Aristotle – Ethics; Book 6

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I

Next we must take a different point to start from, and observe that of
What is to be avoided in respect of moral character there are three
Forms; Vice, Imperfect Self-Control, and Brutishness. Of the two former
It is plain what the contraries are, for we call the one Virtue, the
Other Self-Control; and as answering to Brutishness it will be most
Suitable to assign Superhuman, i.e. heroical and godlike Virtue, as, in
Homer, Priam says of Hector "that he was very excellent, nor was he like
The offspring of mortal man, but of a god." and so, if, as is commonly
Said, men are raised to the position of gods by reason of very high
Excellence in Virtue, the state opposed to the Brutish will plainly be
Of this nature: because as brutes are not virtuous or vicious so neither
Are gods; but the state of these is something more precious than Virtue
Of the former something different in kind from Vice

And as, on the one hand, it is a rare thing for a man to be godlike (a
Term the Lacedaemonians are accustomed to use when they admire a man
Exceedingly; [Greek:seios anhæp] they call him), so the brutish man is
Rare; the character is found most among barbarians, and some cases of it
Are caused by disease or maiming; also such men as exceed in vice all
Ordinary measures we therefore designate by this opprobrious term. Well
We must in a subsequent place make some mention of this disposition
And Vice has been spoken of before: for the present we must speak of
Imperfect Self-Control and its kindred faults of Softness and Luxury, on
The one hand, and of Self-Control and Endurance on the other; since we
Are to conceive of them, not as being the same states exactly as Virtue
And Vice respectively, nor again as differing in kind. [Sidenote:1145b]
And we should adopt the same course as before, i.e. state the phenomena
And, after raising and discussing difficulties which suggest themselves
Then exhibit, if possible, all the opinions afloat respecting these
Affections of the moral character; or, if not all, the greater part and
The most important: for we may consider we have illustrated the matter
Sufficiently when the difficulties have been solved, and such theories
As are most approved are left as a residuum

The chief points may be thus enumerated. It is thought

I. That Self-Control and Endurance belong to the class of things good
And praiseworthy, while Imperfect Self-Control and Softness belong to
That of things low and blameworthy

II. That the man of Self-Control is identical with the man who is apt to
Abide by his resolution, and the man of Imperfect Self-Control with him
Who is apt to depart from his resolution

III. That the man of Imperfect Self-Control does things at the
Instigation of his passions, knowing them to be wrong, while the man of
Self-Control, knowing his lusts to be wrong, refuses, by the influence
Of reason, to follow their suggestions

IV. That the man of Perfected Self-Mastery unites the qualities of
Self-Control and Endurance, and some say that every one who unites these
Is a man of Perfect Self-Mastery, others do not

V. Some confound the two characters of the man who has _no_
Self-Control, and the man of _Imperfect Self-Control_, while others
Distinguish between them

VI. It is sometimes said that the man of Practical Wisdom cannot be a
Man of Imperfect Self-Control, sometimes that men who are Practically
Wise and Clever are of Imperfect Self-Control

VII. Again, men are said to be of Imperfect Self-Control, not simply
But with the addition of the thing wherein, as in respect of anger, of
Honour, and gain

These then are pretty well the common statements

II

Now a man may raise a question as to the nature of the right conception
In violation of which a man fails of Self-Control

That he can so fail when _knowing_ in the strict sense what is right
Some say is impossible: for it is a strange thing, as Socrates thought
That while Knowledge is present in his mind something else should
Master him and drag him about like a slave. Socrates in fact contended
Generally against the theory, maintaining there is no such state as that
Of Imperfect Self-Control, for that no one acts contrary to what is best
Conceiving it to be best but by reason of ignorance what is best

With all due respect to Socrates, his account of the matter is at
Variance with plain facts, and we must inquire with respect to the
Affection, if it be caused by ignorance what is the nature of the
Ignorance: for that the man so failing does not suppose his acts to be
Right before he is under the influence of passion is quite plain

There are people who partly agree with Socrates and partly not: that
Nothing can be stronger than Knowledge they agree, but that no man acts
In contravention of his conviction of what is better they do not agree;
And so they say that it is not Knowledge, but only Opinion, which the
Man in question has and yet yields to the instigation of his pleasures

[Sidenote:1146a] But then, if it is Opinion and not Knowledge, that is
It the opposing conception be not strong but only mild (as in the case
Of real doubt), the not abiding by it in the face of strong lusts would
Be excusable: but wickedness is not excusable, nor is anything which
Deserves blame

Well then, is it Practical Wisdom which in this case offers opposition:
For that is the strongest principle? The supposition is absurd, for
We shall have the same man uniting Practical Wisdom and Imperfect
Self-Control, and surely no single person would maintain that it is
Consistent with the character of Practical Wisdom to do voluntarily what
Is very wrong; and besides we have shown before that the very mark of
A man of this character is aptitude to act, as distinguished from
Mere knowledge of what is right; because he is a man conversant with
Particular details, and possessed of all the other virtues

Again, if the having strong and bad lusts is necessary to the idea of
The man of Self-Control, this character cannot be identical with the man
Of Perfected Self-Mastery, because the having strong desires or bad ones
Does not enter into the idea of this latter character: and yet the man
Of Self-Control must have such: for suppose them good; then the moral
State which should hinder a man from following their suggestions must be
Bad, and so Self-Control would not be in all cases good: suppose them on
The other hand to be weak and not wrong, it would be nothing grand; nor
Anything great, supposing them to be wrong and weak

Again, if Self-Control makes a man apt to abide by all opinions without
Exception, it may be bad, as suppose the case of a false opinion: and
If Imperfect Self-Control makes a man apt to depart from all without
Exception, we shall have cases where it will be good; take that of
Neoptolemus in the Philoctetes of Sophocles, for instance: he is to be
Praised for not abiding by what he was persuaded to by Ulysses, because
He was pained at being guilty of falsehood

Or again, false sophistical reasoning presents a difficulty: for because
Men wish to prove paradoxes that they may be counted clever when they
Succeed, the reasoning that has been used becomes a difficulty: for the
Intellect is fettered; a man being unwilling to abide by the conclusion
Because it does not please his judgment, but unable to advance because
He cannot disentangle the web of sophistical reasoning

