AISCHRON is ‘disgraceful’. Other synonyms are ‘bad’, ‘evil’, ‘ugly’, ‘unjust’, ‘morally deplorable’, ‘contemptible’. It is the opposite of <kalon> (‘morally beautiful’, ‘admirable’, ‘laudable’, ‘commendable’, ‘worthy’).

Terms related to acts of judgements show that meanings and criteria may change according to times, places and cultures. A philosophical effort is to try and find some standards and everlasting principles (if any).

One primary element concerning the binomial <aischron>/<kalon> is its difference with <painful>/<pleasant>. In Gorgia, Platon (Plato) underlines that is generally better to suffer an injustice than to commit it. In fact, suffering an injustice is “only” painful, while committing an injustice is really disgraceful. According to the pupil of Sokrates (Socrates) 474c – 475c a disgraceful action is much worse an occurrence (in one’s life) than feeling pain .

Sokratiko Logo

The same book shows a discussion of the idea that our actions are <aischron> just in some circumstances and not always (i.e. they are disgraceful not in themselves, which would mean “forever”). Sokrates replies to this thesis by Callikles (Callicles) by maintaining that indeed there are objective criteria to establish if human actions are unjust. We must consider whether our actions fit into a kind of mathematical harmony.

<Aischron> is ‘disgraceful’. But what is disgraceful, bad, evil? Can we say that the rain is bad? And can we say that a sunny day is always a nice one? Is not the sunlight disgraceful in case of a prolonged drought? Well, of course it is true that an action is not always bad and not always good. Nonetheless it is also true that we cannot assign values by chance. Sokrates indicates a criterion: an action is good if it is in agreement with <logos>. It is good when in consonance with the law of cosmos.