Epakolouthesis

EPAKOLOUTHESIS is ‘side effects’. In fact, this ancient Greek word indicates the ‘necessary but nonessential consequences’. So we are talking about ‘minor results’ or ‘secondary effects’.

In Meditations 7.75 by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Marcus Aurelius)¬†we read: “the nature of the All (<holos> as ‘universe’, ‘all’) did move to make the universe. But now either everything that takes place comes by way of consequence and continuity (<epakolouthesis>). Or even the chief things towards which the universe directs its own movement (<horme> as ‘appetite’, ‘direction’) are under the government (<kurieuo>) of no rational principle (<alogistos> that is privative ‘a’ plus <logistos>). If this is remembered (<mimnesko> as ‘bear in mind’) it will make you more tranquil (<galene>) in many things“.

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Nowadays we are familiar with the notion of ‘side effects’. For instance in a medicine’s leaflet we always find warnings about the possible secondary consequences of pharmaceutical products. It means that medicines’ main goal is the healing of diseases. But medicines could also cause harms in some cases. A very similar expression is also common when talking about military interventions. Attacks have main goals (for instance the destruction of a site) and thus possible victims are (technically) collateral damages.

<Epakolouthesis> is ‘side effects’. It is very important for philosophers to bear in mind that there are side effects with almost any activity of life. Because if you want to do a good action you must remember that other consequences might interfere. Personal consequences as well. As an example a nice person should never forget that he might easily be the target of bad people. In conclusion, any package (even the best) could include a vast variety of by-products. The issue is accepting or non accepting the entire package.