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10 Terminologies of Philosophy: Nemesis, Thumos, Physis, Nomos, Phronesis, Mimesis, Arête, Kairos, Aidos and Eupsychia Coursework

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Updated: Aug 6th, 2019

Introduction

This paper identifies ten terminologies and gives a brief discussion on each of the ten terminologies. Most of the terminologies were used by ancient Greeks. The ten identified terminologies include nemesis, thumos, physis, nomos, phronesis, mimesis, arête, kairos, aidos and eupsychia.

Nemesis

According to Aristotle, nemesis has the meaning of a feeling of throbbing at unwarranted good destiny. The term represents what is known as virtuous resentment which emerges from a sense of claim with regards to impartiality and desert. This is aroused in individuals by the thought of achievement without merit besides a consequential pleasure that arises from the punishment of the individual who is unjustifiably prosperous1.

Thumos

Thumos can also be spelt as thymos. Thumos is an ancient Greek word used to denote the concept of spiritedness. For instance, it was used to portray a spirited argument or debate. Thumos was also used to indicate a physical relationship with either blood or breathe and also denoted an individual’s desire to be recognized.

Plato, in his work known as Phaedrus and other works, described thumos as one of the prominent components of psyches. Plato stated that thumos was an emotional constituent of virtue. It influenced some of the feelings experienced by people; for instance, the feeling of fear and anger2.

Physis

The term physis is a Greek term used in relation to philosophy, theology and science. In English, the term was translated to mean nature. Physis was used as a synonym for the word natural. This stemmed from the etymology of the term physical.

In more details, physis lexically connoted phyein; phyien was used to imply growth in ancient Greece. The Greeks gained knowledge of physis through introductory noetic and poetic knowledge of being3.

Nomos

Nomos is an ancient Greek’s philosophical model of law. The model became common during the late 5th century and early 4th century BC when the Greek Sophists were deeply concerned about the political authority on one hand and also that of the rights, freedom and specific obligation of citizens on the other hand.

The Greek Sophists discerned between nature, otherwise philosophically known as physis and the convention, also known as nomos. Laws were placed under the nomos; this was because laws were generally regarded as emanating from human inventions achieved through consent for the reason of limiting the natural freedoms for the benefit of pragmatism and personal interests4.

Phronesis

Phronesis is an antique Geek term denoting wisdom. It was also used to refer to intelligence. Both wisdom and intelligence are terms commonly used in philosophy. According to a theory regarding Aristotle’s rhetoric, phronesis is one amongst the three kinds of appeal to an individual character.

This is commonly referred to as ethos. Phronesis, as used, was more concerned with specifics because it influenced how an individual acted in a given situation. Aristotle emphasized that for one to be virtuous phronesis is both sufficient and necessary5.

Mimesis

Mimesis is a Greek terminology with a number of meanings attached to it. The term is both philosophical and critical; its meanings include mimicry, imitation and representation. Mimesis is an ancient Greece idea used to govern the creation of artistic works with connection to the material world which was understood to be a model for good, truth and beauty.

Plato contrasted the term mimesis with diegesis. However, after Plato, mimesis had numerous other interpretations. Aristotle also had an interpretation of what mimesis was. He wrote about mimesis as the exactness and simulation of nature6.

Arete

This is also a Greek word used by ancient Greeks to mean excellence of any sort. This meaning was tied to the concept of realization of a purpose or objective. It was used to describe the action taken by an individual to realize a full potential. In ancient culture of the Greeks, arête was considered to be strength and audacity.

In fact, the term arête was used by ancient Greeks to mean something related to being the best one could be in the process of realizing the goals of life. Therefore, arête could be interpreted to mean virtue used in achieving practical results7.

Kairos

Kairos is another ancient terminology used in reference to an appropriate moment. The ancient Greeks used both chronos and kairos to refer to time. However, chromos was mostly used to refer to chronological time while kairos was used to refer to a time frame; a period of indefinite time in which an incredible thing happened.

Comparing the two, chronos was quantitative in nature and kairos was qualitative. Besides, both modern and ancient Greek philosophers have used the term kairos to refer to weather8.

Aidos

Aidos is a term that was used to refer to the deity spirit of humility, respect and admiration. Aidos was a companion to a deity known as nemesis. As a form of quality, Aidos was a specific feeling of respect or disgrace which barred men from committing wrongs.

Nemesis, as discussed earlier, represented righteous resentment awakened by the sight of the iniquitous living in unmerited good destiny. Aidos was seen by the ancient Greeks as a personification of humility. She was worshipped both by the Greeks and the Romans9.

Eupsychia

Eupsychia is a Greek term that stemmed from the Greek roots eu implying good and psyche implying the soul. Given this, eupsychia means the good society. The term was used by the ancient Greeks to imply the society of good community members. Eupsychia was considered as a vision of utopian society. It was coined by Maslow to describe a community in which health, self actualization and balance of life are enhanced.

Conclusion

This paper identified and discussed ten terminologies. These terminologies include nemesis, thumos, physis, nomos, phronesis, mimesis, arête, kairos, aidos and eupsychia. The terminologies were predominantly used by the ancient Greeks.

Bibliography

Burge, Ronna. Aristotle’s Dialogue with Socrates: On the Nicomachean Ethics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Conklin, William. The Invisible Origins of Legal positivism: a Re-reading of a Tradition. New York: Springer, 2001.

Garrison, Elise. Tears: Ethical and Dramatic Aspects of Suicide in Greek Tragedy. New York: BRILL, 1995.

Gier, Nicholas. The Virtue of Nonviolence: from Gautama to Gandhi. New York: SUNY, 2004.

Footnotes

1 Ronna Burger, Aristotle’s Dialogue with Socrates: On the “Nicomachean Ethics” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 140-153.

2 Ibid.

3 William Conklin, The invisible origins of legal positivism: a re-reading of a tradition (New York: Springer, 2001), 20-47.

4 Ibid.

5 Nicholas Gier, The virtue of nonviolence: from Gautama to Gandhi (New York: SUNY, 2004), 69-72.

6 Ivo Strecker and Stephen Tyler, Culture and rhetoric (London: Berghahn Books, 2009), 7-37.

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

9 Elise Garrison, Groaning tears: ethical and dramatic aspects of suicide in Greek tragedy (New York: BRILL, 1995), 68-73.

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IvyPanda. "10 Terminologies of Philosophy: Nemesis, Thumos, Physis, Nomos, Phronesis, Mimesis, Arête, Kairos, Aidos and Eupsychia." August 6, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/philosophy-therminologies/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "10 Terminologies of Philosophy: Nemesis, Thumos, Physis, Nomos, Phronesis, Mimesis, Arête, Kairos, Aidos and Eupsychia." August 6, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/philosophy-therminologies/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) '10 Terminologies of Philosophy: Nemesis, Thumos, Physis, Nomos, Phronesis, Mimesis, Arête, Kairos, Aidos and Eupsychia'. 6 August.

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