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12.: How profligacy is more voluntary than cowardice. - Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics 
The Nichomachean Ethics of Aristotle, trans. F.H. Peters, M.A. 5th edition (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Truebner & Co., 1893).
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How profligacy is more voluntary than cowardice.
Profligacy seems to be more voluntary than cowardice.
For a man is impelled to the former by pleasure, to the latter by pain; but pleasure is a thing we choose, while pain is a thing we avoid. Pain puts us beside ourselves and upsets the nature of the sufferer, while pleasure has no such effect. Profligacy, therefore, is more voluntary.
Profligacy is for these reasons more to be blamed than cowardice, and for another reason too, viz. that it is easier to train one’s self to behave rightly on these occasions [i.e. those in which profligacy is displayed]; for such occasions are constantly occurring in our lives, and the training involves no risk; but with occasions of fear the contrary is the case.
Again, it would seem that the habit of mind or character called cowardice is more voluntary than the particular acts in which it is exhibited. It is not painful to be a coward, but the occasions which exhibit cowardice put men beside themselves through fear of pain, so that they throw away their arms and altogether disgrace themselves; and hence these particular acts are even thought to be compulsory.
In the case of the profligate, on the contrary, the particular acts are voluntary (for they are done with appetite and desire), but the character itself less so; for no one desires to be a profligate.
The term “profligacy” we apply also to childish faults,* for they have some sort of resemblance. It makes no difference for our present purpose which of the two is named after the other, but it is plain that the later is named after the earlier.
And the metaphor, I think, is not a bad one: what needs “chastening” or “correction”† is that which inclines to base things and which has great powers of expansion. Now, these characteristics are nowhere so strongly marked as in appetite and in childhood; children too [as well as the profligate] live according to their appetites, and the desire for pleasant things is most pronounced in them. If then this element be not submissive and obedient to the governing principle, it will make great head: for in an irrational being the desire for pleasant things is insatiable and ready to gratify itself in any way, and the gratification of the appetite increases the natural tendency, and if the gratifications are great and intense they even thrust out reason altogether. The gratifications of appetite, therefore, should be moderate and few, and appetite should be in no respect opposed to reason (this is what we mean by submissive and “chastened”), but subject to reason as a child should be subject to his tutor.
And so the appetites of the temperate man should be in harmony with his reason; for the aim of both is that which is noble: the temperate man desires what he ought, and as he ought, and when he ought; and this again is what reason prescribes.
This, then, may be taken as an account of temperance.
THE SEVERAL MORAL VIRTUES AND VICES—Continued.
Liberality, of which we will next speak, seems to be moderation in the matter of wealth. What we commend in a liberal man is his behaviour, not in war, nor in those circumstances in which temperance is commended, nor yet in passing judgment, but in the giving and taking of wealth, and especially in the giving—wealth meaning all those things whose value can be measured in money.
But both prodigality and illiberality are at once excess and defect in the matter of wealth.
Illiberality always means caring for wealth more than is right; but prodigality sometimes stands for a combination of vices. Thus incontinent people, who squander their money in riotous living, are called prodigals. And so prodigals are held to be very worthless individuals, as they combine a number of vices.
But we must remember that this is not the proper use of the term; for the term “prodigal” (ἄσωτος) is intended to denote a man who has one vice, viz. that of wasting his substance: for he is ἄσωτος,* or “prodigal,” who is destroyed through his own fault, and the wasting of one’s substance is held to be a kind of destruction of one’s self, as one’s life is dependent upon it. This, then, we regard as the proper sense of the term “prodigality.”
Anything that has a use may be used well or ill.
Now, riches is abundance of useful things (τὰ χρήσιμα).
But each thing is best used by him who has the virtue that is concerned with that thing.
Therefore he will use riches best who has the virtue that is concerned with wealth* (τὰ χρήματα), i.e. the liberal man.
Now, the ways of using wealth are spending and giving, while taking and keeping are rather the ways of acquiring wealth. And so it is more distinctive of the liberal man to give to the right people than to take from the right source and not to take from the wrong source. For it is more distinctive of virtue to do good to others than to have good done to you, and to do what is noble than not to do what is base. And here it is plain that doing good and noble actions go with the giving, while receiving good and not doing what is base goes with the taking.
Again, we are thankful to him who gives, not to him who does not take; and so also we praise the former rather than the latter.
Again, it is easier not to take than to give; for we are more inclined to be too stingy with our own goods than to take another’s.
Again, it is those who give that are commonly called liberal; while those who abstain from taking are not praised for their liberality especially, but rather for their justice; and those who take are not praised at all.
Again, of all virtuous characters the liberal man is perhaps the most beloved, because he is useful; but his usefulness lies in his giving.
But virtuous acts, we said, are noble, and are done for the sake of that which is noble. The liberal man, therefore, like the others, will give with a view to, or for the sake of, that which is noble, and give rightly; i.e. he will give the right things to the right persons at the right times—in short, his giving will have all the characteristics of right giving.
Moreover, his giving will be pleasant to him, or at least painless; for virtuous acts are always pleasant or painless—certainly very far from being painful.
He who gives to the wrong persons, or gives from some other motive than desire for that which is noble, is not liberal, but must be called by some other name.
Nor is he liberal who gives with pain; for that shows that he would prefer* the money to the noble action, which is not the feeling of the liberal man.
The liberal man, again, will not take from wrong sources; for such taking is inconsistent with the character of a man who sets no store by wealth.
Nor will he be ready to beg a favour; for he who confers benefits on others is not usually in a hurry to receive them.
But from right sources he will take (e.g. from his own property), not as if there were anything noble in taking, but simply as a necessary condition of giving. And so he will not neglect his property, since he wishes by means of it to help others. But he will refuse to give to any casual person, in order that he may have wherewithal to give to the right persons, at the right times, and where it is noble to give.
It is very characteristic of the liberal man* to go even to excess in giving, so as to leave too little for himself; for disregard of self is part of his character.
In applying the term liberality we must take account of a man’s fortune; for it is not the amount of what is given that makes a gift liberal, but the liberal habit or character of the doer; and this character proportions the gift to the fortune of the giver. And so it is quite possible that the giver of the smaller sum may be the more liberal man, if his means be smaller.
Those who have inherited a fortune seem to be more liberal than those who have made one; for they have never known want; and all men are particularly fond of what themselves have made, as we see in parents and poets.
It is not easy for a liberal man to be rich, as he is not apt to take or to keep, but is apt to spend, and cares for money not on its own account, but only for the sake of giving it away.
Hence the charge often brought against fortune, that those who most deserve wealth are least blessed with it. But this is natural enough; for it is just as impossible to have wealth without taking trouble about it, as it is to have anything else.
Nevertheless the liberal man will not give to the wrong people, nor at the wrong times; for if he did, he would no longer be displaying true liberality, and, after spending thus, would not have enough to spend on the right occasions. For, as we have already said, he is liberal who spends in proportion to his fortune, on proper objects, while he who exceeds this is prodigal. And so princes* are not called prodigal, because it does not seem easy for them to exceed the measure of their possessions in gifts and expenses.
Liberality, then, being moderation in the giving and taking of wealth, the liberal man will give and spend the proper amount on the proper objects, alike in small things and in great, and that with pleasure; and will also take the proper amount from the proper sources. For since the virtue is moderation in both giving and taking, the man who has the virtue will do both rightly. Right taking is consistent with right giving, but any other taking is contrary to it. Those givings and takings, then, that are consistent with one another are found in the same person, while those that are contrary to one another manifestly are not.
But if a liberal man happen to spend anything in a manner contrary to what is right and noble, he will be pained, but moderately and in due measure; for it is a characteristic of virtue to be pleased and pained on the right occasions and in due measure.
The liberal man, again, is easy to deal with in money matters; it is not hard to cheat him, as he does not value wealth, and is more apt to be vexed at having failed to spend where he ought, than to be pained at having spent where he ought not—the sort of man that Simonides would not commend.*
The prodigal, on the other hand, errs in these points also; he is not pleased on the right occasions nor in the right way, nor pained: but this will be clearer as we go on.
We have already said that both prodigality and illiberality are at once excess and deficiency, in two things, viz. giving and taking (expenditure being included in giving). Prodigality exceeds in giving and in not taking, but falls short in taking; illiberality falls short in giving, but exceeds in taking—in small things, we must add.
Now, the two elements of prodigality are not commonly united in the same person:† it is not easy for a man who never takes to be always giving; for private persons soon exhaust their means of giving, and it is to private persons that the name is generally applied.‡
A prodigal of this kind [i.e. in whom both the elements are combined], we must observe, would seem to be not a little better than an illiberal man. For he is easily cured by advancing years and by lack of means, and may come to the middle course. For he has the essential points of the liberal character; he gives and abstains from taking, though he does neither well nor as he ought. If then he can be trained to this, or if in any other way this change in his nature can be effected, he will be liberal; for then he will give to whom he ought, and will not take whence he ought not. And so he is generally thought to be not a bad character; for to go too far in giving and in not taking does not show a vicious or ignoble nature so much as a foolish one.
A prodigal of this sort, then, seems to be much better than an illiberal man, both for the reasons already given, and also because the former does good to many, but the latter to no one, not even to himself.
But most prodigals, as has been said, not only give wrongly, but take from wrong sources, and are in this respect illiberal. They become grasping because they wish to spend, but cannot readily do so, as their supplies soon fail. So they are compelled to draw from other sources. At the same time, since they care nothing for what is noble, they will take quite recklessly from any source whatever; for they long to give, but care not a whit how the money goes or whence it comes.
And so their gifts are not liberal; for they are not noble, nor are they given with a view to that which is noble, nor in the right manner. Sometimes they enrich those who ought to be poor, and will give nothing to men of well-regulated character, while they give a great deal to those who flatter them, or furnish them with any other pleasure. And thus the greater part of them are profligates; for, being ready to part with their money, they are apt to lavish it on riotous living, and as they do not shape their lives with a view to that which is noble, they easily fall away into the pursuit of pleasure.
The prodigal, then, if he fail to find guidance, comes to this, but if he get training he may be brought to the moderate and right course.
But illiberality is incurable; for old age and all loss of power seems to make men illiberal.
It also runs in the blood more than prodigality; the generality of men are more apt to be fond of money than of giving.
Again, it is far-reaching, and has many forms; for there seem to be many ways in which one can be illiberal.
It consists of two parts—deficiency in giving, and excess of taking; but it is not always found in its entirety; sometimes the parts are separated, and one man exceeds in taking, while another falls short in giving. Those, for instance, who are called by such names as niggardly, stingy, miserly, all fall short in giving, but do not covet other people’s goods, or wish to take them.
Some are impelled to this conduct by a kind of honesty, or desire to avoid what is disgraceful—I mean that some of them seem, or at any rate profess, to be saving, in order that they may never be compelled to do anything disgraceful; e.g. the cheeseparer* (and those like him), who is so named because of the extreme lengths to which he carries his unwillingness to give.
But others are moved to keep their hands from their neighbours’ goods only by fear, believing it to be no easy thing to take the goods of others, without having one’s own goods taken in turn; so they are content with neither taking nor giving.
Others, again, exceed in the matter of taking so far as to make any gain they can in any way whatever, e.g. those who ply debasing trades, brothel-keepers and such like, and usurers who lend out small sums at a high rate. For all these make money from improper sources to an improper extent.
The common characteristic of these last seems to be the pursuit of base gain; for all of them endure reproach for the sake of gain, and that a small gain. For those who make improper gains in improper ways on a large scale are not called illiberal, e.g. tyrants who sack cities and pillage temples; they are rather called wicked, impious, unjust. The dice-sharper, however, and the man who steals clothes at the bath, or the common thief, are reckoned among the illiberal; for they all make base gains; i.e. both the thief and the sharper ply their trade and endure reproach for gain, and the thief for the sake of his booty endures the greatest dangers, while the sharper makes gain out of his friends, to whom he ought to give. Both then, wishing to make gain in improper ways, are seekers of base gain; and all such ways of making money are illiberal.
But illiberality is rightly called the opposite of liberality; for it is a worse evil than prodigality, and men are more apt to err in this way than in that which we have described as prodigality.
Let this, then, be taken as our account of liberality, and of the vices that are opposed to it.
Our next task would seem to be an examination of magnificence. For this also seems to be a virtue that is concerned with wealth.
But it does not, like liberality, extend over the whole field of money transactions, but only over those that involve large expenditure; and in these it goes beyond liberality in largeness. For, as its very name (μεγαλοπρέπεια) suggests, it is suitable expenditure on a large scale. But the largeness is relative: the expenditure that is suitable for a man who is fitting out a war-ship is not the same as that which is suitable for the chief of a sacred embassy.
What is suitable, then, is relative to the person, and the occasion, and the business on hand. Yet he who spends what is fitting on trifling or moderately important occasions is not called magnificent; e.g. the man who can say, in the words of the poet—
“To many a wandering beggar did I give;”
but he who spends what is fitting on great occasions. For the magnificent man is liberal, but a man may be liberal without being magnificent.
The deficiency of this quality is called meanness; the excess of it is called vulgarity, bad taste, etc.; the characteristic of which is not spending too much on proper objects, but spending ostentatiously on improper objects and in improper fashion. But we will speak of them presently.
But the magnificent man is like a skilled artist; he can see what a case requires, and can spend great sums tastefully. For, as we said at the outset, a habit or type of character takes its complexion from the acts in which it issues and the things it produces. The magnificent man’s expenses, therefore, must be great and suitable.
What he produces then will also be of the same nature; for only thus will the expense be at once great and suitable to the result.
The result, then, must be proportionate to the expenditure, and the expenditure proportionate to the result, or even greater.
Moreover, the magnificent man’s motive in thus spending his money will be desire for that which is noble; for this is the common characteristic of all the virtues.
Further, he will spend gladly and lavishly; for a minute calculation of cost is mean. He will inquire how the work can be made most beautiful and most elegant, rather than what its cost will be, and how it can be done most cheaply.
So the magnificent man must be liberal also; for the liberal man, too, will spend the right amount in the right manner; only, both the amount and the manner being right, magnificence is distinguished from liberality (which has the same* sphere of action) by greatness—I mean by actual magnitude of amount spent: and secondly, where the amount spent is the same, the result of the magnificent man’s expenditure will be more magnificent.*
For the excellence of a possession is not the same as the excellence of a product or work of art: as a possession, that is most precious or estimable which is worth most, e.g. gold; as a work of art, that is most estimable which is great and beautiful: for the sight of such a work excites admiration, and a magnificent thing is always admirable; indeed, excellence of work on a great scale is magnificence.
Now, there is a kind of expenditure which is called in a special sense estimable or honourable, such as expenditure on the worship of the gods (e.g. offerings, temples, and sacrifices), and likewise all expenditure on the worship of heroes, and again all public service which is prompted by a noble ambition; e.g. a man may think proper to furnish a chorus or a war-ship, or to give a public feast, in a handsome style.
But in all cases, as we have said, we must have regard to the person who spends, and ask who he is, and what his means are; for expenditure should be proportionate to circumstances, and suitable not only to the result but to its author.
And so a poor man cannot be magnificent: he has not the means to spend large sums suitably: if he tries, he is a fool; for he spends disproportionately and in a wrong way; but an act must be done in the right way to be virtuous. But such expenditure is becoming in those who have got the requisite means, either by their own efforts or through their ancestors or their connections, and who have birth and reputation, etc.; for all these things give a man a certain greatness and importance.
The magnificent man, then, is properly a man of this sort, and magnificence exhibits itself most properly in expenditure of this kind, as we have said; for this is the greatest and most honourable kind of expenditure: but it may also be displayed on private occasions, when they are such as occur but once in a man’s life, e.g. a wedding or anything of that kind; or when they are of special interest to the state or the governing classes, e.g. receiving strangers and sending them on their way, or making presents to them and returning their presents; for the magnificent man does not lavish money on himself, but on public objects; and gifts to strangers bear some resemblance to offerings to the gods.
But a magnificent man will build his house too in a style suitable to his wealth; for even a fine house is a kind of public ornament. And he will spend money more readily on things that last; for these are the noblest. And on each occasion he will spend what is suitable—which is not the same for gods as for men, for a temple as for a tomb.
