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Headword: *te/los
Adler number: tau,282
Translated headword: end, telos
Vetting Status: high
"That for the sake of which", that is to say "the end", is twofold: "that in view of which" and "that in view of whom".[1] For instance, for the builder the end as "that for the sake of which" is to produce a covering preventive of rain and burning heat for us, for he produces such a covering for us. Therefore, we are the builder's end in the sense of "that in view of whom". The same thing can be considered with regard to all the things constituted by nature as well. For example, desire for the divine, the desire in virtue of which each animated thing makes itself a different thing, is an end in the sense of "that in view of which". For generation is in view of it. But since bodies become instruments for the souls, these are ends in the sense of "that in view of whom".[2] Thus nature is analogous to the builder, who is a craftsman, and the soul becomes a covering for the man giving commands, and the house for the body. But the end not only is twofold ("that in view of which" and "that in view of whom") in the case of animals but also in the case of plants. In fact, in them nature makes the body instrumental, the body referring to the utility of the soul in them. For the parts of plants (root, husk, pith, leaves and things of this sort) are instrumental. As has been said, the end is twofold in animate things; but in the rest of things it is impossible to discover the end as being twofold. For metals, stones and the inanimate things (the things that without qualification and continuously come into being by the agency of cold and heat but ultimately are produced as a whole by craftsmanship) have only one end: "that in view of which", for they are for the sake of the world's making but in them the end is not already "that in view of whom". As a matter of fact, they are not instruments of certain things and are not prepared for the utility of certain souls either.[3]
The [noun] telos has six meanings.[4]
Aristo(n) of Chios said that the end is to live in a state of indifference in respect of what is intermediate between virtue and vice, admitting no distinction at all in them, but being equally disposed in them. For the wise man is like a good actor.[5] The end and the subordinate end[6] are different. For those who are not wise aim at the latter, whereas only the wise man aims at the former. The things that are between virtue and vice are indifferent. Some people[7] said that to live with knowledge was the end, i.e. making reference to knowledge and not being brought into discredit by ignorance.[8]
Greek Original:
*te/los: o(/ti to\ ou(= e(/neka, toute/sti to\ te/los, ditto/n: to\ me\n ou(=, to\ de\ w(=|: oi(=on tw=| oi)kodo/mw| te/los e)sti\ ou(= e(/neka, poih=sai ske/pasma kwlutiko\n o)/mbrwn kai\ kauma/twn, w(=| de\ h(mi=n: to\ ga\r ske/pasma h(mi=n poiei=. e)sme\n ou)=n h(mei=s tou= oi)kodo/mou te/los to\ w(s w(=|. w(sau/tws de\ qewrei=n e)sti kai\ e)pi\ pa/ntwn tw=n fu/sei sunestw/twn: oi(=on h( me\n e)/fesis tou= qei/ou, di' h(\n e(/kaston tw=n e)myu/xwn poiei= a)/llo oi(=on au)to/, te/los e)sti\ to\ ou(=: tou/tou ga\r e(/neken h( ge/nesis: e)peidh\ de\ ta\ sw/mata o)/rgana gi/nontai tai=s yuxai=s, ai( yuxai/ ei)si te/lh w(s w(=|. a)nalogei= ou)=n tw=| me\n texni/th| tw=| oi)kodo/mw| h( fu/sis, tw=| de\ a)nqrw/pw| tw=| e)pita/ttonti gene/sqai to\ ske/pasma h( yuxh/, tw=| sw/mati de\ h( oi)ki/a. ou) mo/non de\ e)pi\ tw=n zw/|wn te/los e)sti\ ditto/n, to/ te ou(= kai\ to\ w(=|, a)lla\ kai\ e)pi\ tw=n futw=n: kai\ ga\r e)n tou/tois h( fu/sis o)rganiko\n poiei= to\ sw=ma pro\s th\n xrei/an th=s e)n au)toi=s yuxh=s a)nafero/menon: o)rganika\ ga\r ta\ tw=n futw=n me/rh, r(i/za, floio/s, e)nteriw/nh kai\ fu/lla kai\ ta\ toiau=ta. o(/ti e)pi\ me\n tw=n e)myu/xwn ditto\n to\ te/los, w(/sper ei)/rhtai, e)pi\ de\ tw=n loipw=n ou)k e)/stin eu(rei=n to\ te/los ditto/n: me/talla ga\r kai\ li/qoi kai\ a(plw=s ta\ a)/yuxa prosexw=s u(po\ yu/cews kai\ qermo/thtos gino/mena, e)ch|rhme/nws de\ u(po\ th=s o(/lhs dhmiourgi/as, e(\n te/los e)/xei, to\ ou(=: e(/neka ga\r th=s kosmopoii/+as: ou)ke/ti me/ntoi kai\ to\ w(s w(=| te/los e)sti\n e)n tou/tois: ou) ga/r ei)sin o)/rgana tinw=n, ou)de\ ei)s xrei/an yuxw=n tinw=n kataskeua/zetai. shmai/nei de\ to\ te/los e(/c. *)ari/stwn de\ o( *xi=os te/los e)/fhsen ei)=nai, to\ a)diafo/rws e)/xonta zh=n pro/s ti metacu\ a)reth=s kai\ kaki/as, mhde\ h(ntinou=n e)n au)toi=s parallagh\n a)polei/ponta, a)ll' e)pi/shs e)pi\ pa/ntwn e)/xonta. ei)=nai ga\r o(/moion to\n sofo\n a)gaqw=| u(pokrith=|. diafe/rei de\ te/los kai\ u(poteli/s: th=s me\n ga\r kai\ tou\s mh\ sofou\s stoxa/zesqai, tou= de\ mo/non to\n sofo/n. ta\ de\ metacu\ a)reth=s kai\ kaki/as a)dia/fora ei)=nai. oi( de\ ei)=pon te/los ei)=nai th\n e)pisth/mhn to\ met' e)pisth/mhs zh=n, kai\ mh\ th=| a)gnoi/a| diabeblhme/non.
