Desire, Self-Indulgence, and Self-Control: Eryximachus and Aret6. The Field of Technai: Eryximachus' Loose Construction7. Concluding Thoughts: Eryximachus' and Our Own4. Justice and the Good in Kallipolis: Medicine's Ejection from the Ranks of Technai1. Introduction2. The Hippocratic Backdrop2.1 Treatments2.2 Conditions2.3 Non-Disease Impairments3. The Republic's Account of Medical Practice4. Philosophers, the Big Three, and the Soul-Body Tie5. Infallible Philosophers and the Good6. Medicine a Techn No More7. The Republic's Hierarchy of Human Endeavors and Medicine's Distinctiveness8. A Brief Look Ahead5. Approaching the Laws by Way of the Statesman1. Introduction2. Human Capacity in the Statesman and Republic Compared3. The Statesman on Human Endeavors4. Medicine in the Statesman and Its Sociopolitical Milieu5. The Laws on Phusis and (In)Fallibility: The Laws and Republic Contrasted6. The Touchstone of Magnesia's Quest for Unity7. Maintaining Magnesia: The Nocturnal Council as Philosopher-Rulers or Closely Akin Thereto?7.1 Revising the Law7.2 Magistrates' Corruptibility7.3 The Nocturnal Council's Fallibility as a Judge of Character7.4 Magnesia's Own Cognitive Resources are Insufficient7.5 Cognitive Adequacy and the Council8. Conclusion6. Medicine in the Laws: A Rivalry Dissolved1. Introduction2. The Laws' Opposition to Rhetoricians/Sophists and Poets3. Medicine in the Laws4. Magnesia's Ordinary Citizens Front and Center5. Non-Citizens' Enhanced Position in Magnesia6. The Gorgias' Uncertainty Resolved7. Plato's Legacy to Contemporary Bioethics1. Introduction2. Entrenchment in Bioethics' Quest for Alternatives: Two Prominent Illustrations3. Avoiding Scylla and Charybdis: Aristotle to the Rescue?4. Bioethics and Plato Thus Far5. Preconditions of True Doctor-Patient Collaboration: Grounding an Appeal to Plato6. Bioethics Compared with the Laws on Human Fallibility7. Parity and Paideia8. Paideia and Medical School: Island or Way Station?9. Paideia and (Im)moral Incentives10. Transparency and Accountability: The Who and What of Knowing11. Veatch and Brody on Lay People's Values-Contributions12. ConclusionBibliographyGeneral IndexIndex Locorum