Dialogue and Humanism

Volume 4, Issue 5, 1994

Piotr Jaroszyński
Pages 79-87


To understand the meaning of kalokagathia one must take into account not the contemporary but the Greek theories of beauty and the good. Beauty in the Greek tradition had at least three significations: as an end in itself, as harmony, and what pleases as seen. The so conceived beauty comes to a very close relation with the moral goodness, especially with bonum honestum. Bonum honestum is also an end in itself, and, when other moral values are properly related to it, there is a harmony on the personal as well as on the social level. And finally, the moral goodness is something to be admired (it pleases as seen). The concept of kalokagathia, then, was at the core of morality, education and culture. It is too precious a pearl to be forgotten.