AU The Republic by Plato Paper


At the end of Book 1 of the Republic, Plato, in the voice of Socrates, argues that “justice is a kind of harmony.” Explain how Plato arrives at his conclusion that justice is a kind of harmony (using Book 1) and explain how he defends his view (using Book 2). Next, contrast Aristotle’s view of community and justice with that of Plato’s (hint: you may want to focus on the later books of the Nicomachean Ethics in which Aristotle discuss kinds of friendship and bonds in a community). Finally, explain which position Plato’s or Aristotle’s is more convincing. Defend your conclusion. Your paper should be 4-5 full pages double-spaced, normal margins. (Your name on the paper is all that is required since you will be submitting it electronically.) You do not need a lengthy header since your name is associated with the submission link; do not include a lengthy header at the top of the first page. Please consult the syllabus for additional paper requirements and for the grading rubric for assigned papers in the course, especially what constitutes plagiarism. LATE PAPERS will not be accepted. Papers are due Monday, October 11th by midnight. To submit the paper, go to the Course Content section of Blackboard and upload an appropriate file (.doc or .pdf) via TurnItIn Assignments Paper 1 link. Note: extensive use of secondary sources in your paper is discouraged and will result in a lower grade. Engagement and analysis of the primary texts (i.e. the pdfs provided for free by the course) is expected in the paper. Citing lengthy primary text quotes without thorough explanation does not consitute engagement with the text. Additionally, papers will be checked for plagiarism. It is your responsibility to make sure your paper is free of copied and improperly cited material. Citation of the primary text does not have to follow rigorously the MLA or Chicago standards, since the readings were provided as free pdfs. For example, you can cite a passage with the (author, page number) format. Finally, there will be an Argumentation video posted in the Course Content section of the Blackboard, which explains how to construct an argument. Your paper should be written following its guidance; you should have a thesis which you propose and defend with logic/analysis in your paper.

Chapter I.
Now since Virtue is concerned with the regulation of feelings and actions, and praise
and blame arise upon such as are voluntary, while for the involuntary allowance is
made, and sometimes compassion is excited, it is perhaps a necessary task for those
who are investigating the nature of Virtue to draw out the distinction between what is
voluntary and what involuntary; and it is certainly useful for legislators, with respect to
the assigning of honours and punishments.
Involuntary actions then are thought to be of two kinds, being done either on
compulsion, or by reason of ignorance. An action is, properly speaking, compulsory,
when the origination is external to the agent, being such that in it the agent (perhaps we
may more properly say the patient) contributes nothing; as if a wind were to convey
you anywhere, or men having power over your person.
But when actions are done, either from fear of greater evils, or from some honourable
motive, as, for instance, if you were ordered to commit some base act by a despot who
had your parents or children in his power, and they were to be saved upon your
compliance or die upon your refusal, in such cases there is room for a question whether
the actions are voluntary or involuntary.
A similar question arises with respect to cases of throwing goods overboard in a
storm: abstractedly no man throws away his property willingly, but with a view to his
own and his shipmates’ safety any one would who had any sense.
The truth is, such actions are of a mixed kind, but are most like voluntary actions; for
they are choice-worthy at the time when they are being done, and the end or object of
the action must be taken with reference to the actual occasion. Further, we must
denominate an action voluntary or involuntary at the time of doing it: now in the given
case the man acts voluntarily, because the originating of the motion of his limbs in such
actions rests with himself; and where the origination is in himself it rests with himself
to do or not to do.
Such actions then are voluntary, though in the abstract perhaps involuntary because
no one would choose any of such things in and by itself.
But for such actions men sometimes are even praised, as when they endure any
disgrace or pain to secure great and honourable equivalents; if vice versâ, then they are
blamed, because it shows a base mind to endure things very disgraceful for no
honourable object, or for a trifling one.
For some again no praise is given, but allowance is made; as where a man does what
he should not by reason of such things as overstrain the powers of human nature, or
pass the limits of human endurance.
Some acts perhaps there are for which compulsion cannot be pleaded, but a man
should rather suffer the worst and die; how absurd, for instance, are the pleas of
compulsion with which Alcmaeon in Euripides’ play excuses his matricide!
But it is difficult sometimes to decide what kind of thing should be chosen instead of
what, or what endured in preference to what, and much moreso to abide by one’s
decisions: for in general the alternatives are painful, and the actions required are base,
and so praise or blame is awarded according as persons have been compelled or no.
What kind of actions then are to be called compulsory? may we say, simply and
abstractedly whenever the cause is external and the agent contributes nothing; and that
where the acts are in themselves such as one would not wish but choice-worthy at the
present time and in preference to such and such things, and where the origination rests
with the agent, the actions are in themselves involuntary but at the given time and in
preference to such and such things voluntary; and they are more like voluntary than
involuntary, because the actions consist of little details, and these are voluntary.
But what kind of things one ought to choose instead of what, it is not easy to settle,
for there are many differences in particular instances.
But suppose a person should say, things pleasant and honourable exert a compulsive
force (for that they are external and do compel); at that rate every action is on
compulsion, because these are universal motives of action.
Again, they who act on compulsion and against their will do so with pain; but they
who act by reason of what is pleasant or honourable act with pleasure.
It is truly absurd for a man to attribute his actions to external things instead of to his
own capacity for being easily caught by them; or, again, to ascribe the honourable to
himself, and the base ones to pleasure.
So then that seems to be compulsory “whose origination is from without, the party
compelled contributing nothing.”
Chapter II.
Now every action of which ignorance is the cause is not-voluntary, but that only is
involuntary which is attended with pain and remorse; for clearly the man who has done
anything by reason of ignorance, but is not annoyed at his own action, cannot be said
to have done it with his will because he did not know he was doing it, nor
again against his will because he is not sorry for it.
So then of the class “acting by reason of ignorance,” he who feels regret afterwards
is thought to be an involuntary agent, and him that has no such feeling, since he certainly
is different from the other, we will call a not-voluntary agent; for as there is a real
difference it is better to have a proper name.
Again, there seems to be a difference between acting because of ignorance and
acting with ignorance: for instance, we do not usually assign ignorance as the cause of
the actions of the drunken or angry man, but either the drunkenness or the anger, yet
they act not knowingly but with ignorance.
Again, every bad man is ignorant what he ought to do and what to leave undone, and
by reason of such error men become unjust and wholly evil.
Again, we do not usually apply the term involuntary when a man is ignorant of his
own true interest; because ignorance which affects moral choice constitutes depravity
but not involuntariness: nor does any ignorance of principle (because for this men are
blamed) but ignorance in particular details, wherein consists the action and wherewith
it is concerned, for in these there is both compassion and allowance, because he who
acts in ignorance of any of them acts in a proper sense involuntarily.
It may be as well, therefore, to define these particular details; what they are, and how
many; viz. who acts, what he is doing, with respect to what or in what, sometimes with
what, as with what instrument, and with what result; as that of preservation, for
instance, and how, as whether softly or violently.
All these particulars, in one and the same case, no man in his senses could be ignorant
of; plainly not of the agent, being himself. But what he is doing a man may be ignorant,
as men in speaking say a thing escaped them unawares; or as Aeschylus did with respect
to the Mysteries, that he was not aware that it was unlawful to speak of them; or as in
the case of that catapult accident the other day the man said he discharged it merely to
display its operation. Or a person might suppose a son to be an enemy, as Merope did;
or that the spear really pointed was rounded off; or that the stone was a pumice; or in
striking with a view to save might kill; or might strike when merely wishing to show
another, as people do in sham-fighting.
Now since ignorance is possible in respect to all these details in which the action
consists, he that acted in ignorance of any of them is thought to have acted involuntarily,
and he most so who was in ignorance as regards the most important, which are thought
to be those in which the action consists, and the result.
Further, not only must the ignorance be of this kind, to constitute an action
involuntary, but it must be also understood that the action is followed by pain and regret.
Chapter III.
Now since all involuntary action is either upon compulsion or by reason of ignorance,
Voluntary Action would seem to be “that whose origination is in the agent, he being
aware of the particular details in which the action consists.”
For, it may be, men are not justified by calling those actions involuntary, which are
done by reason of Anger or Lust.
Because, in the first place, if this be so no other animal but man, and not even
children, can be said to act voluntarily. Next, is it meant that we never act voluntarily
when we act from Lust or Anger, or that we act voluntarily in doing what is right and
involuntarily in doing what is discreditable? The latter supposition is absurd, since the
cause is one and the same. Then as to the former, it is a strange thing to maintain actions
to be involuntary which we are bound to grasp at: now there are occasions on which
anger is a duty, and there are things which we are bound to lust after, health, for
instance, and learning.
Again, whereas actions strictly involuntary are thought to be attended with pain, those
which are done to gratify lust are thought to be pleasant.
Again: how does the involuntariness make any difference between wrong actions
done from deliberate calculation, and those done by reason of anger? for both ought to
be avoided, and the irrational feelings are thought to be just as natural to man as reason,
and so of course must be such actions of the individual as are done from Anger and
Lust. It is absurd then to class these actions among the involuntary.
Chapter IV.
Having thus drawn out the distinction between voluntary and involuntary action our
next step is to examine into the nature of Moral Choice, because this seems most
intimately connected with Virtue and to be a more decisive test of moral character than
a man’s acts are.
Now Moral Choice is plainly voluntary, but the two are not co-extensive, voluntary
being the more comprehensive term; for first, children and all other animals share in
voluntary action but not in Moral Choice; and next, sudden actions we call voluntary
but do not ascribe them to Moral Choice.
Nor do they appear to be right who say it is lust or anger, or wish, or opinion of a
certain kind; because, in the first place, Moral Choice is not shared by the irrational
animals while Lust and Anger are. Next; the man who fails of self-control acts from
Lust but not from Moral Choice; the man of self-control, on the contrary, from Moral
Choice, not from Lust. Again: whereas Lust is frequently opposed to Moral Choice,
Lust is not to Lust.
