The Meaning of The Second of the Three Virtue Adverbs In PD5 - "Honorably?"

  • In the Skype discussion of this date, Elli pointed out problems with the translations which render the second of the three terms (prudently, honorably, and Justly) as "honorably" or "honestly."

    Elli believes that the better translation is something that conveys a sense of "esthetics" such as "beautifully" and that in no way does this doctrine mean that the virtue being described is what we in English would consider to be "honesty."

    I am setting up this thread as a placeholder so we will remember to come back and extend this discussion in greater detail.

    The translations we see include:

    Cyril Bailey (Epicurus The Extant Remains)
    Ingwood/Gerson (The Epicurus Reader)
    Strodach (The Philosophy of Epicurus)
    Epicurus Wiki
    Peter St Andre
  • Peter St Andre's note on his translation seems to follow Elli's thinking. I find the implication appealing but must rely on the wisdom of others in translation issues. In that regard, many thanks to Elli, Joshua and others who contribute to refining our understanding of the texts!

  • As always, I am happy to defer to Elli in all things Greek ;)

    A word for καλῶς that I see elsewhere is "commendably". It gets me close to what I'm looking for here; a word that straddles the meaning of the two words in the dominant translations. "Commendable" suggests something at once honorable and wholesomely beautiful.


    This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air/ Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself/ Unto our gentle senses.


    And it wasn't until Cassius posted the side by side translations that another problem occured to me; I remembered that in "quote images" across the internet of this passage, it is translated simply as "wisely and well and justly". Of course the translator is never cited, so I don't know which version it is. "Living well" does seem to carry aesthetic undertones. (<example)

  • That Greek word "kalos" was also used by POLYSTRATUS in his "Irrational Contempt" when he argued for a moral realism.

    He there treated this word (translated as noble) as he opposite of he word translated as "vile", and said these two are relational properties of nature, where he applied terms used in our physics for the ethics.

    "Please always remember my doctrines!" - Epicurus' last words

  • Cassius

    Changed the title of the thread from “The Meaning of The Second of the Three Terms - "Honorably"??” to “The Meaning of The Second of the Three Virtue Adverbs In PD5 - "Honorably?"”.