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The Stoic Theory of Beauty$
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Aiste Celkyte

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474461610

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474461610.001.0001

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The Beautiful and the Good

The Beautiful and the Good

(p.47) 3 The Beautiful and the Good
The Stoic Theory of Beauty

Aistė Čelkytė

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter starts with the argument that the ancient Greek term to kalon (and its Latin equivalent honestum) can be read as having an aesthetic meaning. This discussion leads to the discussion of the argument ‘that only the beautiful is the good’ (μόνον τὸ καλὸν ἀγαθὸν εἶναι‎). The reconstruction suggests that, despite the fact that different interpretations of this argument are given in the doxographical material, the syllogism which accompanied the argument in the original Chrysippean version points to a very specific idea. In this argument, beauty plays the role of a distinguishing sign peculiar to the true good. Beauty signifies true goodness and makes it distinct from only apparent goodness. It supports the Stoic tenet that virtue is the only genuine good by claiming that beauty distinguishes true good from other, only apparent, goods.

Keywords:   Stoicism, Chrysippus, to kalon, honestum, the good

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