Philosophical Perspectives on Galen of Pergamum: Four Case-Studies on Human Nature and the Relation between Body and Soul


This is a ground-breaking philosophical-historical study of the work of Galen of Pergamum. It contains four case-studies on (1) Galen’s remarkable and original thoughts on the relation between body and soul, (2) his notion of human nature, (3) his engagement with Plato’s Timaeus, (4) and black bile and melancholy. It shows that Galen develops an innovative view of human nature that problematizes the distinction between body and soul.
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Robert Vinkesteijn obtained his Ph.D. in Philosophy at Utrecht University in 2020 with the highest distinction. He has lectured at Utrecht and Leiden University, and has started a research project on melancholy in ancient and medieval thought at the Humboldt University of Berlin in 2022.
Abbreviations and Other Notes

1 The Cultivation of the Soul in a ‘Physicalist’ World
 Ethical Philosophy in Galen’s QAM
 1 Aristotle and the Non-rational Parts of the Soul
 2 Plato and the Rational Part of the Soul
 3 Positioning in the Scholarly Debate
 4 The Possible Continuity in the Divine and Human Formation of the Bodily Mixture

2 Galen on the Nature of Man
 1 The Primary Substance
 2 Divisio ad principes: a Hippocratic-Platonic Method
 3 Elements and Qualities
 4 Grades and Shades of Nature
 5 Nature of the Body, Nature of the Soul

3 Soul, Mixture and Galen’s Timaeus
 1 Sources
 2 Scope of the Commentary
 3 Basic Tendencies in Galen’s Interpretation of the Timaeus
 4 Comparing Galen’s Timaeus to the Larrain Fragments

4 Galen on Black Bile and Melancholy
 1 Precedents
 2 Galen on Black Bile
 3 Galen on Melancholy
 Conclusion on Black Bile and Melancholy

General Conclusion
Anybody interested in ancient philosophy on an academic level.
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