Lastly: the object-matter of Lust is the pleasant and the painful, but of Moral Choice
neither the one nor the other. Still less can it be Anger, because actions done from Anger
are thought generally to be least of all consequent on Moral Choice.
Nor is it Wish either, though appearing closely connected with it; because, in the first
place, Moral Choice has not for its objects impossibilities, and if a man were to say he
chose them he would be thought to be a fool; but Wish may have impossible things for
its objects, immortality for instance.
Wish again may be exercised on things in the accomplishment of which one’s self
could have nothing to do, as the success of any particular actor or athlete; but no man
chooses things of this nature, only such as he believes he may himself be instrumental
in procuring.
Further: Wish has for its object the End rather, but Moral Choice the means to the
End; for instance, we wish to be healthy but we choose the means which will make us
so; or happiness again we wish for, and commonly say so, but to say we choose is not
an appropriate term, because, in short, the province of Moral Choice seems to be those
things which are in our own power.
Neither can it be Opinion; for Opinion is thought to be unlimited in its range of
objects, and to be exercised as well upon things eternal and impossible as on those
which are in our own power: again, Opinion is logically divided into true and false, not
into good and bad as Moral Choice is.
However, nobody perhaps maintains its identity with Opinion simply; but it is not the
same with opinion of any kind, because by choosing good and bad things we are
constituted of a certain character, but by having opinions on them we are not.
Again, we choose to take or avoid, and so on, but we opine what a thing is, or for
what it is serviceable, or how; but we do not opine to take or avoid.
Further, Moral Choice is commended rather for having a right object than for being
judicious, but Opinion for being formed in accordance with truth.
Again, we choose such things as we pretty well know to be good, but we form
opinions respecting such as we do not know at all.
And it is not thought that choosing and opining best always go together, but that some
opine the better course and yet by reason of viciousness choose not the things which
they should.
It may be urged, that Opinion always precedes or accompanies Moral Choice; be it
so, this makes no difference, for this is not the point in question, but whether Moral
Choice is the same as Opinion of a certain kind.
Since then it is none of the aforementioned things, what is it, or how is it
characterised? Voluntary it plainly is, but not all voluntary action is an object of Moral
Choice. May we not say then, it is “that voluntary which has passed through a stage of
previous deliberation?” because Moral Choice is attended with reasoning and
intellectual process. The etymology of its Greek name seems to give a hint of it, being
when analysed “chosen in preference to somewhat else.”
Chapter V.
Well then; do men deliberate about everything, and is anything soever the object of
Deliberation, or are there some matters with respect to which there is none? (It may be
as well perhaps to say, that by “object of Deliberation” is meant such matter as a
sensible man would deliberate upon, not what any fool or madman might.)
Well: about eternal things no one deliberates; as, for instance, the universe, or the
incommensurability of the diameter and side of a square.
Nor again about things which are in motion but which always happen in the same
way either necessarily, or naturally, or from some other cause, as the solstices or the
Nor about those which are variable, as drought and rains; nor fortuitous matters, as
finding of treasure.
Nor in fact even about all human affairs; no Lacedæmonian, for instance, deliberates
as to the best course for the Scythian government to adopt; because in such cases we
have no power over the result.
But we do deliberate respecting such practical matters as are in our own power (which
are what are left after all our exclusions).
I have adopted this division because causes seem to be divisible into nature, necessity,
chance, and moreover intellect, and all human powers.
And as man in general deliberates about what man in general can effect, so
individuals do about such practical things as can be effected through their own
Again, we do not deliberate respecting such arts or sciences as are exact and
independent: as, for instance, about written characters, because we have no doubt how
they should be formed; but we do deliberate on all buch things as are usually done
through our own instrumentality, but not invariably in the same way; as, for instance,
about matters connected with the healing art, or with money-making; and, again, more
about piloting ships than gymnastic exercises, because the former has been less exactly
determined, and so forth; and more about arts than sciences, because we more
frequently doubt respecting the former.
So then Deliberation takes place in such matters as are under general laws, but still
uncertain how in any given case they will issue, i.e. in which there is some
indefiniteness; and for great matters we associate coadjutors in counsel, distrusting our
ability to settle them alone.
Further, we deliberate not about Ends, but Means to Ends. No physician, for instance,
deliberates whether he will cure, nor orator whether he will persuade, nor statesman
whether he will produce a good constitution, nor in fact any man in any other function
about his particular End; but having set before them a certain End they look how and
through what means it may be accomplished: if there is a choice of means, they examine
further which are easiest and most creditable; or, if there is but one means of
accomplishing the object, then how it may be through this, this again through what, till
they come to the first cause; and this will be the last found; for a man engaged in a
process of deliberation seems to seek and analyse, as a man, to solve a problem, analyses
the figure given him. And plainly not every search is Deliberation, those in mathematics
to wit, but every Deliberation is a search, and the last step in the analysis is the first in
the constructive process. And if in the course of their search men come upon an
impossibility, they give it up; if money, for instance, be necessary, but cannot be got:
but if the thing appears possible they then attempt to do it.
And by possible I mean what may be done through our own instrumentality (of course
what may be done through our friends is through our own instrumentality in a certain
sense, because the origination in such cases rests with us). And the object of search is
sometimes the necessary instruments, sometimes the method of using them; and
similarly in the rest sometimes through what, and sometimes how or through what.
So it seems, as has been said, that Man is the originator of his actions; and
Deliberation has for its object whatever may be done through one’s own
instrumentality, and the actions are with a view to other things; and so it is, not the End,
but the Means to Ends on which Deliberation is employed.
Nor, again, is it employed on matters of detail, as whether the substance before me is
bread, or has been properly cooked; for these come under the province of sense, and if
a man is to be always deliberating, he may go on ad infinitum.
Further, exactly the same matter is the object both of Deliberation and Moral Choice;
but that which is the object of Moral Choice is thenceforward separated off and
definite, because by object of Moral Choice is denoted that which after Deliberation
has been preferred to something else: for each man leaves off searching how he shall
do a thing when he has brought the origination up to himself, i.e. to the governing
principle in himself, because it is this which makes the choice. A good illustration of
this is furnished by the old regal constitutions which Homer drew from, in which the
Kings would announce to the commonalty what they had determined before.
Now since that which is the object of Moral Choice is something in our own power,
which is the object of deliberation and the grasping of the Will, Moral Choice must be
“a grasping after something in our own power consequent upon Deliberation:” because
after having deliberated we decide, and then grasp by our Will in accordance with the
result of our deliberation.
Let this be accepted as a sketch of the nature and object of Moral Choice, that object
being “Means to Ends.”
Chapter VI.
That Wish has for its object-matter the End, has been already stated; but there are two
opinions respecting it; some thinking that its object is real good, others whatever
impresses the mind with a notion of good.
Now those who maintain that the object of Wish is real good are beset by this
difficulty, that what is wished for by him who chooses wrongly is not really an object
of Wish (because, on their theory, if it is an object of wish, it must be good, but it is, in
the case supposed, evil). Those who maintain, on the contrary, that that which impresses
the mind with a notion of good is properly the object of Wish, have to meet this
difficulty, that there is nothing naturally an object of Wish but to each individual
whatever seems good to him; now different people have different notions, and it may
chance contrary ones.
But, if these opinions do not satisfy us, may we not say that, abstractedly and as a
matter of objective truth, the really good is the object of Wish, but to each individual
whatever impresses his mind with the notion of good. And so to the good man that is
an object of Wish which is really and truly so, but to the bad man anything may be; just
as physically those things are wholesome to the healthy which are really so, but other
things to the sick. And so too of bitter and sweet, and hot and heavy, and so on. For the
good man judges in every instance correctly, and in every instance the notion conveyed
to his mind is the true one.
For there are fair and pleasant things peculiar to, and so varying with, each state; and
perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of the good man is his seeing the truth in
every instance, he being, in fact, the rule and measure of these matters.
The multitude of men seem to be deceived by reason of pleasure, because though it
is not really a good it impresses their minds with the notion of goodness, so they choose
what is pleasant as good and avoid pain as an evil.
Chapter VII.
Now since the End is the object of Wish, and the means to the End of Deliberation
and Moral Choice, the actions regarding these matters must be in the way of Moral
Choice, i.e. voluntary: but the acts of working out the virtues are such actions, and
therefore Virtue is in our power.
And so too is Vice: because wherever it is in our power to do it is also in our power
to forbear doing, and vice versâ: therefore if the doing (being in a given case creditable)
is in our power, so too is the forbearing (which is in the same case discreditable),
and vice versâ.
But if it is in our power to do and to forbear doing what is creditable or the contrary,
and these respectively constitute the being good or bad, then the being good or vicious
characters is in our power.
As for the well-known saying, “No man voluntarily is wicked or involuntarily
happy,” it is partly true, partly false; for no man is happy against his will, of course, but
wickedness is voluntary. Or must we dispute the statements lately made, and not say
that Man is the originator or generator of his actions as much as of his children?
But if this is matter of plain manifest fact, and we cannot refer our actions to any
other originations beside those in our own power, those things must be in our own
power, and so voluntary, the originations of which are in ourselves.
Moreover, testimony seems to be borne to these positions both privately by
individuals, and by law-givers too, in that they chastise and punish those who do wrong
(unless they do so on compulsion, or by reason of ignorance which is not self-caused),
while they honour those who act rightly, under the notion of being likely to encourage
the latter and restrain the former. But such things as are not in our own power, i.e. not
voluntary, no one thinks of encouraging us to do, knowing it to be of no avail for one
to have been persuaded not to be hot (for instance), or feel pain, or be hungry, and so
forth, because we shall have those sensations all the same.
