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Headword: *eu)/nous
Adler number: epsilon,3601
Translated headword: well-disposed, well-minded
Vetting Status: high
Aristotle says in the Topics:[1] [those] wishing to show[2] that the friend is not well-disposed, if 'well-disposed' means one thinking properly and thinking the truth and good things, but the friend does not think entirely properly.[3] This topos has something persuasive and acceptable and dialectic to it, but is not something that is sound in respect to everything; for one who has a good sea is not called 'well-sea-ed' nor a person with a ready hand said to have handsome hands, but rather the boxer, nor is the magnanimous person the one having a great soul.[4] Nor on this account is the good person divinely blessed in the sense of having the divinity already in himself.[5] And the activity of a friend is preferable to that of a well-disposed person, and friendship is preferable to goodwill. The task of a friend is the doing of good towards a friend intentionally whereas the task of a 'well-minded' person is simply the intention (to do good generally). And since friendship is preferable to goodwill and the task of friendship preferable to that of goodwill and doing good to one's friends preferable to doing ill to one's enemies, then doing good to one’s friends is the task of a free person, [doing] ill to the enemies that of a brave person.
Greek Original:
*eu)/nous: *)aristote/lhs le/gei e)n toi=s *to/pois: dei=cai qe/lontes, to\n fi/lon mh\ ei)=nai eu)/noun ei)=nai, ei) eu)/nous me\n o( o)rqw=s now=n kai\ ta\ a)lhqh= kai\ ta\ a)gaqa\ now=n, ou) pa/ntws de\ o)rqw=s o( fi/los noei=. o( de\ to/pos ou(=tos to\ me\n piqano\n kai\ e)/ndocon kai\ dialektiko\n e)/xei, ou) mh\n u(gie\s to\ lego/menon e)pi\ pa/ntwn: ou)/te ga\r eu)qa/lassos le/getai o( e)/xwn a)gaqh\n qa/lassan, ou)/te eu)/xeir o( kala\s e)/xwn xei=ras, a)ll' o( puktiko/s, ou)/te megalo/yuxos o( e)/xwn yuxh\n mega/lhn. dio\ ou)de\ eu)dai/mwn o( spoudai=os, w(s h)/dh kai\ to\n dai/mona e)/xwn to\n e)n au(tw=|. kai\ to\ tou= fi/lou e)/rgon ai(retw/teron h)\ to\ tou= eu)/nou, kai\ fili/a eu)noi/as: e)/sti de\ tou= me\n fi/lou e)/rgon h( meta\ boulh/sews pra=cis tw=n a)gaqw=n ei)s to\n fi/lon, tou= de\ eu)/nou h( bou/lhsis mo/non: kai\ e)pei\ fili/a eu)noi/as ai(retw/teron, kai\ to\ th=s fili/as e)/rgon tou= th=s eu)noi/as ai(retw/teron: kai\ to\ eu)= poiei=n tou\s fi/lous tou= kakw=s poiei=n tou\s polemi/ous: kai\ e)/sti to\ me\n eu)= poiei=n tou\s fi/lous e)/rgon tou= e)leuqeri/ou, to\ de\ kakw=s tou\s e)xqrou\s tou= a)ndrei/ou.
Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentaries on Aristotle's Topics (ed. Wallies) 176.27-177.5, 264.12-18.
[1] 112a32. Aristotle had suggested a mode of attacking an opponent's argument on etymological grounds, by insisting that terms your opponent uses must be taken in their original, literal sense, not the one in current use. It is as though in English we should insist that 'god-forsaken' meant not 'desolate' as in modern usage but that God had literally written off some particularly unpromising patch of real estate. epsilon 3835 and pi 2376 are also generated by Alexander's Commentary on 112a32.
[2] Alexander says, "it is possible to show" e)/nesti deiknu/nai; and there is no infinitive ei)=nai, which the Suda has twice.
[3] The term that in normal usage would be used in the sense of 'well-disposed' in its root meaning is 'well-minded'. This and other ambiguities in this entry do not go over well into English. This term occurs nowhere in the Topics but, as Marcelo Boeri has pointed out to me in a personal message, rather in the Nicomachean Ethics (1155b33ff and 1166b30ff), whence it was taken up by Alexander and from him by the Suda. Aristotle's passages are less concerned with quibbling over terms and more with the reciprocal nature of friendship.
[4] These two terms derive from Alexander's Commentary, not from Aristotle himself.
[5] The term often used for 'wealthy' literally meant 'with a good divinity'. Here we see the only term in the passage from Aristotle appearing in this entry.
Keywords: definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; philosophy
Translated by: Oliver Phillips ✝ on 15 July 2002@16:33:29.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added note; cosmetics) on 3 February 2003@08:22:00.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 18 November 2005@10:12:43.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 7 November 2012@09:40:27.
David Whitehead (coding and other cosmetics) on 9 March 2016@07:17:27.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 16 February 2018@16:48:37.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation and notes) on 16 February 2018@23:10:09.


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