Or again, it is conceivable on this supposition that folly joined with
Imperfect Self-Control may turn out, in a given case, goodness: for by
Reason of his imperfection of self-control a man acts in a way which
Contradicts his notions; now his notion is that what is really good is
Bad and ought not to be done; and so he will eventually do what is good
And not what is bad

Again, on the same supposition, the man who acting on conviction pursues
And chooses things because they are pleasant must be thought a better
Man than he who does so not by reason of a quasi-rational conviction but
Of Imperfect Self-Control: because he is more open to cure by reason of
The possibility of his receiving a contrary conviction. But to the man
Of Imperfect Self-Control would apply the proverb, "when water chokes
What should a man drink then?" for had he never been convinced at all
In respect of [Sidenote: 1146b] what he does, then by a conviction in a
Contrary direction he might have stopped in his course; but now though
He has had convictions he notwithstanding acts against them

Again, if any and every thing is the object-matter of Imperfect and
Perfect Self-Control, who is the man of Imperfect Self-Control simply?
Because no one unites all cases of it, and we commonly say that some men
Are so simply, not adding any particular thing in which they are so

Well, the difficulties raised are pretty near such as I have described
Them, and of these theories we must remove some and leave others as
Established; because the solving of a difficulty is a positive act of
Establishing something as true

III

Now we must examine first whether men of Imperfect Self-Control act with
A knowledge of what is right or not: next, if with such knowledge, in
What sense; and next what are we to assume is the object-matter of the
Man of Imperfect Self-Control, and of the man of Self-Control; I mean
Whether pleasure and pain of all kinds or certain definite ones; and as
To Self-Control and Endurance, whether these are designations of the
Same character or different. And in like manner we must go into all
Questions which are connected with the present

But the real starting point of the inquiry is, whether the two
Characters of Self-Control and Imperfect Self-Control are distinguished
By their object-matter, or their respective relations to it. I mean
Whether the man of Imperfect Self-Control is such simply by virtue of
Having such and such object-matter; or not, but by virtue of his being
Related to it in such and such a way, or by virtue of both: next
Whether Self-Control and Imperfect Self-Control are unlimited in their
Object-matter: because he who is designated without any addition a man
Of Imperfect Self-Control is not unlimited in his object-matter, but has
Exactly the same as the man who has lost all Self-Control: nor is he so
Designated because of his relation to this object-matter merely (for
Then his character would be identical with that just mentioned, loss
Of all Self-Control), but because of his relation to it being such
And such. For the man who has lost all Self-Control is led on with
Deliberate moral choice, holding that it is his line to pursue pleasure
As it rises: while the man of Imperfect Self-Control does not think that
He ought to pursue it, but does pursue it all the same

Now as to the notion that it is True Opinion and not Knowledge in
Contravention of which men fail in Self-Control, it makes no difference
To the point in question, because some of those who hold Opinions have
No doubt about them but suppose themselves to have accurate Knowledge;
If then it is urged that men holding Opinions will be more likely than
Men who have Knowledge to act in contravention of their conceptions
As having but a moderate belief in them; we reply, Knowledge will not
Differ in this respect from Opinion: because some men believe their
Own Opinions no less firmly than others do their positive Knowledge:
Heraclitus is a case in point

Rather the following is the account of it: the term _knowing_ has two
Senses; both the man who does not use his Knowledge, and he who does
Are said to _know_: there will be a difference between a man's acting
Wrongly, who though possessed of Knowledge does not call it into
Operation, and his doing so who has it and actually exercises it: the
Latter is a strange case, but the mere having, if not exercising
Presents no anomaly

[Sidenote:1147a] Again, as there are two kinds of propositions affecting
Action, universal and particular, there is no reason why a man may not
Act against his Knowledge, having both propositions in his mind, using
The universal but not the particular, for the particulars are the
Objects of moral action

There is a difference also in universal propositions; a universal
Proposition may relate partly to a man's self and partly to the thing in
Question: take the following for instance; "dry food is good for every
Man," this may have the two minor premisses, "this is a man," and "so
And so is dry food;" but whether a given substance is so and so a man
Either has not the Knowledge or does not exert it. According to these
Different senses there will be an immense difference, so that for a
Man to _know_ in the one sense, and yet act wrongly, would be nothing
Strange, but in any of the other senses it would be a matter for wonder

Again, men may have Knowledge in a way different from any of those which
Have been now stated: for we constantly see a man's state so differing
By having and not using Knowledge, that he has it in a sense and also
Has not; when a man is asleep, for instance, or mad, or drunk: well, men
Under the actual operation of passion are in exactly similar conditions;
For anger, lust, and some other such-like things, manifestly make
Changes even in the body, and in some they even cause madness; it is
Plain then that we must say the men of Imperfect Self-Control are in a
State similar to these

And their saying what embodies Knowledge is no proof of their actually
Then exercising it, because they who are under the operation of these
Passions repeat demonstrations; or verses of Empedocles, just as
Children, when first learning, string words together, but as yet know
Nothing of their meaning, because they must grow into it, and this is a
Process requiring time: so that we must suppose these men who fail in
Self-Control to say these moral sayings just as actors do. Furthermore
A man may look at the account of the phænomenon in the following way
From an examination of the actual working of the mind: All action may
Be analysed into a syllogism, in which the one premiss is an universal
Maxim and the other concerns particulars of which Sense [moral or
Physical, as the case may be] is cognisant: now when one results from
These two, it follows necessarily that, as far as theory goes the mind
Must assert the conclusion, and in practical propositions the man must
Act accordingly. For instance, let the universal be, "All that is
Sweet should be tasted," the particular, "This is sweet;" it follows
Necessarily that he who is able and is not hindered should not only
Draw, but put in practice, the conclusion "This is to be tasted." When
Then there is in the mind one universal proposition forbidding to taste
And the other "All that is sweet is pleasant" with its minor "This is
Sweet" (which is the one that really works), and desire happens to be in
The man, the first universal bids him avoid this but the desire leads
Him on to taste; for it has the power of moving the various organs:
And so it results that he fails in Self-Control, [Sidenote:1147b] in a
Certain sense under the influence of Reason and Opinion not contrary in
Itself to Reason but only accidentally so; because it is the desire that
Is contrary to Right Reason, but not the Opinion: and so for this reason
Brutes are not accounted of Imperfect Self-Control, because they have
No power of conceiving universals but only of receiving and retaining
Particular impressions