And what makes the case stronger is this: that they chastise for the very fact of
ignorance, when it is thought to be self-caused; to the drunken, for instance, penalties
are double, because the origination in such case lies in a man’s own self: for he might
have helped getting drunk, and this is the cause of his ignorance.
Again, those also who are ignorant of legal regulations which they are bound to know,
and which are not hard to know, they chastise; and similarly in all other cases where
neglect is thought to be the cause of the ignorance, under the notion that it was in their
power to prevent their ignorance, because they might have paid attention.
But perhaps a man is of such a character that he cannot attend to such things: still
men are themselves the causes of having become such characters by living carelessly,
and also of being unjust or destitute of self-control, the former by doing evil actions,
the latter by spending their time in drinking and such-like; because the particular acts
of working form corresponding characters, as is shown by those who are practising for
any contest or particular course of action, for such men persevere in the acts of working.
As for the plea, that a man did not know that habits are produced from separate acts
of working, we reply, such ignorance is a mark of excessive stupidity.
Furthermore, it is wholly irrelevant to say that the man who acts unjustly or
dissolutely does not wish to attain the habits of these vices: for if a man wittingly does
those things whereby he must become unjust he is to all intents and purposes unjust
voluntarily; but he cannot with a wish cease to be unjust and become just. For, to take
the analogous case, the sick man cannot with a wish be well again, yet in a supposable
case he is voluntarily ill because he has produced his sickness by living intemperately
and disregarding his physicians. There was a time then when he might have helped
being ill, but now he has let himself go he cannot any longer; just as he who has let a
stone out of his hand cannot recall it, and yet it rested with him to aim and throw it,
because the origination was in his power. Just so the unjust man, and he who has lost
all self-control, might originally have helped being what they are, and so they are
voluntarily what they are; but now that they are become so they no longer have the
power of being otherwise.
And not only are mental diseases voluntary, but the bodily are so in some men, whom
we accordingly blame: for such as are naturally deformed no one blames, only such as
are so by reason of want of exercise, and neglect: and so too of weakness and maiming:
no one would think of upbraiding, but would rather compassionate, a man who is blind
by nature, or from disease, or from an accident; but every one would blame him who
was so from excess of wine, or any other kind of intemperance. It seems, then, that in
respect of bodily diseases, those which depend on ourselves are censured, those which
do not are not censured; and if so, then in the case of the mental disorders, those which
are censured must depend upon ourselves.
But suppose a man to say, “that (by our own admission) all men aim at that which
conveys to their minds an impression of good, and that men have no control over this
impression, but that the End impresses each with a notion correspondent to his own
individual character; that to be sure if each man is in a way the cause of his own moral
state, so he will be also of the kind of impression he receives: whereas, if this is not so,
no one is the cause to himself of doing evil actions, but he does them by reason of
ignorance of the true End, supposing that through their means he will secure the chief
good. Further, that this aiming at the End is no matter of one’s own choice, but one
must be born with a power of mental vision, so to speak, whereby to judge fairly and
choose that which is really good; and he is blessed by nature who has this naturally
well: because it is the most important thing and the fairest, and what a man cannot get
or learn from another but will have such as nature has given it; and for this to be so
given well and fairly would be excellence of nature in the highest and truest sense.”
If all this be true, how will Virtue be a whit more voluntary than Vice? Alike to the
good man and the bad, the End gives its impression and is fixed by nature or howsoever
you like to say, and they act so and so, referring everything else to this End.
Whether then we suppose that the End impresses each man’s mind with certain
notions not merely by nature, but that there is somewhat also dependent on himself; or
that the End is given by nature, and yet Virtue is voluntary because the good man does
all the rest voluntarily, Vice must be equally so; because his own agency equally
attaches to the bad man in the actions, even if not in the selection of the End.
If then, as is commonly said, the Virtues are voluntary (because we at least
cooperate in producing our moral states, and we assume the End to be of a certain kind
according as we are ourselves of certain characters), the Vices must be voluntary also,
because the cases are exactly similar.
Chapter VIII.
Well now, we have stated generally respecting the Moral Virtues, the genus (in
outline), that they are mean states, and that they are habits, and how they are formed,
and that they are of themselves calculated to act upon the circumstances out of which
they were formed, and that they are in our own power and voluntary, and are to be done
so as right Reason may direct.
But the particular actions and the habits are not voluntary in the same sense; for of
the actions we are masters from beginning to end (supposing of course a knowledge of
the particular details), but only of the origination of the habits, the addition by small
particular accessions not being cognisiable (as is the case with sicknesses): still they are
voluntary because it rested with us to use our circumstances this way or that.
Chapter IX.
Here we will resume the particular discussion of the Moral Virtues, and say what they
are, what is their object-matter, and how they stand respectively related to it: of course
their number will be thereby shown.
First, then, of Courage. Now that it is a mean state, in respect of fear and boldness,
has been already said: further, the objects of our fears are obviously things fearful or,
in a general way of statement, evils; which accounts for the common definition of fear,
viz. “expectation of evil.”
Of course we fear evils of all kinds: disgrace, for instance, poverty, disease,
desolateness, death; but not all these seem to be the object-matter of the Brave man,
because there are things which to fear is right and noble, and not to fear is base; disgrace,
for example, since he who fears this is a good man and has a sense of honour, and he
who does not fear it is shameless (though there are those who call him Brave by analogy,
because he somewhat resembles the Brave man who agrees with him in being free from
fear); but poverty, perhaps, or disease, and in fact whatever does not proceed from
viciousness, nor is attributable to his own fault, a man ought not to fear: still, being
fearless in respect of these would not constitute a man Brave in the proper sense of the
Yet we do apply the term in right of the similarity of the cases; for there are men
who, though timid in the dangers of war, are liberal men and are stout enough to face
loss of wealth.
And, again, a man is not a coward for fearing insult to his wife or children, or envy,
or any such thing; nor is he a Brave man for being bold when going to be scourged.
What kind of fearful things then do constitute the object-matter of the Brave man?
first of all, must they not be the greatest, since no man is more apt to withstand what is
dreadful. Now the object of the greatest dread is death, because it is the end of all things,
and the dead man is thought to be capable neither of good nor evil. Still it would seem
that the Brave man has not for his object-matter even death in every circumstance; on
the sea, for example, or in sickness: in what circumstances then? must it not be in the
most honourable? now such is death in war, because it is death in the greatest and most
honourable danger; and this is confirmed by the honours awarded in communities, and
by monarchs.
He then may be most properly denominated Brave who is fearless in respect of
honourable death and such sudden emergencies as threaten death; now such specially
are those which arise in the course of war.
It is not meant but that the Brave man will be fearless also on the sea (and in sickness),
but not in the same way as sea-faring men; for these are light-hearted and hopeful by
reason of their experience, while landsmen though Brave are apt to give themselves up
for lost and shudder at the notion of such a death: to which it should be added that
Courage is exerted in circumstances which admit of doing something to help one’s self,
or in which death would be honourable; now neither of these requisites attach to
destruction by drowning or sickness.
Chapter X.
Again, fearful is a term of relation, the same thing not being so to all, and there is
according to common parlance somewhat so fearful as to be beyond human endurance:
this of course would be fearful to every man of sense, but those objects which are level
to the capacity of man differ in magnitude and admit of degrees, so too the objects of
confidence or boldness.
Now the Brave man cannot be frighted from his propriety (but of course only so far
as he is man); fear such things indeed he will, but he will stand up against them as he
ought and as right reason may direct, with a view to what is honourable, because this is
the end of the virtue.
Now it is possible to fear these things too much, or too little, or again to fear what is
not really fearful as if it were such. So the errors come to be either that a man fears
when he ought not to fear at all, or that he fears in an improper way, or at a wrong time,
and so forth; and so too in respect of things inspiring confidence. He is Brave then who
withstands, and fears, and is bold, in respect of right objects, from a right motive, in
right manner, and at right times: since the Brave man suffers or acts as he ought and as
right reason may direct.
Now the end of every separate act of working is that which accords with the habit,
and so to the Brave man Courage; which is honourable; therefore such is also the End,
since the character of each is determined by the End.
So honour is the motive from which the Brave man withstands things fearful and
performs the acts which accord with Courage.
Of the characters on the side of Excess, he who exceeds in utter absence of fear has
no appropriate name (I observed before that many states have none), but he would be a
madman or inaccessible to pain if he feared nothing, neither earthquake, nor the billows,
as they tell of the Celts.
He again who exceeds in confidence in respect of things fearful is rash. He is thought
moreover to be a braggart, and to advance unfounded claims to the character of Brave:
the relation which the Brave man really bears to objects of fear this man wishes to
appear to bear, and so imitates him in whatever points he can; for this reason most of
them exhibit a curious mixture of rashness and cowardice; because, affecting rashness
in these circumstances, they do not withstand what is truly fearful.
The man moreover who exceeds in feeling fear is a coward, since there attach to him
the circumstances of fearing wrong objects, in wrong ways, and so forth. He is deficient
also in feeling confidence, but he is most clearly seen as exceeding in the case of pains;
he is a fainthearted kind of man, for he fears all things: the Brave man is just the
contrary, for boldness is the property of the light-hearted and hopeful.
So the coward, the rash, and the Brave man have exactly the same object-matter, but
stand differently related to it: the two first-mentioned respectively exceed and are
deficient, the last is in a mean state and as he ought to be. The rash again are precipitate,
and, being eager before danger, when actually in it fall away, while the Brave are quick
and sharp in action, but before are quiet and composed.
Well then, as has been said, Courage is a mean state in respect of objects inspiring
boldness or fear, in the circumstances which have been stated, and the Brave man
chooses his line and withstands danger either because to do so is honourable, or because
not to do so is base. But dying to escape from poverty, or the pangs of love, or anything
that is simply painful, is the act not of a Brave man but of a coward; because it is mere
softness to fly from what is toilsome, and the suicide braves the terrors of death not
because it is honourable but to get out of the reach of evil.
