Psychosomatic Hedonism*

I’ve read this blog post by my friend and fellow OU Classical Studies student Leigh Cobley a few times now and I still find it to be a thoroughly engaging and engrossing post on the nature of the soul and body in antiquity.

I hope you enjoy it.

Best Wishes

Tony

Le Temps Revient

How did ideas of the soul affect attitudes to the body?

I have been interested in ancient ideas of the soul for a while and was wondering how they came to affect attitudes to the body. This can be seen most clearly in attitudes towards the various pleasures which are associated with the body and how they contrasted to those of the soul. The title Psychosomatic Hedonism is self explanatory, psyche being the Greek word for soul and soma for body, so my title refers to the tension between the different pleasures (hedonai) of the soul and body which I shall explore here.

While reading around the subject, the same thing keeps coming up. There seems to be an idea prevalent throughout the texts, whether  medical, philosophical or religious of a need to overcome the “lower” pleasures of the body, called the paulas hedonas by Aristotle (eating…

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