Did any ancient Greek philosophers condemn fornication (illicit sexual intercourse outside of marriage) or marital infidelity?

Plato was against acts of sodomy, saying they are "contrary to nature" (para physin, Leges 636c; Phaedrus 251a).

  • 2
    Plato was not big on "natural" in society, and had some cray cray ideas about wives and children held in common, with partners matched by the rulers. Aristotle, on the other hand: "As to adultery, let it be held disgraceful, in general, for any man or woman to be found in any way unfaithful when they are married, and called husband and wife. If during the time of bearing children anything of the sort occur, let the guilty person be punished with a loss of privileges in proportion to the offense", Politics, VII, 1335b.
    – Conifold
    Feb 4, 2022 at 22:50
  • @Conifold Yes, Plato, like Marx, thought wives should be common property.
    – Geremia
    Feb 5, 2022 at 2:04
  • @Conifold Does Aristotle explain why adultery should "be held disgraceful"?
    – Geremia
    Feb 5, 2022 at 3:41
  • Aristotle already hinted in above ref: in any way unfaithful when they are married, and called husband and wife. Essentially such person arrived at a moral inconsistency which is perhaps the worst place one may arrive (hell metaphor?) regarding ethics which is perhaps the most important and deepest branch of philosophy. At least one needs to officially sever the moral relationship first... Feb 5, 2022 at 5:27
  • 1
    Not specifically, but the whole 1335 gives what we would call utilitarian and prudential reasons, "mating of the young is bad for child-bearing", "males are thought to be arrested in bodily growth if they have intercourse while the seed is still growing", "no deformed child shall be reared... abortion must be practised on it before it has developed sensation and life", etc. Aquinas linked marriage to virtues via the discussion of friendship in Nicomachean Ethics, but the link is dubious, see Friedman, Friendship, p.41ff.
    – Conifold
    Feb 5, 2022 at 5:50


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