General Commentary - Doctrine 3

  • "The limit in the amount of pleasures

    is the Removal of all pain.

    Whenever there is Pleasure,

    then for that time that it is present,

    there is no Pain or Sadness

    or any Mixture of both."



    Metródoros makes the same point from a different angle:


    "Τhis very thing is the good:

    Escaping from the bad-

    because It is not possible for the Good to be placed anywhere

    when neither What is painful nor What is distressing is any longer making way for it."


    Τοῦτο αὐτὸ τὸ ἀγαθόν ἐστι:

    τὸ φυγεῖν τὸ κακόν-

    ἔνθα γὰρ τεθήσεται Tἀγαθόν οὐκ Ἔστιν

    ὅταν μηθὲν ἔτι ὑπεξίῃ μήτε Ἀλγεινὸν μήτε Λυπηρόν"


    –preserved by Plutarch at 1091 A-B in his diatribe "Ότι ουδέ ήδεως ζην έστιν κατ' Επίκουρον"


    Mελετᾶν οὖν χρὴ τὰ ποιοῦντα τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν.

    It is necessary to study what produces wellbeing.

  • Thanks for posting these. I've really enjoyed your translation work!

    My contention has been that anytime we see το αγαθόν / ταγαθον , it can be translated colloquially as "pleasure" ( literally The Good with capitalization rendering its importance in an English way that's not necessarily possible in the original text since a lot of those manuscripts used an uncial script)

    Plus I tend to read το κακόν in these contexts as "pain."

    Some popular translations seem to obfuscate the importance of pleasure and pain in the philosophy by using "the good" and "the bad/evil."

    This came home to me in looking at the Tetrapharmakos with ταγαθον "the good" and το δεινον "the terrible" easily paraphrased as pleasure and pain.

    I look forward to more of your work!!

  • I very much agree. This gives the translation just a little bit of added interpretation, but is certainly more natural.


    "Τhis very thing is pleasure:

    Escaping from pain-

    because It is not possible for pleasure to be placed anywhere

    when neither What is painful nor What is distressing is any longer making way for it."


    -Metródoros


    Mελετᾶν οὖν χρὴ τὰ ποιοῦντα τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν.

    It is necessary to study what produces wellbeing.