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Plutarch's Practical EthicsThe Social Dynamics of Philosophy$
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Lieve Van Hoof

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583263

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583263.001.0001

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Precepts of Health Care

Precepts of Health Care

(p.211) 8 Precepts of Health Care
Plutarch's Practical Ethics

Lieve Van Hoof (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Precepts of Health Care, a text concerned with a topic that formed the object of a fierce debate between doctors, gymnastis teachers, and philosophers throughout antiquity, as is clear from Plato and Galen. In order to shore up his own authority in matters of regimen, Plutarch presents his text in the form of a Platonic dialogue, which not only opens up an explicit debate over different approaches to healthcare, but also subtly manipulates the reader's reactions in Plutarch's favour: by positioning the characters involved in the opening discussion differently in relation to medical professionalism on the one hand and social agreeability on the other, Plutarch strongly suggests that what his elite readers need is not the specialized advice of a doctor or athletic trainer, but the more general guidelines which he himself has to offer and which will help his reader to live both healthily and successfully.

Keywords:   Precepts of Health Care, health care, regimen, diet, medicine, dialogue, Galen, Plato, athletics, authority

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