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Korean J Med Hist > Volume 13(1); 2004 > Article
Korean Journal of Medical History 2004;13(1): 81-93.
고대 헬라스 의학과 연관해서 본 플라톤의 건강 개념과 자연관
Early Greek Medicine and Plato's Cosmology
Kee bag Rhee
Department of Medical History, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Korea.
The purpose of this paper is to show the influence of Early greek medicine on Plato's Cosmology. Alcmaeon holds that health depends on proportion (equality; isonomia) or proportioned mixture of opposing factors. This notion dominated nearly all greek medicine, and also influenced Plato's cosmology greatly. Generally early greek doctors believed that man consisted of opposing factors, though these are designated differently. Alcmaeon takes powers - hot and dry, cold and hot, vitter, sweet and the rest as those factors. On the other hand, Philistion of Locri adopts the four element theory of Empedocles. He conceives that human body as a mixture of the four elements, and health consists in proportion of these opposing four element, basically as Alcmaeon. This notion is accepted by Plato. Only Plato differs from Philistion in that he does't consider the four elements as the ultimate factors. In Timaeus Plato explains that the Demiourgos constructed the four elements through introducing 'proportion' into the primitive materials (the oppositives) by means of shapes and mumbers. And Plato thinks that the cosmic body and soul was constructed basically in the same way as the four elements. This is true of the human body and soul. Also Plato explicates diseases from standpoint of proportion or symmetry. Moreover according to Philebus, the good states (i.e. 'health', 'music', 'seasons' etc) in the cosmos arises out of the right mixture of the limit and the unlimited. In other word this mixture is proportioned mixture of the oppositives by aid of ratios. In short Plato believes that both the cosmos itself and the good states is proportioned mixture of the oppositives. Thus Plato' cosmology is fundamentally based upon Alcmaeon's or Philistion's concept of Health.
Key Words: Alcmaeon, Plato, Health, Cosmology, Proportion
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