Medical Theory in Plato's Timaeus

Rhizai 6:161-192 (2009)
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Abstract

Plato’s Timaeus provides a significant, original account of diseases afflicting the body and soul. The causes of disease are explained according to the same physical principles that account for the motion of the four elements in the universe. As a result, medical expertise concerning the microcosm of the human body depends on cosmological expertise concerning the macrocosm of the universe. in addition, the methods of division and collection (diairesis and sunagōgē) that Plato uses in other late dialogues are employed in the Timaeus to classify ailments according to differences in their dunamis. Each of the three main kinds of disease is caused by a unique kind of bodily motion, which explains why the same body parts, humours, and elements are involved in multiple kinds of disease.

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Laura Grams
University of Nebraska, Omaha

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