And since every expenditure may be great after its kind, great expenditure on a great occasion being most magnificent,* and then in a less degree that which is great for the occasion, whatever it be (for the greatness of the result is not the same as the greatness of the expense; e.g. the most beautiful ball or the most beautiful bottle that can be got is a magnificent present for a child, though its price is something small and mean), it follows that it is characteristic of the magnificent man to do magnificently that which he does, of whatever kind it be (for such work cannot easily be surpassed), and to produce a result proportionate to the expense.
This, then, is the character of the magnificent man.
The man who exceeds (whom we call vulgar) exceeds, as we said, in spending improperly. He spends great sums on little objects, and makes an unseemly display; e.g. if he is entertaining the members of his club, he will give them a wedding feast; if he provides the chorus for a comedy, he will bring his company on the stage all dressed in purple, as they did at Megara. And all this he will do from no desire for what is noble or beautiful, but merely to display his wealth, because he hopes thereby to gain admiration, spending little where he should spend much, and much where he should spend little.
But the mean man will fall short on every occasion, and, even when he spends very large sums, will spoil the beauty of his work by niggardliness in a trifle, never doing anything without thinking twice about it, and considering how it can be done at the least possible cost, and bemoaning even that, and thinking he is doing everything on a needlessly large scale.
Both these characters, then, are vicious, but they do not bring reproach, because they are neither injurious to others nor very offensive in themselves.
High-mindedness would seem from its very name (μεγαλοψυχία) to have to do with great things; let us first ascertain what these are.
It will make no difference whether we consider the quality itself, or the man who exhibits the quality.
By a high-minded man we seem to mean one who claims much and deserves much: for he who claims much without deserving it is a fool; but the possessor of a virtue is never foolish or silly. The man we have described, then, is high-minded.
He who deserves little and claims little is temperate [or modest], but not high-minded: for high-mindedness [or greatness of soul] implies greatness, just as beauty implies stature; small men may be neat and well proportioned, but cannot be called beautiful.
He who claims much without deserving it is vain (though not every one who claims more than he deserves is vain).
He who claims less than he deserves is little-minded, whether his deserts be great or moderate, or whether they be small and he claims still less: but the fault would seem to be greatest in him whose deserts are great; for what would he do if his deserts were less than they are?
The high-minded man, then, in respect of the greatness of his deserts occupies an extreme position, but in that he behaves as he ought, observes the mean; for he claims that which he deserves, while all the others claim too much or too little.
If, therefore, he deserves much and claims much, and most of all deserves and claims the greatest things, there will be one thing with which he will be especially concerned. For desert has reference to external good things. Now, the greatest of external good things we may assume to be that which we render to the Gods as their due, and that which people in high stations most desire, and which is the prize appointed for the noblest deeds. But the thing that answers to this description is honour, which, we may safely say, is the greatest of all external goods. Honours and dishonours, therefore, are the field in which the high-minded man behaves as he ought.
And indeed we may see, without going about to prove it, that honour is what high-minded men are concerned with; for it is honour that they especially claim and deserve.
The little-minded man falls short, whether we compare his claims with his own deserts or with what the high-minded man claims for himself.
The vain or conceited man exceeds what is due to himself, though he does not exceed the high-minded man in his claims.*
But the high-minded man, as he deserves the greatest things, must be a perfectly good or excellent man; for the better man always deserves the greater things, and the best possible man the greatest possible things. The really high-minded man, therefore, must be a good or excellent man. And indeed greatness in every virtue or excellence would seem to be necessarily implied in being a high-minded or great-souled man.
It would be equally inconsistent with the highminded man’s character to run away swinging his arms, and to commit an act of injustice; for what thing is there for love of which he would do anything unseemly, seeing that all things are of little account to him?
Survey him point by point and you will find that the notion of a high-minded man that is not a good or excellent man is utterly absurd. Indeed, if he were not good, he could not be worthy of honour; for honour is the prize of virtue, and is rendered to the good as their due.
High-mindedness, then, seems to be the crowning grace, as it were, of the virtues; it makes them greater, and cannot exist without them. And on this account it is a hard thing to be truly high-minded; for it is impossible without the union of all the virtues.
The high-minded man, then, exhibits his character especially in the matter of honours and dishonours and at great honour from good men he will be moderately pleased, as getting nothing more than his due, or even less; for no honour can be adequate to complete virtue; but nevertheless he will accept it, as they have nothing greater to offer him. But honour from ordinary men and on trivial grounds he will utterly despise; for that is not what he deserves. And dishonour likewise he will make light of; for he will never merit it.
But though it is especially in the matter of honours, as we have said, that the high-minded man displays his character, yet he will also observe the mean in his feelings with regard to wealth and power and all kinds of good and evil fortune, whatever may befall him, and will neither be very much exalted by prosperity, nor very much cast down by adversity; seeing that not even honour affects him as if it were a very important thing. For power and wealth are desirable for honour’s sake (at least, those who have them wish to gain honour by them). But he who thinks lightly of honour must think lightly of them also.
And so high-minded men seem to look down upon everything.
But the gifts of fortune also are commonly thought to contribute to high-mindedness. For those who are well born are thought worthy of honour, and those who are powerful or wealthy; for they are in a position of superiority, and that which is superior in any good thing is always held in greater honour. And so these things do make people more high-minded in a sense; for such people find honour from some. But in strictness it is only the good man that is worthy of honour, though he that has both goodness and good fortune is commonly thought to be more worthy of honour. Those, however, who have these good things without virtue, neither have any just claim to great things, nor are properly to be called high-minded; for neither is possible without complete virtue.
But those who have these good things readily come to be supercilious and insolent. For without virtue it is not easy to bear the gifts of fortune becomingly; and so, being unable to bear them, and thinking themselves superior to everybody else, such people look down upon others, and yet themselves do whatever happens to please them. They imitate the high-minded man without being really like him, and they imitate him where they can; that is to say, they do not exhibit virtue in their acts, but they look down upon others. For the high-minded man never looks down upon others without justice (for he estimates them correctly), while most men do so for quite irrelevant reasons.
The high-minded man is not quick to run into petty dangers, and indeed does not love danger, since there are few things that he much values; but he is ready to incur a great danger, and whenever he does so is unsparing of his life, as a thing that is not worth keeping at all costs.
It is his nature to confer benefits, but he is ashamed to receive them; for the former is the part of a superior, the latter of an inferior. And when he has received a benefit, he is apt to confer a greater in return; for thus his creditor will become his debtor and be in the position of a recipient of his favour.
It seems, moreover, that such men remember the benefits which they have conferred better than those which they have received (for the recipient of a benefit is inferior to the benefactor, but such a man wishes to be in the position of a superior), and that they like to be reminded of the one, but dislike to be reminded of the other; and this is the reason why we read* that Thetis would not mention to Zeus the services she had done him, and why the Lacedæmonians, in treating with the Athenians, reminded them of the benefits received by Sparta rather than of those conferred by her.
It is characteristic of the high-minded man, again, never or reluctantly to ask favours, but to be ready to confer them, and to be lofty in his behaviour to those who are high in station and favoured by fortune, but affable to those of the middle ranks; for it is a difficult thing and a dignified thing to assert superiority over the former, but easy to assert it over the latter. A haughty demeanour in dealing with the great is quite consistent with good breeding, but in dealing with those of low estate is brutal, like showing off one’s strength upon a cripple.
Another of his characteristics is not to rush in wherever honour is to be won, nor to go where others take the lead, but to hold aloof and to shun an enterprise, except when great honour is to be gained, or a great work to be done—not to do many things, but great things and notable.
Again, he must be open in his hate and in his love (for it is cowardly to dissemble your feelings and to care less for truth than for what people will think of you), and he must be open in word and in deed (for his consciousness of superiority makes him outspoken, and he is truthful except in so far as he adopts an ironical tone in his intercourse with the masses), and he must be unable to fashion his life to suit another, except he be a friend; for that is servile: and so all flatterers or hangers on of great men are of a slavish nature, and men of low natures become flatterers.
Nor is he easily moved to admiration; for nothing is great to him.
He readily forgets injuries; for it is not consistent with his character to brood on the past, especially on past injuries, but rather to overlook them.
He is no gossip; he will neither talk about himself nor about others; for he cares not that men should praise him, nor that others should be blamed (though, on the other hand, he is not very ready to bestow praise); and so he is not apt to speak evil of others, not even of his enemies, except with the express purpose of giving offence.
When an event happens that cannot be helped or is of slight importance, he is the last man in the world to cry out or to beg for help; for that is the conduct of a man who thinks these events very important.
He loves to possess beautiful things that bring no profit, rather than useful things that pay; for this is characteristic of the man whose resources are in himself.
Further, the character of the high-minded man seems to require that his gait should be slow, his voice deep, his speech measured; for a man is not likely to be in a hurry when there are few things in which he is deeply interested, nor excited when he holds nothing to be of very great importance: and these are the causes of a high voice and rapid movements.
This, then, is the character of the high-minded man.
But he that is deficient in this quality is called little-minded; he that exceeds, vain or conceited.
Now these two also do not seem to be bad—for they do no harm—though they are in error.
For the little-minded man, though he deserves good things, deprives himself of that which he deserves, and so seems to be the worse for not claiming these good things, and for misjudging himself; for if he judged right he would desire what he deserves, as it is good. I do not mean to say that such people seem to be fools, but rather too retiring But a misjudgment of this kind does seem actually to make them worse; for men strive for that which they deserve, and shrink from noble deeds and employments of which they think themselves unworthy, as well as from mere external good things.
But vain men are fools as well as ignorant of themselves, and make this plain to all the world; For they undertake honourable offices for which they are unfit, and presently stand convicted of incapacity; they dress in fine clothes and put on fine airs and so on; they wish everybody to know of their good fortune; they talk about themselves, as if that were the way to honour.
But little-mindedness is more opposed to high-mindedness than vanity is; for it is both commoner and worse.
High-mindedness, then, as we have said, has to do with honour on a large scale.
Of a similar virtue in smaller matters.
But it appears (as we said at the outset) that there is also a virtue concerned with honour, which bears the same relation to high-mindedness that liberality bears to magnificence; i.e. both the virtue in question and liberality have nothing to do with great things, but cause us to behave properly in matters of moderate or of trifling importance. Just as in the taking and giving of money it is possible to observe the mean, and also to exceed or fall short of it, so it is possible in desire for honour to go too far or not far enough, or, again, to desire honour from the right source and in the right manner.
A man is called ambitious or fond of honour (ϕιλότιμος) in reproach, as desiring honour more than he ought, and from wrong sources; and a man is called unambitious, or not fond of honour (ἀϕιλότιμος) in reproach, as not desiring to be honoured even for noble deeds.
But sometimes a man is called ambitious or fond of honour in praise, as being manly and fond of noble things; and sometimes a man is called unambitious or not fond of honour in praise, as being moderate and temperate (as we said at the outset).
It is plain, then, that there are various senses in which a man is said to be fond of a thing, and that the term fond of honour has not always the same sense, but that as a term of praise it means fonder than most men, and as a term of reproach it means fonder than is right. But, as there is no recognized term for the observance of the mean, the extremes fight, so to speak, for what seems an empty place. But wherever there is excess and defect there is also a mean: and honour is in fact desired more than is right, and less: therefore* it may also be desired to the right degree: this character then is praised, being observance of the mean in the matter of honour, though it has no recognized name. Compared with ambition, it seems to be lack of ambition; compared with lack of ambition, it seems to be ambition; compared with both at once, it seems in a way to be both at once. This, we may observe, also happens in the case of the other virtues. But in this case the extreme characters seem to be opposed to one another [instead of to the moderate character], because the character that observes the mean has no recognized name.
Gentleness is moderation with respect to anger. But it must be noted that we have no recognized name for the mean, and scarcely any recognized names for the extremes. And so the term gentleness, which properly denotes an inclination towards deficiency in anger (for which also we have no recognized name), is applied to the mean.*
The excess may be called wrathfulness; for the emotion concerned is wrath or anger, though the things that cause it are many and various.
He then who is angry on the right occasions and with the right persons, and also in the right manner, and at the right season, and for the right length of time, is praised; we will call him gentle, therefore, since gentleness is used as a term of praise. For the man who is called gentle wishes not to lose his balance, and not to be carried away by his emotions or passions, but to be angry only in such manner, and on such occasions, and for such period as reason shall prescribe. But he seems to err rather on the side of deficiency; he is loth to take vengeance and very ready to forgive.
But the deficiency—call it wrathlessness or what you will—is censured. Those who are not angered by what ought to anger them seem to be foolish, and so do those who are not angry as and when and with whom they ought to be; for such a man seems to feel nothing and to be pained by nothing, and, as he is never angered, to lack spirit to defend himself. But to suffer one’s self to be insulted, or to look quietly on while one’s friends are being insulted, shows a slavish nature.
It is possible to exceed in all points, i.e. to be angry with persons with whom one ought not, and at things at which one ought not to be angry, and more than one ought, and more quickly, and for a longer time. All these errors, however, are not found in the same person. That would be impossible; for evil is self-destructive, and, if it appears in its entirety, becomes quite unbearable.
So we find that wrathful men get angry very soon, and with people with whom and at things at which they ought not, and more than they ought; but they soon get over their anger, and that is a very good point in their character. And the reason is that they do not keep in their anger, but, through the quickness of their temper, at once retaliate, and so let what is in them come to light, and then have done with it.
But those who are called choleric are excessively quick-tempered, and apt to be angered at anything and on any occasion; whence the name (ἀκρόχολοι).
Sulky men are hard to appease and their anger lasts long, because they keep it in. For so soon as we retaliate we are relieved: vengeance makes us cease from our anger, substituting a pleasant for a painful state. But the sulky man, as he does not thus relieve himself, bears the burden of his wrath about with him; for no one even tries to reason him out of it, as he does not show it, and it takes a long time to digest one’s anger within one’s self. Such men are exceedingly troublesome to themselves and their dearest friends.
Lastly, hard (χαλεπός) is the name we give to those who are offended by things that ought not to offend them, and more than they ought, and for a longer time, and who will not be appeased without vengeance or punishment.
Of the two extremes the excess is the more opposed to gentleness; for it is commoner (as men are naturally more inclined to vengeance); and a hard-tempered person is worse to live with [than one who is too easy-tempered].
What we said some time ago* is made abundantly manifest by what we have just been saying; it is not easy to define how, and with whom, and at what, and for how long one ought to be angry—how far it is right to go, and at what point misconduct begins. He who errs slightly from the right course is not blamed, whether it be on the side of excess or of deficiency; for sometimes we praise those who fall short and call them gentle, and sometimes those who behave hardly are called manly, as being able to rule. But what amount and kind of error makes a man blamable can scarcely be defined; for it depends upon the particular circumstances of each case, and can only be decided by immediate perception.
But so much at least is manifest, that on the one hand the habit which observes the mean is to be praised, i.e. the habit which causes us to be angry with the right persons, at the right things, in the right manner, etc.; and that, on the other hand, all habits of excess or deficiency deserve censure—slight censure if the error be trifling, graver censure if it be considerable, and severe censure if it be great.
It is evident, therefore, that we must strive for the habit which observes the mean.
This then may be taken as our account of the habits which have to do with anger.
In the matter of social intercourse, i.e. the living with others and joining with them in conversation and in common occupations, some men show themselves what is called obsequious — those who to please you praise everything, and never object to anything, but think they ought always to avoid giving pain to those whom they meet. Those who take the opposite line, and object to everything and never think for a moment what pain they may give, are called cross and contentious.
It is sufficiently plain that both these habits merit censure, and that the habit which takes the middle course between them is to be commended—the habit which makes a man acquiesce in what he ought and in the right manner, and likewise refuse to acquiesce. This habit or type of character has no recognized name, but seems most nearly to resemble friendliness (ϕιλία). For the man who exhibits this moderation is the same sort of man that we mean when we speak of an upright friend, except that then affection also is implied. This differs from friendliness in that it does not imply emotion and affection for those with whom we associate; for he who has this quality acquiesces when he ought, not because he loves or hates, but because that is his character. He will behave thus alike to those whom he knows and to those whom he does not know, to those with whom he is intimate and to those with whom he is not intimate, only that in each case he will behave as is fitting; for we are not bound to show the same consideration to strangers as to intimates, nor to take the same care not to pain them.
