(Fourth Century B.C.)
1. The man who stated his judgment in the god's precinct in Delos made an inscription on the propylaeum to the temple of Leto, in which he separated from one another the good, the beautiful, and the pleasant as not all properties of the same thing; he wrote, 'Most beautiful is what is most just, but best is health, and pleasantest the obtaining of what one desires.' But let us disagree with him; for happiness is at once the most beautiful and best of all things and also the pleasantest.
Now about each thing and kind there are many views that are disputed and need investigation; of these some concern knowledge only, some the acquisition of things and the performance of acts as well. About those which involve speculative philosophy only we must at a suitable opportunity say what is relevant to that study. But first we must consider in what the happy life consists and how it is to be acquired, whether all who receive the epithet 'happy' become so by nature (as we become tall, short, or of different complexions), or by teaching (happiness being a sort of science), or by some sort of discipline; for men acquire many qualities neither by nature nor by teaching but by habituation, bad qualities if they are habituated to the bad, good if to the good. Or do men become happy in none of these ways, but either like those possessed by nymphs or deities through a sort of divine influence, being as it were inspired, or through chance? For many declare happiness to be identical with good luck.
That men, then, possess happiness through all or some or one of these causes is evident; for practically all new creations come under these principles—for all acts arising from intelligence may be included among acts that arise from knowledge. Now to be happy, to live blissfully and beautifully, must consist mainly in three things, which seem most desirable; for some say prudence is the greatest good, some virtue, and some pleasure. Some also dispute about the magnitude of the contribution made by each of these elements to happiness, some declaring the contribution of one to be greater, some that of another,—these regarding prudence as a greater good than virtue, those the opposite, while others regard pleasure as a greater good than either: and some consider the happy life to be compounded of all or of two of these, while others hold it to consist in one of them alone.
2. First then about these things we must enjoin every one that has the power to live according to his own choice to set up for himself some object for the beautiful life to aim at, (whether honor or reputation or wealth or culture), with reference to which he will then do all his acts, since not to have one's life organized in view of some end is a mark of much folly. Then above all we must first define to ourselves without hurry or carelessness in which of our belongings the happy life is lodged, and what are the indispensable conditions of its attainment—for health is not the same as the indispensable conditions of health; and so it is with many other things, e.g. the beautiful life and its indispensable conditions are not identical. Of such things some are not peculiar to health or even to life, but common—to speak broadly—to all dispositions and actions, e.g. without breathing or being awake or having the power of movement we could enjoy neither good nor evil; but some are indispensable conditions in a more special sense and peculiar to each kind of thing, and these it is specially important to observe; e.g. the eating of meat and walking after meals are more peculiarly the indispensable conditions of a good physical state than the more general conditions mentioned above. For herein is the cause of the disputes about happy living, its nature and causes; for some take to be elements in happiness what are merely its indispensable conditions.
3. To examine then all the views held about happiness is superfluous, for children, sick people, and the insane all have views, but no sane person would dispute over them; for such persons need not argument but years in which they may change, or else medical or political correction—for medicine, no less than stripes, is a correction. Similarly we have not to consider the views of the multitude (for they talk without consideration about almost everything, and most about happiness); for it is absurd to apply argument to those who need not argument but suffering. But since every study has its special problems, evidently there are such relating to the best life and best existence; the opinions then that put these difficulties it is well to examine, for a disputant's refutation of what is opposed to his argument is a demonstration of the argument itself.
Further, it is proper not to neglect these considerations, especially with a view to that at which all inquiry should be directed, viz. the causes that enable us to share in the good and beautiful life—if any one finds it invidious to call it the blessed life—and with a view to the hope we may have of attaining each good. For if the beautiful life consists in what is due to fortune or nature, it would be something that many cannot hope for, since its acquisition is not in their power, nor attainable by their care or activity; but if it depends on the individual and his personal acts being of a certain character, then the supreme good would be both more general and more divine, more general because more would be able to possess it, more divine because happiness would then be the prize offered to those who make themselves and their acts of a certain character.
4. Most of the doubts and difficulties raised will become clear, if we define well what we ought to think happiness to be, whether that it consists merely in having the soul of a certain character as some of the sages and older writers thought—or whether the man must indeed be of a certain character, but it is even more necessary that his acts should be of a certain character.
Now if we make a division of the kinds of life, some do not even pretend to this sort of well-being, being only pursued for the sake of what is necessary, e.g. those concerned with vulgar arts, or with commercial or servile occupations—by vulgar I mean arts pursued only with a view to reputation, by servile those which are sedentary and wage-earning, by commercial those connected with buying in markets and huckstering in shops. But there are also three goods directed to a happy employment of life, those which we have above called the three greatest of human goods, virtue, prudence, and pleasure. We thus see that there are three lives which all those choose who have power, viz. the lives of 'the political man', the philosopher, the voluptuary; for of these the philosopher intends to occupy himself with prudence and contemplation of truth, the 'political man' with noble acts (i. e. those springing from virtue), the voluptuary with bodily pleasures. Therefore the latter calls a different person happy, as was indeed said before. Anaxagoras of Clazomenae being asked, 'Who was the happiest of men?' answered, 'None of those you suppose, but one who would appear a strange being to you,' because he saw that the questioner thought it impossible for one not great and beautiful or rich to deserve the epithet 'happy', while he himself perhaps thought that the man who lived painlessly and pure of injustice or else engaged in some divine contemplation was really, as far as a man may be, blessed.
