Cura, eros, felicità. Sull’antropologia di Platone

Linda M. Napolitano Valditara


Care, Eros, Happiness. On Plato’s Anthropology

Various currents of thought and individual thinkers recently refer to Plato’s epimeleia heautou: the so-called philosophical practices, important philosophers in the XXth Century (Patoĉka, Hadot, Foucault) and the authors reflecting upon contemporary technological medicine (Jaspers, Gadamer). However the notion itself of “cure” needs today to be clarified, first recalling the different meanings already recognized by Heidegger to his Sorge. Moreover, we must distinguish the current purely therapeutic notion of “cure” and a wider, promotive notion of “care”, whose model is to be found in ancient Greek medicine and in Plato’s epimeleia. Just in Phaedr. 270b Gadamer finds a basic analogy between medicine, granting health and strength to the body through pharmaka and good foods, and philosophical rhetoric, giving to the soul persuasion and virtue through good discourses and right actions. Both medicine and philosophy aim then at caring their objects, body and soul, making them to flourish and to become as best as they by nature can be. However Plato’s relation between body and soul is not the sharp opposition imagined by the tradition, his heauton is properly or primarily – not solely - psyche (Alc. I 128a-130d) and this psyche is a dynamis, whose basic purpose is assuring life. Going by these notions, we can deepen the three most important features of his epimeleia heautou. We can take care of ourselves: i) within dialogical relations; ii) when we know ourselves and live as structurally non wise beings; iii) most of all, when we know ourselves and live as erotic beings. All of us is an Eros’ son, structurally poor and lacking, but also lifelong researching and creating by himself (giving birth to) the kalokagathon he naturally loves. This is, according to Plato, the proper origin of the epimeleia all of us can act and needs to offer to himself, insofar as, in this life, he is by nature a psycho-somatic compound. And, as Socrates facing with death says (Phaed. 115b-c), only such an epimeleia can allow all us to gain the desired happiness.


Linda Napolitano; Napolitano; Platone

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