Chapter XI.
Courage proper is somewhat of the kind I have described, but there are dispositions,
differing in five ways, which also bear in common parlance the name of Courage.
We will take first that which bears most resemblance to the true, the Courage of
Citizenship, so named because the motives which are thought to actuate the members
of a community in braving danger are the penalties and disgrace held out by the laws to
cowardice, and the dignities conferred on the Brave; which is thought to be the reason
why those are the bravest people among whom cowards are visited with disgrace and
the Brave held in honour.
Such is the kind of Courage Homer exhibits in his characters; Diomed and Hector for
example. The latter says,
Disgrace upon me.”
Diomed again,
Speaking in Troy, Tydides by my hand”—
This I say most nearly resembles the Courage before spoken of, because it arises from
virtue, from a feeling of shame, and a desire of what is noble (that is, of honour), and
avoidance of disgrace which is base.
In the same rank one would be inclined to place those also who act under compulsion
from their commanders; yet are they really lower, because not a sense of honour but
fear is the motive from which they act, and what they seek to avoid is not that which is
base but that which is simply painful: commanders do in fact compel their men
sometimes, as Hector says (to quote Homer again),
The teeth of dogs he shall by no means escape.”
Those commanders who station staunch troops by doubtful ones, or who beat their
men if they flinch, or who draw their troops up in line with the trenches, or other similar
obstacles, in their rear, do in effect the same as Hector, for they all use compulsion.
But a man is to be Brave, not on compulsion, but from a sense of honour.
In the next place, Experience and Skill in the various particulars is thought to be a
species of Courage: whence Socrates also thought that Courage was knowledge.
This quality is exhibited of course by different men under different circumstances,
but in warlike matters, with which we are now concerned, it is exhibited by the soldiers
(“the regulars”): for there are, it would seem, many things in war of no real
importance which these have been constantly used to see; so they have a show of
Courage because other people are not aware of the real nature of these things. Then
again by reason of their skill they are better able than any others to inflict without
suffering themselves, because they are able to use their arms and have such as are most
serviceable both with a view to offence and defence: so that their case is parallel to that
of armed men fighting with unarmed or trained athletes with amateurs, since in contests
of this kind those are the best fighters, not who are the bravest men, but who are the
strongest and are in the best condition.
In fact, the regular troops come to be cowards whenever the danger is greater than
their means of meeting it; supposing, for example, that they are inferior in numbers and
resources: then they are the first to fly, but the mere militia stand and fall on the ground
(which as you know really happened at the Hermæum), for in the eyes of these flight
was disgraceful and death preferable to safety bought at such a price: while “the
regulars” originally went into the danger under a notion of their own superiority, but on
discovering their error they took to flight, having greater fear of death than of disgrace;
but this is not the feeling of the Brave man.
Thirdly, mere Animal Spirit is sometimes brought under the term Courage: they are
thought to be Brave who are carried on by mere Animal Spirit, as are wild beasts against
those who have wounded them, because in fact the really Brave have much Spirit, there
being nothing like it for going at danger of any kind; whence those frequent expressions
in Homer, “infused strength into his spirit,” “roused his strength and spirit,” or again,
“and keen strength in his nostrils,” “his blood boiled:” for all these seem to denote the
arousing and impetuosity of the Animal Spirit.
Now they that are truly Brave act from a sense of honour, and this Animal Spirit cooperates with them; but wild beasts from pain, that is because they have been wounded,
or are frightened; since if they are quietly in their own haunts, forest or marsh, they do
not attack men. Surely they are not Brave because they rush into danger when goaded
on by pain and mere Spirit, without any view of the danger: else would asses be Brave
when they are hungry, for though beaten they will not then leave their pasture: profligate
men besides do many bold actions by reason of their lust. We may conclude then that
they are not Brave who are goaded on to meet danger by pain and mere Spirit; but still
this temper which arises from Animal Spirit appears to be most natural, and would be
Courage of the true kind if it could have added to it moral choice and the proper motive.
So men also are pained by a feeling of anger, and take pleasure in revenge; but they
who fight from these causes may be good fighters, but they are not truly Brave (in that
they do not act from a sense of honour, nor as reason directs, but merely from the present
feeling), still they bear some resemblance to that character.
Nor, again, are the Sanguine and Hopeful therefore Brave: since their boldness in
dangers arises from their frequent victories over numerous foes. The two characters are
alike, however, in that both are confident; but then the Brave are so from the aforementioned causes, whereas these are so from a settled conviction of their being superior
and not likely to suffer anything in return (they who are intoxicated do much the same,
for they become hopeful when in that state); but when the event disappoints their
expectations they run away: now it was said to be the character of a Brave man to
withstand things which are fearful to man or produce that impression, because it is
honourable so to do and the contrary is dishonourable.
For this reason it is thought to be a greater proof of Courage to be fearless and
undisturbed under the pressure of sudden fear than under that which may be anticipated,
because Courage then comes rather from a fixed habit, or less from preparation: since
as to foreseen dangers a man might take his line even from calculation and reasoning,
but in those which are sudden he will do so according to his fixed habit of mind.
Fifthly and lastly, those who are acting under Ignorance have a show of Courage and
are not very far from the Hopeful; but still they are inferior inasmuch as they have no
opinion of themselves; which the others have, and therefore stay and contest a field for
some little time; but they who have been deceived fly the moment they know things to
be otherwise than they supposed, which the Argives experienced when they fell on the
Lacedæmonians, taking them for the men of Sicyon.
Chapter XII.
We have described then what kind of men the Brave are, and what they who are
thought to be, but are not really, Brave.
It must be remarked, however, that though Courage has for its object-matter boldness
and fear it has not both equally so, but objects of fear much more than the former; for
he that under pressure of these is undisturbed and stands related to them as he ought is
better entitled to the name of Brave than he who is properly affected towards objects of
confidence. So then men are termed Brave for withstanding painful things.
It follows that Courage involves pain and is justly praised, since it is a harder matter
to withstand things that are painful than to abstain from such as are pleasant.
It must not be thought but that the End and object of Courage is pleasant, but it is
obscured by the surrounding circumstances: which happens also in the gymnastic
games; to the boxers the End is pleasant with a view to which they act, I mean the crown
and the honours; but the receiving the blows they do is painful and annoying to flesh
and blood, and so is all the labour they have to undergo; and, as these drawbacks are
many, the object in view being small appears to have no pleasantness in it.
If then we may say the same of Courage, of course death and wounds must be painful
to the Brave man and against his will: still he endures these because it is honourable so
to do or because it is dishonourable not to do so. And the more complete his virtue and
his happiness so much the more will he be pained at the notion of death: since to such
a man as he is it is best worth while to live, and he with full consciousness is deprived
of the greatest goods by death, and this is a painful idea. But he is not the less Brave for
feeling it to be so, nay rather it may be he is shown to be more so because he chooses
the honour that may be reaped in war in preference to retaining safe possession of these
other goods. The fact is that to act with pleasure does not belong to all the virtues, except
so far as a man realises the End of his actions.
But there is perhaps no reason why not such men should make the best soldiers, but
those who are less truly Brave but have no other good to care for: these being ready to
meet danger and bartering their lives against small gain.
Let thus much be accepted as sufficient on the subject of Courage; the true nature of
which it is not difficult to gather, in outline at least, from what has been said.
Chapter XIII.
Next let us speak of Perfected Self-Mastery, which seems to claim the next place to
Courage, since these two are the Excellences of the Irrational part of the Soul.
That it is a mean state, having for its object-matter Pleasures, we have already said
(Pains being in fact its object-matter in a less degree and dissimilar manner), the state
of utter absence of self-control has plainly the same object-matter; the next thing then
is to determine what kind of Pleasures.
Let Pleasures then be understood to be divided into mental and bodily: instances of
the former being love of honour or of learning: it being plain that each man takes
pleasure in that of these two objects which he has a tendency to like, his body being no
way affected but rather his intellect. Now men are not called perfectly self-mastering or
wholly destitute of self-control in respect of pleasures of this class: nor in fact in respect
of any which are not bodily; those for example who love to tell long stories, and are
prosy, and spend their days about mere chance matters, we call gossips but not wholly
destitute of self-control, nor again those who are pained at the loss of money or friends.
It is bodily Pleasures then which are the object-matter of Perfected Self-Mastery, but
not even all these indifferently: I mean, that they who take pleasure in objects perceived
by the Sight, as colours, and forms, and painting, are not denominated men of Perfected
Self-Mastery, or wholly destitute of self-control; and yet it would seem that one may
take pleasure even in such objects, as one ought to do, or excessively, or too little.
So too of objects perceived by the sense of Hearing; no one applies the terms before
quoted respectively to those who are excessively pleased with musical tunes or acting,
or to those who take such pleasure as they ought.
Nor again to those persons whose pleasure arises from the sense of Smell, except
incidentally: I mean, we do not say men have no self-control because they take
pleasure in the scent of fruit, or flowers, or incense, but rather when they do so in the
smells of unguents and sauces: since men destitute of self-control take pleasure herein,
because hereby the objects of their lusts are recalled to their imagination (you may also
see other men take pleasure in the smell of food when they are hungry): but to take
pleasure in such is a mark of the character before named since these are objects of desire
to him.
Now not even brutes receive pleasure in right of these senses, except incidentally. I
mean, it is not the scent of hares’ flesh but the eating it which dogs take pleasure in,
perception of which pleasure is caused by the sense of Smell. Or again, it is not the
lowing of the ox but eating him which the lion likes; but of the fact of his nearness the
lion is made sensible by the lowing, and so he appears to take pleasure in this. In like
manner, he has no pleasure in merely seeing or finding a stag or wild goat, but in the
prospect of a meal.