5. About many other things it is difficult to judge well, but most difficult about that on which judgment seems to all easiest and the knowledge of it in the power of any man—viz. what of all that is found in living is desirable, and what, if attained, would satisfy our desire. For there are many consequences of life that make men fling away life, as disease, excessive pain, storms, so that it is clear that, if one were given the power of choice, not to be born at all would, as far at least as these reasons go, have been desirable. Further, the life we lead as children is not desirable, for no one in his senses would consent to return again to this. Further, many incidents involving neither pleasure nor pain or involving pleasure but not of a noble kind are such that, as far as they are concerned, non-existence is preferable to life. And generally, if one were to bring together all that all men do and experience but not willingly because not for its own sake, and were to add to this an existence of infinite duration, one would none the more on account of these experiences choose existence rather than non-existence. But further, neither for the pleasure of eating alone or that of sex, if all the other pleasures were removed that knowing or seeing or any other sense provides men with, would a single man value existence, unless he were utterly servile, for it is clear that to the man making this choice there would be no difference between being born a brute and a man; at any rate the ox in Egypt, which they reverence as Apis, in most of such matters has more power than many monarchs. We may say the same of the pleasure of sleeping. For what is the difference between sleeping an unbroken sleep from one's first day to one's last, say for a thousand or any number of years, and living the life of a plant? Plants at any rate seem to possess this sort of existence, and similarly children; for children, too, continue having their nature from their first coming into being in their mother's womb, but sleep the entire time. It is clear then from these considerations that men, though they look, fail to see what is well-being, what is the good in life.
And so they tell us that Anaxagoras answered a man who was raising problems of this sort and asking why one should choose rather to be born than not—'for the sake of viewing the heavens and the whole order of the universe'. He, then, thought the choice of life for the sake of some sort of knowledge to be precious; but those who felicitate Sardanapallus or Smindyrides the Sybarite or any other of those who live the voluptuary's life, these seem all to place happiness in the feeling of pleasure. But others would rather choose virtuous deeds than either any sort of wisdom or sensual pleasures; at any rate some choose these not only for the sake of reputation, but even when they are not going to win credit by them; but most 'political' men are not truly so called; they are not in truth 'political', for the 'political' man is one who chooses noble acts for their own sake, while most take up the 'political' life for the sake of money and greed.
From what has been said, then, it is clear that all connect happiness with one or other of three lives, the 'political', the philosophic, and the voluptuary's. Now among these the nature and quality and sources of the pleasure of the body and sensual enjoyment are clear, so that we have not to inquire what such pleasures are, but whether they tend to happiness or not and how they tend, and whether—supposing it right to attach to the noble life certain pleasures—it is right to attach these, or whether some other sort of participation in these is a necessity, but the pleasures through which men rightly think the happy man to live pleasantly and not merely painlessly are different.
But about these let us inquire later. First let us consider about virtue and prudence, the nature of each, and whether they are parts of the good life either in themselves or through the actions that arise from them, since all—or at least all important thinkers—connect happiness with these.
Socrates, then, the elder, thought the knowledge of virtue to be the end, and used to inquire what is justice, what bravery and each of the parts of virtue; and his conduct was reasonable, for he thought all the virtues to be kinds of knowledge, so that to know justice and to be just came simultaneously; for the moment that we have learned geometry or architecture we are architects and geometers. Therefore he inquired what virtue is, not how or from what it arises. This is correct with regard to theoretical knowledge, for there is no other part of astronomy or physics or geometry except knowing and contemplating the nature of the things which are the subjects of those sciences; though nothing prevents them from being in an incidental way useful to us for much that we cannot do without. But the end of the productive sciences is different from science and knowledge, e.g. health from medical science, law and order (or something of the sort) from political science. Now to know anything that is noble is itself noble; but regarding virtue, at least, not to know what it is, but to know out of what it arises is most precious. For we do not wish to know what bravery is but to be brave, nor what justice is but to be just, just as we wish to be in health rather than to know what being in health is, and to have our body in good condition rather than to know what good condition is.
6. About all these matters we must try to get conviction by argument, using perceived facts as evidence and illustration. It would be best that all men should clearly concur with what we are going to say, but if that is unattainable, then that all should in some way at least concur. And this if converted they will do, for every man has some contribution to make to the truth, and with this as a starting-point we must give some sort of proof about these matters. For by advancing from true but obscure judgments he will arrive at clear ones, exchanging ever the usual confused statement for more real knowledge. Now in every inquiry there is a difference between philosophic and unphilosophic argument; therefore we should not think even in political philosophy that the sort of consideration which not only makes the nature of the thing evident but also its cause is superfluous; for such consideration is in every inquiry the truly philosophic method. But this needs much caution. For there are some who, through thinking it to be the mark of a philosopher to make no arbitrary statement but always to give a reason, often unawares give reasons foreign to the subject and idle—this they do sometimes from ignorance, sometimes because they are charlatans—by which reasons even men experienced and able to act are trapped by those who neither have nor are capable of having practical and constructive intelligence. And this happens to them from want of culture; for inability in regard to each matter to distinguish reasonings appropriate to the subject from those foreign to it is want of culture. And it is well to criticize separately the reason that gives the cause and the conclusion both because of what has just been said, viz. that one should attend not merely to what is inferred by argument, but often attend more to perceived facts—whereas now when men are unable to see a flaw in the argument they are compelled to believe what has been said—and because often that which seems to have been shown by argument is true indeed, but not for the cause which the argument assigns; for one may prove truth by means of falsehood, as is clear from the Analytics.
