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The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Thought$
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Christopher Gill

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198152682

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198152682.001.0001

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Competing Readings of Platonic Psychology

Competing Readings of Platonic Psychology

Chapter:
(p.291) 5 Competing Readings of Platonic Psychology
Source:
The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Thought
Author(s):

Christopher Gill (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198152682.003.0005

In Hellenistic-Roman debate about psychology, thinkers such as Plutarch and Galen saw themselves as maintaining Platonic (and Aristotelian) ideas about psychology that the Stoics rejected. This chapter suggests that the relationship between Plato and these Hellenistic and Roman thinkers is more complex than initially appears. It suggests that both sides in the debate may have been influenced by key features of Platonic psychology. This suggestion is illustrated by accounts of competing ways of reading two important Platonic treatments of psychology: in the Timaeus and the Republic. The account of Galen’s reading is based on Galen’s own statements; the reconstruction of Chrysippus’ reading is more speculative. These competing readings are used to show how Platonic material could be seen as lending support both to part-based (Platonic-Aristotelian) and to holistic (Stoic) ideas about embodied psychology and psychological functions.

Keywords:   Chrysippus, Galen, part-based self, Plato, psychological holism, psychology, Republic, Timaeus

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