As to the manner in which the ignorance is removed and the man of
Imperfect Self-Control recovers his Knowledge, the account is the same
As with respect to him who is drunk or asleep, and is not peculiar to
This affection, so physiologists are the right people to apply to. But
Whereas the minor premiss of every practical syllogism is an opinion on
Matter cognisable by Sense and determines the actions; he who is under
The influence of passion either has not this, or so has it that his
Having does not amount to _knowing_ but merely saying, as a man when
Drunk might repeat Empedocles' verses; and because the minor term
Is neither universal, nor is thought to have the power of producing
Knowledge in like manner as the universal term: and so the result which
Socrates was seeking comes out, that is to say, the affection does not
Take place in the presence of that which is thought to be specially
And properly Knowledge, nor is this dragged about by reason of the
Affection, but in the presence of that Knowledge which is conveyed by
Sense

Let this account then be accepted of the question respecting the failure
In Self-Control, whether it is with Knowledge or not; and, if with
Knowledge, with what kind of knowledge such failure is possible

IV

The next question to be discussed is whether there is a character to be
Designated by the term "of Imperfect Self-Control" simply, or whether
All who are so are to be accounted such, in respect of some particular
Thing; and, if there is such a character, what is his object-matter

Now that pleasures and pains are the object-matter of men of
Self-Control and of Endurance, and also of men of Imperfect Self-Control
And Softness, is plain

Further, things which produce pleasure are either necessary, or objects
Of choice in themselves but yet admitting of excess. All bodily things
Which produce pleasure are necessary; and I call such those which relate
To food and other grosser appetities, in short such bodily things as
We assumed were the Object-matter of absence of Self-Control and of
Perfected Self-Mastery

The other class of objects are not necessary, but objects of choice in
Themselves: I mean, for instance, victory, honour, wealth, and such-like
Good or pleasant things. And those who are excessive in their liking for
Such things contrary to the principle of Right Reason which is in their
Own breasts we do not designate men of Imperfect Self-Control simply
But with the addition of the thing wherein, as in respect of money, or
Gain, or honour, or anger, and not simply; because we consider them as
Different characters and only having that title in right of a kind of
Resemblance (as when we add to a man's name "conqueror in the Olympic
Games" the account of him as Man differs but little from the account
Of him as the Man who conquered in the Olympic games, but still it is
Different). And a proof of the real [Sidenote: 1148a] difference between
These so designated with an addition and those simply so called is this
That Imperfect Self-Control is blamed, not as an error merely but also
As being a vice, either wholly or partially; but none of these other
Cases is so blamed

But of those who have for their object-matter the bodily enjoyments
Which we say are also the object-matter of the man of Perfected
Self-Mastery and the man who has lost all Self-Control, he that pursues
Excessive pleasures and too much avoids things which are painful (as
Hunger and thirst, heat and cold, and everything connected with touch
And taste), not from moral choice but in spite of his moral choice and
Intellectual conviction, is termed "a man of Imperfect Self-Control,"
Not with the addition of any particular object-matter as we do in
Respect of want of control of anger but simply

And a proof that the term is thus applied is that the kindred term
"Soft" is used in respect of these enjoyments but not in respect of any
Of those others. And for this reason we put into the same rank the man
Of Imperfect Self-Control, the man who has lost it entirely, the man
Who has it, and the man of Perfected Self-Mastery; but not any of those
Other characters, because the former have for their object-matter the
Same pleasures and pains: but though they have the same object-matter
They are not related to it in the same way, but two of them act upon
Moral choice, two without it. And so we should say that man is more
Entirely given up to his passions who pursues excessive pleasures, and
Avoids moderate pains, being either not at all, or at least but little
Urged by desire, than the man who does so because his desire is very
Strong: because we think what would the former be likely to do if he had
The additional stimulus of youthful lust and violent pain consequent on
The want of those pleasures which we have denominated necessary?

Well then, since of desires and pleasures there are some which are in
Kind honourable and good (because things pleasant are divisible, as we
Said before, into such as are naturally objects of choice, such as
Are naturally objects of avoidance, and such as are in themselves
Indifferent, money, gain, honour, victory, for instance); in respect of
All such and those that are indifferent, men are blamed not merely for
Being affected by or desiring or liking them, but for exceeding in any
Way in these feelings

And so they are blamed, whosoever in spite of Reason are mastered by
That is pursue, any object, though in its nature noble and good; they
For instance, who are more earnest than they should be respecting
Honour, or their children or parents; not but what these are good
Objects and men are praised for being earnest about them: but still they
Admit of excess; for instance, if any one, as Niobe did, should fight
Even against the gods, or feel towards his father as Satyrus, who got
Therefrom the nickname of [Greek: philophator], [Sidenote: 1148b]
Because he was thought to be very foolish

Now depravity there is none in regard of these things, for the reason
Assigned above, that each of them in itself is a thing naturally
Choiceworthy, yet the excesses in respect of them are wrong and matter
For blame: and similarly there is no Imperfect Self-Control in respect
Of these things; that being not merely a thing that should be avoided
But blameworthy

But because of the resemblance of the affection to the Imperfection of
Self-Control the term is used with the addition in each case of the
Particular object-matter, just as men call a man a bad physician, or bad
Actor, whom they would not think of calling simply bad. As then in these
Cases we do not apply the term simply because each of the states is not
A vice, but only like a vice in the way of analogy, so it is plain that
In respect of Imperfect Self-Control and Self-Control we must limit the
Names to those states which have the same object-matter as Perfected
Self-Mastery and utter loss of Self-Control, and that we do apply it to
The case of anger only in the way of resemblance: for which reason, with
An addition, we designate a man of Imperfect Self-Control in respect of
Anger, as of honour or of gain

V

As there are some things naturally pleasant, and of these two kinds;
Those, namely, which are pleasant generally, and those which are so
Relatively to particular kinds of animals and men; so there are others
Which are not naturally pleasant but which come to be so in consequence
Either of maimings, or custom, or depraved natural tastes: and one may
Observe moral states similar to those we have been speaking of, having
Respectively these classes of things for their object-matter

