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Greek Models of Mind and Self (Revealing Antiquity) Hardcover – January 5, 2015
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Where did the notion of the mind or self as a separate entity come from? A. A. Long’s splendid book, Greek Models of Mind and Self, suggests that to answer such questions one could return not to Descartes or the Christian tradition, long regarded as the Western origins of the modern self, but instead to antiquity, where are to be found not only sources for modern ideas, but also alternative ways of imagining ourselves as conscious physical beings. (Emily Wilson The Nation 2015-11-09)
This diminutive book is a treasure…Bearing the nimble authority won from an extended and productive career, Long unfurls…a carefully stitched series of observations and discussions about the history of theorizing the human being in ancient Greek literature…A masterful tour through classical Greek psychology, conducted with insight and clarity. (Ellen Muehlberger Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2015-07-25)
Greek Models of Mind and Self makes profound ancient ideas accessible to a general audience. It is a small book, but full of highly stimulating content, and enjoyable to read…Plenty of food for thought, then, for a questioning reader with an interest in psychology or Greek philosophy. (Lucia Marchini Minerva 2015-03-01)
This book introduces its topic clearly to general readers, while, at the same time, bringing together a lifetime of thought and original research that will be useful to scholars of the subject. It is a small book with a huge range, sound and original in its scholarship. Beginners will read it as an introduction; philosophers of mind ought to read it in order to understand the history of their subject; classical scholars should read it for its insights into authors that might otherwise escape them…In short, this book needs to be widely read. (Paul Woodruff Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2015-06-16)
Long offers here a lucid, engaging narrative of key moments in the Greek attempt to articulate a proper account of what being human means. Long unpacks the literary and conceptual concerns that prompted various formulations of the soul or the human self within distinctive cultural frameworks from Homer to Epictetus…This book by one of the foremost scholars of ancient philosophy covers much ground with admirable clarity and insight. (A. P. Johnson Choice 2015-07-01)
A. A. Long has written a wonderful book tracing the development of Greek notions of mind and the human self from Homer through the Hellenistic philosophers and Plotinus. In doing so, he offers a superb overview of the issues of greatest interest to the non-specialist in Greek philosophy and psychology, keeping ethical questions at the center. Even the specialist will learn new things from the material, and the chance to see some central themes carried through nearly the entire Greek tradition is deeply illuminating. (Christopher Bobonich, Stanford University)
Greek Models of Mind and Self is an elegant and insightful book, looking at Greco-Roman theories of the human mind with remarkable clarity of style and an approach that is accessible to a wide variety of readers from various backgrounds. Books in this field are legion but typically limit themselves to overtly philosophical authors and frames of reference, and often are detailed and technical. It is a distinctive merit of Long’s book that it begins with Homer, deals deftly with the controversies that still occasionally swirl around the topic of archaic Greek psychology, and then runs the full range of ancient thought down to late antiquity. I can’t think of any other treatment with this historical range and authority. (Brad Inwood, University of Toronto)
About the Author
A. A. Long is Emeritus Professor of Classics, Irving G. Stone Professor of Literature, and Affiliated Professor of Philosophy and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley.