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Headword: Ὄντα
Adler number: omicron,406
Translated headword: existing things
Vetting Status: high
Of the existing things, some are [taken] to be good, others bad, and others neither [sc. good nor bad].[1] Virtues are good things; the contrary (imprudence, injustice and the rest of these)[2] are bad things. Neither good nor bad are those things which neither benefit nor harm, such as life, health, pleasure, beauty, strength, wealth, reputation, nobility of birth. The things contrary to these are also neither good nor bad: death, illness, pain, shame, weakness, poverty, lack of reputation, meanness, and the like.[3] Certainly these things are not good but indifferent, although the former[4] are specifically preferred. For just as heating peculiarly belongs to what is hot, so too benefiting peculiarly belongs to what is good. But wealth and health do not benefit more than they harm. It follows that they are not good things. What can be used both well and badly is not a good. Wealth and health can be used both well and badly. Therefore, wealth and health are not good things. But pleasure is not a good thing either, for there are shameful pleasures, too, and nothing shameful is a good thing.
Greek Original:
Ὄντα: τῶν ὄντων τὰ μὲν ἀγαθὰ εἶναι, τὰ δὲ κακά, τὰ δὲ οὐδέτερα. ἀγαθὰ μὲν αἱ ἀρεταί: κακὰ δὲ τὰ ἐναντία, ἀφροσύνη, ἀδικία, καὶ τὰ λοιπά: οὐδέτερα δὲ ὅσα μήτε ὠφελεῖ μήτε βλάπτει, οἷον ζωή, ὑγεία, ἡδονή, κάλλος, ἰσχύς, πλοῦτος, δόξα, εὐγένεια: καὶ τὰ τούτοις ἐναντία, θάνατος, νόσος, πόνος, αἶσχος, ἀσθένεια, πενία, ἀδοξία, δυσγένεια καὶ τὰ παραπλήσια: μὴ γὰρ εἶναι ταῦτα ἀγαθά, ἀλλ' ἀδιάφορα, κατ' εἶδος προηγμένα. ὡς γὰρ ἴδιον θερμοῦ τὸ θερμαίνειν, οὕτω καὶ ἀγαθοῦ τὸ ὠφελεῖν. οὐ μᾶλλον δὲ ὠφελεῖ ἢ βλάπτει ὁ πλοῦτος καὶ ἡ ὑγεία: οὐκ ἄρα ἀγαθόν: ᾧ δὲ ἔστιν εὖ καὶ κακῶς χρῆσθαι οὐκ ἔστιν ἀγαθόν: πλούτῳ δὲ καὶ ὑγείᾳ ἔστιν εὖ καὶ κακῶς χρῆσθαι: οὐκ ἄρα ἀγαθὸν πλοῦτος καὶ ὑγεία. ἀλλ' οὐδὲ ἡ ἡδονὴ ἀγαθόν: εἶναι γὰρ καὶ αἰσχρὰς ἡδονάς: μηδὲν δὲ αἰσχρὸν εἶναι ἀγαθόν.
This entry stems from Diogenes Laertius 7.102-103.
[1] This is almost a literal quotation of the opening lines of the extract of Stoic ethics included in Stobaeus, Extracts 2.57, 19-20 (ed. Wachsmuth). A complete English translation of the doxography of Stoic ethics preserved in Stobaeus can be found in B. Inwood and L.P. Gerson, Hellenistic Philosophy. Introductory Readings, (Indianapolis/Cambridge), 1997 second edition, 203-232.
[2] i.e. the other vices: intemperance and cowardice (see Stobaeus, Extracts 2.57, 22-58, 1 ed. Wachsmuth; Diog.Laert. 7.93 & 95.
[3] According to Diog.Laert., the doctrine of adiaphora (things "morally neutral") was held by the Stoic philosophers Hecaton (disciple of Panaetius, first century BCE, in book seven of his work On Ends), Apollodorus (late second century BCE, in his work Ethics), and Chrysippus (head of the school from 232 BCE).
[4] i.e. life, health, pleasure, wealth, etc.
A.A. Long, D.N. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers (Cambridge, 1987), vol. 1 (Translations of the Principal Sources with Philosophical Commentary), 357-359
B. Inwood, Ethics and Human Action in Early Stoicism (Oxford, 1985), pp. 198-205.
N.P. White, "Stoic Values", in The Monist, vol. 73, No. 1 (1990), pp. 42-58.
Keywords: economics; ethics; philosophy
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 26 October 1999@17:29:50.
Vetted by:
William Hutton on 9 November 1999@23:43:11.
Scott Carson on 2 January 2000@23:38:31.
Scott Carson on 11 February 2000@16:02:19.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 11 July 2003@08:22:15.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 18 November 2005@10:18:15.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 4 December 2005@09:25:48.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 4 July 2013@06:19:24.


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