The habits of Perfect Self-Mastery and entire absence of self-control have then for
their object-matter such pleasures as brutes also share in, for which reason they are
plainly servile and brutish: they are Touch and Taste.
But even Taste men seem to make little or no use of; for to the sense of Taste belongs
the distinguishing of flavours; what men do, in fact, who are testing the quality of wines
or seasoning “made dishes.”
But men scarcely take pleasure at all in these things, at least those whom we call
destitute of self-control do not, but only in the actual enjoyment which arises entirely
from the sense of Touch, whether in eating or in drinking, or in grosser lusts. This
accounts for the wish said to have been expressed once by a great glutton, “that his
throat had been formed longer than a crane’s neck,” implying that his pleasure was
derived from the Touch.
The sense then with which is connected the habit of absence of self-control is the
most common of all the senses, and this habit would seem to be justly a matter of
reproach, since it attaches to us not in so far as we are men but in so far as we are
animals. Indeed it is brutish to take pleasure in such things and to like them best of all;
for the most respectable of the pleasures arising from the touch have been set aside;
those, for instance, which occur in the course of gymnastic training from the rubbing
and the warm bath: because the touch of the man destitute of self-control is not
indifferently of any part of the body but only of particular parts.
Now of lusts or desires some are thought to be universal, others peculiar and acquired;
thus desire for food is natural since every one who really needs desires also food,
whether solid or liquid, or both (and, as Homer says, the man in the prime of youth
needs and desires intercourse with the other sex); but when we come to this or that
particular kind, then neither is the desire universal nor in all men is it directed to the
same objects. And therefore the conceiving of such desires plainly attaches to us as
individuals. It must be admitted, however, that there is something natural in it: because
different things are pleasant to different men and a preference of some particular objects
to chance ones is universal. Well then, in the case of the desires which are strictly and
properly natural few men go wrong and all in one direction, that is, on the side of too
much: I mean, to eat and drink of such food as happens to be on the table till one is
overfilled is exceeding in quantity the natural limit, since the natural desire is simply a
supply of a real deficiency.
For this reason these men are called belly-mad, as filling it beyond what they ought,
and it is the slavish who become of this character.
But in respect of the peculiar pleasures many men go wrong and in many different
ways; for whereas the term “fond of so and so” implies either taking pleasure in wrong
objects, or taking pleasure excessively, or as the mass of men do, or in a wrong way,
they who are destitute of all self-control exceed in all these ways; that is to say, they
take pleasure in some things in which they ought not to do so (because they are properly
objects of detestation), and in such as it is right to take pleasure in they do so more than
they ought and as the mass of men do.
Well then, that excess with respect to pleasures is absence of self-control, and
blameworthy, is plain. But viewing these habits on the side of pains, we find that a man
is not said to have the virtue for withstanding them (as in the case of Courage), nor the
vice for not withstanding them; but the man destitute of self-control is such, because he
is pained more than he ought to be at not obtaining things which are pleasant (and thus
his pleasure produces pain to him), and the man of Perfected Self-Mastery is such in
virtue of not being pained by their absence, that is, by having to abstain from what is
Now the man destitute of self-control desires either all pleasant things
indiscriminately or those which are specially pleasant, and he is impelled by his desire
to choose these things in preference to all others; and this involves pain, not only when
he misses the attainment of his objects but, in the very desiring them, since all desire is
accompanied by pain. Surely it is a strange case this, being pained by reason of pleasure.
As for men who are defective on the side of pleasure, who take less pleasure in things
than they ought, they are almost imaginary characters, because such absence of sensual
perception is not natural to man: for even the other animals distinguish between
different kinds of food, and like some kinds and dislike others. In fact, could a man be
found who takes no pleasure in anything and to whom all things are alike, he would be
far from being human at all: there is no name for such a character because it is simply
But the man of Perfected Self-Mastery is in the mean with respect to these objects:
that is to say, he neither takes pleasure in the things which delight the vicious man, and
in fact rather dislikes them, nor at all in improper objects; nor to any great degree in any
object of the class; nor is he pained at their absence; nor does he desire them; or, if he
does, only in moderation, and neither more than he ought, nor at improper times, and
so forth; but such things as are conducive to health and good condition of body, being
also pleasant, these he will grasp at in moderation and as he ought to do, and also such
other pleasant things as do not hinder these objects, and are not unseemly or
disproportionate to his means; because he that should grasp at such would be liking
such pleasures more than is proper; but the man of Perfected Self-Mastery is not of this
character, but regulates his desires by the dictates of right reason.
Chapter XIV.
Now the vice of being destitute of all Self-Control seems to be more truly voluntary
than Cowardice, because pleasure is the cause of the former and pain of the latter, and
pleasure is an object of choice, pain of avoidance. And again, pain deranges and spoils
the natural disposition of its victim, whereas pleasure has no such effect and is more
voluntary and therefore more justly open to reproach.
It is so also for the following reason; that it is easier to be inured by habit to resist the
objects of pleasure, there being many things of this kind in life and the process of
habituation being unaccompanied by danger; whereas the case is the reverse as regards
the objects of fear.
Again, Cowardice as a confirmed habit would seem to be voluntary in a different way
from the particular instances which form the habit; because it is painless, but these
derange the man by reason of pain so that he throws away his arms and otherwise
behaves himself unseemly, for which reason they are even thought by some to exercise
a power of compulsion.
But to the man destitute of Self-Control the particular instances are on the contrary
quite voluntary, being done with desire and direct exertion of the will, but the general
result is less voluntary: since no man desires to form the habit.
The name of this vice (which signifies etymologically unchastened-ness) we apply
also to the faults of children, there being a certain resemblance between the cases: to
which the name is primarily applied, and to which secondarily or derivatively, is not
relevant to the present subject, but it is evident that the later in point of time must get
the name from the earlier. And the metaphor seems to be a very good one; for whatever
grasps after base things, and is liable to great increase, ought to be chastened; and to
this description desire and the child answer most truly, in that children also live under
the direction of desire and the grasping after what is pleasant is most prominently seen
in these.
Unless then the appetite be obedient and subjected to the governing principle it will
become very great: for in the fool the grasping after what is pleasant is insatiable and
undiscriminating; and every acting out of the desire increases the kindred habit, and if
the desires are great and violent in degree they even expel Reason entirely; therefore
they ought to be moderate and few, and in no respect to be opposed to Reason. Now
when the appetite is in such a state we denominate it obedient and chastened.
In short, as the child ought to live with constant regard to the orders of its educator,
so should the appetitive principle with regard to those of Reason.
So then in the man of Perfected Self-Mastery, the appetitive principle must be
accordant with Reason: for what is right is the mark at which both principles aim: that
is to say, the man of perfected self-mastery desires what he ought in right manner and
at right times, which is exactly what Reason directs. Let this be taken for our account
of Perfected Self-Mastery.
Chapter I.
We will next speak of Liberality. Now this is thought to be the mean state, having for
its object-matter Wealth: I mean, the Liberal man is praised not in the circumstances of
war, nor in those which constitute the character of perfected self-mastery, nor again in
judicial decisions, but in respect of giving and receiving Wealth, chiefly the former. By
the term Wealth I mean “all those things whose worth is measured by money.”
Now the states of excess and defect in regard of Wealth are respectively Prodigality
and Stinginess: the latter of these terms we attach invariably to those who are over
careful about Wealth, but the former we apply sometimes with a complex notion; that
is to say, we give the name to those who fail of self-control and spend money on the
unrestrained gratification of their passions; and this is why they are thought to be most
base, because they have many vices at once.
It must be noted, however, that this is not a strict and proper use of the term, since its
natural etymological meaning is to denote him who has one particular evil, viz. the
wasting his substance: he is unsaved (as the term literally denotes) who is wasting away
by his own fault; and this he really may be said to be; the destruction of his substance
is thought to be a kind of wasting of himself, since these things are the means of living.
Well, this is our acceptation of the term Prodigality.
Again. Whatever things are for use may be used well or ill, and Wealth belongs to
this class. He uses each particular thing best who has the virtue to whose province it
belongs: so that he will use Wealth best who has the virtue respecting Wealth, that is to
say, the Liberal man.
Expenditure and giving are thought to be the using of money, but receiving and
keeping one would rather call the possessing of it. And so the giving to proper persons
is more characteristic of the Liberal man, than the receiving from proper quarters and
forbearing to receive from the contrary. In fact generally, doing well by others is more
characteristic of virtue than being done well by, and doing things positively honourable
than forbearing to do things dishonourable; and any one may see that the doing well by
others and doing things positively honourable attaches to the act of giving, but to that
of receiving only the being done well by or forbearing to do what is dishonourable.
Besides, thanks are given to him who gives, not to him who merely forbears to
receive, and praise even more. Again, forbearing to receive is easier than giving, the
case of being too little freehanded with one’s own being commoner than taking that
which is not one’s own.
And again, it is they who give that are denominated Liberal, while they who forbear
to receive are commended, not on the score of Liberality but of just dealing, while for
receiving men are not, in fact, praised at all.
And the Liberal are liked almost best of all virtuous characters, because they are
profitable to others, and this their profitableness consists in their giving.
Furthermore: all the actions done in accordance with virtue are honourable, and done
from the motive of honour: and the Liberal man, therefore, will give from a motive of
honour, and will give rightly; I mean, to proper persons, in right proportion, at right
times, and whatever is included in the term “right giving:” and this too with positive
pleasure, or at least without pain, since whatever is done in accordance with virtue is
pleasant or at least not unpleasant, most certainly not attended with positive pain.
