Gábor Betegh, Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy, Cambridge UK
"Plato on Health and Illness in the Phaedo and the Timaeus"
Abstract: Both dialogues start with someone not being able to attend an important philosophical discussion because of falling ill. But, I argue, the two dialogues present substantially different views on illness and health, closely related to the fact that the Timaeus presents embodied divine beings, most of all the cosmos, whose bodies don’t hinder their continuous intellectual activities. What is the guarantee of the eternal good health of the cosmos? And how far it is achievable for us by trying to emulate the metabolism of the cosmos? The Phaedo ends with thanking Asclepius, whose proper task is described in the Republic I argue that, according to the Timaeus we ought to be our own Asclepius to guarantee our good health based on the health of the cosmos.