Science, culture and the sporting body
DOI link for Science, culture and the sporting body
Science, culture and the sporting body book
The previous essay referred to Plato's negative view of the body, which found practical expression in his position on physical education set out in his dialogue The Laws of Plato. Previously this theme had been discussed in his famous dialogue The Republic. Plato's philosophical position on the body is set out in another earlier dialogue, Phaedo. The supremacy of the soul (equated to mind) is clearly established throughout Phaedo on the basis of the soul being eternal, the body being impermanent. Accordingly, Socrates lectures: 'the soul is pure at departing and draws after her no bodily taint, having never voluntarily during life had connection with the body'. Once departed from the body the soul is 'secure of bliss and is released from the error and folly of men'. A somewhat different understanding of the mind/body relationship can possibly be deduced from the actually administered educational programme of Solon. Solon's famous 'enactment that every boy should be taught to swim and to read' is commonly cited as a foundation stone of western humanistic education.3 We can at best speculate on Solon's underpinning philosophy and as to the reasonableness of declaring him an early advocate of the 'well-rounded individual'. Such speculation might take interest in why Plato, subsequent to Solon, believed it necessary to set out an ideal education programme stipulating what he believed to be the correct hierarchy of mind over body.