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Alcmaeon (2)

The Oxford Classical Dictionary

Gwilym Ellis Lane Owen,

M. Schofield

Alcmaeon (2) 

of Croton (5th cent. bc) wrote a philosophical book dedicated to a group of Pythagoreans (see Pythagoras (1)), and known to Aristotle and Theophrastus. It mostly concerned the nature of man. Alcmaeon explained the human condition by the interplay of opposites, e.g. health as ‘equal rights’ of hot and cold, wet and dry, etc., disease as ‘monarchy’ of one of them. He held that ‘passages’ linked the sense-organs to the brain, which, followed by Plato (1), he took to be the seat of understanding (but Calcidius' statement that Alcmaeon discovered this by dissection merits scepticism). And he compared the immortality of the soul to the endless circling of the heavenly bodies.


H. Diels and W. Kranz no. 24.Find this resource:


    W. K. C. Guthrie, History of Greek Philosophy 1;Find this resource:

      G. E. R. Lloyd, Methods and Problems in Greek Science (1991), ch. 8.Find this resource:

        Gwilym Ellis Lane Owen; M. Schofield