Authors
Christopher Gowans
Fordham University
Abstract
Medical analogies are commonly invoked in both Indian Buddhist dharma and Hellenistic philosophy. In the Pāli Canon, nirvana is depicted as a form of health, and the Buddha is portrayed as a doctor who helps us attain it. Much later in the tradition, Śāntideva described the Buddha’s teaching as ‘the sole medicine for the ailments of the world, the mine of all success and happiness.’ Cicero expressed the view of many Hellenistic philosophers when he said that philosophy is ‘a medical science for the mind.’ He thought we should ‘hand ourselves over to philosophy, and let ourselves be healed.’ ‘For as long as these ills [of the mind] remain,’ he wrote, ‘we cannot attain to happiness.’ There are many different forms of medical analogy in these two traditions, but the most general form may be stated as follows: just as medicine cures bodily diseases and brings about physical health, so Buddhist dharma or Hellenistic philosophy cures mental diseases and brings about psychological health—where psychological health is understood as the highest form of happiness or well-being. Insofar as Buddhist dharma involves philosophy, as it does, both renditions of the analogy may be said to declare that philosophy cures mental diseases and brings about psychological health. This feature of the analogy—philosophy as analogous to medical treatment—has attracted considerable attention.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S1358246109990221
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 52,956
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Upheavals of Thought.Martha Nussbaum - 2001 - Journal of Religious Ethics 31 (2):325-341.
Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions.Martha Nussbaum - 2001 - American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 27 (2):286-294.
The Therapy of Desire.Martha Nussbaum - 1994 - Princeton University Press.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Philosophy as Therapy: Towards a Conceptual Model.Konrad Banicki - 2014 - Philosophical Papers 43 (1):7-31.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Health and Disease: What Can Medicine Do for Philosophy?J. G. Scadding - 1988 - Journal of Medical Ethics 14 (3):118-124.
The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Thought.Sylvia Berryman - 2007 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (2):324-325.
Buddhist Philosophy and the No-Self View.Jiri Benovsky - 2017 - Philosophy East and West 67 (2):545-553.
An Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy.Christopher W. Gowans - 2009 - International Philosophical Quarterly 49 (1):124-126.
The Limits of Medical Practice.Ingemar Nordin - 1999 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 20 (2):105-123.
Nietzsche and Buddhist Philosophy.Antoine Panaïoti - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
Buddhism and Medical Futility.Tuck Wai Chan & Desley Hegney - 2012 - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 9 (4):433-438.
Buddhist Fictionalism.Mario D’Amato - 2013 - Sophia 52 (3):409-424.
Health as a Clinic-Epidemiological Concept.Marco Antonio Azevedo - 2015 - Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 21 (3):365-373.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-09-14

Total views
103 ( #90,729 of 2,343,862 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #240,112 of 2,343,862 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes