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Headword: *(/ecis
Adler number: epsilon,1767
Translated headword: dispositional state
Vetting Status: high
"A dispositional state is the natural actuality and soundness of each thing;[1] for example, in the soul the virtues,[2] in the body the good condition, proportions and health of the members. The failure[3] to achieve them or grasp them, and the complete removal of them, is called a privation [of the quality]."[4] Dispositional state differs from disposition; for the dispositional state is hard to change, but the disposition easily changed.[5] "Disposition is the incidental quality of each thing in a particular circumstance." For we say that so-and-so has a hostile or friendly disposition to this man, or that so-and-so has a healthier disposition towards himself now than he had before.
Dispositional state differs from disposition: for the dispositional state [is] hard to move, but the disposition easy to move. See under dia/qesis.[6]
Greek Original:
*(/ecis: e(/cis e)sti\n h( kata\ fu/sin e(ka/stou e)ne/rgeia kai\ o(loklhri/a. oi(=on e)pi\ me\n yuxh=s ai( a)retai/, e)pi\ de\ sw/matos to\ e)ntele\s tw=n melw=n kai\ a)na/logon kai\ u(gei/a. h( de\ tou/twn a)teuci/a kai\ diama/rthsis kai\ kaqo/lou a)nai/resis le/getai ste/rhsis. diafe/rei de\ e(/cis diaqe/sews: h( me\n ga\r e(/cis dusmeta/qeto/s e)stin, h( de\ dia/qesis eu)meta/blhtos. dia/qesis de\ h( kata\ sumbebhko\s toia/de e(ka/stou poio/ths: le/gomen ga/r, o(/ti polemi/ws h)\ filikw=s dia/keitai o( dei=na pro\s to/nde, h)\ o( dei=na a)/nqrwpos u(gieinote/rws dia/keitai pro\s e(auto\n nu=n h)\ pro/teron. diafe/rei e(/cis diaqe/sews: h( me\n ga\r e(/cis duski/nhtos, h( de\ dia/qesis eu)ki/nhtos. zh/tei e)n tw=| dia/qesis.
This entry represents a synthesis of certain philosophical ideas of John of Damascus, and cites two excerpts from his Philosophical Fragments 16 (5ff., placed in quotation marks above, with italics for a modification). The issue is basically one of distinguishing types of qualities or attributes, treated by John most fully in his Dialectica 52.20ff. (= 35.20ff.). He finds four types of deeply seated qualities: dispositional state, capacity, effect and form, and proceeds to distinguish each from its more transient manifestation: disposition, incapacity, the quality of suffering (something), shape. He introduces his discussion there of the difference between dispositional state and disposition with the words repeated twice in the entry: "Dispositional state differs from disposition. For dispositional state is ..." The Suda does not repeat, however, the adjectives used by John but varies them freely.
It is remarkable that John, although he sees dispositional states as hard to change, regards it as a failure not to change them to the (Christian) virtues and to bodily health, likewise failing to view oneself in a positive light. We are reminded by implication that it is a Christian (and Platonic) duty to aspire to the virtues, to bodily health and to our proper stature in the eyes of God as our proper dispositions.
[1] We are here far from Aristotle, who makes e(/cis a passive condition and e)nergei/a an active force.
[2] John here reads a list of the four virtues (corresponding to desirable or proper dispositions of the soul) as temperance (swfrosu/nh), courage, wisdom, justice.
[3] The two abstract nouns used here are virtually unparalleled deverbative nouns, but based on a philologically correct etymology of their two verbs (cf. eta 286). The concept of a)teuci/a is used in Didymus (On the Trinity 39.616.25) and Damascius (On principles 1.7.7). It is derived from a root teuch- for achieving and hitting the mark (tau 1147, tau 435, tau 430), as we see from Proclus, On the existence of evils 50.33ff.: "For all that comes into existence is for the sake of good, but evil is from outside and episodic, a failure to achieve the goal (te/los) appropriate to each. The failure is due to the weakness of the person acting" (cf. Commentary on Plato's Republic 2.29.18). The word diama/rthsis occurs elsewhere only at Theodorus Studites 2.301.66, where it means the failure to grasp doctrine intellectually (cf. delta 641, delta 642); cf.a(ma/rthsis, only at Hermias, Shepherd 6.5.2.
[4] The word ste/rhsis is the logical, grammatical and mathematical word for 'negation, the negative', and was the title of a work by the philosopher Chrysippus (chi 568). For the Aristotelian meaning of the word (which is the one the Suda seems to be taking into account here), see Metaphysics 5.22.
[5] For this Aristotelian distinction, see Categories, 8b25ff.: a e(/cis is a kind of quality and differs from dia/qesis insofar as it is more stable and lasts longer.
[6] delta 559; cf. also delta 556, delta 557, delta 558.
Keywords: definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; philosophy; religion
Translated by: Robert Dyer on 6 June 2003@19:02:09.
Vetted by:
Marcelo Boeri (Modified translation; augmented notes.) on 7 June 2003@18:55:07.
Robert Dyer (brought my notes into cosmetic conformity with vettor's improved translation and notes) on 7 June 2003@19:06:29.
David Whitehead (added x-ref; cosmetics) on 8 June 2003@05:46:25.
David Whitehead (further cosmetics) on 17 January 2016@06:16:40.


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