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Headword: *diaqe/seis
Adler number: delta,559
Translated headword: dispositions
Vetting Status: high
Not only [are] the sciences and the arts [dispositions], but also the virtues.[1] Both the base and the good belong to an art. For of the arts some are base, but some good. Aristotle rather commonly uses the name "science" instead of "art."[2] The base and the good would belong to a disposition, it being a genre of an art.[3]
'Dispositions'[4] is the name for those things which are unstable and quickly changed, as heat and cold and sickness and health. For a person is disposed according to it in some way, but quickly changes from hot to cold and from being healthy to being ill, unless some (disposition), having become inveterate through a length of time, is incurable or hard to deal with, which one would perhaps now call a "state."[5] And a "state" differs from a "disposition", for a state is stable, a disposition, instable.[6]
Greek Original:
*diaqe/seis ou) mo/non ai( e)pisth=mai kai\ ai( te/xnai, a)lla\ kai\ ai( a)retai/. u(pa/rxei de\ th=| te/xnh| to\ fau=lon kai\ spoudai=on. tw=n ga\r texnw=n ai( me/n ei)si fau=lai, ai( de\ spoudai=ai. tw=| de\ th=s e)pisth/mhs o)no/mati *)aristote/lhs a)nti\ th=s te/xnhs xrh=tai koino/teron. u(pa/rxoi d' a)\n kai\ th=| diaqe/sei, ge/nos ou)/sh| te/xnhs, to\ fau=lo/n te kai\ spoudai=on. *diaqe/seis le/gontai, a(/ e)stin eu)ki/nhta kai\ taxu\ metaba/llontai, oi(=on qermo/ths kai\ yu/cis kai\ no/sos kai\ u(gei/a. dia/keitai me\n ga/r pws kat' au)th\n o( a)/nqrwpos, taxu\ de\ metaba/llei e)k qermou= ei)s yuxro\n kai\ e)k tou= u(giai/nein ei)s to\ nosei=n. ei) mh/ tis dia\ xro/nou plh=qos h)/dh pefusiwme/nh a)ni/ato/s e)stin h)\ duski/nhtos, h(\n a)/n tis i)/sws e(/cin h)/dh prosagoreu/oi. kai\ diafe/rei e(/cis diaqe/sews: h( me\n ga\r e(/cis duski/nhtos, h( de\ dia/qesis eu)ki/nhtos.
cf. delta 556, delta 557, delta 558.
[1] The identification of sciences (or “forms of knowledge”; e)pisth=mai) and arts (or “technical skills”; te/xnai) with dispositions and virtues sounds Stoic in character (cf. Stobaeus, Eclogae 2.63.6-7, 2.67.5-12, and especially 2.70.21-71, 6, ed. Wachsmuth). Like the Platonic Socrates, the Stoics were willing to accept the thesis that virtue is a form of knowledge and they added (probably having Aristotle’s discussion of virtue in mind) that virtue is a “disposition”, or rather “a consistent disposition of the commanding part of the soul” (Plutarch, Moralia 441C-D; Diogenes Laertius 7.89; alpha 3830). However, unlike Aristotle, for the Stoics the more stable is the disposition (dia/qesis), not the state (e(/cis). For evidence, see Simplicius, On Aristotle's Categories 237.25-238.20; Stobaeus, Eclogae 2.71.1-2, ed. Wachsmuth.
[2] Aristotle, unlike Socrates and Plato who make an indistinct use of the terms “art” and “science”, clearly distinguishes both words. According to Aristotle, art and science are two different intellectual virtues having two different objects: science or what one knows scientifically does not admit of being otherwise and is a supposition about universals, i.e. its object is that which cannot be otherwise (see Nicomachean Ethics 1139b20-24; 1140b31-32). By contrast, art is that which can be otherwise and is concerned with coming to be (Nicomachean Ethics 1140a10-15, 20-23).
[3] Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentaries on Aristotle's Topica 158.24-29.
[4] For what follows cf. John of Damascus PG 94.633bc.
[5] Aristotle, Categories 8b35-9a4, more or less directly quoted, from "Those things" to "now call a 'state.'" See web address 1.
[6] cf. epsilon 1767 (end). This is Aristotle’s position: see Categories 8b26. English "disposition" and "state" do not represent adequately the impermanence of a dia/qesis or the persistence of a e(/cis.
J.P. Migne, Patrologia graeca, vol. 94
J.M. Cooper, Reason and Emotion. Essays on Ancient Moral Psychology and Ethical Theory (Princeton 1999)
B. Inwood, Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism (Oxford 1985)
A.M. Ioppolo, Aristone di Chio e lo stoicismo antico (Naples 1980)
A. Oksenberg Rorty (ed.) Essays on Aristotle’s Ethics (Berkeley-Los Angeles-London 1980)
G. Striker, Essays on Hellenistic Epistemology and Ethics (Cambridge 1996; especially chapter 15: “Plato’s Socrates and the Stoics”)
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: Christianity; definition; ethics; medicine; philosophy; religion
Translated by: Oliver Phillips ✝ on 26 December 2001@19:01:45.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 22 September 2002@00:20:31.
Marcelo Boeri (Added notes and bibliography.) on 4 October 2002@12:16:32.
Marcelo Boeri (Arrengements in the quotations in Greek. Added bibliography.) on 17 October 2002@07:55:07.
David Whitehead (added x-ref and keyword; cosmetics) on 15 October 2003@05:55:25.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 20 November 2005@09:25:41.
David Whitehead (another note and keyword; tweaks and cosmetics) on 28 June 2012@04:28:43.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 8 February 2015@00:02:27.
Catharine Roth (expanded abbreviations) on 8 February 2015@00:36:25.


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