7. After these further preliminary remarks let us start on our discourse from what we have called the first confused judgments, and then seek to discover a clear judgment about the nature of happiness. Now this is admitted to be the greatest and best of human goods—we say human, for there might perhaps be a happiness peculiar to some superior being, e.g. a god; for of the other animals, which are inferior in their nature to men, none have a right to the epithet 'happy'; for no horse, bird, or fish is happy, nor anything the name of which does not imply some share of a divine element in its nature; but in virtue of some other sort of participation in good things some have a better existence, some a worse.
But we must see later that this is so. At present we say that of goods some are within the range of human action, some not; and this we say because some things—and therefore also some good things—are incapable of change, yet these are perhaps as to their nature the best. Some things, again, are within the range of action, but only to beings superior to us. But since 'within the range of action' is an ambiguous phrase—for both that for the sake of which we act and the things we do for its sake have to do with practice and thus we put among things within the range of action both health and wealth and the acts done for the sake of these ends, i.e. wholesome conduct and money-bringing conduct—it is clear that we must regard happiness as the best of what is within the range of action for man.
8. We must then examine what is the best, and in how many senses we use the word. The answer is principally contained in three views. For men say that the good per se is the best of all things, the good per se being that whose property is to be the original good and the cause by its presence in other things of their being good; both of which attributes belong to the Idea of good (I mean by 'both' that of being the original good and also the cause of other things being good by its presence in them); for good is predicated of this Idea most truly (other things being good by participation in and likeness to this); and this is the original good, for the destruction of that which is participated in involves also the destruction of that which participates in the Idea, and is named from its participation in it. But this is the relation of the first to the later, so that the Idea of good is the good per se; for this is also (they say) separable from what participates in it, like all other Ideas.
The discussion, however, of this view belongs necessarily to another inquiry and one for the most part more logical, for arguments that are at once destructive and general belong to no other science but logic. But if we must speak briefly about these matters, we say first that it is to speak abstractly and idly to assert that there is an Idea whether of good or of anything whatever—this has been considered in many ways both in our popular and in our philosophic discussions. Next, however much there are Ideas and in particular an Idea of good, they are perhaps useless with a view to a good life and to action. For the good has many senses, as numerous as those of being. For being, as we have divided it in other works, signifies now what a thing is, now quality, now quantity, now time, and again some of it consists in passivity, some in activity; and the good is found in each of these modes, in substance as mind and God, in quality as justice, in quantity as moderation, in time as opportunity, while as examples of it in change, we have that which teaches and that which is being taught. As then being is not one in all that we have just mentioned, so neither is good; nor is there one science either of being or of the good; not even things named good in the same category are the objects of a single science, e.g. opportunity or moderation; but one science studies one kind of opportunity or moderation, and another another: e.g. opportunity and moderation in regard to food are studied by medicine and gymnastics, in military matters by the art of strategy, and similarly with other sorts of action, so that it can hardly be the province of one science to study the good per se.
Further, in things having a natural succession, an earlier and a later, there is no common element beyond, and, further, separable from them, for then there would be something prior to the first; for the common and separable element would be prior, because with its destruction the first would be destroyed as well; e.g. if the double is the first of the multiples, then the universal multiple cannot be separable, for it would be prior to the double, if the common element turns out to be the Idea, as it would be if one made the common element separable: for if justice is good, and so also is bravery, there is then, they say, a good per se, for which they add 'per se' to the general definition; but what could this mean except that it is 'eternal' and 'separable'? But what is white for many days is no whiter than that which is white for a single day; so not even the common good would be identical with 'the Idea', for it is the common property of all.
But we should show the nature of the good per se in the opposite way to that now used. For now from what is not agreed to possess the good they demonstrate the things admitted to be good, e.g. from numbers they demonstrate that justice and health are goods, for they are arrangements and numbers, and it is assumed that goodness is a property of numbers and units because unity is the good itself. But they ought, from what are admitted to be goods, e.g. health, strength, and temperance, to demonstrate that beauty is present even more in the changeless; for all these things in the sensible world are order and rest; but if so, then the changeless is still more beautiful, for it has these attributes still more. And it is a bold way to demonstrate that unity is the good per se to say that numbers have desire; for no one says distinctly how they desire, but the saying is altogether too unqualified. And how can one suppose that there is desire where there is no life? One should consider seriously about this and not assume without reasons what it is not easy to believe even with reasons. And to say that all existing things desire some one good is not true; for each seeks its own special good, the eye vision, the body health, and so on.
There are then these difficulties in the way of there being a good per se; further, it would be useless to political philosophy, which, like all others, has its particular good, e.g. as gymnastic has good bodily condition.
[Further, there is the argument written in the discourse — that the Idea itself of good is useful to no art or to all arts in the same way. Further, it is not practicable.] And similarly neither is good as a universal either the good per se (for it might belong even to a small good) or practicable; for medicine does not consider how to procure an attribute that may be an attribute of anything, but how to procure health; and so each of the other arts. But 'good' is ambiguous, and there is in it a noble part, and part is practicable but the rest not so. The sort of good that is practicable is an object aimed at, but not the good in things unchanging.
It is clear, then, that neither the Idea of good nor the good as universal is the good per se that we are actually seeking; for the one is unchanging and not practical, and the other though changing is still not practical. But the object aimed at as end is best, and the cause of all that comes under it, and first of all goods. This then would be the good per se, the end of all human action. And this would be what comes under the master-art of all, which is politics, economics, and prudence; for these mental habits differ from all others by their being of this nature; whether they differ from one another must be stated later. And that the end is the cause of all that comes under it, the method of teaching shows; for the teacher first defines the end and thence shows of each of the other things that it is good; for the end aimed at is the cause. E.g. since to be in health is so and so, so and so must needs be what conduces to it; the wholesome is the efficient cause of health and yet only of its actual existence; it is not the cause of health being good. Further, no one demonstrates that health is good (except he is a sophist and no doctor, but one who produces deceptive arguments from inappropriate considerations), any more than any other principle.
