The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives

towards the mean

A workspace with some books and open door out onto a balcony.

διὸ καὶ ἀπορήσειεν ἄν τις, τί δή ποθ᾽ οἱ μὲν ἰατροὶ βουλεύονται περὶ ὧν ἔχουσι τὴν ἐπιστήμην, οἱ δὲ γραμματικοὶ οὔ; αἴτιον δ᾽ ὅτι διχῇ γινομένης τῆς ἁμαρτίας (ἢ γὰρ λογιζόμενοι ἁμαρτάνομεν ἢ κατὰ τὴν αἴσθησιν αὐτὸ δρῶντες) ἐν μὲν τῇ ἰατρικῇ ἀμφοτέρως ἐνδέχεται ἁμαρτεῖν, ἐν δὲ τῇ γραμματικῇ κατὰ τὴν αἴσθησιν καὶ πρᾶξιν περὶ ἧς ἂν σκοπῶσιν, εἰς ἄπειρον ἥξουσιν.

Hence one might also raise the question, why is it exactly that, whereas doctors deliberate about things in their field of science, grammarians do not? The reason is that since error occurs in two ways (for we err either in reasoning, or in perception when actually doing the thing), in medicine it is possible to err in both ways, but in grammar error only occurs in our perception and action, to investigate which would be an endless undertaking.

—Aristotle (Eudemian Ethics, 1226a33–1226b2, trans. H. Rackham)

It is that pleasant period in the year when one can spend the days with windows open, enjoying the fresh air and a temperate clime. One walks the dog, scrubs the floor, admires the clouds, or fetches down a volume of Spinoza (bought on impulse) to check a reference. Work is light – leaning towards faintly hysterical papers about human resource management and the dangers of artificial intelligence – and one can safely cultivate an equally light asceticism, as there is nothing to strain one’s equanimity. It is a moment, but not momentous. There will doubtless be another reference to check tomorrow.


ego hoc feci mm–MMXXIII · cc 2000–2023 M.F.C.