Greek — μη and οὐ

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Hi,

Can someone tell me why these different negatives are used in this Aristotle passage? I'd have expected μη in all three places.

Ἔτι, ὡς καὶ πρῴην εἴπομεν, πᾶσα ψυχῆς ἕξις, ὑφ᾽ οἵων πέφυκε γίνεσθαι χείρων καὶ βελτίων, πρὸς ταῦτα καὶ περὶ ταῦτα τὴν φύσιν ἔχει· δι᾽ ἡδονὰς δὲ καὶ λύπας φαῦλοι γίνονται, τῷ διώκειν ταύτας καὶ φεύγειν, ἢ ἃς μὴ δεῖ ἢ ὅτε οὐ δεῖ ἢ ὡς οὐ δεῖ ἢ ὁσαχῶς ἄλλως ὑπὸ τοῦ λόγου διορίζεται τὰ τοιαῦτα.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
I can't think of a good explanation at the moment.
One vague thought is that Aristotle had a more definite conception of the range of occasions and methods (when and how pleasures should be pursued or avoided) than of the types of pleasures that are pursued or avoided. Do the phrases ὅτε οὐ δεῖ and ὡς οὐ δεῖ recur in this passage or elsewhere in the book? They may be being treated almost as fixed philosophical terminology or something.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Do the phrases ὅτε οὐ δεῖ and ὡς οὐ δεῖ recur in this passage or elsewhere in the book?
In the next paragraph:

διὸ καὶ ὁρίζονται τὰς ἀρετὰς ἀπαθείας τινὰς καὶ ἠρεμίας· οὐκ εὖ δέ, ὅτι ἁπλῶς λέγουσιν, ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ ὡς δεῖ καὶ ὡς οὐ δεῖ καὶ ὅτε, καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα προστίθεται. ὑπόκειται ἄρα ἡ ἀρετὴ εἶναι ἡ τοιαύτη περὶ ἡδονὰς καὶ λύπας τῶν βελτίστων πρακτική, ἡ δὲ κακία τοὐναντίον.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I know that, in theory, but here I just don't really understand how there's less conditional meaning in the second and third clauses than in the first.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
They kind of are, but with relative adverbs rather than relative pronouns. I didn't think it was supposed to make a difference concerning the negation (because it's the same "kind of meaning"...).
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
It seems this passage has caused copyists and editors some head-scratching over the years. Bekker's edition has the reading you've given, but his apparatus shows disagreements among the manuscripts (see notes m and n at foot of page). It would be interesting to see a discussion of the various readings somewhere, if there is one.
Compare this passage (first paragraph) from the Eudemian Ethics.
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
It seems this passage has caused copyists and editors some head-scratching over the years. Bekker's edition has the reading you've given, but his apparatus shows disagreements among the manuscripts (see notes m and n at foot of page). It would be interesting to see a discussion of the various readings somewhere, if there is one.
Compare this passage (first paragraph) from the Eudemian Ethics.
I see. I guess it will remain a mystery. Thanks.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
The same thing happens again here...

οὐ μὴν δώσει γε οἷς οὐ δεῖ οὐδ᾽ ὅτε μὴ δεῖ, οὐδ᾽ ὅσα ἄλλα τοιαῦτα

I've met with like expressions several time in the work now, and every time with the negative I'd have expected, except in that first passage I posted and here.
 
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