The Analogy Between Vice and Disease from the Republic to the Timaeus

  • Olivier RenautEmail author
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 139)


Vice is often compared with bodily diseases in Plato’s dialogues, as if bodily diseases were an insightful scheme to understand how a psychic structure can be infected, contaminated, and then completely corrupted. But what is a strict analogy in the Republic seems to refer clearly to a causal interaction between body and soul in the Timaeus: vice can emerge from a malign disposition of the body, and, conversely, vice can cause or feed new bodily diseases in a disharmonious and neglected body. This paper argues that there is a consistent use of the analogy between vice and disease in the Republic and the Timaeus; the claim that psychic diseases are involuntary in the Timaeus is actually compatible with the agent’s responsibility regarding his ethical and physical good condition, within a strong normative approach to diseases, both of the body and the soul.


Plato Disease Medicine Vice Analogy Republic Timaeus Analogy Causality Body Soul Regimen 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EA 373 Institut de Recherches Philosophiques, Université Paris NanterreNanterre CedexFrance

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