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Headword: Ὁρμή
Adler number: omicron,601
Translated headword: impulse
Vetting Status: high
For animals the primary impulse goes for preserving themselves, since from the beginning nature familiarizes them to themselves. For constitution and consciousness of it is the first familiar thing to every animal, i.e being familiarized to themselves. That is the reason why animals refuse what is harmful to them and approach to what is familiar to them. For animals the first impulse is not directed toward pleasure,[1] for pleasure is just a byproduct,[2] if, in fact, there is pleasure when nature, by itself, has searched out and does not[3] acquire what fits in an animal's constitution. That is the way in which animals perceive and plants bloom. And nature does not distinguish between animals and plants when it directs the latter without impulse and sensation; even in us there are some processes which are plant-like. But since the additional faculty of impulse supervenes on animals, on the basis of which they move, it is natural for them to be governed in accordance with impulse. But since reason has been given to rational beings as a more perfect governor, living correctly according to reason becomes for them what is natural; for reason supervenes as a craft[4] of impulse. Therefore, Zeno also said that the end is to live in consistency with nature, which is to live according to virtue;[5] for nature leads us to virtue as well.
Greek Original:
Ὁρμή: ὁρμὴ ἡ πρώτη τοῖς ζῴοις σύνεστιν ἐπὶ τὸ τηρεῖν ἑαυτά, οἰκειούσης αὐτοῖς τῆς φύσεως ἀπ' ἀρχῆς. πρῶτον γὰρ οἰκεῖον παντὶ ζῴῳ ἡ σύστασις καὶ ἡ ταύτης σύνδεσις, καὶ οἰκείως ἔχειν πρὸς ἑαυτά. διὸ τὰ βλάπτοντα διωθεῖται, τὰ δ' οἰκεῖα προσίεται. καὶ οὐ πρὸς ἡδονὴν γίνεται ἡ πρώτη ὁρμὴ τοῖς ζῴοις: ἐπιγένημα γὰρ ἂν ἦν: εἰ ἄρα ἔστιν ἡδονὴν εἶναι, ὅταν αὐτὴν καθ' αὑτὴν ἡ φύσις ἐπιζητήσασα τὰ ἐναρμόζοντα οὐ τῇ ἐν συστάσει ἀπολάβῃ: ὃν τρόπον ἀντιλαμβάνεται τὰ ζῷα καὶ θάλλει τὰ φυτά. καὶ οὐ διήλλαξεν ἡ φύσις ἐπὶ φυτῶν καὶ ζῴων, ὅτε χωρὶς ὁρμῆς καὶ αἰσθήσεως κἀκεῖνα οἰκονομεῖ, καὶ ἐφ' ἡμῶν τινα φυτοειδῶς γίνονται. ἐκ περιττοῦ δὲ τῆς ὁρμῆς τοῖς ζῴοις ἐπιγενομένης, ᾗ συγχρώμενα πορεύεται, τούτοις μὲν τὸ κατὰ φύσιν τὸ κατὰ τὴν ὁρμὴν διοικεῖσθαι. τοῦ δὲ λόγου τοῖς λογικοῖς κατὰ τελειοτέραν προστασίαν δεδομένου, τὸ κατὰ λόγον ζῆν ὀρθῶς γίνεσθαι τοῖς κατὰ φύσιν: τέχνη γὰρ οὗτος ἐπιγίνεται τῆς ὁρμῆς. διὸ καὶ Ζήνων τέλος εἶπεν εἶναι τὸ ὁμολογουμένως τῇ φύσει ζῆν, ὅπερ ἐστὶ κατ' ἀρετὴν ζῆν: ἄγει γὰρ καὶ πρὸς ταύτην ἡμᾶς ἡ φύσις.
This entry proffers, in general terms, the Stoic doctrine of "familiarization" or "appropriation" (oikeiosis), as presented by Diogenes Laertius 7.85-87, here summarised. See also and similarly Cicero, De finibus 3.16, 20-21.
[1] This a criticism against the Epicurean thesis that animals are impelled as soon as they are born towards pleasure (see Sextus Empiricus, PH, 3.194 = fr. 398 Usener).
[2] This is the Aristotelian position (see Aristotle, EN 1174b31-33).
[3] This negation does not appears in Diog.Laert. and the sense is better without it.
[4] So the Suda; Diog.Laert. has 'craftsman'.
[5] This definition of the end is attributed to Zeno of Citium, the founder of the Stoic school.
J. Annas, The Morality of Happiness, (Oxford 1993), especially 262-287
J.M. Cooper, Reason and Emotion. Essays on Ancient Moral Psychology and Ethical Theory (Princeton 1999), especially, 427-448
T. Engberg-Pedersen, The Stoic Theory of Oikeiosis. Moral Development and Social Interaction in Early Stoic Philosophy (Aarhus 1990), especially 36-63
A.M. Ioppolo, Opinione e scienza. Il debattito tra Stoici e Accademici nel III e nel II secolo a.C. (Napoli 1986), especially 174-182
G. Striker, "The Role of Oikeiosis in Stoic Ethics", in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, vol. 1 (1983), 145-167
Keywords: definition; ethics; philosophy; zoology
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 4 November 1999@08:48:55.
Vetted by:
William Hutton on 10 November 1999@00:11:36.
Scott Carson on 2 January 2000@23:49:17.
Scott Carson on 11 February 2000@16:02:53.
David Whitehead (added keyword; cosmetics) on 11 July 2003@08:26:32.
David Whitehead on 18 November 2005@10:19:35.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr; added a note; cosmetics) on 15 January 2010@08:12:48.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 18 July 2013@03:28:12.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 15 December 2014@15:50:07.


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