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In: Phronesis
Author: Kevin Corrigan

Abstract

Simmias’ famous epiphenomenalist analogy of the soul-body relation to the harmony and strings of a lyre (together with Cebes’ subsequent objection) leads to Socrates’ initial refutation and subsequent prolonged defense of soul’s immortality in the Phaedo. It also yields in late antiquity significant treatments of the harmony relation by Plotinus (Ennead III 6 [26] 4, 30-52) and Porphyry (Sentences 18, 8-18) that present a larger context for viewing the nature of harmony in the soul and the psycho-somatic compound. But perhaps the most detailed treatment of the musical analogy, and certainly the most radical, is to be found in Gregory of Nyssa’s De Hominis Opificio. Gregory’s remarkable development of the musical instrument analogy provides a multi-layered analysis of interrelated causality on the mechanistic, physiological, psycho-somatic and intellectual/spiritual planes. Gregory not only sees mind/soul and body as radically equal and yet multilayered in their mutual development; he also refuses to restrict mind to the brain alone, for all physiological systems, in his view, are holistically and individually expressive of mind’s activity. Gregory’s theory is more innovative than Augustine’s view of the mind/soul-body relation and, in my view, the most important account between Plotinus and Aquinas.

In: The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition
In: Gnosticism, Platonism and the Late Ancient World
In: Reading Ancient Texts. Volume II: Aristotle and Neoplatonism
In: Divine Creation in Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Thought
In: Platonisms: Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern
In: Practicing Gnosis
This Festschrift honors the life and work of John D. Turner (Charles J. Mach University Professor of Classics and History at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln) on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Professor Turner’s work has been of profound importance for the study of the interaction between Greek philosophy and Gnosticism in late antiquity. This volume contains essays by international scholars on a broad range of topics that deal with Sethian, Valentinian and other early Christian thought, as well as with Platonism and Neoplatonism, and offer a variety of perspectives spanning intellectual history, Greek and Coptic philology, and the study of religions.
The present volume argues that Plato and Platonism should be understood not as a series of determinate doctrines or philosophical facts to be pinned down once and for all, but rather as an inexhaustible mine of possible trajectories. The book examines in this light different strands of Platonic thinking from the dialogues themselves through later Antiquity and the Medieval World into Modernity and Post-Modernity with new essays ranging from Descartes, Kant, Hegel, and Natorp to Yeats, Levinas and Derrida.
And also suggests the possibility of reading the dialogues and the whole tradition resonating in and through them in new, unexpected ways.