Proegmena

PROEGMENA is ‘naturally desirable things’. Then, this ancient Greek locution indicates things like health, comfort, welfare, safety. It also designates ‘preferable things’ that is things which are indifferent in an absolute moral sense, but possessing a relative positive value. The notion of <proegmena> has its opposite in <apro├¬gmena>.

The Stoic philosophers categorize the ‘indifferents’ into three precise classes. Firstly: preferable indifferents. Secondly: rejected (dispreferable) indifferents. Thirdly: unqualifiedly indifferents. Unqualifiedly indifferent things neither generally accord with our nature (as the preferable things do) nor are they generally contrary to our nature (as rejected things are). Hence, <proegmena> is the first of the aforementioned three classes of indifferents.

Sokratiko Logo

<Proegmena> is ‘naturally desirable things’. For instance ‘physical beauty’ is a feature which Stoics do not consider important in itself. So, in general, it does not matter if one has physical beauty or not. More important are the traits of decency, righteousness and so on. Nonetheless, physical beauty is certainly naturally desirable. Also physical beauty is preferable to ugliness. In other words, physical beauty is in line with the notion of <proegmena>. ‘Technical ability’ is another example of something not philosophically relevant but desirable and preferable to ‘lack of technical ability’.

For some Stoics, ‘physical pleasure’ is an instance of ‘preferable indifferents’. According to other thinkers, it has positive aspects but not enough to include it among the ‘preferable indifferents’. Cicero discusses of <laetitia> (delight) when he means a preferable emotion. But he also discusses of <voluptas> (pleasure) when he means physical pleasure (which is too tempting to be among the ‘preferable indifferents’).

‘Preferable things’ are also primary things in accord with nature and ‘dispreferable things’ are also primary things contrary to nature.