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Headword: Hêdonai
Adler number: eta,97
Translated headword: pleasures
Vetting Status: high
From the writings of Plotinus. [Pleasures,] pains, recklessness, fears, desires, aversions, and feeling pain of mind, to what do they belong? For they belong either to the soul or the soul making use of the body or a third thing composed of both. This latter can be understood in two senses, too: for it is either a mixture or some other thing resulting from a mixture.[1]
Definitions of pleasure: i, a smooth movement; or ii, a perceptible process of generation toward nature; or iii, an irrational relaxation; or iv, an unhindered activity of the natural condition;[2] or v, the end which follows the completed activities. Taking these definitions as a starting point, one is able to support and to refute the thesis [...] that pleasure [is] a good and that [it is] not.
Pleasure is a smooth movement but distress is a rough movement; and while the former is well-pleasing for every animal, the latter is repellent. They say that the bodily pleasure that is also an end, is not a pleasure pertaining to a state, the one consisting of taking away of pains of mind, such as freedom from disturbance; they say that bodily pleasure is also an end.[3] The end is different from happiness, for the end is particular pleasure but the structure consisting of particular pleasures with which we measure past and future pleasures, is happiness.[4]
And particular pleasure is worth choosing by itself, but happiness is not worth choosing by itself but by particular pleasures. Pleasure is an irrational elation over what seems to be worth choosing.[5] Under it are arranged fascination, joy at another's misfortune, enjoyment, relaxation. Now fascination is a pleasure which fascinates one through one's hearing sense.[6] Joy at another's misfortune is a pleasure at someone else's bad things;[7] enjoyment [te/ryis], as a turning [tre/yis], is a certain conversion of the soul towards the dissolute; relaxation is the dissolving of virtue.[8]
There is an acknowledged syllogistic argument of the contradictory position concerning each part "of the thesis whether pleasure is a good or is not a good". The following syllogistic argument shows that pleasure is a good: the good is that at which all things aim.[9] All things aim at pleasure. Therefore, pleasure is good. On the contrary, the argument that shows that pleasure is not a good is the following: the good makes men good. Pleasure does not make men good. Therefore, pleasure is not a good.[10] In fact, pleasure is a smooth movement, but every movement is an incomplete activity.[11] However, no good is incomplete. Consequently, pleasure [is] not a good.
Greek Original:
Ek tôn Plôtinou. Hêdonai, lupai, tharrê, phoboi, epithumiai, apostrophai kai to algein, tinos an eien; ê gar psuchês, ê chrômenês psuchês sômati ê tritou tinos ex amphoin. dichôs de kai touto. ê gar to migma ê allo ti ek tou migmatos. Horoi hêdonês, a# leia kinêsis, b# ê genesis eis phusin aisthêtê, g# ê alogos diachusis, d# ê energeia tês kata phusin hexeôs anempodistos, e# ê to parakolouthoun telos tais teleutaiais energeiais. ek toutôn tôn horôn ischuei tis anaskeuazein kai kataskeuazein, hoti agathon hê hêdonê, kai hoti mê. Hêdonê de esti leia kinêsis, ponos de tracheia kinêsis. kai tên men eudokêtên pasi zôiois, ton de apokroustikon. hêdonên mentoi tên tou sômatos, hên kai telos einai, ou tên katastêmatikên hêdonên tên ep' anairesei algêdonôn kai hoion aochlêsian telos einai phasi. diapherei de telos eudaimonias. telos men gar einai tên kata meros hêdonên, eudaimonian de to ek tôn merikôn hêdonôn sustêma, hais sunarithmountai kai hai parôichêkuiai kai hai mellousai. einai te tên merikên hêdonên di' hautên hairetên, tên de eudaimonian ou di' hautên, alla dia tas kata meros hêdonas. Hêdonê de estin alogos eparsis eph' hairetôi dokounti huparchein. huph' hên tattetai kêlêsis, epichairekakia, terpsis, diachusis. kêlêsis men oun estin hêdonê di' ôtôn katakêlousa, epichairekakia de hêdonê ep' allotriois kakois, terpsis de hoion trepsis, protropê tis psuchês epi to aneimenon: diachusis de analusis aretês. esti de peri hekaterou merous tês antiphaseôs sullogismos endoxos. hoti men agathon hê hêdonê, deiknusin ho sullogismos houtos: hou panta ephietai, agathon: tês hêdonês de panta ephietai: hê hêdonê ara agathon. to de mê einai autên agathon ho toioutos: to agathon agathous poiei: hê hêdonê agathous ou poiei: ouk ara hê hêdonê agathon. hê hêdonê toinun esti kinêsis leia: energeia de atelês pasa kinêsis: mêden de agathon ateles: hê hêdonê ara ouk agathon.
