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Michael Rinella - Pharmakon

New Book by Michael Rinella ’97 Examines Place of Drugs in Ancient Thought

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 16, 2010) – Michael A. Rinella, PhD ’97 is the author of Pharmakon: Plato, Drug Culture, and Identity in Ancient Athens, recently published by Lexington Books. Pharmakon traces the emergence of an ethical discourse in ancient Greece, one centered on states of psychological ecstasy. In the dialogues of Plato, philosophy is itself characterized as a “pharmakon,” one superior to a large number of rival occupations, each of which laid claim to their powers being derived from, connected with, or likened to, a pharmakon. Pharmakon is one of the most comprehensive examinations of the place of intoxicants in ancient thought yet written.

Dr. Rinella is an instructor of political theory at Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning in New York State, and former senior editor at the State University of New York Press.

Read an interview with Dr. Rinella conducted by the German language e-zine Telepolis.