We have already said in general terms that such a man will behave as he ought in his intercourse with others, but we must add that, while he tries to contribute to the pleasure of others and to avoid giving them pain, he will always be guided by reference to that which is noble and fitting. It seems to be with the pleasures and pains of social intercourse that he is concerned. Now, whenever he finds that it is not noble, or is positively hurtful to himself, to contribute to any of these pleasures, he will refuse to acquiesce and will prefer to give pain. And if the pleasure is such as to involve discredit, and no slight discredit, or some injury to him who is the source of it, while his opposition will give a little pain, he will not acquiesce, but will set his face against it. But he will behave differently according as he is in the company of great people or ordinary people, of intimate friends or mere acquaintances, and so on, rendering to each his due; preferring, apart from other considerations, to promote pleasure, and loth to give pain, but regulating his conduct by consideration of the consequences, if they be considerable—by consideration, I mean, of what is noble and fitting. And thus for the sake of great pleasure in the future he will inflict a slight pain now.
The man who observes the mean, then, is something of this sort, but has no recognized name.
The man who always makes himself pleasant, if he aims simply at pleasing and has no ulterior object in view, is called obsequious; but if he does so in order to get some profit for himself, either in the way of money or of money’s worth, he is a flatterer.
But he who sets his face against everything is, as we have already said, cross and contentious.
But the extremes seem here to be opposed to one another [instead of to the mean], because there is no name for the mean.
The moderation which lies between boastfulness and irony (which virtue also lacks a name) seems to display itself in almost the same field.
It will be as well to examine these qualities also; for we shall know more about human character, when we have gone through each of its forms; and we shall be more fully assured that the virtues are modes of observing the mean, when we have surveyed them all and found that this is the case with every one of them.
We have already spoken of the characters that are displayed in social intercourse in the matter of pleasure and pain; let us now go on to speak in like manner of those who show themselves truthful or untruthful in what they say and do, and in the pretensions they put forward.
First of all, then, the boaster seems to be fond of pretending to things that men esteem, though he has them not, or not to such extent as he pretends; the ironical man, on the other hand, seems to disclaim what he has, or to depreciate it; while he who observes the mean, being a man who is “always himself” (αὐθέκαστός τις), is truthful in word and deed, confessing the simple facts about himself, and neither exaggerating nor diminishing them.
Now, each of these lines of conduct may be pursued either with an ulterior object or without one.
When he has no ulterior object in view, each man speaks and acts and lives according to his character.
But falsehood in itself is vile and blamable; truth is noble and praiseworthy in itself.
And so the truthful man, as observing the mean, is praiseworthy, while the untruthful characters are both blamable, but the boastful more than the ironical.
Let us speak then of each of them, and first of the truthful character.
We must remember that we are not speaking of the man who tells the truth in matters of business, or in matters which come within the sphere of injustice and justice (for these matters would belong to another virtue); the man we are considering is the man who in cases where no such important issues are involved is truthful in his speech and in his life, because that is his character.
Such a man would seem to be a good man (ἐπιεικής). For he who loves truth, and is truthful where nothing depends upon it, will still more surely tell the truth where serious interests are involved; he will shun falsehood as a base thing here, seeing that he shunned it elsewhere, apart from any consequences: but such a man merits praise.
He inclines rather towards under-statement than over-statement of the truth; and this seems to be the more suitable course, since all exaggeration is offensive.
On the other hand, he who pretends to more than he has with no ulterior object [the boaster proper] seems not to be a good character (for if he were he would not take pleasure in falsehood), but to be silly rather than bad.
But of boasters who have an ulterior object, he whose object is reputation or honour is not very severely censured (just as the boaster proper is not), but he whose object is money, or means of making money, is held in greater reproach.
But we must observe that what distinguishes the boaster proper from the other kinds of boasters, is not his faculty of boasting, but his preference for boasting: the boaster proper is a boaster by habit, and because that is his character; just as there is on the one hand the liar proper, who delights in falsehood itself, and on the other hand the liar who lies through desire of honour or gain.
Those who boast with a view to reputation pretend to those things for which a man is commended or is thought happy; those whose motive is gain pretend to those things which are of advantage to others, and whose absence may escape detection, e.g. to skill in magic or in medicine. And so it is usually something of this sort that men pretend to and boast of; for the conditions specified are realized in them.
Ironical people, on the other hand, with their depreciatory way of speaking of themselves, seem to be of a more refined character; for their motive in speaking thus seems to be not love of gain, but desire to avoid parade: but what they disclaim seems also* to be especially that which men esteem—of which Socrates was an instance.
But those who disclaim† petty advantages which they evidently possess are called affected (βαυκοπανο[Editor: illegible character]ργοι), and are more easily held in contempt. And sometimes this self-depreciation is scarcely distinguishable from boasting, as for instance dressing like a Spartan; for there is something boastful in extreme depreciation as well as in exaggeration.
But those who employ irony in moderation, and speak ironically in matters that are not too obvious and palpable, appear to be men of refinement.
Finally, the boaster seems to be especially the opposite of the truthful man; for he is worse than the ironical man.
Again, since relaxation is an element in our life, and one mode of relaxation is amusing conversation, it seems that in this respect also there is a proper way of mixing with others; i.e. that there are things that it is right to say, and a right way of saying them: and the same with hearing; though here also it will make a difference what kind of people they are in whose presence you are speaking, or to whom you are listening.
And it is plain that it is possible in these matters also to go beyond, or to fall short of, the mean.
Now, those who go to excess in ridicule seem to be buffoons and vulgar fellows, striving at all costs for a ridiculous effect, and bent rather on raising a laugh than on making their witticisms elegant and inoffensive to the subject of them. While those who will never say anything laughable themselves, and frown on those who do, are considered boorish and morose. But those who jest gracefully are called witty, or men of ready wit (εὐτράπελοι), as it were ready or versatile men.
For* a man’s character seems to reveal itself in these sallies or playful movements, and so we judge of his moral constitution by them, as we judge of his body by its movements.
But through the prominence given to ridiculous things, and the excessive delight which most people take in amusement and jesting, the buffoon is often called witty because he gives delight. But that there is a difference, and a considerable difference, between the two is plain from what we have said.
An element in the character that observes the mean in these matters is tact. A man of tact will only say and listen to such things as it befits an honest man and a gentleman to say and listen to; for there are things that it is quite becoming for such a man to say and to listen to in the way of jest, and the jesting of a gentleman differs from that of a man of slavish nature, and the jesting of an educated from that of an uneducated man.
This one may see by the difference between the old comedy and the new: the fun of the earlier writers is obscenity, of the later innuendo; and there is no slight difference between the two as regards decency.
Can good jesting, then, be defined as making jests that befit a gentleman, or that do not pain the hearer, or that even give him pleasure? Nay, surely a jest that gives pleasure to the hearer is something quite indefinite, for different things are hateful and pleasant to different people.
But the things that he will listen to will be of the same sort [as those that he will say, whatever that be]: jests that a man can listen to he can, we think, make himself.
So then there are jests that he will not make [though we cannot exactly define them]; for to make a jest of a man is to vilify him in a way, and the law forbids certain kinds of vilification, and ought perhaps also to forbid certain kinds of jesting.
The refined and gentlemanly man, therefore, will thus regulate his wit, being as it were a law to himself.
This then is the character of him who observes the mean, whether we call him a man of tact or a man of ready wit.
The buffoon, on the other hand, cannot resist an opportunity for a joke, and, if he can but raise a laugh, will spare neither himself nor others, and will say things which no man of refinement would say, and some of which he would not even listen to.
The boor, lastly, is wholly useless for this kind of intercourse; he contributes nothing, and takes everything in ill part. And yet recreation and amusement seem to be necessary ingredients in our life.
In conclusion, then, the modes just described of observing the mean in social life are three in number,* and all have to do with conversation or joint action of some kind: but they differ in that one has to do with truth, while the other two are concerned with what is pleasant; and of the two that are concerned with pleasure, one finds its field in our amusements, the other in all other kinds of social intercourse.
Of the feeling of shame
Shame (αἰδώς) cannot properly be spoken of as a virtue; for it is more like a feeling or emotion than a habit or trained faculty. At least, it is defined as a kind of fear of disgrace, and its effects are analogous to those of the fear that is excited by danger; for men blush when they are ashamed, while the fear of death makes them pale. Both then seem to be in a way physical, which is held to be a mark of a feeling or emotion, rather than of a habit or trained faculty.
Again, it is a feeling which is not becoming at all times of life, but only in youth; it is thought proper for young people to be ready to feel shame, because, as their conduct is guided by their emotions, they often are misled, but are restrained from wrong actions by shame.
And so we praise young men when they are ready to feel shame, but no one would praise a man of more advanced years for being apt to be ashamed; for we consider that he ought not to do anything which could make him ashamed of himself.
Indeed, shame is not the part of a good man, since it is occasioned by vile acts (for such acts should not be done: nor does it matter that some acts are really shameful, others shameful in public estimation only; for neither ought to be done, and so a man ought not to be ashamed); it is the part of a worthless man and the result* of being such as to do something shameful.
But supposing a man’s character to be such that, if he were to do one of these shameful acts, he would be ashamed, it is absurd for him to fancy that he is a good man on that account; for shame is only felt at voluntary acts, and a good man will never voluntarily do vile acts.
At the utmost, shame would be hypothetically good; that is to say, supposing he were to do the act, a good man would be ashamed: but there is nothing hypothetical about the virtues.
Again, granting that it is bad to be shameless, or not to be ashamed to do shameful things, it does not therefore follow that it is good to do them and be ashamed of it.
Continence,* in the same way, is not a virtue, but something between virtue and vice.
But we will explain this point about continence later;† let us now treat of justice.
THE SEVERAL MORAL VIRTUES AND VICES—concluded. JUSTICE.
Preliminary Two senses of justice distinguished justice (l) = obedience to law = complete virtue.
We now have to inquire about justice and injustice, and to ask what sort of acts they are concerned with, and in what sense justice observes the mean, and what are the extremes whose mean is that which is just. And in this inquiry we will follow the same method as before.
We see that all men intend by justice to signify the sort of habit or character that makes men apt to do what is just, and which further makes them act justly* and wish what is just; while by injustice they intend in like manner to signify the sort of character that makes men act unjustly and wish what is unjust. Let us lay this down, then, as an outline to work upon.
We thus oppose justice and injustice, because a habit or trained faculty differs in this respect both from a science and a faculty or power. I mean that whereas both of a pair of opposites come under the same science or power, a habit which produces a certain result does not also produce the opposite result; e.g. health produces healthy manifestations only, and not unhealthy; for we say a man has a healthy gait when he walks like a man in health.
[Not that the two opposites are unconnected.] In the first place, a habit is often known by the opposite habit, and often by its causes and results: if we know what good condition is, we can learn from that what bad condition is; and, again, from that which conduces to good condition we can infer what good condition itself is, and conversely from the latter can infer the former. For instance, if good condition be firmness of flesh, it follows that bad condition is flabbiness of flesh, and that what tends to produce firmness of flesh conduces to good condition.
And, in the second place, if one of a pair of opposite terms have more senses than one, the other term will also, as a general rule, have more than one; so that here, if the term “just” have several senses, the term “unjust” also will have several.
And in fact it seems that both “justice” and “injustice” have several senses, but, as the different things covered by the common name are very closely related, the fact that they are different escapes notice and does not strike us, as it does when there is a great disparity—a great difference, say, in outward appearance—as it strikes every one, for instance, that the κλείς (clavis, collar-bone) which lies under the neck of an animal is different from the κλείς (clavis, key) with which we fasten the door.
Let us then ascertain in how many different senses we call a man unjust.
Firstly, he who breaks the laws is considered unjust, and, secondly, he who takes more than his share, or the unfair man.
Plainly, then, a just man will mean (1) a law-abiding and (2) a fair man.
A just thing then will be (1) that which is in accordance with the law, (2) that which is fair; and the unjust thing will be (1) that which is contrary to law, (2) that which is unfair.
But since the unjust man, in one of the two senses of the word, takes more than his share, the sphere of his action will be good things—not all good things, but those with which good and ill fortune are concerned, which are always good in themselves, but not always good for us—the things that we men pray for and pursue, whereas we ought rather to pray that what is good in itself may be good for us, while we choose that which is good for us.
But the unjust man does not always take more than his share; he sometimes take less, viz. of those things which are bad in the abstract; but as the lesser evil is considered to be in some sort good, and taking more means taking more good, he is said to take more than his share. But in any case he is unfair; for this is a wider term which includes the other.
We found that the law-breaker is unjust, and the law-abiding man is just. Hence it follows that whatever is according to law is just in one sense of the word. [And this, we see, is in fact the case;] for what the legislator prescribes is according to law, and is always said to be just.
Now, the laws prescribe about all manner of things, aiming at the common interest of all, or of the best men, or of those who are supreme in the state (position in the state being determined by reference to personal excellence, or to some other such standard); and so in one sense we apply the term just to whatever tends to produce and preserve the happiness of the community, and the several elements of that happiness. The law bids us display courage (as not to leave our ranks, or run, or throw away our arms), and temperance (as not to commit adultery or outrage), and gentleness (as not to strike or revile our neighbours), and so on with all the other virtues and vices, enjoining acts and forbidding them, rightly when it is a good law, not so rightly when it is a hastily improvised one.
Justice, then, in this sense of the word, is complete virtue, with the addition that it is displayed towards others. On this account it is often spoken of as the chief of the virtues, and such that “neither evening nor morning star is so lovely;” and the saying has become proverbial, “Justice sums up all virtues in itself.”
It is complete virtue, first of all, because it is the exhibition of complete virtue: it is also complete because he that has it is able to exhibit virtue in dealing with his neighbours, and not merely in his private affairs; for there are many who can be virtuous enough at home, but fail in dealing with their neighbours.
This is the reason why people commend the saying of Bias, “Office will show the man;” for he that is in office ipso facto stands in relation to others,* and has dealings with them.
This, too, is the reason why justice alone of all the virtues is thought to be another’s good, as implying this relation to others; for it is another’s interest that justice aims at—the interest, namely, of the ruler or of our fellow-citizens.
While then the worst man is he who displays vice both in his own affairs and in his dealings with his friends, the best man is not he who displays virtue in his own affairs merely, but he who displays virtue towards others; for this is the hard thing to do.
Justice, then, in this sense of the word, is not a part of virtue, but the whole of it; and the injustice which is opposed to it is not a part of vice, but the whole of it.
How virtue differs from justice in this sense is plain from what we have said; it is one and the same character differently viewed:† viewed in relation to others, this character is justice; viewed simply as a certain character,‡ it is virtue.
Of justice (2) = fairness, how related to justice (1). What is just in distribution distinguished from what is just in correction.
We have now to examine justice in that sense in which it is a part of virtue—for we maintain that there is such a justice—and also the corresponding kind of injustice.
That the word is so used is easily shown. In the case of the other kinds of badness, the man who displays them, though he acts unjustly [in one sense of the word], yet does not take more than his share: for instance, when a man throws away his shield through cowardice, or reviles another through ill temper, or through illiberality refuses to help another with money. But when he takes more than his share, he displays perhaps no one of these vices, nor does he display them all, yet he displays a kind of badness (for we blame him), namely, injustice [in the second sense of the word].
We see, then, that there is another sense of the word injustice, in which it stands for a part of that injustice which is coextensive with badness, and another sense of the word unjust, in which it is applied to a part only of those things to which it is applied in the former sense of “contrary to law.”
Again, if one man commits adultery with a view to gain, and makes money by it, and another man does it from lust, with expenditure and loss of money, the latter would not be called grasping, but profligate, while the former would not be called profligate, but unjust [in the narrower sense]. Evidently, then, he would be called unjust because of his gain.
* Once more, acts of injustice, in the former sense, are always referred to some particular vice, as if a man commits adultery, to profligacy; if he deserts his comrade in arms, to cowardice; if he strikes another, to anger: but in a case of unjust gain, the act is referred to no other vice than injustice.
It is plain then that, besides the injustice which is coextensive with vice, there is a second kind of injustice, which is a particular kind of vice, bearing the same name* as the first, because the same generic conception forms the basis of its definition; i.e. both display themselves in dealings with others, but the sphere of the second is limited to such things as honour, wealth, security (perhaps some one name might be found to include all this class† ), and its motive is the pleasure of gain, while the sphere of the first is coextensive with the sphere of the good man’s action.
We have ascertained, then, that there are more kinds of justice than one, and that there is another kind besides that which is identical with complete virtue; we now have to find what it is, and what are its characteristics.
We have already distinguished two senses in which we speak of things as unjust, viz. (1) contrary to law, (2) unfair; and two senses in which we speak of things as just, viz. (1) according to law, (2) fair.
