Precepts of Health Care

Lieve Van Hoof

in Plutarch's Practical Ethics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583263
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723131 | DOI:
Precepts of Health Care

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This chapter discusses Precepts of Health Care, a text concerned with a topic that formed the object of a fierce debate between doctors, gymnastis teachers, and philosophers throughout antiquity, as is clear from Plato and Galen. In order to shore up his own authority in matters of regimen, Plutarch presents his text in the form of a Platonic dialogue, which not only opens up an explicit debate over different approaches to healthcare, but also subtly manipulates the reader's reactions in Plutarch's favour: by positioning the characters involved in the opening discussion differently in relation to medical professionalism on the one hand and social agreeability on the other, Plutarch strongly suggests that what his elite readers need is not the specialized advice of a doctor or athletic trainer, but the more general guidelines which he himself has to offer and which will help his reader to live both healthily and successfully.

Keywords: Precepts of Health Care; health care; regimen; diet; medicine; dialogue; Galen; Plato; athletics; authority

Chapter.  18610 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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