We must now consider, making a fresh start, in how many senses the good as the end of man, the best in the field of action, is the best of all, since this is best.
1. AFTER this let us start from a new beginning and speak about what follows from it. All goods are either outside or in the soul, and of these those in the soul are more desirable; this distinction we make even in our popular discussions. For prudence, virtue, and pleasure are in the soul, and some or all of these seem to all to be the end. But of the contents of the soul some are states or faculties, others activities and movements.
Let this then be assumed, and also that virtue is the best state or condition or faculty of all things that have a use and work. This is clear by induction; for in all cases we lay this down: e.g. a garment has an excellence, for it has a work and use, and the best state of the garment is its excellence. Similarly a vessel, house, or anything else has an excellence; therefore so also has the soul, for it has a work. And let us assume that the better state has the better work; and as the states are to one another, so let us assume the corresponding works to be to one another. And the work of anything is its end; it is clear, therefore, from this that the work is better than the state; for the end is best, as being end: for we assume the best, the final stage, to be the end for the sake of which all else exists. That the work, then, is better than the state or condition is plain.
But 'work' has two senses; for some things have a work beyond mere employment, as architecture has a house and not the act of building, medicine health and not the act of curing and restoring to health; while the work of other things is just their employment, e.g. of vision seeing and of mathematical science contemplation. Hence, necessarily, in those whose work is their employment the employment is more valuable than the state.
Having made these distinctions, we say that the work of a thing is also the work of its excellence, only not in the same sense, e.g. a shoe is the work both of the art of cobbling and of the action of cobbling. If, then, the art of cobbling and the good cobbler have an excellence, their work is a good shoe: and similarly with everything else.
Further, let the work of the soul be to produce living, this consisting in employment and being awake—for slumber is a sort of inactivity and rest. Therefore, since the work must be one and the same both for the soul and for its excellence, the work of the excellence of the soul would be a good life. This, then, is the complete good, which (as we saw) was happiness. And it is clear from our assumptions (for these were that happiness was the best of things, and ends and the best goods were in the soul; and it is itself either a state or an activity), since the activity is better than the state, and the best activity than the best state, and virtue is the best state, that the activity of the virtue of the soul is the best thing. But happiness, we saw, was the best of things; therefore happiness is the activity of a good soul. But since happiness was something complete, and living is either complete or incomplete and so also virtue—one virtue being a whole, the other a part—and the activity of what is incomplete is itself incomplete, therefore happiness would be the activity of a complete life in accordance with complete virtue.
And that we have rightly stated its genus and definition common opinions prove. For to do well and to live well is held to be identical with being happy, but each of these—living and doing—is an employment, an activity; for the practical life is one of using or employing, e.g. the smith produces a bridle, the good horseman uses it.
We find confirmation also in the common opinion that we cannot ascribe happiness to an existence of a single day, or to a child, or to each of the ages of life; and therefore Solon's advice holds good, never to congratulate a man when living, but only when his life is ended. For nothing incomplete is happy, not being whole.
Further, praise is given to virtue because of its actions, but to actions something higher than praise, the encomium. And we crown the actual conquerors, not those who have the power to conquer but do not actually conquer. Further, our judging the character of a man by his acts is a confirmation. Further, why is happiness not praised? Surely because other things are praised owing to this, either by their having reference to it or by their being parts of it. Therefore felicitation, praise, and encomium differ; for encomium is discourse relative to the particular act, praise declares the general nature of the man, but felicitation is for the end. This clears up the difficulty sometimes raised—why for half their lives the good are no better than the bad, for all are alike when asleep; the cause is that sleep is an inactivity, not an activity of the soul. Therefore, even if there is some other part of the soul, e.g. the vegetative, its excellence is not a part of entire virtue, any more than the excellence of the body is; for in sleep the vegetative part is more active, while the perceptive and the appetitive are incomplete in sleep. But as far as they do to some extent partake of movement, even the visions of the good are better than those of the bad, except so far as they are caused by disease or bodily defect.
After this we must consider the soul. For virtue belongs to the soul and essentially so. But since we are looking for human virtue, let it be assumed that the parts of the soul partaking of reason are two, but that they partake not in the same way, but the one by its natural tendency to command, the other by its natural tendency to obey and listen; if there is a part without reason in some other sense, let it be disregarded. It makes no difference whether the soul is divisible or indivisible, so long as it has different faculties, namely those mentioned above, just as in the curved we have unseparated the concave and the convex, or, again, the straight and the white, yet the straight is not white except incidentally and is not the same in essence.
We also neglect any other part of the soul that there may be, e.g. the vegetative, for the above-mentioned parts are peculiar to the human soul; therefore the virtues of the nutritive part, that concerned with growth, are not those of man. For, if we speak of him qua man, he must have the power of reasoning, a governing principle, moral action; but reason governs not reason, but desire and the passions; he must then have these parts. And just as general good condition of the body is compounded of the partial excellences, so also the excellence of the soul, qua end.
But of virtue or excellence there are two species, the moral and the intellectual. For we praise not only the just but also the intelligent and the wise. For we assumed that what is praiseworthy is either the virtue or its act, and these are not activities, but have activities. But since the intellectual virtues involve reason, they belong to that rational part of the soul which governs the soul by its possession of reason, while the moral belong to the part which is irrational but by its nature obedient to the part possessing reason; for we do not describe the character of a man by saying that he is wise or clever, but by saying that he is gentle or bold.
After this we must first consider moral virtue, its nature, its parts—for our inquiry has been forced back on this and how it is produced. We must make our search as all do in other things—they search having something to start with; so here, by means of true but indistinct judgments, we must try to attain to what is true and distinct. For we are now in the condition of one who describes health as the best condition of the body, or Coriscus as the darkest man in the market-place; for what either of these is we do not know, but yet for the attainment of knowledge of either it is worth while to be in this condition. First, then, let it be laid down that the best state is produced by the best means, and that with regard to everything the best is done from the excellence of that thing (e.g. the exercises and food are best which produce a good condition of body, and from such a condition men best perform exercises). Further, that every condition is produced and destroyed by some sort of application of the same things, e.g. health from food, exercises, and weather. This is clear from induction. Virtue too, then, is that sort of condition which is produced by the best movements in the soul, and from which are produced the soul's best works and feelings; and by the same things, if they happen in one way, it is produced, but if they happen in another, it is destroyed. The employment of virtue is relative to the same things by which it is increased and destroyed, and it puts us in the best attitude towards them. A proof that both virtue and vice are concerned with the pleasant and the painful is that punishment being cure and operating through opposites, as the cure does in everything else, acts through these.
2. That moral virtue, then, is concerned with the pleasant and the painful is clear. But since the character, being as its name indicates something that grows by habit—and that which is under guidance other than innate is trained to a habit by frequent movement of a particular kind—is the active principle present after this process, but in things inanimate we do not see this (for even if you throw a stone upwards ten thousand times, it will never go upward except by compulsion),—consider, then, character to be this, viz. a quality in accordance with governing reason belonging to the irrational part of the soul which is yet able to obey the reason. Now we have to state in respect of what part of the soul we have character of this or that kind. It will be in respect of the faculties of passion, in virtue of which men are spoken of as subject to passion, and in respect of the habits, in virtue of which men are described, in reference to those passions, either as feeling them in some way or as not feeling them. After this comes the division made in previous discussions into the passions, faculties, and habits. By passions I mean such as anger, fear, shame, sensual desire—in general, all that is usually followed of itself by sensuous pleasure or pain. Quality does not depend on these—they are merely experienced—but on the faculties. By faculty I mean that in virtue of which men who act from their passions are called after them, e.g. are called irascible, insensible, amorous, bashful, shameless. And habits are the causes through which these faculties belong to us either in a reasonable way or the opposite, e.g. bravery, temperance, cowardice, intemperance.
3. After these distinctions we must notice that in everything continuous and divisible there is excess, deficiency, and the mean, and these in relation to one another or in relation to us, e.g. in the gymnastic or medical arts, in those of building and navigation, and in any sort of action, alike scientific and non-scientific, skilled and unskilled. For motion is continuous, and action is motion. In all the mean in relation to us is the best; for this is as knowledge and reason direct us. And this everywhere also makes the best habit. This is clear both by induction and by reasoning. For opposites destroy one another, and extremes are opposite both to one another and to the mean; for the mean is to either extreme the other extreme, e.g. the equal is greater to the less, but less to the greater. Therefore moral virtue must have to do with the mean and be a sort of mediety. We must then notice what sort of mediety virtue is and about what sort of means; let each be taken from the list by way of illustration, and studied:
These and similar are the passions that occur in the soul; they receive their names, some from being excesses, some from being defects. For the irascible is one who is angry more than he ought to be, and more quickly, and with more people than he ought; the unfeeling is deficient in regard to persons, occasions, and manner. The man who fears neither what, nor when, nor as he ought is confident; the man who fears what he ought not, and on the wrong occasions, and in the wrong manner is cowardly. So 'intemperate' is the name for one prone to sensual desire and exceeding in all possible ways, while he who is deficient and does not feel desire even so far as is good for him and in accordance with nature, but is as much without feeling as a stone, is insensible. The man who makes profit from any source is greedy of gain; the man who makes it from none, or perhaps few, is a 'waster'. The braggart is one who pretends to more than he possesses, the self-depreciator is one who pretends to less. The man who is more ready than is proper to join in praise is a flatterer; the man who is less ready is prone to dislike. To act in everything so as to give another pleasure is servility, but to give pleasure seldom and reluctantly is stubbornness. Further, one who can endure no pain, even if it is good for him, is luxurious; one who can endure all pain alike has no name literally applicable to him, but by metaphor is called hard, patient, or ready of submission. The vain man is he who thinks himself worthy of more than he is, while the poor-spirited thinks himself worthy of less. Further, the lavish is he who exceeds, the mean is he who is deficient, in every sort of expenditure. Similar are the stingy and the purse-proud; the latter exceeds what is fitting, the former falls short of it. The rogue aims at gain in any way and from any source; the simple not even from the right source. A man is envious in feeling pain at the sight of prosperity more often than he ought, for even those who deserve prosperity cause when prosperous pain to the envious; the opposite character has not so definite a name: he is one who shows excess in not grieving even at the prosperity of the undeserving, but accepts all, as gluttons accept all food, while his opposite is impatient through envy.
It is superfluous to add to the definition that the particular relations to each thing should not be accidental; for no art, theoretical or productive, uses such additions to its definitions in speech or action; the addition is merely directed against logical quibbles against the arts. Take the above, then, as simple definitions, which will be made more accurate when we speak of the opposite habits.
But of these states themselves there are species with names differing according as the excess is in time, in degree, or in the object provoking the state: e.g. one is quick-tempered through feeling anger quicker than one ought, irascible and passionate through feeling it more, acrid through one's tendency to retain one's anger, violent and abusive through the punishments one inflicts from anger. Epicures, gluttons, drunkards are so named from having a tendency contrary to reason to indulgence in one or the other kind of nutriment.
Nor must we forget that some of the faults mentioned cannot be taken to depend on the manner of action, if manner means excess of passion: e.g. the adulterer is not so called from his excessive intercourse with married women; 'excess' is inapplicable here, but the act is simply in itself wicked; the passion and its character are expressed in the same word. Similarly with outrage. Hence men dispute the liability of their actions to be called by these names; they say that they had intercourse but did not commit adultery (for they acted ignorantly or by compulsion), or that they gave a blow but committed no outrage; and so they defend themselves against all other similar charges.
4. Having got so far, we must next say that, since there are two parts of the soul, the virtues are divided correspondingly, those of the rational part being the intellectual, whose function is truth, whether about a thing's nature or genesis, while the others belong to the part irrational but appetitive—for not any and every part of the soul, supposing it to be divisible, is appetitive. Necessarily, then, the character must be bad or good by its pursuit or avoidance of certain pleasures and pains. This is clear from our classification of the passions, powers, and states; for the powers and states are powers and states of the passions, and the passions are distinguished by pain and pleasure. So that for these reasons and also because of our previous propositions, it follows that all moral virtue has to do with pleasures and pains. For by whatever things a soul tends to become better or worse, it is with regard to and in relation to these things that it finds pleasure. But we say men are bad through pleasures and pains, either by the pursuit and avoidance of improper pleasures or pains or by their pursuit in an improper way. Therefore all readily define the virtues as insensibility or immobility as regards pleasures and pains, and vices as constituted by the opposites of these.
5. But since we have assumed that virtue is that sort of habit from which men have a tendency to do the best actions, and through which they are in the best disposition towards what is best; and best is what is in accordance with right reason, and this is the mean between excess and defect relative to us; it would follow that moral virtue is a mean relative to each individual himself, and is concerned with certain means in pleasures and pains, in the pleasant and the painful. The mean will sometimes be in pleasures (for there too is excess and defect), sometimes in pains, sometimes in both. For he who is excessive in his feeling of delight exceeds in the pleasant, but he who exceeds in his feeling of pain, in the painful—and this either absolutely or with reference to some standard, e.g. when he differs from the majority of men; but the good man feels as he ought. But since there is a habit in consequence of which its possessor will in some cases admit the excess, in others the defect of the same thing, it follows that as these acts are opposed to one another and to the mean, so the habits will also be opposed to one another and to virtue.
It happens, however, that sometimes all these oppositions will be clearer, sometimes those on the side of excess, sometimes those on the side of defect. And the reason of the difference is that the unlikeness or likeness to the mean is not always of the same kind, but in one case one might change quicker from the excess to the middle habit, sometimes from the defect, and the person further distant seems more opposed; e.g. in regard to the body excess in exercise is healthier than defect, and nearer to the mean, but in food defect is healthier than excess. And so of those states of will which tend to training now some, now others, will show a greater tendency to health in case of the two acts of choice—now those good at work, now those good at abstemiousness; and he who is opposed to the moderate and the reasonable will be the man who avoids exercise, not both; and in the case of food the self-indulgent man, not the man who starves himself. And the reason is that from the start our nature does not diverge in the same way from the mean as regards all things; we are less inclined to exercise, and more inclined to indulgence. So it is too with regard to the soul. We regard, then, as the habit opposed to the mean, that towards which both our faults and men in general are more inclined—the other extreme, as though not existent, escapes our notice, being unperceived because of its rarity. Thus we oppose anger to gentleness, and the irascible to the gentle. Yet there is also excess in the direction of gentleness and readiness to be reconciled, and the repression of anger when one is struck. But the men prone to this are few, and all incline more to the opposite extreme; there is none of the spirit of reconciliation in anger.
And since we have reached a list of the habits in regard to the several passions, with their excesses and defects, and the opposite habits in virtue of which men are as right reason directs them to be—(what right reason is, and with an eye to what standard we are to fix the mean, must be considered later)—it is clear that all the moral virtues and vices have to do with excesses and defects of pleasures and pains, and that pleasures and pains arise from the above-mentioned habits and passions. But the best habit is that which is the mean in respect of each class of things. It is clear then that all, or at least some, of the virtues will be connected with means.
6. Let us, then, take another starting-point for the succeeding inquiry. Every substance is by nature a sort of principle; therefore each can produce many similar to itself, as man man, animals in general animals, and plants plants. But in addition to this man alone of animals is also the source of certain actions; for no other animal would be said to act. Such principles, which are primary sources of movements, are called principles in the strict sense, and most properly such as have necessary results; God is doubtless a principle of this kind. The strict sense of 'principle' is not to be found among principles without movement, e.g. those of mathematics, though by analogy we use the name there also. For there, too, if the principle should change, practically all that is proved from it would alter; but its consequences do not change themselves, one being destroyed by another, except by destroying the assumption and, by its refutation, proving the truth. But man is the source of a kind of movement, for action is movement. But since, as elsewhere, the source or principle is the cause of all that exists or arises through it, we must take the same view as in demonstrations. For if, supposing the triangle to have its angles equal to two right angles, the quadrilateral must have them equal to four right angles, it is clear that the property of the triangle is the cause of this last. And if the triangle should change, then so must the quadrilateral, having six right angles if the triangle has three, and eight if it has four: but if the former does not change but remains as it was before, so must the quadrilateral.
The necessity of what we are endeavoring to show is clear from the Analytics; at present we can neither affirm nor deny anything with precision except just this.
Supposing there were no further cause for the triangle's having the above property, then the triangle would be a sort of principle or cause of all that comes later. So that if anything existent may have the opposite to its actual qualities, so of necessity may its principles. For what results from the necessary is necessary; but the results of the contingent might be the opposite of what they are; what depends on men themselves forms a great portion of contingent matters, and men themselves are the sources of such contingent results. So that it is clear that all the acts of which man is the principle and controller may either happen or not happen, and that their happening or not happening—those at least of whose existence or non-existence he has the control—depends on him. But of what it depends on him to do or not to do, he is himself the cause; and what he is the cause of depends on him. And since virtue and vice and the acts that spring from them are respectively praised or blamed—for we do not praise or blame for what is due to necessity, or chance, or nature, but only for what we ourselves are causes of; for what another is the cause of, for that he bears the blame or praise—it is clear that virtue and vice have to do with matters where the man himself is the cause and source of his acts. We must then ascertain of what actions he is himself the source and cause. Now, we all admit that of acts that are voluntary and done from the deliberate choice of each man he is the cause, but of involuntary acts he is not himself the cause; and all that he does from deliberate choice he clearly does voluntarily. It is clear then that virtue and vice have to do with voluntary acts.
7. We must then ascertain what is the voluntary and the involuntary, and what is deliberate choice, since by these virtue and vice are defined. First we must consider the voluntary and involuntary. Of three things it would seem to be one, agreement with either desire, or choice, or thought—that is, the voluntary would agree, the involuntary would be contrary to one of these. But again, desire is divided into three sorts, wish, anger, and sensual appetite. We have, then, to distinguish these, and first to consider the case of agreement with sensual appetite.
Now all that is in agreement with sensual appetite would seem to be voluntary; for all the involuntary seems to be forced, and what is forced is painful, and so is all that men do and suffer from compulsion—as Evenus says, 'all to which we are compelled is unpleasant.' So that if an act is painful it is forced on us, and if forced it is painful. But all that is contrary to sensual appetite is painful—for such appetite is for the pleasant—and therefore forced and involuntary; what then agrees with sensual appetite is voluntary; for these two are opposites. Further, all wickedness makes one more unjust, and incontinence seems to be wickedness, the incontinent being the sort of man that acts in accordance with his appetite and contrary to his reason, and shows his incontinence when he acts in accordance with his appetite; but to act unjustly is voluntary, so that the incontinent will act unjustly by acting according to his appetite; he will then act voluntarily, and what is done according to appetite is voluntary. Indeed, it would be absurd that those who become incontinent should be more just.
From these considerations, then, the act done from appetite would seem voluntary, but from the following the opposite: what a man does voluntarily he wishes, and what he wishes to do he does voluntarily. But no one wishes what he thinks to be bad; but surely the man who acts incontinently does not do what he wishes, for to act incontinently is to act through appetite contrary to what the man thinks best; whence it results that the same man acts at the same time both voluntarily and involuntarily; but this is impossible. Further, the continent will do a just act, and more so than incontinence; for continence is a virtue, and virtue makes men more just. Now one acts continently whenever he acts against his appetite in accordance with his reason. So that if to act justly is voluntary as to act unjustly is—for both these seem to be voluntary, and if the one is, so must the other be—but action contrary to appetite is involuntary, then the same man will at the same time do the same thing voluntarily and involuntarily.
The same argument may be applied to anger; for there is thought to be a continence and incontinence of anger just as there is of appetite; and what is contrary to our anger is painful, and the repression is forced, so that if the forced is involuntary, all acts done out of anger would be voluntary. Heraclitus, too, seems to be regarding the strength of anger when he says that the restraint of it is painful—'It is hard,' he says, 'to fight with anger; for it gives its life for what it desires.' But if it is impossible for a man voluntarily and involuntarily to do the same thing at the same time, and in regard to the same part of the act, then what is done from wish is more voluntary than that which is done from appetite or anger; and a proof of this is that we do many things voluntarily without anger or desire.
It remains then to consider whether to act from wish and to act voluntarily are identical. But this too seems impossible. For we assumed and all admit that wickedness makes men more unjust, and incontinence seems a kind of wickedness. But the opposite will result from the hypothesis above; for no one wishes what he thinks bad, but does it when he becomes incontinent. If, then, to commit injustice is voluntary, and the voluntary is what agrees with wish, then when a man becomes incontinent he will be no longer committing injustice, but will be more just than before he became incontinent. But this is impossible. That the voluntary then is not action in accordance with desire, nor the involuntary action in opposition to it, is clear.
8. But again, that action in accordance with, or in opposition to, choice is not the true description of the voluntary and involuntary is clear from the following considerations: it has been shown that the act in agreement with wish was not involuntary, but rather that all that one wishes is voluntary, though it has also been shown that one may do voluntarily what one does not wish. But we do many things from wish suddenly, but no one deliberately chooses an act suddenly.
