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Philo Of Alexandria And Platonist Psychology

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Chapter Summary

The Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria is a remarkable literary and intellectual phenomenon. In psychology, as in all other areas of philosophy, Philo is particularly indebted to the Platonic tradition, in the form in which he became acquainted with it. Philo permits himself a certain degree of latitude in his accounts of the structure of the soul, since he views the whole tradition descending from Pythagoras, including not only Plato and the Old Academy, but Aristotle and the Stoics, as valid, if slightly inadequate, heirs of Moses, but basically his psychology is explicable as an interpretation of contemporary Platonism. This chapter addresses the topics of the nature and structure of the soul, and of its immortality. Philo observes the basic Platonist bipartite division of the soul into rational (logikon) and irrational (alogon) parts.

Keywords: Aristotle; Philo of Alexandria; Platonist Psychology; soul; Stoics

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