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Erôs in Ancient Greece$
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Ed Sanders, Chiara Thumiger, Christopher Carey, and Nick Lowe

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605507.001.0001

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Galen, Plato, and the Physiology of Erôs

Galen, Plato, and the Physiology of Erôs

Chapter:
(p.111) 8 Galen, Plato, and the Physiology of Erôs
Source:
Erôs in Ancient Greece
Author(s):

Ralph M. Rosen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605507.003.0008

This chapter investigates Galen’s attitude towards erôs, specifically in his capacity as a doctor who endorsed an essentially Platonic psychology. It focuses on Galen’s On the Doctrines of Hippocrates and Plato (= PHP), which reveals a far more biologically-based conceptualization of erôs than Plato. Erôs for Galen was one of the more problematic of the passions that originated in the liver, but this organ also had a positive side for Galen as a nutritive force in the human body, counterbalancing the many examples of a destructive erôs that predominate in PHP. The chapter argues that, despite the fact that Galen’s notion of erôs was more physiological and less metaphysical than Plato’s, he still saw it as an important force in shaping one’s moral and interpersonal life.

Keywords:   erôs, Galen, Plato, Symposium, seat of passions, desires, psychology of love

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