Glossary of Hellenistic Philosophy Terms

If some other source is not cited, all lexical entries are taken from Liddell-Scott Greek Lexicon.

A

αἰσχρός (aischros) = causing shame, dishonor.

ἀκολασία (akolasia) = licentiousness, intemperance.

ἀπάθεια (apatheia) – impassibility, insensibility, apathy, freedom from emotions, insensibility to. From ‘a’ with meaning ‘without, and ‘pathos’ with meaning ‘suffering’ or ‘passion’, is a Stoic term for representation of the state in which a sage should be found. It is translated also as ‘equanimity’. Stoics thought that one should avoid reacting passionately on the events and pertains state of perfect tranquility, equally on good and bad things befalling us.

ἀφροσύνη (aphrosunē) = folly, thoughtlessness.

ἀνδρεῖος (andreios) = courageous, manly, masculine, strong, vigorous.

ἀρετή (aretē) = goodness, excellence, virtue, good deeds, good nature, kindness.

ἀταραξία (ataraksia) = calmness, tranquility, impassiveness. This term was highly used by Epicurus and Epicureans as a representative of the state of tranquility from all the worries and distresses of the outer and inner world.

D

δειλία (deilia) = cowardice, timidity.

δικαιοσύνη (dikaiosunē) = righteousness, justice, fulfillment of the law.

E

ἔκκλῖσις [ekklisis] – turning out of one’s course, deflexion. In Stoic philosophy, things toward which we have aversion.

ἐγκράτεια (enkrateia) = self-control, mastery over.

ἐπαίνεσις (epainesis) = praise. Used in Aristotle’s ethical writings to note which things are praiseworthy.

ἐπιθῡμητικός (epithumētikos) = desiring, coveting, lusting after, that part of the soul which is the seat of the desires and affections.

εὐδαιμονία (eudaimonia) = prosperity, good fortune, full happiness. In Stoic philosophy it is often used as a representation of happiness. Human flourishing was proposed translation from some proponents of Stoic thought today. Eu = good and Daimon = spirit, is the etymology of this word. This word was also used in Aristotle’s ethical writings, alongside aretē (virtue) and phronesis (prudence or practical wisdom).

I

ὀργιλότης (orgilotēs) = irascibility.

K

καλός (kalos) = beautiful, of a fine quality, fine things. Used in Aristotle’s ethical writings, often with dual ‘καλά’.

κακία (kakia) = badness, cowardice, faint-heartedness, moral badness, vice.

L

λογιστικός (logistikos) = reasoning faculty.

M

μεγαλοψυχία (megalopsuchia) = greatness of soul, high-mindedness, lordliness.

Ο

ὄρεξις [orexis] – desire, longing, yearning after. In Stoic philosophy one of the three topoi or fields of study and exercise of the philosopher.

ὁρμάω (hormaō) – set in motion, urge on, rush headlong at. In Stoic philosophy it is associated with the impulses [hormas] to act and not to act [aphormas]

P

πραότης (praotēs) = mindness, gentleness.

προαίρεσις (proairesis but often times transliterated as prohairesis) = volition, will, choice, intention, moral choice, inclination, deliberate course of action. It is one of the main concepts in Epictetus’ moral philosophy, that man is capable of choosing how to react on the external influences and free to judge them as good or bad. In other words, they are neither good nor bad, but our judgment makes them so. This principle of right thinking about things and the power of choice to judge the externals is the principle of prohairesis, to choose how to react on the impressions.

S

σοφός (sophos) = skilled in any handicraft or art, clever, prudent, learned, wise. It is Stoic term for what we call today Sage.

σώφρων (sōphrōn) = sound mind, discreet, prudent, reasonable, having control over the sensual desires, temperate, self-controlled, chaste, moderate.

συγκατάθεσις (sunkatathesis) – assent, approval, affirmation. In Stoic philosophy, this is one of the three topoi or fields of study, practical exercises in practicing the moral character (prohairesis) and excellence (aretē) for living happy life (eudaimonia). Sunkatathesis is practical application of proper judgment upon the impressions (phantasia) by assenting to the things that our under own control and not lamenting upon the things that are outside our own control.

T

θυμοειδής (thumoeidēs) = high-spirited.

U

ὑπόληψις [hupolēpsis] = harsh-judgment, prejudice, suspicion. In Stoic philosophy, related to the value-judgment upon the impressions (phantasia) we receive.

Φ

φαντᾰσία (phantasia) = appearance, image, imagination. ‘Phantasiai’ was often used as ‘impressions’ and in Stoic thought for representing the equanimity in regard to the impressions and reactions upon them.

φρόνησις (phronesis) = purpose, intention, judgment, thought; in Aristotle’s writings used as ‘practical wisdom’ translated in Latin as ‘prudence’. Valens uses this word in description of the nature of Sun in the beginning of Anthology.

Ψ

ψεκτός (psektos) = blameworthy.

ψῡχή (psuchē) = life, spirit, soul, consciousness, the conscious self, personality, the self, psyche.

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