But the man who gives to improper people, or not from a motive of honour but from
some other cause, shall be called not Liberal but something else. Neither shall he be so
denominated who does it with pain: this being a sign that he would prefer his wealth to
the honourable action, and this is no part of the Liberal man’s character; neither will
such an one receive from improper sources, because the so receiving is not
characteristic of one who values not wealth: nor again will he be apt to ask, because one
who does kindnesses to others does not usually receive them willingly; but from proper
sources (his own property, for instance) he will receive, doing this not as honourable
but as necessary, that he may have somewhat to give: neither will he be careless of his
own, since it is his wish through these to help others in need: nor will he give to chance
people, that he may have wherewith to give to those to whom he ought, at right times,
and on occasions when it is honourable so to do.
Again, it is a trait in the Liberal man’s character even to exceed very much in giving
so as to leave too little for himself, it being characteristic of such an one not to have a
thought of self.
Now Liberality is a term of relation to a man’s means, for the Liberal-ness depends
not on the amount of what is given but on the moral state of the giver which gives in
proportion to his means. There is then no reason why he should not be the more Liberal
man who gives the less amount, if he has less to give out of.
Again, they are thought to be more Liberal who have inherited, not acquired for
themselves, their means; because, in the first place, they have never experienced want,
and next, all people love most their own works, just as parents do and poets.
It is not easy for the Liberal man to be rich, since he is neither apt to receive nor to
keep but to lavish, and values not wealth for its own sake but with a view to giving it
away. Hence it is commonly charged upon fortune that they who most deserve to be
rich are least so. Yet this happens reasonably enough; it is impossible he should have
wealth who does not take any care to have it, just as in any similar case.
Yet he will not give to improper people, nor at wrong times, and so on: because he
would not then be acting in accordance with Liberality, and if he spent upon such
objects, would have nothing to spend on those on which he ought: for, as I have said
before, he is Liberal who spends in proportion to his means, and on proper objects,
while he who does so in excess is prodigal (this is the reason why we never call despots
prodigal, because it does not seem to be easy for them by their gifts and expenditure to
go beyond their immense possessions).
To sum up then. Since Liberality is a mean state in respect of the giving and receiving
of wealth, the Liberal man will give and spend on proper objects, and in proper
proportion, in great things and in small alike, and all this with pleasure to himself; also
he will receive from right sources, and in right proportion: because, as the virtue is a
mean state in respect of both, he will do both as he ought, and, in fact, upon proper
giving follows the correspondent receiving, while that which is not such is contrary to
it. (Now those which follow one another come to co-exist in the same person, those
which are contraries plainly do not.)
Again, should it happen to him to spend money beyond what is needful, or otherwise
than is well, he will be vexed, but only moderately and as he ought; for feeling pleasure
and pain at right objects, and in right manner, is a property of Virtue.
The Liberal man is also a good man to have for a partner in respect of wealth: for he
can easily be wronged, since he values not wealth, and is more vexed at not spending
where he ought to have done so than at spending where he ought not, and he relishes
not the maxim of Simonides.
Chapter II.
But the Prodigal man goes wrong also in these points, for he is neither pleased nor
pained at proper objects or in proper manner, which will become more plain as we
We have said already that Prodigality and Stinginess are respectively states of excess
and defect, and this in two things, giving and receiving (expenditure of course we class
under giving). Well now, Prodigality exceeds in giving and forbearing to receive and is
deficient in receiving, while Stinginess is deficient in giving and exceeds in receiving,
but it is in small things.
The two parts of Prodigality, to be sure, do not commonly go together; it is not easy,
I mean, to give to all if you receive from none, because private individuals thus giving
will soon find their means run short, and such are in fact thought to be prodigal. He that
should combine both would seem to be no little superior to the Stingy man: for he may
be easily cured, both by advancing in years, and also by the want of means, and he may
come thus to the mean: he has, you see, already the facts of the Liberal man, he gives
and forbears to receive, only he does neither in right manner or well. So if he could be
wrought upon by habituation in this respect, or change in any other way, he would be a
real Liberal man, for he will give to those to whom he should, and will forbear to receive
whence he ought not. This is the reason too why he is thought not to be low in moral
character, because to exceed in giving and in forbearing to receive is no sign of badness
or meanness, but only of folly.
Well then, he who is Prodigal in this fashion is thought far superior to the Stingy man
for the aforementioned reasons, and also because he does good to many, but the Stingy
man to no one, not even to himself. But most Prodigals, as has been said, combine with
their other faults that of receiving from improper sources, and on this point are Stingy:
and they become grasping, because they wish to spend and cannot do this easily, since
their means soon run short and they are necessitated to get from some other quarter; and
then again, because they care not for what is honourable, they receive recklessly, and
from all sources indifferently, because they desire to give but care not how or whence.
And for this reason their givings are not Liberal, inasmuch as they are not honourable,
nor purely disinterested, nor done in right fashion; but they oftentimes make those rich
who should be poor, and to those who are quiet respectable kind of people they will
give nothing, but to flatterers, or those who subserve their pleasures in any way, they
will give much. And therefore most of them are utterly devoid of self-restraint; for as
they are open-handed they are liberal in expenditure upon the unrestrained gratification
of their passions, and turn off to their pleasures because they do not live with reference
to what is honourable.
Thus then the Prodigal, if unguided, slides into these faults; but if he could get care
bestowed on him he might come to the mean and to what is right.
Stinginess, on the contrary, is incurable: old age, for instance, and incapacity of any
kind, is thought to make people Stingy; and it is more congenial to human nature than
Prodigality, the mass of men being fond of money rather than apt to give: moreover it
extends far and has many phases, the modes of stinginess being thought to be many.
For as it consists of two things, defect of giving and excess of receiving, everybody
does not have it entire, but it is sometimes divided, and one class of persons exceed in
receiving, the other are deficient in giving. I mean those who are designated by such
appellations as sparing, close-fisted, niggards, are all deficient in giving; but other
men’s property they neither desire nor are willing to receive, in some instances from a
real moderation and shrinking from what is base.
There are some people whose motive, either supposed or alleged, for keeping their
property is this, that they may never be driven to do anything dishonourable: to this
class belongs the skinflint, and every one of similar character, so named from the excess
of not-giving. Others again decline to receive their neighbour’s goods from a motive of
fear; their notion being that it is not easy to take other people’s things yourself without
their taking yours: so they are content neither to receive nor give.
The other class again who are Stingy in respect of receiving exceed in that they
receive anything from any source; such as they who work at illiberal employments,
brothel keepers, and such-like, and usurers who lend small sums at large interest: for all
these receive from improper sources, and improper amounts. Their common
characteristic is base-gaining, since they all submit to disgrace for the sake of gain and
that small; because those who receive great things neither whence they ought, nor what
they ought (as for instance despots who sack cities and plunder temples), we
denominate wicked, impious, and unjust, but not Stingy.
Now the dicer and bath-plunderer and the robber belong to the class of the Stingy, for
they are given to base gain: both busy themselves and submit to disgrace for the sake
of gain, and the one class incur the greatest dangers for the sake of their booty, while
the others make gain of their friends to whom they ought to be giving.
So both classes, as wishing to make gain from improper sources, are given to base
gain, and all such receivings are Stingy. And with good reason is Stinginess called the
contrary of Liberality: both because it is a greater evil than Prodigality, and because
men err rather in this direction than in that of the Prodigality which we have spoken of
as properly and completely such.
Let this be considered as what we have to say respecting Liberality and the contrary
Chapter III.
Next in order would seem to come a dissertation on Magnificence, this being thought
to be, like liberality, a virtue having for its object-matter Wealth; but it does not, like
that, extend to all transactions in respect of Wealth, but only applies to such as are
expensive, and in these circumstances it exceeds liberality in respect of magnitude,
because it is (what the very name in Greek hints at) fitting expense on a large scale: this
term is of course relative: I mean, the expenditure of equipping and commanding a
trireme is not the same as that of giving a public spectacle: “fitting” of course also is
relative to the individual, and the matter wherein and upon which he has to spend. And
a man is not denominated Magnificent for spending as he should do in small or ordinary
things, as, for instance,
“Oft to the wandering beggar did I give,”
but for doing so in great matters: that is to say, the Magnificent man is liberal, but the
liberal is not thereby Magnificent. The falling short of such a state is called Meanness,
the exceeding it Vulgar Profusion, Want of Taste, and so on; which are faulty, not
because they are on an excessive scale in respect of right objects but, because they show
off in improper objects, and in improper manner: of these we will speak presently. The
Magnificent man is like a man of skill, because he can see what is fitting, and can spend
largely in good taste; for, as we said at the commencement, the confirmed habit is
determined by the separate acts of working, and by its object-matter.
Well, the expenses of the Magnificent man are great and fitting: such also are his
works (because this secures the expenditure being not great merely, but befitting the
work). So then the work is to be proportionate to the expense, and this again to the work,
or even above it: and the Magnificent man will incur such expenses from the motive of
honour, this being common to all the virtues, and besides he will do it with pleasure and
lavishly; excessive accuracy in calculation being Mean. He will consider also how a
thing may be done most beautifully and fittingly, rather, than for how much it may be
done, and how at the least expense.
So the Magnificent man must be also a liberal man, because the liberal man will also
spend what he ought, and in right manner: but it is the Great, that is to say tke large
scale, which is distinctive of the Magnificent man, the object-matter of liberality being
the same, and without spending more money than another man he will make the work
more magnificent. I mean, the excellence of a possession and of a work is not the same:
as a piece of property that thing is most valuable which is worth most, gold for instance;
but as a work that which is great and beautiful, because the contemplation of such an
object is admirable, and so is that which is Magnificent. So the excellence of a work is
Magnificence on a large scale. There are cases of expenditure which we call honourable,
such as are dedicatory offerings to the gods, and the furnishing their temples, and
sacrifices, and in like manner everything that has reference to the Deity, and all such
public matters as are objects of honourable ambition, as when men think in any case
that it is their duty to furnish a chorus for the stage splendidly, or fit out and maintain a
trireme, or give a general public feast.
