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Depression in Antiquity: Recognition of the symptoms of depressive illness in Plato and Aristotle.

Enright, Natalie Ann (2018) Depression in Antiquity: Recognition of the symptoms of depressive illness in Plato and Aristotle. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the extent to which Major Depressive Disorder was recognised in fifth- and fourth-century Athens. The aims of this thesis are to show that, within their discussions of psychological disturbance, Plato and Aristotle identify clusters of symptoms that typically occur together, and that these symptoms have a positive correlation with the categorisation of depression as expressed in DSM-V. Both of these areas are currently undiscussed in scholarship. I begin by discussing the historical healing context in which these philosophers were writing. I then examine how each philosopher viewed the existing healing methods and discuss their individual conceptions of virtue to explain why they evidently felt justified in contributing to these discussions. In Chapter 3, I show that, in Timaeus 86b1-87a9, Plato identifies four out of the nine DSM symptoms of depression and that he presents a symptomatic model that requires these symptoms to occur simultaneously. I then suggest that this Timaean symptomatic model is represented in the characterisation of Apollodorus in Phaedo and Symposium. Finally, I argue that Plato gives these symptoms a physical origin, suggesting that diseases of the soul originate in the body. In Chapter 4, I show that Aristotle identifies eight out of the nine DSM-V symptoms of depression and that he recognises the tendency for these symptoms to occur together. He consistently attributes this clustering of symptoms to distinct groups of people who are connected only by their cool physiology; once again suggesting a physical origin for psychological disturbance. The final chapter explores the treatments recommended by both philosophers. In line with my aims, I conclude that Plato and Aristotle identify clusters of symptoms associated with psychological disturbance that have a positive correlation with depression, and that they recognise that these symptoms tend to occur together.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Depression Mental Illness Medicine Plato Aristotle
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Humanities (Leeds) > Classics (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.778631
Depositing User: Dr Natalie Enright
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2019 09:58
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24135

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