[1] This distinction is Aristotle's (de Anima 415b2-3; b20-1; Physics 194a35-6; Metaphysics 1072b2-3; Eudemian Ethics 1249b15). The end in the sense of "that for the sake of which" indicates the purpose for which something is done or produced (in the specific context of art); by contrast, the end in the sense of "that for the sake of whom" makes reference to the agent or beneficiary for whom something is done or produced.
[2] See Aristotle, de Anima 415b15ff.
[3] The Suda's source for this first and principal part of the entry is John Philoponus, Commentary on Aristotle's de anima 269.25,30 to 270.17 Hayduck. See also 274.15-23; ps.-Alexander, On Metaphysics 695.9-39; Simplicius, in de Anima 110.31-38, 111.31-112.2; Themistius, De anima See also omicron 761.
[4] Choeroboscus, Epimerismi (on Psalm 112.3 LXX).
[5] For the complete quotation of this passage (attributed to the Stoic Aristo(n) of Chios) see Diogenes Laertius 7.160, with A.M. Ioppolo's remarks (Aristone di Chio e lo stoicismo antico, Napoli 1980, p. 142-170) and A.A. Long's and D.N. Sedley's commentary (The Hellenistic Philosophers, Cambridge 1987, vol.1, pp.358-359).
[6] The Greek word is hypotelis and this distinction belongs to Herillus, a Stoic philosopher and disciple of Zeno of Citium, the founder of the Stoa (see Diogenes Laertius 7.165, and cf. upsilon 603).
[7] Herillus again.
[8] Herillus' definition (as cited by Diogenes Laertius 7.165) reads: "Herillos of Carthage called the end 'knowledge', that is to say, always to live by referring everything to live with knowledge and not being brought into discredit by ignorance. And knowledge is a disposition of character in the acceptance of presentations, a disposition which cannot be modified by reason".
J. Annas, The Morality of Happiness, Oxford 1993
T. Engberg-Pedersen, The Stoic Theory of Oikeiosis. Moral development and Social Interaction in Early Stoic Philosophy, Aarhus 1990
M. Forschner, Die stoische Ethik, Darmstadt 1995 (reprinted)
K. Gaiser, "Das zweifache Telos bei Aristoteles" in Naturphilosophie bei Aristoteles und Theophrast. 4 Symposium Aristotelicum, ed. I. During. Heidelberg, 1969, pp.97-113
A. Graeser. "Aristoteles' Schrift 'Uber die Philosophie' und die zweifache Bedeutung der 'causa finalis'", in Museum Helveticum, 29,(1972), pp.44-61
A. Graeser, Zenon von Kition. Positionen und Probleme, Berlin-New York 1975
B. Inwood, Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism, Oxford 1985
A.M. Ioppollo, Aristone di Chio e lo stoicismo antico, Napoli 1980
W. Kullmann. "Different concepts of the Final Cause in Aristotle" in Aristotle on Nature and Living Things: Philosophical and historical studies presented to David M. Balme on his seventieth birthday. (A. Gotthelf, ed.) Pittsburgh and Bristol, 1985, pp.169-75
M. Schofield, "Ariston of Chios and the Unity of Virtue", in Ancient Philosophy, 4 (1984), pp. 83-96
Keywords: botany; definition; ethics; philosophy; religion
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 5 November 1999@08:54:15.
Vetted by:
Scott Carson on 3 January 2000@21:45:50.
Scott Carson on 11 February 2000@16:05:27.
Monte Johnson on 25 September 2002@19:53:18.
David Whitehead (added x-ref; cosmetics) on 26 September 2002@03:12:40.
Monte Johnson (Augmented notes, bibliography.) on 11 October 2002@16:15:10.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 18 November 2005@10:23:16.
David Whitehead (typo; another keyword) on 23 May 2007@03:16:42.
David Whitehead (another note and keyword; cosmetics) on 8 January 2014@04:58:19.
Catharine Roth (coding, typo) on 19 January 2015@16:47:51.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 1 February 2015@23:44:12.
David Whitehead (coding) on 27 May 2016@10:10:56.


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