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Ptolemy's Philosophy$
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Jacqueline Feke

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179582

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179582.001.0001

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Mathematizing the Human Soul

Mathematizing the Human Soul

(p.144) 7 Mathematizing the Human Soul1
Ptolemy's Philosophy

Jacqueline Feke

Princeton University Press

This chapter investigates the development of Ptolemy's psychological theory from On the Kritêrion to the Harmonics. It argues that Ptolemy composed the former before the latter, and that comparison of the two texts reveals Ptolemy's move from a less to a more restrictive model of the soul. This move follows from Ptolemy's effort to mathematize the soul, to analyze its parts and species in concordance with mathematical, specifically harmonic, ratios. When Ptolemy mathematized the soul he sought to improve his account of the soul's structure, to make it epistemically sound. This endeavor to improve and mathematize his psychology resulted in discernible incongruities between On the Kritêrion and the Harmonics.

Keywords:   On the Kritêrion, Harmonics, soul, Claudius Ptolemy, psychological theory

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