I mean the Brutish, as in the case of the female who, they say, would
Rip up women with child and eat the foetus; or the tastes which are
Found among the savage tribes bordering on the Pontus, some liking raw
Flesh, and some being cannibals, and some lending one another their
Children to make feasts of; or what is said of Phalaris. These are
Instances of Brutish states, caused in some by disease or madness; take
For instance, the man who sacrificed and ate his mother, or him who
Devoured the liver of his fellow-servant. Instances again of those
Caused by disease or by custom, would be, plucking out of hair, or
Eating one's nails, or eating coals and earth. ... Now wherever nature
Is really the cause no one would think of calling men of Imperfect
Self-Control, ... nor, in like manner, such as are in a diseased state
Through custom

[Sidenote:1149a] Obviously the having any of these inclinations is
Something foreign to what is denominated Vice, just as Brutishness is:
And when a man has them his mastering them is not properly Self-Control
Nor his being mastered by them Imperfection of Self-Control in the
Proper sense, but only in the way of resemblance; just as we may say a
Man of ungovernable wrath fails of Self-Control in respect of anger but
Not simply fails of Self-Control. For all excessive folly, cowardice
Absence of Self-Control, or irritability, are either Brutish or morbid
The man, for instance, who is naturally afraid of all things, even if
A mouse should stir, is cowardly after a Brutish sort; there was a man
Again who, by reason of disease, was afraid of a cat: and of the fools
They who are naturally destitute of Reason and live only by Sense are
Brutish, as are some tribes of the far-off barbarians, while others
Who are so by reason of diseases, epileptic or frantic, are in morbid
States

So then, of these inclinations, a man may sometimes merely have one
Without yielding to it: I mean, suppose that Phalaris had restrained his
Unnatural desire to eat a child: or he may both have and yield to it. As
Then Vice when such as belongs to human nature is called Vice simply
While the other is so called with the addition of "brutish" or "morbid,"
But not simply Vice, so manifestly there is Brutish and Morbid
Imperfection of Self-Control, but that alone is entitled to the name
Without any qualification which is of the nature of utter absence of
Self-Control, as it is found in Man

VI

It is plain then that the object-matter of Imperfect Self-Control and
Self-Control is restricted to the same as that of utter absence of
Self-Control and that of Perfected Self-Mastery, and that the rest is
The object-matter of a different species so named metaphorically and not
Simply: we will now examine the position, "that Imperfect Self-Control
In respect of Anger is less disgraceful than that in respect of Lusts."

In the first place, it seems that Anger does in a way listen to Reason
But mishears it; as quick servants who run out before they have heard
The whole of what is said and then mistake the order; dogs, again, bark
At the slightest stir, before they have seen whether it be friend
Or foe; just so Anger, by reason of its natural heat and quickness
Listening to Reason, but without having heard the command of Reason
Rushes to its revenge. That is to say, Reason or some impression on the
Mind shows there is insolence or contempt in the offender, and then
Anger, reasoning as it were that one ought to fight against what is
Such, fires up immediately: whereas Lust, if Reason or Sense, as the
Case may be, merely says a thing is sweet, rushes to the enjoyment of
It: and so Anger follows Reason in a manner, but Lust does not and is
Therefore more disgraceful: because he that cannot control his anger
Yields in a manner to Reason, but the other to his Lust and not to
Reason at all. [Sidenote:1149b]

Again, a man is more excusable for following such desires as are
Natural, just as he is for following such Lusts as are common to all and
To that degree in which they are common. Now Anger and irritability are
More natural than Lusts when in excess and for objects not necessary
(This was the ground of the defence the man made who beat his father
"My father," he said, "used to beat his, and his father his again, and
This little fellow here," pointing to his child, "will beat me when he
Is grown a man: it runs in the family." And the father, as he was being
Dragged along, bid his son leave off beating him at the door, because he
Had himself been used to drag his father so far and no farther.)

Again, characters are less unjust in proportion as they involve less
Insidiousness. Now the Angry man is not insidious, nor is Anger, but
Quite open: but Lust is: as they say of Venus

"Cyprus-born Goddess, _weaver of deceits_"

Or Homer of the girdle called the Cestus

"Persuasiveness _cheating_ e'en the subtlest mind."

And so since this kind of Imperfect Self-Control is more unjust, it
Is also more disgraceful than that in respect of Anger, and is simply
Imperfect Self-Control, and Vice in a certain sense. Again, no man feels
Pain in being insolent, but every one who acts through Anger does act
With pain; and he who acts insolently does it with pleasure. If then
Those things are most unjust with which we have most right to be angry
Then Imperfect Self-Control, arising from Lust, is more so than that
Arising from Anger: because in Anger there is no insolence

Well then, it is clear that Imperfect Self-Control in respect of
Lusts is more disgraceful than that in respect of Anger, and that the
Object-matter of Self-Control, and the Imperfection of it, are bodily
Lusts and pleasures; but of these last we must take into account the
Differences; for, as was said at the commencement, some are proper to
The human race and natural both in kind and degree, others Brutish, and
Others caused by maimings and diseases

Now the first of these only are the object-matter of Perfected
Self-Mastery and utter absence of Self-Control; and therefore we never
Attribute either of these states to Brutes (except metaphorically
And whenever any one kind of animal differs entirely from another in
Insolence, mischievousness, or voracity), because they have not moral
Choice or process of deliberation, but are quite different from that
Kind of creature just as are madmen from other men

[Sidenote: 1150a] Brutishness is not so low in the scale as Vice, yet
It is to be regarded with more fear: because it is not that the highest
Principle has been corrupted, as in the human creature, but the subject
Has it not at all

It is much the same, therefore, as if one should compare an inanimate
With an animate being, which were the worse: for the badness of that
Which has no principle of origination is always less harmful; now
Intellect is a principle of origination. A similar case would be the
Comparing injustice and an unjust man together: for in different ways
Each is the worst: a bad man would produce ten thousand times as much
Harm as a bad brute

VII

Now with respect to the pleasures and pains which come to a man through
Touch and Taste, and the desiring or avoiding such (which we determined
Before to constitute the object-matter of the states of utter absence of
Self-Control and Perfected Self-Mastery), one may be so disposed as
To yield to temptations to which most men would be superior, or to
Be superior to those to which most men would yield: in respect of
Pleasures, these characters will be respectively the man of Imperfect
Self-Control, and the man of Self-Control; and, in respect of pains, the
Man of Softness and the man of Endurance: but the moral state of most
Men is something between the two, even though they lean somewhat to the
Worse characters