The injustice which we have already considered corresponds to unlawful.
But since unfair is not the same as unlawful, but differs from it as the part from the whole (for unfair is always unlawful, but unlawful is not always unfair), unjust and injustice in the sense corresponding to unfair will not be the same as unjust and injustice in the sense corresponding to unlawful, but different as the part from the whole; for this injustice is a part of complete injustice, and the corresponding justice is a part of complete justice. We must therefore speak of justice and injustice, and of that which is just and that which is unjust, in this limited sense.
We may dismiss, then, the justice which coincides with complete virtue and the corresponding injustice, the former being the exercise of complete virtue towards others, the latter of complete vice.
It is easy also to see how we are to define that which is just and that which is unjust in their corresponding senses [according to law and contrary to law]. For the great bulk, we may say, of the acts which are according to law are the acts which the law commands with a view to complete virtue; for the law orders us to display all the virtues and none of the vices in our lives.
But the acts which tend to produce complete virtue are those of the acts according to law which are prescribed with reference to the education of a man as a citizen. As for the education of the individual as such, which tends to make him simply a good man, we may reserve the question whether it belongs to the science of the state or not; for it is possible that to be a good man is not the same as to be a good citizen of any state whatever.*
But of justice as a part of virtue, and of that which is just in the corresponding sense, one kind is that which has to do with the distribution of honour, wealth, and the other things that are divided among the members of the body politic (for in these circumstances it is possible for one man’s share to be unfair or fair as compared with another’s); and another kind is that which has to give redress in private transactions.
The latter kind is again subdivided; for private transactions are (1) voluntary, (2) involuntary.
“Voluntary transactions or contracts” are such as selling, buying, lending at interest, pledging, lending without interest, depositing, hiring: these are called “voluntary contracts,” because the parties enter into them of their own will.
“Involuntary transactions,” again, are of two kinds: one involving secrecy, such as theft, adultery, poisoning, procuring, corruption of slaves, assassination, false witness; the other involving open violence, such as assault, seizure of the person, murder, rape, maiming, slander, contumely.
Of what is just in ditribution and its rule of geometrical proportion.
The unjust man [in this limited sense of the word], we say, is unfair, and that which is unjust is unfair.
Now, it is plain that there must be a mean which lies between what is unfair on this side and on that. And this is that which is fair or equal; for any act that admits of a too much and a too little admits also of that which is fair.
If then that which is unjust be unfair, that which is just will be fair, which indeed is admitted by all without further proof.
But since that which is fair or equal is a mean between two extremes, it follows that what is just will be a mean.
But equality or fairness implies two terms at least.*
It follows, then, that that which is just is both a mean quantity and also a fair amount relatively to something else and to certain persons—in other words, that, on the one hand, as a mean quantity it implies certain other quantities, i.e. a more and a less; and, on the other hand, as an equal or fair amount it involves two quantities,† and as a just amount it involves certain persons.
That which is just, then, implies four terms at least: two persons to whom justice is done, and two things.
And there must be the same “equality” [i.e. the same ratio] between the persons and the things: as the things are to one another, so must the persons be. For if the persons be not equal, their shares will not be equal; and this is the source of disputes and accusations, when persons who are equal do not receive equal shares, or when persons who are not equal receive equal shares.
This is also plainly indicated by the common phrase “according to merit.” For in distribution all men allow that what is just must be according to merit or worth of some kind, but they do not all adopt the same standard of worth; in democratic states they take free birth as the standard,* in oligarchic states they take wealth, in others noble birth, and in the true aristocratic state virtue or personal merit.
We see, then, that that which is just is in some sort proportionate. For not abstract numbers only, but all things that can be numbered, admit of proportion; proportion meaning equality of ratios, and requiring four terms at least.
That discrete proportion† requires four terms is evident at once. Continuous proportion also requires four terms: for in it one term is employed as two and is repeated; for instance, a/b = b/c. The term b then is repeated; and so, counting b twice over, we find that the terms of the proportion are four in number.
That which is just, then, requires that there be four terms at least, and that the ratio between the two pairs be the same, i.e. that the persons stand to one another in the same ratio as the things.
Let us say, then, a/b = c/d, or alternandoa/c = b/d.
The sums of these new pairs then will stand to one another in the original ratio [i.e. a + c/b + d = a/b or c/d ].
But these are the pairs which the distribution joins together;‡ and if the things be assigned in this manner, the distribution is just.
This joining, then, of a to c and of b to d is that which is just in distribution; and that which is just in this sense is a mean quantity, while that which is unjust is that which is disproportionate; for that which is proportionate is a mean quantity, but that which is just is, as we said, proportionate.
This proportion is called by the mathematicians a geometrical proportion; for it is when four terms are in geometrical proportion that the sum [of the first and third] is to the sum [of the second and fourth] in the original ratio [of the first to the second or the third to the fourth].
But this proportion [as applied in justice] cannot be a continuous proportion; for one term cannot represent both a person and a thing.
That which is just, then, in this sense is that which is proportionate; but that which is unjust is that which is disproportionate. In the latter case one quantity becomes more or too much, the other less or too little. And this we see in practice; for he who wrongs another gets too much, and he who is wronged gets too little of the good in question: but of the evil conversely; for the lesser evil stands in the place of good when compared with the greater evil: for the lesser evil is more desirable than the greater, but that which is desirable is good, and that which is more desirable is a greater good.
This then is one form of that which is just.
Of that which is just in correction, and its rule of arithmetical proportion.
It remains to treat of the other form, viz. that which is just in the way of redress, the sphere of which is private transactions, whether voluntary or involuntary.
This differs in kind from the former.
For that which is just in the distribution of a common stock of good things is always in accordance with the proportion above specified (even when it is a common fund that has to be divided, the sums which the several participants take must bear the same ratio to one another as the sums they have put in), and that which is unjust in the corresponding sense is that which violates this proportion.
But that which is just in private transactions* is indeed fair or equal in some sort, and that which is unjust is unfair or unequal; but the proportion to be observed here is not a geometrical proportion as above, but an arithmetical one.
For it makes no difference whether a good man defrauds a bad one, or a bad man a good one, nor whether a man who commits an adultery be a good or a bad man; the law looks only to the difference created by the injury, treating the parties themselves as equal, and only asking whether the one has done, and the other suffered, injury or damage.
That which is unjust, then, is here something unequal [or unfair] which the judge tries to make equal [or fair]. For even when one party is struck and the other strikes, or one kills and the other is killed, that which is suffered and that which is done may be said to be unequally or unfairly divided; the judge then tries to restore equality by the penalty or loss which he inflicts upon the offender, subtracting it from his gain.
For in such cases, though the terms are not always quite appropriate, we generally talk of the doer’s “gain” (e.g. the striker’s) and the sufferer’s “loss;” but when the suffering has been assessed by the court, what the doer gets is called “loss” or penalty, and what the sufferer gets is called “gain.”
What is fair or equal, then, is a mean between more or too much and less or too little; but gain and loss are both more or too much and less or too little in opposite ways, i.e. gain is more or too much good and less or too little evil, and loss the opposite of this.
And in the mean between them, as we found, lies that which is equal or fair, which we say is just.
That which is just in the way of redress, then, is the mean between loss and gain.
When disputes arise, therefore, men appeal to the judge:* and an appeal to the judge is an appeal to that which is just; for the judge is intended to be as it were a living embodiment of that which is just; and men require of a judge that he shall be moderate [or observe the mean], and sometimes even call judges “mediators” (μεσιδίους), signifying that if they get the mean they will get that which is just.
That which is just, then, must be a sort of mean, if the judge be a “mediator.”
But the judge restores equality; it is as if he found a line divided into two unequal parts, and were to cut off from the greater that by which it exceeds the half, and to add this to the less.
But when the whole is equally divided, the parties are said to have their own, each now receiving an equal or fair amount.
But the equal or fair amount is here the arithmetic mean between the more or too much and the less or too little. And so it is called δίκαιον (just) because there is equal division (δίχα); δίκαιον being in fact equivalent to δίχαιον, and δικαστής (judge) to διχαστής.
If you cut off a part from one of two equal lines and add it to the other, the second is now greater than the first by two such parts (for if you had only cut off the part from the first without adding it to the second, the second would have been greater by only one such part); the second exceeds the mean by one such part, and the mean also exceeds the first by one.
Thus we can tell how much to take away from him who has more or too much, and how much to add to him who has less or too little: to the latter’s portion must be added that by which it falls short of the mean, and from the former’s portion must be taken away that by which it exceeds the mean.
To illustrate this, let AA′, BB′, CC′ be three equal lines:—
From AA′ let AE be cut off; and let CD [equal to AE] be added to CC′; then the whole DCC′ exceeds EA′ by CD and CZ [equal to AE or CD], and exceeds BB′ by CD.
And this* holds good not only in geometry, but in the arts also; they could not exist unless that which is worked upon received an impression corresponding in kind and quantity and quality to the exertions of the artist.
But these terms, “loss” and “gain,” are borrowed from voluntary exchange. For in voluntary exchange having more than your own is called gaining, and having less than you started with is called losing (in buying and selling, I mean, and in the other transactions in which the law allows free play); but when the result to each is neither more nor less but the very same amount with which he started, then they say that they have their own, and are neither losers nor gainers. That which is just, then, is a mean between a gain and a loss, which are both contrary to the intention,* and consists in having after the transaction the equivalent of that which you had before it.
Simple requital is not identical with what is just, but proportionate requital is what is just in exchange; and this is effected by means of money. We can now give a general definition of justice (2).
Some people, indeed, go so far as to think that simple requital is just. And so the Pythagoreans used to teach; for their definition of what is just was simply that what a man has done to another should be done to him.
But this simple requital does not correspond either with that which is just in distribution or with that which is just in the way of redress (though they try to make out that this is the meaning of the Rhadamanthine rule—
“To suffer that which thou hast done is just”);
for in many cases it is quite different. For instance, if an officer strike a man, he ought not to be struck in return; and if a man strike an officer, he ought not merely to be struck, but to be punished.
Further, it makes a great difference whether what was done to the other was done with his consent or against it.
But it is true that, in the interchange of services, this is the rule of justice that holds society together, viz. requital—but proportionate requital, and not simple repayment of equals for equals. For the very existence of a state depends upon proportionate return. If men have suffered evil, they seek to return it; if not, if they cannot requite an injury, we count their condition slavish. And again, if men have received good, they seek to repay it: for otherwise there is no exchange of services; but it is by this exchange that we are bound together in society.
This is the reason why we set up a temple of the graces [charities, χάριτες] in sight of all men, to remind them to repay that which they receive; for this is the special characteristic of charity or grace. We ought to return the good offices of those who have been gracious to us, and then again to take the lead in good offices towards them.
But proportionate interchange is brought about by “cross conjunction.”
For instance, let A stand for a builder, B for a shoemaker, C for a house, D for shoes.*
The builder then must take some of the shoemaker’s work, and give him his own work in exchange.
Now, the desired result will be brought about if requital take place after proportionate equality has first been established.*
If this be not done, there is no equality, and intercourse becomes impossible; for there is no reason why the work of the one should not be worth more than the work of the other. Their work, then, must be brought to an equality [or appraised by a common standard of value].
This is no less true of the other arts and professions [than of building and shoemaking]; for they could not exist if that which the patient [client or consumer] receives did not correspond in quantity and quality with that which the agent [artist or producer] does or produces.†
For it is not between two physicians that exchange of services takes place, but between a physician and a husbandman, and generally between persons of different professions and of unequal worth; these unequal persons, then, have to be reduced to equality [or measured by a common standard].*
All things or services, then, which are to be exchanged must be in some way reducible to a common measure.
For this purpose money was invented, and serves as a medium of exchange; for by it we can measure everything, and so can measure the superiority and inferiority of different kinds of work—the number of shoes, for instance, that is equivalent to a house or to a certain quantity of food.
What is needed then is that so many shoes shall bear to a house (or a measure of corn) the same ratio that a builder [or a husbandman] bears to a shoemaker.† For unless this adjustment be effected, no dealing or exchange of services can take place; and it cannot be effected unless the things to be exchanged can be in some way made equal.
We want, therefore, some one common measure of value, as we said before.
This measure is, in fact, the need for each other’s services which holds the members of a society together; for if men had no needs, or no common needs, there would either be no exchange, or a different sort of exchange from that which we know.
But money has been introduced by convention as a kind of substitute for need or demand; and this is why we call it νόμισμα, because its value is derived, not from nature, but from law (νόμος), and can be altered or abolished at will.
Requital then will take place after the wares have been so equated [by the adjustment of prices] that the quantity of shoemaker’s work bears to the quantity of husbandman’s work [which exchanges for it] the same ratio that husbandman bears to shoemaker.* But this adjustment must be made,† not at the time of exchange (for then one of the two parties would get both the advantages‡ ), but while they are still in possession of their own wares; if this be done, they are put on an equal footing and can make an exchange, because this kind of equality can be established between them.
If A stand for a husbandman and C for a certain quantity of his work (or corn), B will stand for a shoemaker, and D for that quantity of shoemaker’s work that is valued as equal to C.
If they could not requite each other in this way, interchange of services would be impossible.
That it is our need which forms, as it were, a common bond to hold society together, is seen from the fact that people do not exchange unless they are in need of one another’s services (each party of the services of the other, or at least one party of the service of the other), as when that which one has, e.g. wine, is needed by other people who offer to export corn in return. This article, then [the corn to be exported], must be made equal [to the wine that is imported].*
But even if we happen to want nothing at the moment, money is a sort of guarantee that we shall be able to make an exchange at any future time when we happen to be in need; for the man who brings money must always be able to take goods in exchange.
Money is, indeed, subject to the same conditions as other things: its value is not always the same; but still it tends to be more constant than the value of anything else.
Everything, then, must be assessed in money; for this enables men always to exchange their services, and so makes society possible.
Money, then, as a standard, serves to reduce things to a common measure, so that equal amounts of each may be taken; for there would be no society if there were no exchange, and no exchange if there were no equality, and no equality if it were not possible to reduce things to a common measure.
In strictness, indeed, it is impossible to find any common measure for things so extremely diverse; but our needs give a standard which is sufficiently accurate for practical purposes.
There must, then, be some one common symbol for this, and that a conventional symbol; so we call it money (νόμισμα, νόμος). Money makes all things commensurable, for all things are valued in money. For instance, let A stand for a house, B for ten minæ, C for a bed; and let A = B/2, taking a house to be worth or equal to five minæ, and let C (the bed) = B/10. We see at once, then, how many beds are equal to one house, viz. five.
It is evident that, before money came into use, all exchange must have been of this kind: it makes no difference whether you give five beds for a house, or the value of five beds.
Thus we have described that which is unjust and that which is just. And now that these are determined, we can see that doing justice is a mean between doing and suffering injustice; for the one is having too much, or more, and the other too little, or less than one’s due.
We see also that the virtue justice is a kind of moderation or observance of the mean, but not quite in the same way as the virtues hitherto spoken of. It does indeed choose a mean, but both the extremes fall under the single vice injustice.*
We see also that justice is that habit in respect of which the just man is said to be apt to do deliberately that which is just; that is to say, in dealings between himself and another (or between two other parties), to apportion things, not so that he shall get more or too much, and his neighbour less or too little, of what is desirable, and conversely with what is disadvantageous, but so that each shall get his fair, that is, his proportionate share, and similarly in dealings between two other parties.
Injustice, on the contrary, is the character which chooses what is unjust, which is a disproportionate amount, that is, too much and too little of what is advantageous and disadvantageous respectively.
Thus injustice, as we say, is both an excess and a deficiency, in that it chooses both an excess and a deficiency—in one’s own affairs choosing excess of what is, as a general rule, advantageous, and deficiency of what is disadvantageous; in the affairs of others making a similarly disproportionate assignment, though in which way the proportion is violated will depend upon circumstances.
But of the two sides of the act of injustice, suffering is a lesser wrong than doing the injustice.
Let this, then, be accepted as our account, in general terms, of the nature of justice and injustice respectively, and of that which is just and that which is unjust.
(One can act unjustly without being unjust.) That which is just in the strict sense is between citizens only, for it implies law.
But since it is possible for a man to do an act of injustice without yet being unjust, what acts of injustice are there, such that the doing of them stamps a man at once as unjust in this or that particular way, e.g. as a thief, or an adulterer, or a robber?
Perhaps we ought to reply that there is no such difference in the acts.* A man might commit adultery, knowing what he was about, and yet be acting not from a deliberate purpose at all, but from a momentary passion. In such a case, then, a man acts unjustly, but is not unjust; e.g. is not a thief though he commits a theft, and is not an adulterer though he commits adultery, and so on.†
We have already explained the relation which requital bears to that which is just. But we must not fail to notice that what we are seeking is at once that which is just simply [or without any qualifying epithet], and that which is just in a state or between citizens.* Now, this implies men who associate together in order to supply their deficiencies, being free men, and upon a footing of equality, either absolute or proportionate.
Between those who are not upon this footing, then, we cannot speak of that which is just as between citizens (though there is something that can be called just metaphorically). For the term just cannot be properly applied, except where men have a law to appeal to,† and the existence of law implies the existence of injustice; for the administration of the law is the discrimination of what is just from what is unjust.
But injustice implies an act of injustice (though an act of injustice does not always imply injustice) which is taking too much of the goods and too little of the evils of life. And so we do not allow an individual to rule over us, but reason or law; for an individual is apt thus to take more for himself, and to become a tyrant.
The magistrate’s function, then, is to secure that which is just, and if that which is just, then that which is equal or fair. But it seems that he gets no advantage from his office, if he is just (for he does not take a larger share of the good things of life, except when that larger share is proportionate to his worth; he works, therefore, in the interests of others, which is the reason why justice is sometimes called “another’s good,” as we remarked before).* Some salary, therefore, must be given him, and this he receives in the shape of honours and privileges; and it is when magistrates are not content with these that they make themselves tyrants.
That which is just as between master and slave, or between father and child, is not the same as this, though like. We cannot speak (without qualification) of injustice towards what is part of one’s self—and a man’s chattels and his children (until they are of a certain age and are separated from their parent) are as it were a part of him—for no one deliberately chooses to injure himself; so that a man cannot be unjust towards himself.
We cannot speak in this case, then, of that which is unjust, or of that which is just as between citizens; for that, we found, is according to law, and subsists between those whose situation implies law, i.e., as we found, those who participate equally or fairly in governing and being governed.
The term just, therefore, is more appropriate to a man’s relations to his wife than to his relations to his children and his chattels, and we do speak in this sense of that which is just in a family; but even this is not the same as that which is just between citizens.*
It is in part natural, in part conventional.
Now, of that which is just as between citizens, part is natural, part is conventional. That is natural which has the same validity everywhere, and does not depend on our accepting or rejecting it; that is conventional which at the outset may be determined in this way or in that indifferently, but which when once determined is no longer indifferent; e.g. that a man’s ransom be a mina, or that a sacrifice consist of a goat and not of two sheep; and, again, those ordinances which are made for special occasions, such as the sacrifice to Brasidas [at Amphipolis], and all ordinances that are of the nature of a decree.
Now, there are people who think that what is just is always conventional, because that which is natural is invariable, and has the same validity everywhere, as fire burns here and in Persia, while that which is just is seen to be not invariable.
But this is not altogether true, though it is true in a way. Among the gods, indeed, we may venture to say it is not true at all; but of that which is just among us part is natural, though all is subject to change. Though all is subject to change, nevertheless, I repeat, part is natural and part not.
Nor is it hard to distinguish, among things that may be other than they are, that which is natural from that which is not natural but dependent on law or convention, though both are alike variable. In other fields we can draw the same distinction; we say, for instance, that the right hand is naturally the stronger, though in any man the left may become equally strong.
And so, of that which is just, that part which is conventional and prescribed with a view to a particular end* varies as measures vary; for the measures of wine and of corn are not everywhere the same, but larger where the dealers buy, and smaller where they sell.† So I say that which is just not by nature but merely by human ordinance is not the same everywhere, any more than constitutions are everywhere the same, though there is but one constitution that is naturally the best everywhere.
The terms “just” and “lawful” in each of their several senses stand for universal notions which embrace a number of particulars; i.e. the acts are many, but the notion is one, for it is applied to all alike.
“That which is unjust,” we must notice, is different from “an act of injustice,” and “that which is just” from “an act of justice:” for a thing is unjust either by nature or by ordinance; but this same thing when done is called “an act of injustice,” though before it was done it could only be called unjust. And so with “an act of justice” (δικαίωμα); though in the latter case we rather employ δικαιοπράγημα as the generic term, and restrict δικαίωμα to the correction of an act of injustice. But as to the several species of acts of justice and injustice, we must postpone for the present the inquiry into their nature and number and the ground which they cover.
The internal conditions of a just or unjust action, and of a just or unjust agent.
Now that we have ascertained what is just and what is unjust, we may say that a man acts unjustly or justly when he does these things voluntarily; but when he does them involuntarily, he does not, strictly speaking, act either unjustly or justly, but only “accidentally,” i.e. he does a thing which happens to be just or unjust.* For whether an act is or is not to be called an act of injustice (or of justice) depends upon whether it is voluntary or involuntary; for if it be voluntary the agent is blamed, and at the same time the act becomes an act of injustice: so something unjust may be done, and yet it may not be an act of injustice, i.e. if this condition of voluntariness be absent.
By a voluntary act I mean, as I explained before, anything which, being within the doer’s control, is done knowingly (i.e. with knowledge of the person, the instrument, and the result; e.g. the person whom and the instrument with which he is striking, and the effect of the blow), without the intervention at any point of accident or constraint; e.g. if another take your hand and with it strike a third person, that is not a voluntary act of yours, for it was not within your control; again, the man you strike may be your father, and you may know that it is a man, or perhaps that it is one of the company, that you are striking but not know that it is your father; and it must be understood that the same distinction is to be made with regard to the result, and, in a word, to the whole act. That then which either is done in ignorance, or, though not done in ignorance, is not under our control, or is done under compulsion, is involuntary; besides which, there are many natural processes in which we knowingly take an active or a passive part, which cannot be called either voluntary or involuntary, such as growing old and dying.
An accidentally unjust act and an accidentally just act are equally possible; e.g. a man might restore a deposit against his will for fear of consequences, and then you could not say that he did what was just or acted justly except accidentally:* and, similarly, a man who against his will was forcibly prevented from restoring a deposit would be said only accidentally to act unjustly or to do that which is unjust.
Voluntary acts, again, are divided into (1) those that are done of set purpose, and (2) those that are done without set purpose; i.e. (1) those that are done after previous deliberation, and (2) those that are done without previous deliberation.
Now, there are three ways in which we may hurt our neighbour. Firstly, a hurt done in ignorance is generally called a mistake when there is a misconception as to the person affected, or the thing done, or the instrument, or the result; e.g. I may not think to hit, or not to hit with this instrument, or not to hit this person, or not to produce this effect, but an effect follows other than that which was present to my mind; I may mean to inflict a prick, not a wound, or not to wound the person whom I wound, or not to deal a wound of this kind.
But [if we draw the distinction more accurately] when the hurt comes about contrary to what might reasonably be expected, it may be called a mishap: but when, though it is not contrary to what might reasonably be expected, there is still no vicious intention, it is a mistake; for a man makes a mistake when he sets the train of events in motion,* but he is unfortunate when an external agency interferes.†
Secondly, when the agent acts with knowledge but without previous deliberation, it is an act of injustice; e.g. when he is impelled by anger or any of the other passions to which man is necessarily or naturally subject. In doing such hurt and committing such errors, the doer acts unjustly and the acts are acts of injustice, though they are not such as to stamp him as unjust or wicked; for the hurt is not done out of wickedness.
But, thirdly, when it is done of set purpose, the doer is unjust and wicked.
On this account acts done in anger are rightly held not to be done of malice aforethought; for he who gave the provocation began it, not he who did the deed in a passion.
Again, in such cases as this last, what men dispute about is usually not whether the deed was done or not, but what the justice of the case is; for it is an apparent injustice that stirs the assailant’s wrath. There is a difference between cases of this kind and disputes about contracts: in the latter the question is a question of fact, and one or other of the parties must be a vicious character, unless his memory be at fault; but in these cases they agree about the facts, but differ as to which side is in the right (whereas the deliberate aggressor knows very well the rights of the case), so that the one thinks that he is wronged, while the other thinks differently.*
But if a man hurt another of set purpose, he acts unjustly, and acts of injustice (i.e. violations of what is proportionate and fair), when so done, stamp the doer as an unjust character.
In like manner a man is a just character when he of set purpose acts justly; but he is said to act justly if he merely do voluntarily that which is just.
Of involuntary injuries, on the other hand, some are pardonable, some unpardonable. Errors that are committed not merely in ignorance but by reason of ignorance are pardonable; but those that are committed not through ignorance but rather in ignorance, through some unnatural or inhuman passion, are not pardonable.†
Sundry questions about doing and suffering injustice
But it may be doubted whether we have sufficiently explained what it is to suffer and to do injustice. First of all, are these terms applicable to such a case as that which is described in those strange verses of Euripides?—
Is it really possible, I mean, to suffer injustice [or be wronged] voluntarily? or is suffering injustice always involuntary, as doing injustice is always voluntary?
Again, is suffering injustice always one way or the other (as doing injustice is always voluntary), or is it sometimes voluntary and sometimes involuntary?
Similarly with regard to having justice done to you: doing justice is always voluntary [as doing injustice is], so that one might expect that there is the same relation in both cases between the active and the passive, and that suffering injustice and having justice done to you are either both voluntary or both involuntary. But it would surely be absurd to maintain, even with regard to having justice done to you, that it is always voluntary; for some that have justice done to them certainly do not will it.
Again we may raise the question in this [more general] form: Can a man who has that which is unjust done to him always be said to suffer injustice [or be wronged]? or are there further conditions necessary for suffering as there are for doing injustice?
Both what I do and what I suffer may be (as we saw) “accidentally” just; and so also it may be “accidentally” unjust: for doing that which is unjust is not identical with doing injustice, nor is suffering that which is unjust the same as suffering injustice; and similarly with doing justice and having justice done to you. For to have injustice done to you implies some one that does injustice, and to have justice done to you implies some one that does justice.
But if to do injustice means simply to hurt a man voluntarily, and voluntarily means with knowledge of the person, the instrument, and the manner, then the incontinent man, who voluntarily hurts himself, will voluntarily suffer injustice, and it will be possible for a man to do injustice to himself—the possibility of which last is also one of the questions in dispute.
Again, a man might, through incontinence, voluntarily suffer himself to be hurt by another also acting voluntarily; so that in this case also a man might voluntarily suffer injustice.
I think rather that the above definition is incorrect, and that to “hurting with knowledge of the person, the instrument, and the manner,” we must add “against his wish.”* If we define it so, then a man may voluntarily be hurt and suffer that which is unjust, but cannot voluntarily have injustice done to him. (For no one wishes to be hurt,—even the incontinent man does not wish it, but acts contrary to his wish. No one wishes for anything that he does not think good; what the incontinent man does is not that which he thinks he ought to do.) But he that gives, as Glaucus gives to Diomede in Homer—
“Gold for his bronze, fivescore kine’s worth for nine,”
does not suffer injustice; for the giving rests with him, but suffering injustice does not rest with one’s self; there must be some one to do injustice.
It is plain, then, that suffering injustice cannot be voluntary.
There are still two questions that we purposed to discuss: (1) Is it the man who assigns or the man who receives a disproportionately large share that does injustice? (2) Is it possible to do injustice to yourself?
In the former case, i.e. if he who assigns and not he who receives the undue share does injustice, then if a man knowingly and voluntarily gives too much to another and too little to himself, he does injustice to himself. And this is what moderate persons are often thought to do; for the equitable man is apt to take less than his due. But the case is hardly so simple: it may be that he took a larger share of some other good, e.g. of good fame or of that which is intrinsically noble.
Again, the difficulty may be got over by reference to our definition of doing injustice; for in this case nothing is done to the man against his wish, so that no injustice is done him, but at most only harm.
It is plain, moreover, that the man who makes the unjust award does injustice, but not always he who gets more than his share; for a man does not always do injustice when we can say of what he does that it is unjust, but only when we can say that he voluntarily does that which is unjust; and that we can only say of the prime mover in the action, which in this case is the distributor and not the receiver.
Again, there are many senses of the word “do,” and in a certain sense an inanimate instrument, or my hand, or again my slave under my orders, may be said to slay; but though these may be said to do what is unjust, they cannot be said to act unjustly or to do an act of injustice.
Again, if a man unwittingly gives unjust judgment, he does not commit injustice in the sense of contravening that which is just according to law, nor is his judgment unjust in this sense, but in a certain sense it is unjust; for there is a difference between that which is just according to law and that which is just in the primary sense of the word: but if he knowingly gives unjust judgment, he is himself grasping at more than his share, in the shape either of favour with one party or vengeance on the other. The judge, then, who gives unjust judgment on these grounds, takes more than his due, quite as much as if he received a share of the unjust award; for even in the latter case a judge who awards a piece of land would receive, not land, but money.
Men fancy that as it is in their power to act unjustly, so it is an easy matter to be just. But it is not so. To lie with your neighbour’s wife, or to strike your neighbour, or to pass certain coins from your hand to his is easy enough, and always within your power, but to do these acts as the outcome of a certain character is not an easy matter, nor one which is always within your power.*
Similarly men think that to know what is just and what is unjust needs no great wisdom, since any one can inform himself about those things which the law prescribes (though these things are only accidentally, not essentially, just): but to know how these acts must be done and how these distributions must be made in order to be just,—that indeed is a harder matter than to know what conduces to health; though that is no easy matter. It is easy enough to know the meaning of honey, and wine, and hellebore, and cautery, and the knife, but to know how, and to whom, and when they must be applied in order to produce health, is so far from being easy, that to have this knowledge is to be a physician.
For the same reason, some people think that the just man is as able to act unjustly as justly, for he is not less but rather more capable than another of performing the several acts, e.g. of lying with a woman or of striking a blow, as the courageous man is rather more capable than another of throwing away his shield and turning his back and running away anywhere. But to play the coward or to act unjustly means not merely to do such an act (though the doer might be said “accidentally” to act unjustly),* but to do it in a certain frame of mind; just as to act the part of a doctor and to heal does not mean simply to apply the knife or not to apply it, to give or to withhold a drug, but to do this in a particular fashion.
Justice, lastly, implies persons who participate in those things that, generally speaking, are good, but who can have too much or too little of them. For some—for the gods perhaps—no amount of them is too much; and for others—for the incurably vicious—no amount is beneficial, they are always hurtful; but for the rest of mankind they are useful within certain limits: justice, therefore, is essentially human.
We have next to speak of equity and of that which is equitable, and to inquire how equity is related to justice, and that which is equitable to that which is just. For, on consideration, they do not seem to be absolutely identical, nor yet generically different. At one time we praise that which is equitable and the equitable man, and even use the word metaphorically as a term of praise synonymous with good, showing that we consider that the more equitable a thing is the better it is. At another time we reflect and find it strange that what is equitable should be praiseworthy, if it be different from what is just; for, we argue, if it be something else, either what is just is not good, or what is equitable is not good;† if both be good, they are the same.
These are the reflections which give rise to the difficulty about what is equitable. Now, in a way, they are all correct and not incompatible with one another; for that which is equitable, though it is better than that which is just (in one sense of the word), is yet itself just, and is not better than what is just in the sense of being something generically distinct from it. What is just, then, and what is equitable are generically the same, and both are good, though what is equitable is better.
But what obscures the matter is that though what is equitable is just, it is not identical with, but a correction of, that which is just according to law.
The reason of this is that every law is laid down in general terms, while there are matters about which it is impossible to speak correctly in general terms. Where, then, it is necessary to speak in general terms, but impossible to do so correctly, the legislator lays down that which holds good for the majority of cases, being quite aware that it does not hold good for all.
The law, indeed, is none the less correctly laid down because of this defect; for the defect lies not in the law, nor in the lawgiver, but in the nature of the subject-matter, being necessarily involved in the very conditions of human action.
When, therefore, the law lays down a general rule, but a particular case occurs which is an exception to this rule, it is right, where the legislator fails and is in error through speaking without qualification, to make good this deficiency, just as the lawgiver himself would do if he were present, and as he would have provided in the law itself if the case had occurred to him.
What is equitable, then, is just, and better than what is just in one sense of the word—not better than what is absolutely just, but better than that which fails through its lack of qualification. And the essence of what is equitable is that it is an amendment of the law, in those points where it fails through the generality of its language.
The reason why the law does not cover all cases is that there are matters about which it is impossible to lay down a law, so that they require a special decree. For that which is variable needs a variable rule, like the leaden rule employed in the Lesbian style of masonry; as the leaden rule has no fixed shape, but adapts itself to the outline of each stone, so is the decree adapted to the occasion.
We have ascertained, then, what the equitable course is, and have found that it is just, and also better than what is just in a certain sense of the word. And after this it is easy to see what the equitable man is: he who is apt to choose such a course and to follow it, who does not insist on his rights to the damage of others, but is ready to take less than his due, even when he has the law to back him, is called an equitable man; and this type of character is called equitableness, being a sort of justice, and not a different kind of character.
Can a man wrong himself?
The foregoing discussion enables us to answer the question whether it be possible or not for a man to act unjustly to himself.
That which is just in one sense of the word we found to be those manifestations of the several virtues which the law prescribes: e.g. the law does not order a man to kill himself; and what the law does not order it forbids: and, further, when a man, contrary to the law, voluntarily inflicts hurt without provocation, he acts unjustly (voluntarily meaning with knowledge of the person and the instrument). Now, the man who kills himself in a rage voluntarily acts thus against right reason and does what the law forbids: he acts unjustly therefore.
But unjustly to whom? To the state surely, not to himself; for he suffers voluntarily, but no one can have an injustice done him voluntarily. And upon this ground the state actually punishes him, i.e. it pronounces a particular kind of disfranchisement upon the man who destroys himself, as one who acts unjustly towards the state.
Again, if we take the word unjust in the other sense, in which it is used to designate not general badness, but a particular species of vice, we find that in this sense also it is impossible to act unjustly to one’s self. (This, we found, is different from the former sense of the word: the unjust man in this second sense is bad in the same way as the coward is bad, i.e. as having a particular form of vice, not as having a completely vicious character, nor do we mean to say that he displays a completely vicious character when we say that he acts unjustly). For if it were possible, it would be possible for the same thing at the same time to be taken from and added to the same person. But this is impossible; and, in fact, a just deed or an unjust deed always implies more persons than one.
Further, an act of injustice, besides being voluntary, if not deliberate, must be prior to hurt received (for he who, having received some hurt, repays the same that he received is not held to act unjustly); but he who hurts himself suffers that very hurt at the same time that he inflicts it.
Again, if it were possible for a man to act unjustly to himself, it would be possible to suffer injustice voluntarily.
Further, a man cannot act unjustly without doing an act of injustice of some particular kind; but no one commits adultery with his own wife, or burglariously breaks through his own walls, or steals his own property.
But the whole question about acting unjustly to one’s self is settled (without going into detail) by the answer we gave* to the question whether a man could voluntarily suffer injustice.
(It is plain that to suffer and to do injustice are both bad, for the one is to get less and the other more than the mean amount, which corresponds to what is healthy in medicine, or to what promotes good condition in gymnastics: but, though both are bad, to do injustice is the worse; for to do injustice is blamable and implies vice (either completely formed vice, what we call vice simply, or else that which is on the way to become vice; for a voluntary act of injustice does not always imply injustice), but to have injustice done to you is no token of a vicious and unjust character.
In itself, then, to be unjustly treated is less bad, but there is nothing to prevent its being accidentally the greater evil. Science, however, does not concern itself with these accidents, but calls a plcurisy a greater malady than a stumble; and yet the latter might, on occasion, accidentally become the greater, as, for instance, if a stumble were to cause you to fall and be caught or slain by the enemy.)
Though we cannot apply the term just to a man’s behaviour towards himself, yet we can apply it metaphorically and in virtue of a certain resemblance to the relations between certain parts of a man’s self—not, however, in all senses of the word just, but in that sense in which it is applied to the relations of master and slave, or husband and wife; for this is the sort of relation that exists between the rational and the irrational parts of the soul.
And it is this distinction of parts that leads people to fancy that there is such a thing as injustice to one’s self: one part of a man can have something done to it by another part contrary to its desires; and so they think that the term just can be applied to the relations of these parts to one another, just as to the relations of ruler and ruled.*
We may now consider that we have concluded our examination of justice and the other moral virtues.
THE INTELLECTUAL VIRTUES.
Must be studied because (a) reason prescribes the mean, (b) they are a part of human excellence. The intellect is (1) scientific, (2) calculative: we want the virtue of each.
We said above that what we should choose is neither too much nor too little, but “the mean,” and that “the mean” is what “right reason” prescribes. This we now have to explain.
Each of the virtues we have discussed implies (as every mental habit implies) some aim which the rational man keeps in view when he is regulating his efforts; in other words, there must be some standard for determining the several modes of moderation, which we say lie between excess and deficiency, and are in accordance with “right reason.” But though this is quite true, it is not sufficiently precise. In any kind of occupation which can be reduced to rational principles, it is quite true to say that we must brace ourselves up and relax ourselves neither too much nor too little, but “in moderation,” “as right reason orders;” but this alone would not tell one much; e.g. a man would hardly learn how to treat a case by being told to treat it as the art of medicine prescribes, and as one versed in that art would treat it.
So in the case of mental habits or types of character also it is not enough that the rule we have laid down is correct; we need further to know precisely what this right reason is, and what is the standard which it affords.
* The virtues or excellences of the mind or soul, it will be remembered, we divided† into two classes, and called the one moral and the other intellectual. The moral excellences or virtues we have already discussed in detail; let us now examine the other class, the intellectual excellences, after some preliminary remarks about the soul.
We said before that the soul consists of two parts, the rational and the irrational part. We will now make a similar division of the former, and will assume that there are two rational faculties: (1) that by which we know those things that depend on invariable principles, (2) that by which we know those things that are variable. For to generically different objects must correspond generically different faculties, if, as we hold, it is in virtue of some kind of likeness or kinship with their objects that our faculties are able to know them.
Let us call the former the scientific or demonstrative, the latter the calculative or deliberative faculty. For to deliberate is the same as to calculate, and no one deliberates about things that are invariable. One division then of the rational faculty may be fairly called the calculative faculty.
Our problem, then, is to find what each of these faculties becomes in its full development, or in its best state; for that will be its excellence or virtue.
But its excellence will bear direct reference to its proper function.
The function of the intellect, both in practice and speculation, is to attain truth.
Now, the faculties which guide us in action and in the apprehension of truth are three: sense, reason,* and desire.
The first of these cannot originate action, as we see from the fact that brutes have sense but are incapable of action.
If we take the other two we find two modes of reasoning, viz. affirmation and negation [or assent and denial], and two corresponding modes of desire, viz. pursuit and avoidance [or attraction and repulsion].
Now, moral virtue is a habit or formed faculty of choice or purpose, and purpose is desire following upon deliberation.
It follows, then, that if the purpose is to be all it should be, both the calculation or reasoning must be true and the desire right, and that the very same things must be assented to by the former and pursued by the latter.
This kind of reasoning, then, and this sort of truth has to do with action.
But speculative reasoning that has to do neither with action nor production is good or bad according as it is true or false simply: for the function of the intellect is always the apprehension of truth; but the function of the practical intellect is the apprehension of truth in agreement with right desire.
Purpose, then, is the cause—not the final but the efficient cause or origin—of action, and the origin of purpose is desire and calculation of means; so that purpose necessarily implies on the one hand the faculty of reason and its exercise, and on the other hand a certain moral character or state of the desires; for right action and the contrary kind of action are alike impossible without both reasoning and moral character.
Mere reasoning, however, can never set anything going, but only reasoning about means to an end—what may be called practical reasoning (which practical reasoning also regulates production; for in making anything you always have an ulterior object in view—what you make is desired not as an end in itself, but only as a means to, or a condition of, something else; but what you do is an end in itself, for well-doing or right action is the end, and this is the object of desire).
Purpose, then, may be called either a reason that desires, or a desire that reasons; and this faculty of originating action constitutes a man.
No past event can be purposed; e.g. no one purposes to have sacked Troy; for no one deliberates about that which is past, but about that which is to come, and which is variable: but the past cannot be undone; so that Agathon is right when he says—
We have thus found that both divisions of the reason, or both the intellectual faculties, have the attainment of truth for their function; that developed state of each, then, in which it best attains truth will be its excellence or virtue.
Of the five modes of attaining truth: (1) of demonstrative science of things invariable.
Let us describe these virtues then, starting afresh from the beginning.
Let us assume that the modes in which the mind arrives at truth, either in the way of affirmation or negation, are five in number, viz. art, science, prudence, wisdom, reason;* for conception and opinion may be erroneous.
What science is we may learn from the following considerations (for we want a precise account, and must not content ourselves with metaphors). We all suppose that what we know with scientific knowledge is invariable; but of that which is variable we cannot say, so soon as it is out of sight, whether it is in existence or not. The object of science, then, is necessary. Therefore it is eternal: for whatever is of its own nature necessary is eternal: and what is eternal neither begins nor ceases to be.
Further, it is held that all science can be taught, and that what can be known in the way of science can be learnt. But all teaching starts from something already known, as we have explained in the Analytics; for it proceeds either by induction or by syllogism. Now, it is induction that leads the learner up to universal principles, while syllogism starts from these. There are principles, then, from which syllogism starts, which are not arrived at by syllogism, and which, therefore, must be arrived at by induction.*
Science, then, may be defined as a habit or formed faculty of demonstration, with all the further qualifications which are enumerated in the Analytics. It is necessary to add this, because it is only when the principles of our knowledge are accepted and known to us in a particular way, that we can properly be said to have scientific knowledge; for unless these principles are better known to us than the conclusions based upon them, our knowledge will be merely accidental.†
This, then, may be taken as our account of science.
Of knowledge of things variable, viz. (2) of art in what we make;
That which is variable includes that which man makes and that which man does; but making or production is different from doing or action (here we adopt the popular distinctions). The habit or formed faculty of acting with reason or calculation, then, is different from the formed faculty of producing with reason or calculation. And so the one cannot include the other; for action is not production, nor is production action.
Now, the builder’s faculty is one of the arts, and may be described as a certain formed faculty of producing with calculation; and there is no art which is not a faculty of this kind, nor is there any faculty of this kind which is not an art: an art, then, is the same thing as a formed faculty of producing with correct calculation.
And every art is concerned with bringing something into being, i.e. with contriving or calculating how to bring into being some one of those things that can either be or not be, and the cause of whose production lies in the producer, not in the thing itself which is produced. For art has not to do with that which is or comes into being of necessity, nor with the products of nature; for these have the cause of their production in themselves.
Production and action being different, art of course has to do with production, and not with action. And, in a certain sense, its domain is the same as that of chance or fortune, as Agathon says—
“Art waits on fortune, fortune waits on art.”
Art, then, as we said, is a certain formed faculty or habit of production with correct reasoning or calculation, and the contrary of this (ἀτεχνία) is a habit of production with incorrect calculation, the field of both being that which is variable.
and (3) of prudence in what we do, the virtue of the calculative intellect.
In order to ascertain what prudence is, we will first ask who they are whom we call prudent.
It seems to be characteristic of a prudent man that he is able to deliberate well about what is good or expedient for himself, not with a view to some particular end, such as health or strength, but with a view to well-being or living well.
This is confirmed by the fact that we apply the name sometimes to those who deliberate well in some particular field, when they calculate well the means to some particular good end, in matters that do not fall within the sphere of art. So we may say, generally, that a man who can deliberate well is prudent.
But no one deliberates about that which cannot be altered, nor about that which it is not in his power to do.
Now science, we saw, implies demonstration; but things whose principles or causes are variable do not admit of demonstration; for everything that depends upon these principles or causes is also variable; and, on the other hand, things that are necessarily determined do not admit of deliberation. It follows, therefore, that prudence cannot be either a science or an art: it cannot be a science, because the sphere of action is that which is alterable; it cannot be an art, because production is generically different from action.
It follows from all this that prudence is a formed faculty that apprehends truth by reasoning or calculation, and issues in action, in the domain of human good and ill; for while production has another end than itself, this is not so with action, since good action or well doing is itself the end.
For this reason Pericles and men who resemble him are considered prudent, because they are able to see what is good for themselves and for men; and this we take to be the character of those who are able to manage a household or a state.
This, too, is the reason why we call temperance σωϕροσύνη, signifying thereby that it is the virtue which preserves prudence. But what temperance preserves is this particular kind of judgment. For it is not any kind of judgment that is destroyed or perverted by the presentation of pleasant or painful objects (not such a judgment, for instance, as that the angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles), but only judgments about matters of practice. For the principles of practice [or the causes which originate action]* are the ends for the sake of which acts are done; but when a man is corrupted by pleasure or pain, he straightway loses sight of the principle, and no longer sees that this is the end for the sake of which, and as a means to which, each particular act should be chosen and done; for vice is apt to obliterate the principle.
Our conclusion then is that prudence is a formed faculty which apprehends truth by reasoning or calculation, and issues in action, in the field of human good.
Moreover, art [or the artistic faculty] has its excellence [or perfect development] in something other than itself, but this is not so with prudence. Again, in the domain of art voluntary error is not so bad as involuntary, but it is worse in the case of prudence, as it is in the case of all the virtues or excellences. It is plain, then, that prudence is a virtue or excellence, and not an art.
And the rational parts of the soul or the intellectual faculties being two in number, prudence will be the virtue of the second, [the calculative part or] the faculty of opinion; for opinion deals with that which is variable, and so does prudence.
But it is something more than “a formed faculty of apprehending truth by reasoning or calculation;” as we see from the fact that such a faculty may be lost, but prudence, once acquired, can never be lost.*
(4) Of intuitive reason as the basis of demonstrative science.
Science is a mode of judging that deals with universal and necessary truths; but truths that can be demonstrated depend upon principles, and (since science proceeds by demonstrative reasoning) every science has its principles. The principles, then, on which the truths of science depend cannot fall within the province of science, nor yet of art or prudence; for a scientific truth is one that can be demonstrated, but art and prudence have to do with that which is variable.
Nor can they fall within the province of wisdom; for it is characteristic of the wise man to have a demonstrative knowledge of certain things.
But the habits of mind or formed faculties by which we apprehend truth without any mixture of error, whether in the domain of things invariable or in the domain of things variable, are science, prudence, wisdom, and reason.† If then no one of the first three (prudence, science, wisdom) can be the faculty which apprehends these principles, the only possible conclusion is that they are apprehended by reason.
(5) Of wisdom as the union of science and intuitive reason. Comparison of the two intellectual virtues, wisdom and prudence.
The term σοϕία (wisdom* ) is sometimes applied in the domain of the arts to those who are consummate masters of their art; e.g. it is applied to Phidias as a master of sculpture, and to Polyclitus for his skill in portrait-statues; and in this application it means nothing else than excellence of art or perfect development of the artistic faculty.
But there are also men who are considered wise, not in part nor in any particular thing (as Homer says in the Margites—
but generally wise. In this general sense, then, wisdom plainly will be the most perfect of the sciences.
The wise man, then, must not only know what follows from the principles of knowledge, but also know the truth about those principles. Wisdom, therefore, will be the union of [intuitive] reason with [demonstrative] scientific knowledge, or scientific knowledge of the noblest objects with its crowning perfection, so to speak, added to it. For it would be absurd to suppose that the political faculty or prudence is the highest of our faculties, unless indeed man is the best of all things in the universe.
Now, as the terms wholesome and good mean one thing in the case of men and another in the case of fishes, while white and straight always have the same meaning, we must all allow that wise means one thing always, while prudent means different things; for we should all say that those who are clear-sighted in their own affairs are prudent, and deem them fit to be entrusted with those affairs. (And for this reason we sometimes apply the term prudent even to animals, when they show a faculty of foresight in what concerns their own life.)
Moreover, it is plain that wisdom cannot be the same as statesmanship. If we apply the term wisdom to knowledge of what is advantageous to ourselves, there will be many kinds of wisdom; for the knowledge of what is good will not be one and the same for all animals, but different for each species. It can no more be one than the art of healing can be one and the same for all kinds of living things.
Man may be superior to all other animals, but that will not make any difference here; for there are other things of a far diviner nature than man, as—to take the most conspicuous instance—the heavenly bodies.
It is plain, then, after what we have said, that wisdom is the union of scientific [or demonstrative] knowledge and [intuitive] reason about objects of the noblest nature.
And on this account people call Anaxagoras and Thales and men of that sort wise, but not prudent, seeing them to be ignorant of their own advantage; and say that their knowledge is something out of the common, wonderful, hard of attainment, nay superhuman, but useless, since it is no human good that they seek.
