The Contemplative Community: Pre-Socratic Teachings and Their Appropriation in the Phaedo

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Abstract

This paper elucidates how the thinking about opposition that we find in the surviving passages of Anaxagoras of Clazomenae and in the fragments of Heraclitus of Ephesus informs discussions of the separability of the body and the soul in the Phaedo. I offer a reconstruction of the way in which these pre-Socratic ideas of opposition are appropriated and refracted in Plato’s Phaedo (especially at 85e–86e, 92a–95a, 102c–e, 102b–107a). I treat Anaxagoras first, in order to explicate how his ideas make up the background of the dialogical study of the separation of the soul from the body (102b–107a). My analysis of Heraclitus comes second and shows how his ideas inform the interlocutors’ assessment of the unity characteristic of the body and the soul (92a–95a). I set the stage for the discussion of Anaxagoras and Heraclitus by relating these thinkers to the broader Pythagorean background that is apparent in the dialogue.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Pages29-52
Number of pages24
Edition1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy
Number1
Volume37
ISSN (Print)1059-986X
ISSN (Electronic)2213-4417

Keywords

  • Anaxagoras
  • Heraclitus
  • opposition
  • Pythagoreans
  • theory of Forms or Ideas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Classics
  • Philosophy

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