Again, since of the pleasures indicated some are necessary and some are
Not, others are so to a certain degree but not the excess or defect of
Them, and similarly also of Lusts and pains, the man who pursues the
Excess of pleasant things, or such as are in themselves excess, or from
Moral choice, for their own sake, and not for anything else which is to
Result from them, is a man utterly void of Self-Control: for he must be
Incapable of remorse, and so incurable, because he that has not remorse
Is incurable. (He that has too little love of pleasure is the opposite
Character, and the man of Perfected Self-Mastery the mean character.) He
Is of a similar character who avoids the bodily pains, not because he
_cannot_, but because he _chooses not to_, withstand them

But of the characters who go wrong without _choosing_ so to do, the one
Is led on by reason of pleasure, the other because he avoids the pain it
Would cost him to deny his lust; and so they are different the one from
The other. Now every one would pronounce a man worse for doing something
Base without any impulse of desire, or with a very slight one, than for
Doing the same from the impulse of a very strong desire; for striking
A man when not angry than if he did so in wrath: because one naturally
Says, "What would he have done had he been under the influence of
Passion?" (and on this ground, by the bye, the man utterly void of
Self-Control is worse than he who has it imperfectly). However, of the
Two characters which have been mentioned [as included in that of utter
Absence of Self-Control], the one is rather Softness, the other properly
The man of no Self-Control

Furthermore, to the character of Imperfect Self-Control is opposed that
Of Self-Control, and to that of Softness that of Endurance: because
Endurance consists in continued resistance but Self-Control in actual
Mastery, and continued resistance and actual mastery are as different
As not being conquered is from conquering; and so Self-Control is more
Choiceworthy than Endurance

[Sidenote:1150b] Again, he who fails when exposed to those temptations
Against which the common run of men hold out, and are well able to do
So, is Soft and Luxurious (Luxury being a kind of Softness): the kind of
Man, I mean, to let his robe drag in the dirt to avoid the trouble
Of lifting it, and who, aping the sick man, does not however suppose
Himself wretched though he is like a wretched man. So it is too with
Respect to Self-Control and the Imperfection of it: if a man yields to
Pleasures or pains which are violent and excessive it is no matter for
Wonder, but rather for allowance if he made what resistance he could
(instances are, Philoctetes in Theodectes' drama when wounded by the
Viper; or Cercyon in the Alope of Carcinus, or men who in trying to
Suppress laughter burst into a loud continuous fit of it, as happened
You remember, to Xenophantus), but it is a matter for wonder when a man
Yields to and cannot contend against those pleasures or pains which the
Common herd are able to resist; always supposing his failure not to be
Owing to natural constitution or disease, I mean, as the Scythian kings
Are constitutionally Soft, or the natural difference between the sexes

Again, the man who is a slave to amusement is commonly thought to be
Destitute of Self-Control, but he really is Soft; because amusement
Is an act of relaxing, being an act of resting, and the character in
Question is one of those who exceed due bounds in respect of this

Moreover of Imperfect Self-Control there are two forms, Precipitancy and
Weakness: those who have it in the latter form though they have made
Resolutions do not abide by them by reason of passion; the others are
Led by passion because they have never formed any resolutions at
All: while there are some who, like those who by tickling themselves
Beforehand get rid of ticklishness, having felt and seen beforehand the
Approach of temptation, and roused up themselves and their resolution
Yield not to passion; whether the temptation be somewhat pleasant or
Somewhat painful. The Precipitate form of Imperfect Self-Control they
Are most liable to who are constitutionally of a sharp or melancholy
Temperament: because the one by reason of the swiftness, the other by
Reason of the violence, of their passions, do not wait for Reason
Because they are disposed to follow whatever notion is impressed upon
Their minds

VIII

Again, the man utterly destitute of Self-Control, as was observed
Before, is not given to remorse: for it is part of his character that
He abides by his moral choice: but the man of Imperfect Self-Control is
Almost made up of remorse: and so the case is not as we determined it
Before, but the former is incurable and the latter may be cured: for
Depravity is like chronic diseases, dropsy and consumption for instance
But Imperfect Self-Control is like acute disorders: the former being a
Continuous evil, the latter not so. And, in fact, Imperfect Self-Control
And Confirmed Vice are different in kind: the latter being imperceptible
To its victim, the former not so

[Sidenote: 1151a] But, of the different forms of Imperfect Self-Control
Those are better who are carried off their feet by a sudden access of
Temptation than they who have Reason but do not abide by it; these
Last being overcome by passion less in degree, and not wholly without
Premeditation as are the others: for the man of Imperfect Self-Control
Is like those who are soon intoxicated and by little wine and less than
The common run of men. Well then, that Imperfection of Self-Control is
Not Confirmed Viciousness is plain: and yet perhaps it is such in a way
Because in one sense it is contrary to moral choice and in another the
Result of it: at all events, in respect of the actions, the case is much
Like what Demodocus said of the Miletians. "The people of Miletus are
Not fools, but they do just the kind of things that fools do;" and so
They of Imperfect Self-Control are not unjust, but they do unjust acts

But to resume. Since the man of Imperfect Self-Control is of such a
Character as to follow bodily pleasures in excess and in defiance of
Right Reason, without acting on any deliberate conviction, whereas the
Man utterly destitute of Self-Control does act upon a conviction which
Rests on his natural inclination to follow after these pleasures; the
Former may be easily persuaded to a different course, but the latter
Not: for Virtue and Vice respectively preserve and corrupt the moral
Principle; now the motive is the principle or starting point in moral
Actions, just as axioms and postulates are in mathematics: and neither
In morals nor mathematics is it Reason which is apt to teach the
Principle; but Excellence, either natural or acquired by custom, in
Holding right notions with respect to the principle. He who does this in
Morals is the man of Perfected Self-Mastery, and the contrary character
Is the man utterly destitute of Self-Control

Again, there is a character liable to be taken off his feet in defiance
Of Right Reason because of passion; whom passion so far masters as to
Prevent his acting in accordance with Right Reason, but not so far as to
Make him be convinced that it is his proper line to follow after such
Pleasures without limit: this character is the man of Imperfect Self-
Control, better than he who is utterly destitute of it, and not a bad
Man simply and without qualification: because in him the highest and
Best part, i.e. principle, is preserved: and there is another character
Opposed to him who is apt to abide by his resolutions, and not to depart
From them; at all events, not at the instigation of passion. It is
Evident then from all this, that Self-Control is a good state and the
Imperfection of it a bad one

Next comes the question, whether a man is a man of Self-Control for
Abiding by his conclusions and moral choice be they of what kind they
May, or only by the right one; or again, a man of Imperfect Self-Control
For not abiding by his conclusions and moral choice be they of whatever
Kind; or, to put the case we did before, is he such for not abiding by
False conclusions and wrong moral choice?

