Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Hippocratics’

Day 26: Quacks: Doctors and Philosophers

In the first book of Plato’s Republic, Plato has Socrates turn to the medical art in order to argue that justice like other technai, or knowledges that serve some practical purpose, benefit those they serve rather than those who have the knowledge.  Socrates is responding to Thrasymachus who thinks justice is a purely conventional effort to use one’s power to serve themselves.  Socrates, as is his wont in Platonic dialogues, introduces the question of knowledge–how can we serve ourselves if we do not know what would serve us well?  Having Thrasymachus agree that we expect the ruled to obey, and that if they were to obey when the ruler was wrong about what serves him well, Socrates also gets Thrasymachus to agree that this view would have justice be both serving the rulers’ end and not.  Thrasymachus explains himself by saying the ruler is only the ruler when the ruler is right about what his advantage is. Read more

Day 25: Ancient Medical Art and the Distinction Between Humans and Animals

In my book on Aristotle’s Politics, I argue that Aristotle’s definition of the human being as political on the basis of having logos, by which we organize pleasures and pains and determine what is beneficial and harmful, good and bad, just and unjust, functions to show that anyone making a claim to belong exemplifies their having of logos and thus belongs.  Interestingly, I think this view might actually lead to showing, contra Aristotle’s argument that logos distinguishes humans from animals, that animals too might make claims and thus belong.  I take Bruno Latour’s work on the politics of nature to show as much.

I’m currently working on a project on Aristotle’s biology, which has led me into some background research on ancient Greek medicine that has further complicated the question of how and whether we can use logos and phônê to distinguish humans from animals. Read more