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AnimalsA History$
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Peter Adamson and G. Fay Edwards

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199375967

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199375967.001.0001

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Reincarnation, Rationality, and Temperance

Reincarnation, Rationality, and Temperance

Platonists on not Eating Animals

(p.27) Chapter Two Reincarnation, Rationality, and Temperance

G. Fay Edwards

Oxford University Press

Late antique philosophers contributed remarkable defenses of benevolence toward animals. The two most notable examples of this are Plutarch and Porphyry, who argued that animals should not be killed and eaten. This chapter argues that these philosophers were motivated not so much by a feeling of moral sympathy toward animals as by the conviction that eating meat is bad for humans. Since the consumption of meat ties the soul to the body by providing pleasure, it is to be avoided by the philosopher. Thus the vegetarianism of these late ancient Platonists echoes concerns about embodiment already found in Plato himself. The chapter also touches on the issue of human-animal reincarnation.

Keywords:   ancient philosophy, Plutarch, Porphyry, Platonism, Neoplatonism, vegetarianism, late antiquity

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