Is not this the truth, that _incidentally_ it is by conclusions and
Moral choice of any kind that the one character abides and the other
Does not, but _per se_ true conclusions and right moral choice: to
Explain what is meant by incidentally, and _per se_; suppose a man
Chooses or pursues this thing for the sake of that, he is said to pursue
And choose that _per se_, but this only incidentally. For the term _per
Se_ we use commonly the word "simply," and so, in a way, it is opinion
Of any kind soever by which the two characters respectively abide or
Not, but he is "simply" entitled to the designations who abides or not
By the true opinion

There are also people, who have a trick of abiding by their, own
Opinions, who are commonly called Positive, as they who are hard to
Be persuaded, and whose convictions are not easily changed: now these
People bear some resemblance to the character of Self-Control, just as
The prodigal to the liberal or the rash man to the brave, but they are
Different in many points. The man of Self-Control does not change by
Reason of passion and lust, yet when occasion so requires he will be
Easy of persuasion: but the Positive man changes not at the call of
Reason, though many of this class take up certain desires and are led by
Their pleasures. Among the class of Positive are the Opinionated, the
Ignorant, and the Bearish: the first, from the motives of pleasure and
Pain: I mean, they have the pleasurable feeling of a kind of victory in
Not having their convictions changed, and they are pained when their
Decrees, so to speak, are reversed: so that, in fact, they rather
Resemble the man of Imperfect Self-Control than the man of Self-Control

Again, there are some who depart from their resolutions not by reason of
Any Imperfection of Self-Control; take, for instance, Neoptolemus in the
Philoctetes of Sophocles. Here certainly pleasure was the motive of his
Departure from his resolution, but then it was one of a noble sort:
For to be truthful was noble in his eyes and he had been persuaded by
Ulysses to lie

So it is not every one who acts from the motive of pleasure who is
Utterly destitute of Self-Control or base or of Imperfect Self-Control
Only he who acts from the impulse of a base pleasure

Moreover as there is a character who takes less pleasure than he ought
In bodily enjoyments, and he also fails to abide by the conclusion of
His Reason, the man of Self-Control is the mean between him and the man
Of Imperfect Self-Control: that is to say, the latter fails to abide by
Them because of somewhat too much, the former because of somewhat too
Little; while the man of Self-Control abides by them, and never changes
By reason of anything else than such conclusions

Now of course since Self-Control is good both the contrary States must
Be bad, as indeed they plainly are: but because the one of them is seen
In few persons, and but rarely in them, Self-Control comes to be
Viewed as if opposed only to the Imperfection of it, just as
Perfected Self-Mastery is thought to be opposed only to utter want of
Self-Control

[Sidenote: 1152a] Again, as many terms are used in the way of
Similitude, so people have come to talk of the Self-Control of the man
Of Perfected Self-Mastery in the way of similitude: for the man of
Self-Control and the man of Perfected Self-Mastery have this in common
That they do nothing against Right Reason on the impulse of bodily
Pleasures, but then the former has bad desires, the latter not; and the
Latter is so constituted as not even to feel pleasure contrary to his
Reason, the former feels but does not yield to it. Like again are the
Man of Imperfect Self-Control and he who is utterly destitute of it
Though in reality distinct: both follow bodily pleasures, but the latter
Under a notion that it is the proper line for him to take, his former
Without any such notion

X

And it is not possible for the same man to be at once a man of Practical
Wisdom and of Imperfect Self-Control: because the character of Practical
Wisdom includes, as we showed before, goodness of moral character
And again, it is not knowledge merely, but aptitude for action, which
Constitutes Practical Wisdom: and of this aptitude the man of Imperfect
Self-Control is destitute. But there is no reason why the Clever man
Should not be of Imperfect Self-Control: and the reason why some men are
Occasionally thought to be men of Practical Wisdom, and yet of Imperfect
Self-Control, is this, that Cleverness differs from Practical Wisdom in
The way I stated in a former book, and is very near it so far as the
Intellectual element is concerned but differs in respect of the moral
Choice

Nor is the man of Imperfect Self-Control like the man who both has and
Calls into exercise his knowledge, but like the man who, having it, is
Overpowered by sleep or wine. Again, he acts voluntarily (because he
Knows, in a certain sense, what he does and the result of it), but he is
Not a confirmed bad man, for his moral choice is good, so he is at all
Events only half bad. Nor is he unjust, because he does not act with
Deliberate intent: for of the two chief forms of the character, the one
Is not apt to abide by his deliberate resolutions, and the other, the
Man of constitutional strength of passion, is not apt to deliberate at
All

So in fact the man of Imperfect Self-Control is like a community which
Makes all proper enactments, and has admirable laws, only does not act
On them, verifying the scoff of Anaxandrides

"That State did will it, which cares nought for laws;"
Whereas the bad man is like one which acts upon its laws, but then
Unfortunately they are bad ones. Imperfection of Self-Control and
Self-Control, after all, are above the average state of men; because he
Of the latter character is more true to his Reason, and the former less
So, than is in the power of most men

Again, of the two forms of Imperfect Self-Control that is more easily
Cured which they have who are constitutionally of strong passions, than
That of those who form resolutions and break them; and they that are so
Through habituation than they that are so naturally; since of course
Custom is easier to change than nature, because the very resemblance of
Custom to nature is what constitutes the difficulty of changing it; as
Evenus says

"Practice, I say, my friend, doth long endure
And at the last is even very nature."