Now in all these, as has been already stated, respect is had also to the rank and the
means of the man who is doing them: because they should be proportionate to these,
and befit not the work only but also the doer of the work. For this reason a poor man
cannot be a Magnificent man, since he has not means wherewith to spend largely and
yet becomingly; and if he attempts it he is a fool, inasmuch as it is out of proportion and
contrary to propriety, whereas to be in accordance with virtue a thing must be done
Such expenditure is fitting moreover for those to whom such things previously
belong, either through themselves or through their ancestors or people with whom they
are connected, and to the high-born or people of high repute, and so on: because all
these things imply greatness and reputation.
So then the Magnificent man is pretty much as I have described him, and
Magnificence consists in such expenditures: because they are the greatest and most
honourable: and of private ones such as come but once for all, marriage to wit, and
things of that kind; and any occasion which engages the interest of the community in
general, or of those who are in power; and what concerns receiving and despatching
strangers; and gifts, and repaying gifts: because the Magnificent man is not apt to spend
upon himself but on the public good, and gifts are pretty much in the same case as
dedicatory offerings.
It is characteristic also of the Magnificent man to furnish his house suitably to his
wealth, for this also in a way reflects credit; and again, to spend rather upon such works
as are of long duration, these being most honourable. And again, propriety in each case,
because the same things are not suitable to gods and men, nor in a temple and a tomb.
And again, in the case of expenditures, each must be great of its kind, and great expense
on a great object is most magnificent, that is in any case what is great in these particular
There is a difference too between greatness of a work and greatness of expenditure:
for instance, a very beautiful ball or cup is magnificent as a present to a child, while the
price of it is small and almost mean. Therefore it is characteristic of the Magnificent
man to do magnificently whatever he is about: for whatever is of this kind cannot be
easily surpassed, and bears a proper proportion to the expenditure.
Such then is the Magnificent man.
The man who is in the state of excess, called one of Vulgar Profusion, is in excess
because he spends improperly, as has been said. I mean in cases requiring small
expenditure he lavishes much and shows off out of taste; giving his club a feast fit for
a wedding-party, or if he has to furnish a chorus for a comedy, giving the actors purple
to wear in the first scene, as did the Megarians. And all such things he will do, not with
a view to that which is really honourable, but to display his wealth, and because he
thinks he shall be admired for these things; and he will spend little where he ought to
spend much, and much where he should spend little.
The Mean man will be deficient in every case, and even where he has spent the most
he will spoil the whole effect for want of some trifle; he is procrastinating in all he does,
and contrives how he may spend the least, and does even that with lamentations about
the expense, and thinking that he does all things on a greater scale than he ought.
Of course, both these states are faulty, but they do not involve disgrace because they
are neither hurtful to others nor very unseemly.
Chapter IV.
The very name of Great-mindedness implies, that great things are its object-matter;
and we will first settle what kind of things. It makes no difference, of course, whether
we regard the moral state in the abstract or as exemplified in an individual.
Well then, he is thought to be Great-minded who values himself highly and at the
same time justly, because he that does so without grounds is foolish, and no virtuous
character is foolish or senseless. Well, the character I have described is Great-minded.
The man who estimates himself lowly, and at the same time justly, is modest; but not
Great-minded, since this latter quality implies greatness, just as beauty implies a large
bodily conformation while small people are neat and well made but not beautiful.
Again, he who values himself highly without just grounds is a Vain man: though the
name must not be applied to every case of unduly high self-estimation. He that values
himself below his real worth is Small-minded, and whether that worth is great,
moderate, or small, his own estimate falls below it. And he is the strongest case of this
error who is really a man of great worth, for what would he have done had his worth
been less?
The Great-minded man is then, as far as greatness is concerned, at the summit, but in
respect of propriety he is in the mean, because he estimates himself at his real value (the
other characters respectively are in excess and defect). Since then he justly estimates
himself at a high, or rather at the highest possible rate, his character will have respect
specially to one thing: this term “rate” has reference of course to external goods: and of
these we should assume that to be the greatest which we attribute to the gods, and which
is the special object of desire to those who are in power, and which is the prize proposed
to the most honourable actions: now honour answers to these descriptions, being the
greatest of external goods. So the Great-minded man bears himself as he ought in
respect of honour and dishonour. In fact, without need of words, the Great-minded
plainly have honour for their object-matter: since honour is what the great consider
themselves specially worthy of, and according to a certain rate.
The Small-minded man is deficient, both as regards himself, and also as regards the
estimation of the Great-minded: while the Vain man is in excess as regards himself, but
does not get beyond the Great-minded man. Now the Great-minded man, being by the
hypothesis worthy of the greatest things, must be of the highest excellence, since the
better a man is the more is he worth, and he who is best is worth the most: it follows
then, that to be truly Great-minded a man must be good, and whatever is great in each
virtue would seem to belong to the Great-minded. It would no way correspond with the
character of the Great-minded to flee spreading his hands all abroad; nor to injure any
one; for with what object in view will he do what is base, in whose eyes nothing is
great? in short, if one were to go into particulars, the Great-minded man would show
quite ludicrously unless he were a good man: he would not be in fact deserving of
honour if he were a bad man, honour being the prize of virtue and given to the good.
This virtue, then, of Great-mindedness seems to be a kind of ornament of all the other
virtues, in that it makes them better and cannot be without them; and for this reason it
is a hard matter to be really and truly Great-minded; for it cannot be without thorough
goodness and nobleness of character.
Honour then and dishonour are specially the object-matter of the Great-minded man:
and at such as is great, and given by good men, he will be pleased moderately as getting
his own, or perhaps somewhat less for no honour can be quite adequate to perfect virtue:
but still he will accept this because they have nothing higher to give him. But such as
is given by ordinary people and on trifling grounds he will entirely despise, because
these do not come up to his deserts: and dishonour likewise, because in his case there
cannot be just ground for it.
Now though, as I have said, honour is specially the object-matter of the Great-minded
man, I do not mean but that likewise in respect of wealth and power, and good or bad
fortune of every kind, he will bear himself with moderation, fall out how they may, and
neither in prosperity will he be overjoyed nor in adversity will he be unduly pained. For
not even in respect of honour does he so bear himself; and yet it is the greatest of all
such objects, since it is the cause of power and wealth being choice-worthy, for certainly
they who have them desire to receive honour through them. So to whom honour even
is a small thing to him will all other things also be so; and this is why such men are
thought to be supercilious.
It seems too that pieces of good fortune contribute to form this character of Greatmindedness: I mean, the nobly born, or men of influence, or the wealthy, are considered
to be entitled to honour, for they are in a position of eminence and whatever is eminent
by good is more entitled to honour: and this is why such circumstances dispose men
rather to Great-mindedness, because they receive honour at the hands of some men.
Now really and truly the good man alone is entitled to honour; only if a man unites
in himself goodness with these external advantages he is thought to be more entitled to
honour: but they who have them without also having virtue are not justified in their high
estimate of themselves, nor are they rightly denominated Great-minded; since perfect
virtue is one of the indispensable conditions to such & character.
Further, such men become supercilious and insolent, it not being easy to bear
prosperity well without goodness; and not being able to bear it, and possessed with an
idea of their own superiority to others, they despise them, and do just whatever their
fancy prompts; for they mimic the Great-minded man, though they are not like him, and
they do this in such points as they can, so without doing the actions which can only flow
from real goodness they despise others. Whereas the Great-minded man despises on
good grounds (for he forms his opinions truly), but the mass of men do it at random.
Moreover, he is not a man to incur little risks, nor does he court danger, because there
are but few things he has a value for; but he will incur great dangers, and when he does
venture he is prodigal of his life as knowing that there are terms on which it is not worth
his while to live. He is the sort of man to do kindnesses, but he is ashamed to receive
them; the former putting a man in the position of superiority, the latter in that of
inferiority; accordingly he will greatly overpay any kindness done to him, because the
original actor will thus be laid under obligation and be in the position of the party
benefited. Such men seem likewise to remember those they have done kindnesses to,
but not those from whom they have received them: because he who has received is
inferior to him who has done the kindness and our friend wishes to be superior;
accordingly he is pleased to hear of his own kind acts but not of those done to himself
(and this is why, in Homer, Thetis does not mention to Jupiter the kindnesses she had
done him, nor did the Lacedæmonians to the Athenians but only the benefits they had
Further, it is characteristic of the Great-minded man to ask favours not at all, or very
reluctantly, but to do a service very readily; and to bear himself loftily towards the great
or fortunate, but towards people of middle station affably; because to be above the
former is difficult and so a grand thing, but to be above the latter is easy; and to be high
and mighty towards the former is not ignoble, but to do it towards those of humble
station would be low and vulgar; it would be like parading strength against the weak.
And again, not to put himself in the way of honour, nor to go where others are the
chief men; and to be remiss and dilatory, except in the case of some great honour or
work; and to be concerned in few things, and those great and famous. It is a property of
him also to be open, both in his dislikes and his likings, because concealment is a
consequent of fear. Likewise to be careful for reality rather than appearance, and talk
and act openly (for his contempt for others makes him a bold man, for which same
reason he is apt to speak the truth, except where the principle of reserve comes in), but
to be reserved towards the generality of men.
And to be unable to live with reference to any other but a friend; because doing so is
servile, as may be seen in that all flatterers are low and men in low estate are flatterers.
Neither is his admiration easily excited, because nothing is great in his eyes; nor does
he bear malice, since remembering anything, and specially wrongs, is no part of Greatmindedness, but rather overlooking them; nor does he talk of other men; in fact, he will
not speak either of himself or of any other; he neither cares to be praised himself nor to
have others blamed; nor again does he praise freely, and for this reason he is not apt to
speak ill even of his enemies except to show contempt and insolence.
