Chi invidia non conosce meraviglia. Note su thaumazein ed essere aphthonos in Platone e Aristotele

Salvatore Lavecchia


The envious cannot experience wonder. Notes on ‘thaumazein’ and being ‘aphthonos’ in Plato and Aristotle

An attentive consideration regarding the notions of thaumazein and being aphthonos presupposed by Plato and Aristotle reveals the intimate reciprocal implication of wondering/marveling and absence of envy. As characterized by Plato and Aristotle, wonder depends namely on the capacity of being unrestrictedly open for the manifestation of something radically undeducible from acquired experience or knowledge. This capacity is, in turn, eminently peculiar of being good, whose nature is, according to Plato, intrinsecally denoted by absence of envy, as shown by the cosmogonic activity of the Demiurge as well as by Socrates acting as midwife of pregnant souls. The contrary attitude is hypottasized by any form of normativity which pretends to exclusively deduce actions and knowledges on the basis of prescriptions deriving from past experiences or abstract generalizations. Such normativity reveals strong analogies to the envious person, since the action of this normativity is not capable of producing openness for the generation of something authentically new.


Salvatore Lavecchia; Platone; thaumazein; aphthonos; Aristotele

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