We have now said then what Self-Control is, what Imperfection of
Self-Control, what Endurance, and what Softness, and how these states
Are mutually related

XI

[Sidenote: II52b]

To consider the subject of Pleasure and Pain falls within the province
Of the Social-Science Philosopher, since he it is who has to fix the
Master-End which is to guide us in dominating any object absolutely evil
Or good

But we may say more: an inquiry into their nature is absolutely
Necessary. First, because we maintained that Moral Virtue and Moral Vice
Are both concerned with Pains and Pleasures: next, because the greater
Part of mankind assert that Happiness must include Pleasure (which by
The way accounts for the word they use, makarioz; chaireiu being the
Root of that word)

Now some hold that no one Pleasure is good, either in itself or as a
Matter of result, because Good and Pleasure are not identical. Others
That some Pleasures are good but the greater number bad. There is yet a
Third view; granting that every Pleasure is good, still the Chief Good
Cannot possibly be Pleasure

In support of the first opinion (that Pleasure is utterly not-good) it
Is urged that:

I. Every Pleasure is a sensible process towards a complete state; but
No such process is akin to the end to be attained: _e.g._ no process of
Building to the completed house

2. The man of Perfected Self-Mastery avoids Pleasures

3. The man of Practical Wisdom aims at avoiding Pain, not at attaining
Pleasure

4. Pleasures are an impediment to thought, and the more so the more
Keenly they are felt. An obvious instance will readily occur

5. Pleasure cannot be referred to any Art: and yet every good is the
Result of some Art

6. Children and brutes pursue Pleasures

In support of the second (that not all Pleasures are good), That there
Are some base and matter of reproach, and some even hurtful: because
Some things that are pleasant produce disease

In support of the third (that Pleasure is not the Chief Good), That it
Is not an End but a process towards creating an End

This is, I think, a fair account of current views on the matter

XII

But that the reasons alleged do not prove it either to be not-good or
The Chief Good is plain from the following considerations

First. Good being either absolute or relative, of course the natures and
States embodying it will be so too; therefore also the movements and the
Processes of creation. So, of those which are thought to be bad
Some will be bad absolutely, but relatively not bad, perhaps even
Choiceworthy; some not even choiceworthy relatively to any particular
Person, only at certain times or for a short time but not in themselves
Choiceworthy

Others again are not even Pleasures at all though they produce that
Impression on the mind: all such I mean as imply pain and whose purpose
Is cure; those of sick people, for instance

Next, since Good may be either an active working or a state, those
[Greek: _kinaeseis_ or _geneseis_] which tend to place us in our natural
State are pleasant incidentally because of that *[Sidenote: 1153a]
Tendency: but the active working is really in the desires excited in the
Remaining (sound) part of our state or nature: for there are Pleasures
Which have no connection with pain or desire: the acts of contemplative
Intellect, for instance, in which case there is no deficiency in the
Nature or state of him who performs the acts

A proof of this is that the same pleasant thing does not produce the
Sensation of Pleasure when the natural state is being filled up or
Completed as when it is already in its normal condition: in this latter
Case what give the sensation are things pleasant _per se_, in the former
Even those things which are contrary. I mean, you find people taking
Pleasure in sharp or bitter things of which no one is naturally or in
Itself pleasant; of course not therefore the Pleasures arising from
Them, because it is obvious that as is the classification of pleasant
Things such must be that of the Pleasures arising from them

Next, it does not follow that there must be something else better than
Any given pleasure because (as some say) the End must be better than
The process which creates it. For it is not true that all Pleasures
Are processes or even attended by any process, but (some are) active
Workings or even Ends: in fact they result not from our coming to be
Something but from our using our powers. Again, it is not true that the
End is, in every case, distinct from the process: it is true only in
The case of such processes as conduce to the perfecting of the natural
State

For which reason it is wrong to say that Pleasure is "a sensible process
Of production." For "process etc." should be substituted "active working
Of the natural state," for "sensible" "unimpeded." The reason of its
Being thought to be a "process etc." is that it is good in the highest
Sense: people confusing "active working" and "process," whereas they
Really are distinct

Next, as to the argument that there are bad Pleasures because some
Things which are pleasant are also hurtful to health, it is the same as
Saying that some healthful things are bad for "business." In this sense
Of course, both may be said to be bad, but then this does not make
Them out to be bad _simpliciter_: the exercise of the pure Intellect
Sometimes hurts a man's health: but what hinders Practical Wisdom or
Any state whatever is, not the Pleasure peculiar to, but some Pleasure
Foreign to it: the Pleasures arising from the exercise of the pure
Intellect or from learning only promote each

Next. "No Pleasure is the work of any Art." What else would you expect?
No active working is the work of any Art, only the faculty of so
Working. Still the perfumer's Art or the cook's are thought to belong to
Pleasure

Next. "The man of Perfected Self-Mastery avoids Pleasures." "The man
Of Practical Wisdom aims at escaping Pain rather than at attaining
Pleasure."

"Children and brutes pursue Pleasures."

One answer will do for all

We have already said in what sense all Pleasures are good _per se_ and
In what sense not all are good: it is the latter class that brutes and
Children pursue, such as are accompanied by desire and pain, that is the
Bodily Pleasures (which answer to this description) and the excesses of
Them: in short, those in respect of which the man utterly destitute of
Self-Control is thus utterly destitute. And it is the absence of the
Pain arising from these Pleasures that the man of Practical Wisdom
Aims at. It follows that these Pleasures are what the man of Perfected
Self-Mastery avoids: for obviously he has Pleasures peculiarly his own

[Sidenote: XIII 1153_b_] Then again, it is allowed that Pain is an evil
And a thing to be avoided partly as bad _per se_, partly as being a
Hindrance in some particular way. Now the contrary of that which is to
Be avoided, _quâ_ it is to be avoided, _i.e._ evil, is good. Pleasure
Then must be _a_ good

The attempted answer of Speusippus, "that Pleasure may be opposed and
Yet not contrary to Pain, just as the greater portion of any magnitude
Is contrary to the less but only opposed to the exact half," will not
Hold: for he cannot say that Pleasure is identical with evil of any
Kind. Again. Granting that some Pleasures are low, there is no reason
Why some particular Pleasure may not be very good, just as some
Particular Science may be although there are some which are low

Perhaps it even follows, since each state may have active working
Unimpeded, whether the active workings of all be Happiness or that of
Some one of them, that this active working, if it be unimpeded, must be
Choiceworthy: now Pleasure is exactly this. So that the Chief Good may
Be Pleasure of some kind, though most Pleasures be (let us assume) low
_per se_

And for this reason all men think the happy life is pleasant, and
Interweave Pleasure with Happiness. Reasonably enough: because Happiness
Is perfect, but no impeded active working is perfect; and therefore
The happy man needs as an addition the goods of the body and the goods
External and fortune that in these points he may not be fettered. As for
Those who say that he who is being tortured on the wheel, or falls into
Great misfortunes is happy provided only he be good, they talk nonsense
Whether they mean to do so or not. On the other hand, because fortune
Is needed as an addition, some hold good fortune to be identical with
Happiness: which it is not, for even this in excess is a hindrance, and
Perhaps then has no right to be called good fortune since it is good
Only in so far as it contributes to Happiness

The fact that all animals, brute and human alike, pursue Pleasure, is
Some presumption of its being in a sense the Chief Good;

("There must be something in what most folks say,") only as one and
The same nature or state neither is nor is thought to be the best, so
Neither do all pursue the same Pleasure, Pleasure nevertheless all do
Nay further, what they pursue is, perhaps, not what they think nor what
They would say they pursue, but really one and the same: for in all
There is some instinct above themselves. But the bodily Pleasures have
Received the name exclusively, because theirs is the most frequent form
And that which is universally partaken of; and so, because to many these
Alone are known they believe them to be the only ones which exist

[Sidenote: II54a]

It is plain too that, unless Pleasure and its active working be good, it
Will not be true that the happy man's life embodies Pleasure: for why
Will he want it on the supposition that it is not good and that he can
Live even with Pain? because, assuming that Pleasure is not good, then
Pain is neither evil nor good, and so why should he avoid it?

Besides, the life of the good man is not more pleasurable than any other
Unless it be granted that his active workings are so too

XIV

Some inquiry into the bodily Pleasures is also necessary for those who
Say that some Pleasures, to be sure, are highly choiceworthy (the good
Ones to wit), but not the bodily Pleasures; that is, those which are the
Object-matter of the man utterly destitute of Self-Control

If so, we ask, why are the contrary Pains bad? they cannot be (on their
Assumption) because the contrary of bad is good

May we not say that the necessary bodily Pleasures are good in the sense
In which that which is not-bad is good? or that they are good only up
To a certain point? because such states or movements as cannot have too
Much of the better cannot have too much of Pleasure, but those which can
Of the former can also of the latter. Now the bodily Pleasures do admit
Of excess: in fact the low bad man is such because he pursues the excess
Of them instead of those which are necessary (meat, drink, and the
Objects of other animal appetites do give pleasure to all, but not in
Right manner or degree to all). But his relation to Pain is exactly the
Contrary: it is not excessive Pain, but Pain at all, that he avoids
[Which makes him to be in this way too a bad low man], because only
In the case of him who pursues excessive Pleasure is Pain contrary to
Excessive Pleasure

It is not enough however merely to state the truth, we should also show
How the false view arises; because this strengthens conviction. I mean
When we have given a probable reason why that impresses people as true
Which really is not true, it gives them a stronger conviction of the
Truth. And so we must now explain why the bodily Pleasures appear to
People to be more choiceworthy than any others

The first obvious reason is, that bodily Pleasure drives out Pain; and
Because Pain is felt in excess men pursue Pleasure in excess, _i.e._
Generally bodily Pleasure, under the notion of its being a remedy for
That Pain. These remedies, moreover, come to be violent ones; which is
The very reason they are pursued, since the impression they produce
On the mind is owing to their being looked at side by side with their
Contrary

And, as has been said before, there are the two following reasons why
Bodily Pleasure is thought to be not-good

1. Some Pleasures of this class are actings of a low nature, whether
Congenital as in brutes, or acquired by custom as in low bad men

2. Others are in the nature of cures, cures that is of some deficiency;
Now of course it is better to have [the healthy state] originally than
That it should accrue afterwards

[Sidenote: 1154b] But some Pleasures result when natural states are
Being perfected: these therefore are good as a matter of result

Again, the very fact of their being violent causes them to be pursued by
Such as can relish no others: such men in fact create violent thirsts
For themselves (if harmless ones then we find no fault, if harmful then
It is bad and low) because they have no other things to take
Pleasure in, and the neutral state is distasteful to some people
Constitutionally; for toil of some kind is inseparable from life, as
Physiologists testify, telling us that the acts of seeing or hearing are
Painful, only that we are used to the pain and do not find it out

Similarly in youth the constant growth produces a state much like
That of vinous intoxication, and youth is pleasant. Again, men of the
Melancholic temperament constantly need some remedial process (because
The body, from its temperament, is constantly being worried), and they
Are in a chronic state of violent desire. But Pleasure drives out Pain;
Not only such Pleasure as is directly contrary to Pain but even any
Pleasure provided it be strong: and this is how men come to be utterly
Destitute of Self-Mastery, _i.e._ low and bad

But those Pleasures which are unconnected with Pains do not admit of
Excess: _i.e._ such as belong to objects which are naturally pleasant
And not merely as a matter of result: by the latter class I mean such
As are remedial, and the reason why these are thought to be pleasant is
That the cure results from the action in some way of that part of the
Constitution which remains sound. By "pleasant naturally" I mean such as
Put into action a nature which is pleasant

The reason why no one and the same thing is invariably pleasant is that
Our nature is, not simple, but complex, involving something different
From itself (so far as we are corruptible beings). Suppose then that one
Part of this nature be doing something, this something is, to the other
Part, unnatural: but, if there be an equilibrium of the two natures
Then whatever is being done is indifferent. It is obvious that if there
Be any whose nature is simple and not complex, to such a being the same
Course of acting will always be the most pleasurable

For this reason it is that the Divinity feels Pleasure which is always
One, _i.e._ simple: not motion merely but also motionlessness acts, and
Pleasure resides rather in the absence than in the presence of motion

The reason why the Poet's dictum "change is of all things most pleasant"
Is true, is "a baseness in our blood;" for as the bad man is easily
Changeable, bad must be also the nature that craves change, _i.e._ it is
Neither simple nor good

We have now said our say about Self-Control and its opposite; and about
Pleasure and Pain. What each is, and how the one set is good the other
Bad. We have yet to speak of Friendship

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