Prudence, on the other hand, deals with human affairs, and with matters that admit of deliberation: for the prudent man’s special function, as we conceive it, is to deliberate well; but no one deliberates about what is invariable, or about matters in which there is not some end, in the sense of some realizable good. But a man is said to deliberate well (without any qualifying epithet) when he is able, by a process of reasoning or calculation, to arrive at what is best for man in matters of practice.
Prudence, moreover, does not deal in general propositions only, but implies knowledge of particular facts also; for it issues in action, and the field of action is the field of particulars.
This is the reason why some men that lack [scientific] knowledge are more efficient in practice than others that have it, especially men of wide experience; for if you know that light meat is digestible and wholesome, but do not know what meats are light, you will not be able to cure people so well as a man who only knows that chicken is light and wholesome.
But prudence is concerned with practice; so that it needs knowledge both of general truths and of particular facts, but more especially the latter.
But here also [i.e. in the domain of practice] there must be a supreme form of the faculty [which we will now proceed to consider].
Prudence compared with statesmanship and other forms of knowledge.
And in fact statesmanship and prudence are the same faculty, though they are differently manifested.
Of this faculty in its application to the state the supreme form is the legislative faculty, but the special form which deals with particular cases is called by the generic name statesmanship. The field of the latter is action and deliberation; for a decree directly concerns action, as the last link in the chain.* And on this account those engaged in this field are alone said to be statesmen, for they alone act like handicraftsmen.
But it is when applied to the individual and to one’s own affairs that this faculty is especially regarded as prudence, and this is the form which receives the generic name prudence or practical wisdom (the other forms being (1) the faculty of managing a household, (2) the legislative faculty, (3) statesmanship [in the narrower sense], which is subdivided into (a) the deliberative, (b) the judicial faculty).
Knowing one’s own good, then, would seem to be a kind of knowledge (though it admits of great variety),† and, according to the general opinion, he who knows and attends to his own affairs is prudent, while statesmen are busybodies, as Euripides says—
For men generally seek their own good, and fancy that is what they should do; and from this opinion comes the notion that these men are prudent.
And yet, perhaps, it is not possible for a man to manage his own affairs well without managing a household and taking part in the management of a state.
Moreover, how a man is to manage his own affairs is not plain and requires consideration. And this is attested by the fact that a young man may become proficient in geometry or mathematics and wise* in these matters, but cannot possibly, it is thought, become prudent. The reason of this is that prudence deals with particular facts, with which experience alone can familiarize us; but a young man must be inexperienced, for experience is the fruit of years.
Why again, we may ask, can a lad be a mathematician but not wise, nor proficient in the knowledge of nature? And the answer surely is that mathematics is an abstract science, while the principles of wisdom and of natural science are only to be derived from a large experience;† and that thus, though a young man may repeat propositions of the latter kind, he does not really believe them, while he can easily apprehend the meaning of mathematical terms.
Error in deliberation, again, may lie either in the universal or in the particular judgment; for instance, you may be wrong in judging that all water that weighs heavy is unwholesome, or in judging that this water weighs heavy. But prudence [in spite of its universal judgments] plainly is not science; for, as we said,* it deals with the ultimate or particular fact [the last link in the chain], for anything that can be done must be of this nature.
And thus it is in a manner opposed to the intuitive reason also: the intuitive reason deals with primary principles which cannot be demonstrated, while prudence deals with ultimate [particular] facts which cannot be scientifically proved, but are perceived by sense—not one of the special senses, but a sense analogous to that by which we perceive in mathematics that this ultimate [particular] figure is a triangle;† for here too our reasoning must come to a stand. But this faculty [by which we apprehend particular facts in the domain of practice] should, after all, be called sense rather than prudence; for prudence cannot be defined thus.‡
Inquiry and deliberation are not the same; for deliberation is a particular kind of inquiry. But we must ascertain what good deliberation is—whether it is a kind of science or opinion, or happy guessing, or something quite different.
It is not science; for we do not inquire about that which we know: but good deliberation is a kind of deliberation, and when we deliberate we inquire and calculate.
Nor is it happy guessing; for we make happy guesses without calculating and in a moment, but we take time to deliberate, and it is a common saying that execution should be swift, but deliberation slow.
Good deliberation, again, is different from sagacity, which is a kind of happy guessing.
Nor is it any kind of opinion.
But since in deliberating ill we go wrong, and in deliberating well we go right, it is plain that good deliberation is a kind of rightness, but a rightness or correctness neither of science nor opinion; for science does not admit of correctness (since it does not admit of error), and correctness of opinion is simply truth; and, further, that concerning which we have an opinion is always something already settled.
Good deliberation, however, is impossible without calculation.
We have no choice left, then, but to say that it is correctness of reasoning (διάνοια); for reasoning is not yet assertion: and whereas opinion is not an inquiry, but already a definite assertion, when we are deliberating, whether well or ill, we are inquiring and calculating.
But as good deliberation is a kind of correctness in deliberation, we must first inquire what deliberation means, and what its field is.*
Now, there are various kinds of correctness, and it is plain that not every kind of correctness in deliberation is good deliberation; for the incontinent man or the vicious man may duly arrive, by a process of calculation, at the end which he has in view,* so that he will have deliberated correctly, though what he gains is a great evil. But to have deliberated well is thought to be a good thing; for it is only a particular kind of correctness in deliberation that is called good deliberation—that, namely, which arrives at what is good.
But, further, what is good may be arrived at by a false syllogism; I mean that a right conclusion as to what is to be done may be arrived at in a wrong way or upon wrong grounds—the middle term being wrong;† so that what leads to a right conclusion as to what should be done is not good deliberation, unless the grounds also be right.
A further difference is that one may arrive at the right conclusion slowly, another rapidly. So we must add yet another condition to the above, and say that good deliberation means coming to a right conclusion as to what is expedient or ought to be done, and coming to it in the right manner and at the right time.
Again, we speak of deliberating well simply, and of deliberating well with a view to a particular kind of end. So good deliberation simply [or without any qualifying epithet] is that which leads to right conclusions as to the means to the end simply; a particular kind of good deliberation is that which leads to right conclusions as to the means to a particular kind of end. And so, when we say that prudent men must deliberate well, good deliberation in this case will be correctness in judging what is expedient to that end of which prudence has a true conception.
The faculty of intelligence or sound intelligence, in respect of which we say a man is intelligent or of sound intelligence, is not the same as science generally, nor as opinion (for then all men would be intelligent), nor is it identical with any particular science, such as medicine, which deals with matters of health, and geometry, which deals with magnitudes; for intelligence has not to do with what is eternal and unchangeable, nor has it to do with events of every kind, but only with those that one may doubt and deliberate about. And so it has to do with the same matters as prudence; but they are not identical: prudence issues orders, for its scope is that which is to be done or not to be done; while intelligence discerns merely (intelligence being equivalent to sound intelligence, and an intelligent man to a man of sound intelligence).
Intelligence, in fact, is equivalent neither to the possession nor to the acquisition of prudence; but just as the learner in science is said to show intelligence when he makes use of the scientific knowledge which he hears from his teacher, so in the domain of prudence a man is said to show intelligence when he makes use of the opinions which he hears from others in judging, and judging fitly—for soundly [when we speak of sound intelligence] means fitly.
And from this use of the term with regard to learning comes its employment to denote that faculty which we imply when we call a man intelligent; for we often speak of the intelligence of a learner.
Of judgment Of reason or intuitive perception as the basis of the practical intellect.
Judgment (what we mean when we speak of a man of kindly judgment, or say a man has judgment) is a correct discernment of that which is equitable. For the equitable man is thought to be particularly kindly in his judgments, and to pass kindly judgments on some things is considered equitable. But kindly judgment (συγγνώμη) is judgment (γνώμη) which correctly discerns that which is equitable—correctly meaning truly.
Now, all these four formed faculties which we have enumerated not unnaturally tend in the same direction. We apply all these terms—judgment, intelligence, prudence, and reason—to the same persons, and talk of people as having, at a certain age, already acquired judgment and reason, and as being prudent and intelligent. For all these four faculties deal with ultimate and particular* facts, and it is in virtue of a power of discrimination in the matters with which prudence deals that we call a person intelligent, or a man of sound judgment, or kindly judgment; for equitable is a common term that is applicable to all that is good in our dealings with others.
But that which is to be done is always some particular thing, something ultimate. As we have seen, it is the business of the prudent man to know it, and intelligence and judgment also have to do with that which is to be done, which is something ultimate.
And the intuitive reason [the last of the four faculties above enumerated] also deals with ultimate truths, in both senses of the word;* for both primary principles and ultimate facts [in the narrower sense of the word ultimate = particular] are apprehended by the intuitive reason, and not by demonstration: on the one hand, in connection with deductions [of general truths in morals and politics],† reason apprehends the unalterable first principles; on the other hand, in connection with practical calculations, reason apprehends the ultimate [particular] alterable fact (which forms the minor premise [in the practical syllogism]. These particular judgments, we may say, are given by reason, as they are the source of our conception of the final cause or end of man; the universal principle is elicited from the particular facts: these particular facts, therefore, must be apprehended by a sense or intuitive perception; and this is reason.‡
And so it is thought that these faculties are natural, and that while nature never makes a man wise, she does endow men with judgment and intelligence and reason. This is shown by the fact that these powers are believed to accompany certain periods of life, and that a certain age is said to bring reason and judgment, implying that they come by nature.
(The intuitive reason, then, is both beginning and end; for demonstration both starts from and terminates in these ultimate truths.)
And on this account we ought to pay the same respect to the undemonstrated assertions and opinions of men of age and experience and prudence as to their demonstrations. For experience has given them a faculty of vision which enables them to see correctly.*
We have said, then, what prudence is, and what wisdom is, and what each deals with, and that each is the virtue of a different part of the soul.
Of the uses of wisdom and prudence. How prudence is related to cleverness.
But here an objection may be raised. “What is the use of them?” it may be asked. “Wisdom does not consider what tends to make man happy (for it does not ask how anything is brought about). Prudence indeed does this, but why do we need it? Prudence is the faculty which deals with what is just and noble and good for man, i.e. with those things which it is the part of the good man to do; but the knowledge of them no more makes us apter to do them, if (as has been said) the [moral] virtues are habits, than it does in the case of what is healthy and wholesome—healthy and wholesome, that is, not in the sense of conducing to, but in the sense of issuing from, a healthy habit; for a knowledge of medicine and gymnastics does not make us more able to do these things.
“But if it be meant that a man should be prudent, not in order that he may do these acts, but in order that he may become able to do them, then prudence will be no use to those who are good, nor even to those who are not. For it will not matter whether they have prudence themselves, or take the advice of others who have it. It will be enough to do in these matters as we do in regard to health; for if we wish to be in health, we do not go and learn medicine.
“Again, it seems to be a strange thing that prudence, though inferior to wisdom, must yet govern it, since in every field the practical faculty bears sway and issues orders.”
We must now discuss these points; for hitherto we have been only stating objections.
First, then, we may say that both prudence and wisdom must be desirable in themselves, since each is the virtue of one of the parts of the soul, even if neither of them produces anything.
Next, they do produce something.
On the one hand, wisdom produces happiness, not in the sense in which medicine produces health, but in the sense in which health produces health;* that is to say, wisdom being a part of complete virtue, its possession and exercise make a man happy.
On the other hand [in the sphere of action], man performs his function perfectly when he acts in accordance with both prudence and moral virtue; for while the latter ensures the rightness of the end aimed at, the former ensures the rightness of the means thereto.
The fourth† part of the soul, the vegetative part, or the faculty of nutrition, has no analogous excellence; for it has no power to act or not to act.
But as to the objection that prudence makes us no more apt to do what is noble and just, let us take the matter a little deeper, beginning thus:—
We allow, on the one hand, that some who do just acts are not yet just; e.g. those who do what the laws enjoin either unwillingly or unwittingly, or for some external motive and not for the sake of the acts themselves (though they do that which they ought and all that a good man should do). And, on the other hand, it seems that when a man does the several acts with a certain disposition he is good; i.e. when he does them of deliberate purpose, and for the sake of the acts themselves.
Now, the rightness of the purpose is secured by [moral] virtue, but to decide what is proper to be done in order to carry out the purpose belongs not to [moral] virtue, but to another faculty. But we must dwell a little on this point and try to make it quite clear.
There is a faculty which we call cleverness (δεινότης)—the power of carrying out the means to any proposed end, and so achieving it. If then the end be noble, the power merits praise; but if the end be base, the power is the power of the villain. So we apply the term clever both to the prudent man and the villain.*
Now, this power is not identical with prudence, but is its necessary condition. But this power, the “eye of the soul” as we may call it, does not attain its perfect development† without moral virtue, as we said before, and as may be shown thus:—
All syllogisms or deductive reasonings about what is to be done have for their starting point [principle or major premise] “the end or the supreme good is so and so” (whatever it be; any definition of the good will do for the argument). But it is only to the good man that this presents itself as the good; for vice perverts us and causes us to err about the principles of action. So it is plain, as we said, that it is impossible to be prudent without being morally good.
How prudence is related to moral virtue
This suggests a further consideration of moral virtue; for the case is closely analogous to this—I mean that just as prudence is related to cleverness, being not identical with it, but closely akin to it, so is fully developed moral virtue related to natural virtue.
All admit that in a certain sense the several kinds of character are bestowed by nature. Justice, a tendency to temperance, courage, and the other types of character are exhibited from the moment of birth. Nevertheless, we look for developed goodness as something different from this, and expect to find these same qualities in another form. For even in children and brutes these natural virtues are present, but without the guidance of reason they are plainly hurtful. So much at least seems to be plain—that just as a strong-bodied creature devoid of sight stumbles heavily when it tries to move, because it cannot see, so is it with this natural virtue; but when it is enlightened by reason it acts surpassingly well; and the natural virtue (which before was only like virtue) will then be fully developed virtue.
We find, then, that just as there are two forms of the calculative faculty, viz. cleverness and prudence, so there are two forms of the moral qualities, viz. natural virtue and fully developed virtue, and that the latter is impossible without prudence.
On this account some people say that all the virtues are forms of prudence, and in particular Socrates held this view, being partly right in his inquiry and partly wrong—wrong in thinking that all the virtues are actually forms of prudence, but right in saying that they are impossible without prudence.
This is corroborated by the fact that nowadays every one in defining virtue would, after specifying its field, add that it is a formed faculty or habit in accordance with right reason, “right” meaning “in accordance with prudence.”
Thus it seems that every one has a sort of inkling that a formed habit or character of this kind (i.e. in accordance with prudence) is virtue.
Only a slight change is needed in this expression. Virtue is not simply a formed habit in accordance with right reason, but a formed habit implying right reason.* But right reason in these matters is prudence.
So whereas Socrates held that the [moral] virtues are forms of reason (for he held that these are all modes of knowledge), we hold that they imply reason.
It is evident, then, from what has been said that it is impossible to be good in the full sense without prudence, or to be prudent without moral virtue. And in this way we can meet an objection which may be urged. “The virtues,” it may be said, “are found apart from each other; a man who is strongly predisposed to one virtue has not an equal tendency towards all the others, so that he will have acquired this virtue while he still lacks that.” We may answer that though this may be the case with the natural virtues, yet it cannot be the case with those virtues for which we call a man good without any qualifying epithet. The presence of the single virtue of prudence implies the presence of all the moral virtues.
And thus it is plain, in the first place, that, even if it did not help practice, we should yet need prudence as the virtue or excellence of a part of our nature; and, in the second place, that purpose cannot be right without both prudence and moral virtue; for the latter makes us desire the end, while the former makes us adopt the right means to the end.
Nevertheless, prudence is not the mistress of wisdom and of the better part of our nature [the reason], any more than medicine is the mistress of health. Prudence does not employ wisdom in her service, but provides means for the attainment of wisdom—does not rule it, but rules in its interests. To assert the contrary would be like asserting that statesmanship rules the gods, because it issues orders about all public concerns [including the worship of the gods.]
CHARACTERS OTHER THAN VIRTUE AND VICE.
[* ]Of course the English term is not so used.
[† ]κόλασις, chastening; ἀκόλαστος, unchastened, incorrigible, profligate.
[* ]ἄσωτος, ἀ priv. and σω̂ς, σώζειν.
[* ]The connection is plainer in the original, because τὰ χρήματα, “wealth,” is at once seen to be identical with τὰ χρήσιμα, “useful things,” and connected with χρεία, “use.”