In Adler's typography the phrase 'From the writings of Plotinus' appears before the actual headword; SOL follows this.
[1] Plotinus, the founder of Neoplatonism (pi 1811). The passage is taken from Enneads 1.1.
[2] This is Aristotle's conception of pleasure: Nicomachaean Ethics 1153a12-15 (he rejects definition no.ii); and this whole section of the entry, from 'Definitions of pleasure' to 'and that [it is]' not, comes from a commentator on Aristotle -- Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentaries on Aristotle's Topica 164.14-20. (Further material from that same source ends the entry.)
[3] These are the Cyrenaic philosophers, the followers of Aristippus (alpha 3908). They maintained that our real end just could be achieved by seeking pleasure, pleasure being bodily pleasure (what Epicurus called "kynematic pleasure", i.e. pleasure in movement). For them the end is particular pleasure and happiness is the "systematic structure" consisting of particular pleasures (see Diogenes Laertius 2.87 and the parallel passage in tau 283). For the dispute between Epicurus and the Cyrenaics, see Diogenes Laertius 10.136-138.
[4] See previous note, and note 1 at tau 283.
[5] All this paragraph contains Stoic definitions of different types of pleasures; see Diogenes Laertius 7.114.
[6] Cf. kappa 1506.
[7] Cf. epsilon 2767.
[8] Cf. delta 844.
[9] This sentence is taken from Aristotle, Nicomachaean Ethics 1094a2-3.
[10] Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentaries on Aristotle's Topica 77.13-18.
[11] This last clause is Aristotelian in character. According to Aristotle, the difference between activity (entelecheia; energeia) and movement or change (kinesis) lies in the relation that such activities and movements have to their own ends. In Aristotle's examples, making things, learning, walking and building are movements or changes, insofar as they are incomplete movements. In fact, you are not walking and have walked at the same time, or are building and have built, and so forth. When a builder is in the process of building a house he has not built it yet. In contrast, activities do not aim at an end, they are ends. Thus the end is not beyond the action. That is the reason why the activity is complete or perfect: perfection or completion exists at the same time as the performing of the action (see Metaphysics 1048b18-35). For this topic cf. Owen (1971-2), Ackrill (1979), Gill (1989) and Natali (1994).
J.L. Ackrill, "Aristotle's Distinction between energeia and kinesis", in R. Bambrough, ed. New Essays on Plato and Aristotle (London 1979) 121-141
J. Annas, The Morality of Happiness, (Oxford 1993) chapter 11, 227-236 (on the Cyrenaics)
M.L. Gill, Aristotle on Substance. The Paradox of Unity (Princeton 1989), especially 192-194
C. Natali, "Azioni e movimenti in Aristotele", in A. Alberti, ed. Studi di filosofia antica. Realta e ragione (Florence 1994), especially, 168-171
G.E.L. Owen, "Aristotelian Pleasures", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 72 (1971-2) 135-52
Keywords: definition; ethics; philosophy
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 29 November 1999@11:39:17.
Vetted by:
Scott Carson on 2 January 2000@23:10:14.
Scott Carson on 2 January 2000@23:10:55.
Scott Carson on 11 February 2000@15:59:25.
Marcelo Boeri on 10 May 2001@11:10:17.
David Whitehead (added x-refs; cosmetics) on 16 January 2003@06:33:52.
Catharine Roth (typo in note 7) on 22 November 2005@11:28:32.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 23 November 2005@03:03:39.
David Whitehead (expanded n.2; cosmetics) on 5 December 2012@09:11:54.
David Whitehead on 5 December 2012@09:16:59.
David Whitehead on 5 December 2012@09:19:08.
David Whitehead (coding and other cosmetics) on 22 April 2016@08:00:13.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 27 July 2018@01:11:42.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 28 July 2018@23:29:33.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, cross-references) on 29 July 2018@18:23:37.
Catharine Roth (another note) on 29 July 2018@18:30:15.


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