August 17th, 2022 - Wednesday Night Zoom Discussion

  • It was said in another thread that PD22 was included in a "paragraph" with PD18-21 (I don't remember where that grouping was written). I was just reading through the PDs by Saint-Andre and, at least in his translation I felt that PD22 would be more appropriately lumped with PD23-25. It's almost a transition between the two groups, but to me it fits better with the latter group.

    I have no idea what scholar I'm disagreeing with but I thought I'd mention it :/

  • You are right Godfrey - I will take the blame for messing this up. PD22 clearly belongs with 23-25.

    Why don't we plan to focus on 21 and consider the many ramifications of that one, especially the "no need of actions which involve competition."

    I think there are varying translations of "competition" and we can also use this to continue to sort out the issue of how much "ambition" is appropriate in the pursuit of pleasure.

  • Sorry that I won't make it, but I have two comments on PD21. Maybe more like questions than comments....

    I was thinking that "the limits of life" in this PD may actually be "the limits of the good life". Looking through Nate's compilation I see that Strodach actually used that wording, although he's the only one and I've no idea of the Greek nuance.

    The reason this may be important is that what is described in this PD might be considered a lower limit of the good life. I know of no evidence for this, but it comes from my thinking that the categories of desires describe a sweet spot between a lower limit of a good life as described here, and an upper limit at the nebulous place where desires become unlimited.

  • It could be important in that PD21 does say "the limits" of life: τὰ πέρατα τοῦ βίου and not "the limit". There's more than one limit implied by that plural. Does it mean the two extreme limits? The singular form is πέρας:

    Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, πέρα^ς

    I find it interesting that the LSJ definition includes that πέρας (peras) "generally, limit, either opposite of ἀρχή (arkhē), or including it"

    The ἀρχή and τέλος are what

    "pleasure is the beginning/foundation/ἀρχή and the end/goal/τελος of a blessed life τοῦ μακαρίως ζῆν (same blessed as in PD1)."

    We also find πέρας in:

    48. While you are on the road, try to make the later part better than the earlier part; and be equally happy when you reach the end.

    πειρᾶσθαι τὴν ὑστέραν τῆς προτέρας κρείττω ποιείν, ἕως ἂν ἐν ὁδῷ ὦμεν· ἐπειδὰν δʼ ἐπὶ πέρας ἔλθωμεν, ὁμαλῶς εὐφραίνεσθαι.


    Εἰ τὰ ποιητικὰ [τῶν περὶ τοὺς ἀσώτους ἡδονῶν] ἔλυε τοὺς φόβους τῆς διανοίας τούς [τε περὶ μετεώρων καὶ θανάτου καὶ ἀλγηδόνων], ἔτι τε τὸ πέρας τῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν ἐδίδασκεν, οὐκ ἄν ποτε εἴχομεν ὅ τι μεμψαίμεθα αὐτοῖς, πανταχόθεν ἐκπληρουμένοις τῶν ἡδονῶν καὶ οὐδαμόθεν οὔτε τὸ ἀλγοῦν οὔτε τὸ λυπούμενον ἔχουσιν, ὅ περ ἐστὶ τὸ κακόν.

    Saint-Andre ,(with revision): If the things that produced the delights of those who are decadent washed away the mind’s fears about astronomical phenomena and death and suffering, and furthermore if they taught us the limits of our pains and desires (literal: the limit of desires (epithymiōn)), then we would have no complaints against them, since they would be filled with every joy and would contain not a single pain or distress (and that’s what is bad).

    πέρας also shows up in PD18 "the limit of pleasure"; in the variant άπειρος "unlimited, infinite" in PD19 as well as the limits measures by reason: "Infinite time and finite time contain the same amount of joy, if its limits are measured out through reasoning."