And he is by no means apt to make laments about things which cannot be helped, or
requests about those which are trivial; because to be thus disposed with respect to these
things is consequent only upon real anxiety about them. Again, he is the kind of man to
acquire what is beautiful and unproductive rather than what is productive and profitable:
this being rather the part of an independent man.
Also slow motion, deep-toned voice, and deliberate style of speech, are thought to be
characteristic of the Great-minded man: for he who is earnest about few things is not
likely to be in a hurry, nor he who esteems nothing great to be very intent: and sharp
tones and quickness are the result of these.
Chapter V.
This then is my idea of the Great-minded man; and he who is in the defect is a Smallminded man, he who is in the excess a Vain man. However, as we observed in respect
of the last character we discussed, these extremes are not thought to be vicious exactly,
but only mistaken, for they do no harm.
The Small-minded man, for instance, being really worthy of good deprives himself
of his deserts, and seems to have somewhat faulty from not having a sufficiently high
estimate of his own desert, in fact from self-ignorance: because, but for this, he would
have grasped after what he really is entitled to, and that is good. Still such characters
are not thought to be foolish, but rather laggards. But the having such an opinion of
themselves seems to have a deteriorating effect on the character: because in all cases
men’s aims are regulated by their supposed desert, and thus these men, under a notion
of their own want of desert, stand aloof from honourable actions and courses, and
similarly from external goods.
But the Vain are foolish and self-ignorant, and that palpably: because they attempt
honourable things, as though they were worthy, and then they are detected. They also
set themselves off, by dress, and carriage, and such-like things, and desire that their
good circumstances may be seen, and they talk of them under the notion of receiving
honour thereby. Small-mindedness rather than Vanity is opposed to Great-mindedness,
because it is more commonly met with and is worse.
Chapter VI.
Well, the virtue of Great-mindedness has for its object great Honour, as we have said:
and there seems to be a virtue having Honour also for its object (as we stated in the
former book), which may seem to bear to Great-mindedness the same relation that
Liberality does to Magnificence: that is, both these virtues stand aloof from what is
great but dispose us as we ought to be disposed towards moderate and small matters.
Further: as in giving and receiving of wealth there is a mean state, an excess, and a
defect, so likewise in grasping after Honour there is the more or less than is right, and
also the doing so from right sources and in right manner.
For we blame the lover of Honour as aiming at Honour more than he ought, and from
wrong sources; and him who is destitute of a love of Honour as not choosing to be
honoured even for what is noble. Sometimes again we praise the lover of Honour as
manly and having a love for what is noble, and him who has no love for it as being
moderate and modest (as we noticed also in the former discussion of these virtues).
It is clear then that since “Lover of so and so” is a term capable of several meanings,
we do not always denote the same quality by the term “Lover of Honour;” but when we
use it as a term of commendation we denote more than the mass of men are; when for
blame more than a man should be.
And the mean state having no proper name the extremes seem to dispute for it as
unoccupied ground: but of course where there is excess and defect there must be also
the mean. And in point of fact, men do grasp at Honour more than they should, and less,
and sometimes just as they ought; for instance, this state is praised, being a mean state
in regard of Honour, but without any appropriate name. Compared with what is called
Ambition it shows like a want of love for Honour, and compared with this it shows like
Ambition, or compared with both, like both faults: nor is this a singular case among the
virtues. Here the extreme characters appear to be opposed, because the mean has no
name appropriated to it.
Chapter VII.
Meekness is a mean state, having for its object-matter Anger: and as the character in
the mean has no name, and we may almost say the same of the extremes, we give the
name of Meekness (leaning rather to the defect, which has no name either) to the
character in the mean.
The excess may be called an over-aptness to Anger: for the passion is Anger, and the
producing causes many and various. Now he who is angry at what and with whom he
ought, and further, in right manner and time, and for proper length of time, is praised,
so this Man will be Meek since Meekness is praised. For the notion represented by the
term Meek man is the being imperturbable, and not being led away by passion, but
being angry in that manner, and at those things, and for that length of time, which
Reason may direct. This character however is thought to err rather on the side of defect,
inasmuch as he is not apt to take revenge but rather to make allowances and forgive.
And the defect, call it Angerlessness or what you will, is blamed: I mean, they who are
not angry at things at which they ought to be angry are thought to be foolish, and they
who are angry not in right manner, nor in right time, nor with those with whom they
ought; for a man who labours under this defect is thought to have no perception, nor to
be pained, and to have no tendency to avenge himself, inasmuch as he feels no anger:
now to bear with scurrility in one’s own person, and patiently see one’s own friends
suffer it, is a slavish thing.
As for the excess, it occurs in all forms; men are angry with those with whom, and at
things with which, they ought not to be, and more than they ought, and too hastily, and
for too great a length of time. I do not mean, however, that these are combined in any
one person: that would in fact be impossible, because the evil destroys itself, and if it is
developed in its full force it becomes unbearable.
Now those whom we term the Passionate are soon angry, and with people with whom
and at things at which they ought not, and in an excessive degree, but they soon cool
again, which is the best point about them. And this results from their not repressing
their anger, but repaying their enemies (in that they show their feeings by reason of their
vehemence), and then they have done with it.
The Choleric again are excessively vehement, and are angry at everything, and on
every occasion; whence comes their Greek name signifying that their choler lies high.
The Bitter-tempered are hard to reconcile and keep their anger for a long while,
because they repress the feeling: but when they have revenged themselves then comes
a lull; for the vengeance destroys their anger by producing pleasure in lieu of pain. But
if this does not happen they keep the weight on their minds: because, as it does not show
itself, no one attempts to reason it away, and digesting anger within one’s self takes
time. Such men are very great nuisances to themselves and to their best friends.
Again, we call those Cross-grained who are angry at wrong objects, and in excessive
degree, and for too long a time, and who are not appeased without vengeance or at least
punishing the offender.
To Meekness we oppose the excess rather than the defect, because it is of more
common occurrence: for human nature is more disposed to take than to forgo revenge.
And the Cross-grained are worse to live with [than they who are too phlegmatic].
Now, from what has been here said, that is also plain which was said before. I mean,
it is no easy matter to define how, and with what persons, and at what kind of things,
and how long one ought to be angry, and up to what point a person is right or is wrong.
For he that transgresses the strict rule only a little, whether on the side of too much or
too little, is not blamed: sometimes we praise those who are deficient in the feeling and
call them Meek, sometimes we call the irritable Spirited as being well qualified for
government. So it is not easy to lay down, in so many words, for what degree or kind
of transgression a man is blameable: because the decision is in particulars, and rests
therefore with the Moral Sense. Thus much, however, is plain, that the mean state is
praiseworthy, in virtue of which we are angry with those with whom, and at those things
with which, we ought to be angry, and in right manner, and so on; while the excesses
and defects are blameable, slightly so if only slight, more so if greater, and when
considerable very blameable.
It is clear, therefore, that the mean state is what we are to hold to.
This then is to be taken as our account of the various moral states which have Anger
for their object-matter.
Chapter VIII.
Next, as regards social intercourse and interchange of words and acts, some men are
thought to be Over-Complaisant who, with a view solely to giving pleasure, agree to
everything and never oppose, but think their line is to give no pain to those they are
thrown amongst: they, on the other hand, are called Cross and Contentious who take
exactly the contrary line to these, and oppose in everything, and have no care at all
whether they give pain or not.
Now it is quite clear of course, that the states I have named are blameable, and that
the mean between them is praiseworthy, in virtue of which a man will let pass what he
ought as he ought, and also will object in like manner. However, this state has no name
appropriated, but it is most like Friendship; since the man who exhibits it is just the kind
of man whom we would call the amiable friend, with the addition of strong earnest
affection; but then this is the very point in which it differs from Friendship, that it is
quite independent of any feeling or strong affection for those among whom the man
mixes: I mean, that he takes everything as he ought, not from any feeling of love or
hatred, but simply because his natural disposition leads him to do so; he will do it alike
to those whom he does know and those whom he does not, and those with whom he is
intimate and those with whom he is not; only in each case as propriety requires, because
it is not fitting to care alike for intimates and strangers, nor again to pain them alike.
It has been stated in a general way that his social intercourse will be regulated by
propriety, and his aim will be to avoid giving pain and to contribute to pleasure, but
with a constant reference to what is noble and expedient.
His proper object-matter seems to be the pleasures and pains which arise out of social
intercourse, but whenever it is not honourable or even hurtful to him to contribute to
pleasure, in these instances he will run counter and prefer to give pain.
Or if the things in question involve unseemliness to the doer, and this not
inconsiderable, or any harm, whereas his opposition will cause some little pain, here he
will not agree but will run counter.
Again, he will regulate differently his intercourse with great men and with ordinary
men, and with all people according to the knowledge he has of them; and in like manner,
taking in any other differences which may exist, giving to each his due, and in itself
preferring to give pleasure and cautious not to give pain, but still guided by the results,
I mean by what is noble and expedient according as they preponderate.
Again, he will inflict trifling pain with a view to consequent pleasure.
Well, the man bearing the mean character is pretty well such as I have described him,
but he has no name appropriated to him: of those who try to give pleasure, the man who
simply and disinterestedly tries to be agreeable is called Over-Complaisant, he who
does it with a view to secure some profit in the way of wealth, or those things which
wealth may procure, is a Flatterer: I have said before, that the man who is “always noncontent” is Cross and Contentious. Here the extremes have the appearance of being
opposed to one another, because the mean has no appropriate name.
Chapter IX.
The mean state which steers clear of Exaggeration has pretty much the same objectmatter as the last we described, and likewise has no name appropriated to it. Still it may
be as well to go over these states: because, in the first place, by a particular discussion
of each we shall be better acquainted with the general subject of moral character, and
next we shall be the more convinced th…
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