Soul, body and mental health – applying Rabbi Moshe de Maimon’s philosophy to the contemporary phenomenon of drug addiction

Yula Milshteyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In modern psychiatry, drug addiction is considered as mainly a mental disorder and a brain disease problem, of complex aetiology. In addition, drug addiction has been characterized as a loss of willpower or akrasia, and even a sin. In this essay, I analyse Maimonides’ (Rambam’s) treatises More Ha-Nevuchim (Guide for the Perplexed) and Shemona Perakim (The Eight Chapters). He asserts that the soul is one, but has many different faculties (functions) and is intrinsically linked to the body. I argue that drug addiction is a psychological, social-moral deviance, as well as straying from God’s path. Addiction is a disorder of the soul and body. Consequently, healing should include social-moral guidelines as well as physical/bodily health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-205
Number of pages10
JournalHistory of Psychiatry
Volume35
Issue number2
Early online date8 Feb 2024
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • God
  • Jewish philosophy
  • Rambam/Maimonides
  • moral ethics
  • soul–body

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