HEXIS is ‘state’ or ‘disposition’. Therefore, it indicates a ‘state of mind’, a ‘disposition toward something’, a ‘tendency’ or a ‘habit’. Hence, it displays some similarities to <ethos>, which is something we need to be aware of and in control of.

In fact, the <ethos> in which we live might influence our full presence of mind (lucidity). And a thorough philosophical life needs the highest level of self-possession. The <ethos> might trigger some automatic reactions and might be dangerous because acting upon a somnolent conscience.

Sokratiko Logo

<Hexis> is ‘state’ or ‘disposition’, altough Joe Sachs translates it as ‘active condition‘. Anyway, he wants to specify that <hexis> is not a passive condition of the soul, such as feelings and impulses. Also, it is not an ability we possess by nature. In Categories 8b Aristoteles (Aristotle) alaborates on the word <diathesis> which means ‘disposition’. In that passage, <diathesis> only applies to passive and simple dispositions that are not difficult to remove and change. For instance, it is not difficult to change our being hot or cold. In contrast <hexis> indicates deeper and more active dispositions, like properly getting to know something in a way that it will not be easily forgotten. Another instance of <hexis> in Aristoteles is health (<hugieia>) that we could translate as ‘constitution’.

Indeed, an idea of <hexis> is the contrast with <energeia> (as meaning ‘activity’). This contrast is evident in Aristoteles. In fact the opposition is quite noticeable in his works Nicomachean Ethics¬†and Eudemian Ethics. In these two books, the focus of the Ancient Greece philosopher is <eudaimonia> (happiness), the right target of human life. <Hexis> is contrasted with <energeia> with the aim of showing the correctness of a specific definition of <eudaimonia>. The definition which Aristoteles proposes is “activity (<energeia>) in conformity with virtue”.