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Headword: *malako/s
Adler number: mu,94
Translated headword: delicate, soft, mild
Vetting Status: high
The human being is the most intelligent animal of all, and has the most accurate taste, which is [a sort of] touch, since he is the most delicate[1] and sensitive with regard to touch. For the secretions dissipate faster, and do not make turbid his [faculties of] imagination and reasoning. It should be known that flesh never[2] can be alleged as being a material cause, for insofar it is a contributory [cause][3] it does not produce intelligence. For the movements of the soul, because of their bond, are sympathetically affected by mixture with the body, [and] even though they are not engendered by the mixture, they do not operate such or such a thing without such a mixture. However, if there are some other things having a flesh more delicate than that of man, such as worms, they would obviously be inferior in other respects. For they do not have the complete faculty of imagination; but now we are discussing complete animals. But perhaps the flesh of worms [is not softer], as that of flies is not either. [Note], however, that the human being, on account of having his flesh more delicate, is more intelligent. A sign of it is the fact that the more delicate of men are more intelligent and more noble-natured, and [and the people having] all the other dispositions and natural peculiarities are similarly disposed. This is also why we call stupid people 'thick-skinned'.
Greek Original:
*malako/s: o(/ti pa/ntwn fronimw/teron zw=|on o( a)/nqrwpos kai\ th\n geu=sin, a(fh\n ou)=san, a)kribeste/ran e)/xei, dio/ti malakw/teros kai\ th\n a(fh\n ai)sqhtikw/teros: qa=tton ga\r diaforei=tai ta\ perittw/mata, kai\ ou)k e)piqolou=tai au)tou= to\ fantastiko\n kai\ logistiko/n. e)pisth=sai de\ xrh/, mh/pote w(s u(liko\n ai)/tion ai)tia=tai th\n sa/rka: ou) ga\r poihtikh/ e)sti fronh/sews, w(s sunai/tion. dia\ ga\r to\n su/ndesmon sundiati/qetai ta\ yuxika\ kinh/mata tai=s tou= sw/matos kra/sesin, ou) gennw/mena u(po\ th=s kra/sews, a)ll' ou)k a)/neu th=s toia=sde kra/sews toiw=sde h)\ toiw=sde e)nergou=nta. ei) de/ tina ei)/h a)/lla tou= a)nqrw/pou malakwte/ran e)/xonta sa/rka, oi( skw/lhkes, toi=s a)/llois dhlono/ti e)llei/pousin: ou) ga\r e)/xousi te/leion to\ fantastiko/n: a)lla\ nu=n peri\ tw=n telei/wn zw/|wn o( lo/gos. ta/xa de\ ou)de\ sa\rc h( tw=n skwlh/kwn, w(s ou)de\ tw=n muiw=n. o(/ti de\ tw=| malakwte/ran e)/xein th\n sa/rka o( a)/nqrwpos fronimw/teros, shmei=o/n e)sti to\ tou\s malakwte/rous tw=n a)nqrw/pwn fronimwte/rous kai\ eu)fueste/rous ei)=nai, tw=n a)/llwn a(pa/ntwn diaqe/sewn kai\ fusikw=n i)diwma/twn o(moi/ws e)xo/ntwn. dio\ kai\ tou\s a)noh/tous paxude/rmous kalou=men.
From John Philoponus, Commentaries on Aristotle's de anima 388.18-34.
For the headword see also mu 93.
[1] Philoponus says "soft-fleshed" (malako/sarkos) rather than "more/most delicate."
[2] The negative is lacking in Philoponus: "alleges the flesh as being a material cause ..."
[3] This is one of the forms of causality distinguished by the Stoics and in this context is probably being used in the Aristotelian sense of “efficient” cause. The word sunektiko/n is always hard to render (it is derived from the verb sune/xw); there is no doubt that, for the Stoics, it is the cause in the strict sense or “the perfect cause” (Clement of Alexandra, Stromateis 8.9.33; see also Cicero, On fate 41-42, quoting the Stoic theory of causation): 'that which is able to produce an effect in an active and self-sufficient way', and what is indicative of a perfect activity (see Clement, Stromateis 8.9, citing Stoic doctrine). For example, a knife is something cutting both in the act of cutting and when it is not cutting. According to Galen it was the Stoics who introduced for the first time the notion and the name sunektikon (see Galen, Synopsis librorum de pulsibus IX, p. 458, ed. Kühn). On this subject see Frede (1980), still the most subtle study on the problem of causality in Stoicism. See also the outstanding and comprehensive book by Bobzien (1998), especially chapters 1-2, and 6. Finally, on the 'synectic cause' in Stoicism, see Boeri (1992) and (2001). Here, however, Philoponus writes ei) mh\ w(s sunai/tion "except insofar as it is a contributory cause."
Boeri, M.D., (1992) "La transmisión del concepto estoico de causa sinéctica", in Méthexis V, pp. 99-121
Boeri, M.D., (2001) "The Stoics on Bodies and Incorporeals", in The Review of Metaphysics, 54, pp. 723-752
Bobzien, S. (1998) Determinism and Freedom in Stoic Philosophy, Oxford
Frede, M. (1980) "The Original Notion of Cause", in Schofield, M. Burnyeat, M., Barnes, J. (eds.) Doubt and Dogmatism. Studies in Hellenistic Epistemology, Oxford, pp. 217-249
Keywords: aetiology; definition; medicine; philosophy; science and technology; zoology
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 22 January 2004@14:10:34.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (x-ref; cosmetics) on 2 April 2004@09:48:04.
Catharine Roth (supplemented and tweaked translation, added keywords, other cosmetics) on 7 May 2008@10:36:05.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 29 April 2013@05:11:15.
David Whitehead (coding) on 17 May 2016@06:03:32.
Catharine Roth (expanded notes) on 2 July 2020@22:57:22.


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