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Emotion and Peace of MindFrom Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation$
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Richard Sorabji

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256600.001.0001

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Sex, Love, and Marriage In Pagan Philosophy and the Use Of Catharsis

Sex, Love, and Marriage In Pagan Philosophy and the Use Of Catharsis

(p.273) 18 Sex, Love, and Marriage In Pagan Philosophy and the Use Of Catharsis
Emotion and Peace of Mind

Richard Sorabji (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In ancient philosophy, sex, being in love (erôs), marriage, and rearing children each got advocated in separation from the others. Moreover, a good form of erôs got distinguished from one or two bad forms, most influentially by Plato's Socrates. The Stoics agree and so are able to advocate a good form of erôs as not emotional, namely being led by beauty to make friends in order to inculcate virtue. The Epicureans are against erôs and in most circumstances against marriage. Sex would be alright as a palliative, if it did not lead to illusion, harm, and pain, so casual sex is better. Among the Neoplatonists, Porphyry wants the philosopher to avoid anything that might even arouse sexual desire, but Iamblichus rebukes him: erotic rituals for ordinary people provide Aristotelian catharsis.

Keywords:   Plato, Stoics, Epicureans, Porphyry, Iamblichus, erotic, good erôs

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