[* ]Were it not for some extraneous consideration, e.g. desire to stand well with his neighbours.
[* ]This is strictly a departure from the virtue; but Aristotle seems often to pass insensibly from the abstract ideal of a virtue to its imperfect embodiment in a complex character. Cf. infra. cap. 3.
[* ]No single English word can convey the associations of the Greek τύραννος, a monarch who has seized absolute power, not necessarily one who abuses it.
[* ]See Stewart.
[† ]i.e. in men of some age and fixed character; they often coexist in very young men, he says, but cannot possibly coexist for long.
[‡ ]As he has already said in effect, supra, § 23.
[* ]Lit. “cummin-splitter.”
[* ]Reading ταὐτὰ.
[* ]A worthy expenditure of £100,000 would be magnificent from its mere amount; but even £100 may be spent in a magnificent manner (by a man who can afford it), e.g. in buying a rare engraving for a public collection: cf. § 17 and 18.
[* ]ἁπλω̂ς seems unnecessary.
[* ]For that is impossible.
[* ]Homer, Il. i. 394 f., 503 f.
[* ]Reading ἔστι δὴ.
[* ]The reader will please overlook the gap which is caused by the withdrawal of a note which stood here in former editions, but which with Bywater’s text is no longer required.
[* ]II. 9, 7.
[* ]The things that the boaster pretends to are also the things that the ironical man disclaims.
[† ]Omitting προσποιούμενοι. See Bywater.
[* ]What follows explains why all these terms have a specific moral meaning.
[* ]Friendliness, truthfulness, wit.
[* ]Reading καὶ τῳ̂ εἰ̂ναι. By water.
[* ]The continent man desires the evil which he ought not to desire, and so is not good; but he does not do it, and so is not bad: thus continence also might be called “hypothetically good”; granting the evil desire (which excludes goodness proper), the best thing is to master it.
[† ]Book VII.
[* ]A man may “do that which is just” without “acting justly:” cf. supra, II. 4, 3, and infra, cap. 8.
[* ]While his children are regarded as parts of him, and even his wife is not regarded as an independent person: cf. infra, 6, 8.
[† ]Or “differently manifested:” the phrase is used in both senses.
[‡ ]Putting comma after ἁπλω̂ς instead of after ἕξις (Trendelenburg).
[* ]This is not merely a repetition of what has been said in § 2: acts of injustice (2) are there distinguished from acts of injustice (1) by the motive (gain), here by the fact that they are referred to no other vice than injustice.
[* ]Before (1, 7) the two kinds of injustice were called ὁμώνυμα, i.e. strictly, “things that have nothing in common but the name;” here they are called συνώνυμα, “different things bearing a common name because they belong to the same genus,” as a man and an ox are both called animals: cf. Categ. I. 1.
[† ]τὰ ἐκτὸς ἀγαθά is the name which Aristotle most frequently uses, sometimes τὰ ἁπλω̂ς ἀγαθά, as supra, 1, 9.
[* ]The two characters coincide perfectly only in the perfect state: cf. Pol. III. 4, 1276 b16 f.
[* ]If this amount be equal, it must be equal to something else; if my share is fair, I must be sharing with one other person at least.
[† ]A’s share and B’s.
[* ]Counting all free men as equals entitled to equal shares.
[† ]e.g. a/b = c/d.
[‡ ]Assigning or joining certain quantities of goods (c and d) to certain persons (a and b).
[* ]In the way of redress, as given by the law-courts: later on (cap. 5) he gives as an after-thought the kind of justice which ought to regulate buying and selling, etc. See note on p. 152.
[* ]The δικασταί at Athens combined the functions of judge and jury.
[* ]The point to be illustrated is, that in these private transactions what one man gains is equal to what the other loses, so that the penalty that will restore the balance can be exactly measured. Of this principle (on which the possibility of justice does in fact depend) Aristotle first gives a simple geometrical illustration, and then says that the same law holds in all that man does: what is suffered by the patient (whether person, as in medicine, or thing, as in sculpture or agriculture) is the same as what is done by the agent. This paragraph occurs again in the next chapter (5, 9): but it can hardly have come into this place by accident; we rather see the author’s thought growing as he writes. I follow Trendelenburg (who omits the passage here) in inserting ὅ before ἐποίει, but not in omitting τὸ before πάσχον.
[* ]For the aim of trade is neither profit nor loss, but fair exchange, i.e. exchange (on the principle laid down in ch. 5) which leaves the position of the parties as the state fixed it (by distributive justice, ch. 3). But when in the private transactions of man with man this position is disturbed, i.e. whenever either unintentionally, by accident or negligence, or intentionally, by force or fraud, one has bettered his position at the expense of another, corrective justice steps in to redress the balance. I read αὐτὰ δἰ αὐτω̂ν and accept Stewart’s interpretation of these words, and in part Jackson’s interpretation of τω̂ν παρὰ τὸ ἑκούσιον, but cannot entirely agree with either as to the sense of the whole passage.
[* ]We had before (3, 11, 12) as the rule of distributive justice A/B = C/D, and the distribution was expressed by the “joining” (σύζευξις) of the opposite or corresponding symbols, A and C, B and D. Here we have the same two pairs of symbols, ranged opposite to each other as before; but the exchange will be expressed by joining A to D and B to C, i.e. by “cross conjunction” or by drawing diagonal lines (ἡ κατὰ διάμετρον σύζευξις) from A to D and B to C.
[* ]i.e. (as will presently appear), it must first be determined how much builder’s work is equal to a given quantity of shoemaker’s work: i.e. the price of the two wares must first be settled; that done, they simply exchange shilling’s worth for shilling’s worth (ἀντιπεπονθός); e.g. if a four-roomed cottage be valued at £100, and a pair of boots at £1, the builder must supply such a cottage in return for 100 such pairs of boots (or their equivalent).
[† ]Benefit to consumer = cost to producer; e.g. if £100 be a fair price for a picture, it must fairly represent both the benefit to the purchaser and the effort expended on it by the artist. I follow Trendelenburg in inserting 8 before ἐποίει, but not in omitting τὸ before πάσχον. Cf. note on 4, 12.
[* ]The persons have to be appraised as well as their work; but, as we soon see, these are two sides of the same thing: the relative value at which persons are estimated by society is indicated by the relative value which society puts upon their services, and this is indicated by the price put upon a certain quantity of their work.
[† ]See note on § 12.
[* ]e.g. suppose the husbandman is twice as good a man as the shoemaker, then, if the transaction is to follow the universal rule of justice and leave their relative position unaltered, in exchange for a certain quantity of husbandman’s work the shoemaker must give twice as much of his own. The price, that is, of corn and shoes must be so adjusted that, if a quarter of corn sell for 50s. and three pair of shoes sell for the same sum, the three pair of shoes must represent twice as much labour as the quarter of corn. Aristotle speaks loosely of the ratio between the shoes and the corn, etc., but as their value is ex hypothesi the same, and as the relative size, weight, and number of articles is quite accidental (e.g. we might as well measure the corn by bushels or by pounds), the ratio intended can only be the ratio between the quantities of labour. He omits to tell us that these quantities must be measured by time, but the omission is easily supplied. He omits also to tell us how the relative worth of the persons is to be measured, but he has already said all that is necessary in 3, 7.
[† ]Lit. “they must be reduced to proportion,” i.e., in strictness, the four terms (two persons and two things).
[‡ ]i.e. have his superiority counted twice over. His (e.g. the husbandman’s) superiority over the other party (the shoemaker) has been already taken into account in fixing the price of a quarter of corn as equal to three pairs of shoes: this is one advantage which is fairly his; but it would be plainly unfair if, at the time of exchange, the husbandman were to demand 50s. worth of shoes for 25s. worth of corn, on the ground that he was twice as good a man: cf. Munro, Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology, vol. ii. p. 58 f. In the text I have followed Trendelenburg’s stopping, throwing the words εἰ δὲ μὴ . . . ἄκρον into a parenthesis.
[* ]i.e. each must be valued in money, so that so many quarters of corn shall exchange for so many hogsheads of wine.
[* ]The mean which justice aims at (the just thing, the due share of goods) lies between two extremes, too much and too little; so far justice is analogous to the other virtues: but whereas in other fields these two extremes are chosen by different and opposite characters (e.g. the cowardly and the foolhardy), the character that chooses too much is here the same as that which chooses too little,—too much for himself or his friend, too little for his enemy. (The habitual choice of too little for oneself is neglected as impossible). Cf. II. 6, especially § 15–16.
[* ]It is in the state of mind of the doer that the difference lies, not in the particular things done: cf. infra, cap. 8.
[† ]This passage, cap. 6, §§ 1, 2, seems to have quite a natural connection with what goes before, though the discussion is not carried on here, but in cap. 8. Again, the discussion which begins with the words πω̂ς μὲν ον̓̂ν, cap. 6, § 3, though it has no connection with § 2, comes naturally enough after the end of cap. 5, τὸ ἁπλω̂ς δίκαιον corresponding to τον̂ δικαίου καὶ ἀδίκου καθόλου. We have, then, two discussions, both growing out of and attached to the discussion which closes with the end of cap. 5, but not connected with each other. If the author had revised the work, he would, no doubt, have fitted these links together; but as he omitted to do so, it is useless for us to attempt, by any rearrangement of the links, to secure the close connection which could only be effected by forging them anew.
[* ]These are not two distinct kinds of justice; justice proper, he means to say, implies a state.
[† ]Only the citizen in an ancient state could appeal to the law in his own person; the non-citizen could only sue through a citizen.
[* ]Supra, 1, 17.
[* ]Which alone is properly just.
[* ]τὸ ξυμϕέρον, which is usually rendered “expedient,” means simply that which conduces to any desired end; as the end varies, then, so will the expedient vary: cf. III. 1, 15, note.
[† ]e.g. the wine-merchant may buy in the cask what he sells in bottle (Stewart).
[* ]Cf. § 4.
[* ]i.e. he willed the act not as just, but as a means of avoiding the painful consequences; the justice of it, therefore, was not part of the essence of the act to him, was not among the qualities of the act which moved him to choose it, or, in Aristotle’s language, was “accidental.”
[* ]which leads by a natural, though by him unforeseen, sequence to his neighbour’s hurt: negligence, or error of judgment.
[† ]and gives a fatal termination to an act that would ordinarily be harmless: accident.
[* ]Throwing the words ὁ δ’ ἐπιβουλεύσας οὐκ ἀγνοεɩ̂ into a parenthesis. The passage is easier to construe without the parenthesis, but with a stop after ἀμϕισβητον̂σιν.
[† ]In strictness, of course, such acts cannot be called involuntary (ἀκούσια) at all: cf. supra, III. 1, where the conditions of an involuntary act are stated more precisely.
[* ]βον̂λησιν is used perhaps for will, as there is no abstract term corresponding to ἑκών. I bracket the last two sentences of § 6, as (in spite of the ingennity of Jackson and Stewart) the statement seems to me hopelessly confused.
[* ]You can always do the acts if you want to do them, i.e. if you will them; but you cannot at will do them in the spirit of a just or an unjust man; for character is the result of a series of acts of will: cf. supra, III. 5, 22. The contradiction between this and III. 5, 2, is only apparent: we are responsible for our character, though we cannot change it at a moment’s notice.
[* ]Cf. supra, 8, 1–4.
[† ]Οὐ δίκαιον I have omitted (after Trendelenburg) as obviously wrong. We may suppose either that the original οὐ σπουδαɩ̂ον was altered into οὐ δίκαιον, or (more probably) that οὐ δίκαιον or δίκαιον was inserted by a bungling copyist.
[* ]Supra, cap. 9.
[* ]Whereas, says Aristotle, we cannot speak at all of justice or injustice to one’s self, and it is only by way of metaphor that we can apply the terms even to the relations of parts of the self—not strictly, since the parts are not persons.
[* ]This really forms quite a fresh opening, independent of §§ 1–3; and it is one among many signs of the incomplete state in which this part of the treatise was left, that these two openings of Book VI. were never fused together. The scheme of the treatise, as unfolded in Book I. (cf. especially I. 7, 13; 13, 20), gives the intellectual virtues an independent place alongside of, or rather above, the moral virtues; now that the latter have been disposed of it naturally remains to consider the former: this is the natural transition which we have in § 4. But besides this the dependence of the moral virtues upon the intellectual virtues makes an examination of the latter absolutely necessary to the completion of the theory of the former; thus we get the transition of §§ 1–3.
[† ]Supra, I. 13, 20.
[* ]νον̂ς: the word is used here in its widest sense.
[* ]νον̂ς—used now in a narrower special sense which will presently be explained.
[* ]Though, as we see later, induction can elicit them from experience only because they are already latent in that experience.
[† ]We may know truths of science, but unless we know these in their necessary connection, we have not scientific knowledge.
[* ]The conception of the end is at once a cause or source of action and a principle of knowledge; ἀρχή covers both.
[* ]For it implies a determination of the will which is more permanent in its nature than a merely intellectual habit. And further, when once acquired it must be constantly strengthened by exercise, as occasions for action can never be wanting.
[† ]Art, which is one of the five enumerated above, is here omitted, either in sheer carelessness, or perhaps because it is subordinate to prudence: cf. supra 5, 7.
[* ]Of course we do not use “wisdom” in this sense.
[* ]πρακτὸν ὡς τὸ ἔσχατον, i.e. as the last link in the chain of causes leading to the proposed end—last in the order of deliberation, but first in the order of events: cf. III. 3, 12.
[† ]Varying as the good varies; cf. supra, 7, 4, and I. 3, 2.
[* ]Here in the looser sense, below (§ 6) in the stricter sense, which is the technical meaning of the term in Aristotle: cf. supra, 7, 12.
[† ]He does not mean that the principles of mathematics are not derived from experience, but only that they are derived from the primitive experience which every boy has, being in fact (as we should say) the framework on which the simplest knowledge of an external world is built.
[* ]Cf. supra, § 2.
[† ]The perception “that the ultimate fact is a triangle” (which is the more obvious translation of these words), whether this means “that three lines is the least number that will enclose a space,” or “that the possibility of a triangle is a fact that cannot be demonstrated,” is in either case not the perception of a particular fact; but it is the perception of a particular fact that is needed if the illustration is to be relevant.
[‡ ]The intuitive reason (νον̂ς) is here opposed to prudence (ϕρόνησις), but presently (cap. 11) is found to be included in it; reason (νον̂ς) was similarly in cap. 6 opposed to wisdom (σοϕία), but in cap. 7 found to be included in it.
[* ]This, however, is not done here, perhaps because it has been already done at length in III. 3.
[* ]Omitting ἰδεɩ̂ν.
[† ]e.g. this act should be done simply because it is just; I may decide to do it for reputation, or for pleasure’s sake, or thinking it to be an act of generosity.
[* ]All particular facts (τὰ καθ’ ἕκαστον) are ultimate (ἔσχατα), i.e. undemonstrable; but not all ultimate facts (ἔσχατα) are particular facts—as presently appears.
[* ]Lit. in both directions, i.e. not the last only, but the first also.
[† ]Cf. supra, 8, 1, 2.
[‡ ]This αἴσθησις may be called νον̂ς, which is the faculty of universals, because the universal (the general conception of human good) is elicited from these particular judgments.
[* ]Throughout this chapter we are concerned with the practical intellect alone. He has already stated in cap. 6 that the intuitive reason is the basis of the speculative intellect; here he says that it is also the basis of the practical intellect. We have to distinguish here three different employments of the practical faculty:
[* ]i.e. in the sense in which a healthy state of the body (ὑγίεια as a ἕξις in Aristotle’s language) produces healthy performance of the bodily functions (ὑγίεια as an ἐνέργεια).
[† ]The other three are sense, reason, desire (αἴσθησις, νον̂ς, ὄρεξις): cf. supra, cap. 2. The excellences or best states of the desires have already been described as the moral virtues. Wisdom and prudence are the excellences of the reason or intellect (νον̂ς in its widest meaning). Sense (αἴσθησις) does not need separate treatment, as it is here regarded as merely subsidiary to reason and desire; for human life is (1) speculative, (2) practical, and no independent place is allowed to the artistic life. The fourth part therefore alone remains.
[* ]Reading τοὺς πανούργους.
[† ]As ϕρίνησις, prudence.
[* ]μετὰ λόγου: the agent must not only be guided by reason, but by his own reason, not another’s.