But if, as we saw, the voluntary must be one of these three—action according either to desire, choice, or thought, and it is not two of these, the remaining alternative is that the voluntary consists in action with some kind of thought. Advancing a little further, let us close our delimitation of the voluntary and the involuntary. To act on compulsion or not on compulsion seems connected with these terms; for we say that the enforced is involuntary, and all the involuntary is enforced: so that first we must consider the action done on compulsion, its nature and its relation to the voluntary and the involuntary. Now the enforced and the necessary, force and necessity, seem opposed to the voluntary and to persuasion in the case of acts done. Generally, we speak of enforced action and necessity even in the case of inanimate things; for we say that a stone moves upwards and fire downwards on compulsion and by force; but when they move according to their natural internal tendency, we do not call the act one due to force; nor do we call it voluntary either; there is no name for this antithesis; but when they move contrary to this tendency, then we say they move by force. So, too, among things living and among animals we often see things suffering and acting from force, when something from without moves them contrary to their own internal tendency. Now in the inanimate the moving principle is simple, but in the animated there is more than one principle; for desire and reason do not always agree. And so with the other animals the action on compulsion is simple (just as in the inanimate), for they have not desire and reason opposing one another, but live by desire; but man has both, that is at a certain age, to which we attribute also the power of action; for we do not use this term of the child, nor of the brute, but only of the man who has come to act from reason.
So the compulsory act seems always painful, and no one acts from force and yet with pleasure. Hence there arises much dispute about the continent and incontinent, for each of them acts with two tendencies mutually opposed, so that (as the expression goes) the continent forcibly drags himself from the pleasant appetites (for he feels pain in dragging himself away against the resistance of desire), while the incontinent forcibly drags himself contrary to his reason. But still the latter seems less to be in pain; for appetite is for the pleasant, and this he follows with delight; so that the incontinent rather acts voluntarily and not from force, because he acts without pain. But persuasion is opposed to force and necessity, and the continent goes towards what he is persuaded of, and so proceeds not from force but voluntarily. But appetite leads without persuading, being devoid of reason. We have, then, shown that these alone seem to act from force and involuntarily, and why they seem to, viz. from a certain likeness to the enforced action, in virtue of which we attribute enforced action also to the inanimate. Yet if we add the addition made in our definition, there also the statement becomes untrue. For it is only when something external moves a thing, or brings it to rest against its own internal tendency, that we say this happens by force; otherwise we do not say that it happens by force. But in the continent and the incontinent it is the present internal tendency that leads them, for they have both tendencies. So that neither acts on compulsion nor by force, but, as far at least as the above goes, voluntarily. For the external moving principle, that hinders or moves in opposition to the internal tendency, is what we call necessity, e.g. when we strike some one with the hand of one whose wish and appetite alike resist; but when the principle is from within, there is no force.
Further, there is both pleasure and pain in both; for the continent feels pain now in acting against his appetite, but has the pleasure of hope, i.e. that he will be presently benefited, or even the pleasure of being actually at present benefited because he is in health; while the incontinent is pleased at getting through his incontinency what he desires, but has a pain of expectation, thinking that he is doing ill. So that to say that both act from compulsion is not without reason, the one sometimes acting involuntarily owing to his desire, the other owing to his reason; these two, being separated, are thrust out by one another. Whence men apply the language to the soul as a whole, because we see something like the above in the case of the elements of the soul. Now of the parts of the soul this may be said; but the soul as a whole, whether in the continent or the incontinent, acts voluntarily, and neither acts on compulsion, but one of the elements in them does, since by nature we have both. For reason is in them by nature, because if growth is permitted and not maimed, it will be there; and appetite, because it accompanies and is present in us from birth. But these are practically the two marks by which we define the natural—it is either that which is found with us as soon as we are born, or that which comes to us if growth is allowed to proceed regularly, e.g. grey hair, old age, and so on. So that either acts, in a way, contrary to nature, and yet, broadly speaking, according to nature, but not the same nature. The puzzles then about the continent and incontinent are these—do both, or one of them, act on compulsion, so that they act involuntarily or else at the same time both on compulsion and voluntarily; that is, if the compulsory is involuntary, both voluntarily and involuntarily? And it is tolerably clear from the above how these puzzles are to be met.
In another way, too, men are said to act by force and compulsion without any disagreement between reason and desire in them, viz. when they do what they consider both painful and bad, but they are threatened with stripes, imprisonment, or death, if they do not do it. Such acts they say they did on compulsion. Or shall we deny this, and say that all do the act itself voluntarily? for they had the power to abstain from doing it, and to submit to the suffering. Again perhaps one might say that some such acts were voluntary and some not. For whatever of the acts that a man does without wishing them he has the power to do or abstain from doing, these he always does voluntarily and not by force; but those in which he has not this power, he does by force in a sense (but not absolutely), because he does not choose the very thing he does, but the purpose for which it is done, since there is a difference, too, in this. For if a man were to murder another that he might not catch him at blind man's buff he would be laughed at if he were to say that he acted by force, and on compulsion; there ought to be some greater and more painful evil that he would suffer if he did not commit the murder. For then he will act on compulsion, and either by force, or at least not by nature, when he does something evil for the sake of good, or release from a greater evil; then he will at least act involuntarily, for such acts are not subject to his control. Hence, many regard love, anger in some cases, and natural conditions, as involuntary, as being too strong for nature; we feel indulgence for them as things capable of overpowering nature. A man would more seem to act from force and involuntarily, if he acted to escape violent than if to escape gentle pain, and generally if to escape pain than if to get pleasure. For that which depends on him—and all turns on this—is what his nature is able to bear; what it is not, what is not under the control of his natural desire or reason, that does not depend on him. Therefore those who are inspired and prophesy, though their act is one of thought, we still say have it not in their own power either to say what they said, or to do what they did. And so of acts done through appetite. So that some thoughts and passions do not depend on us, nor the acts following such thoughts and reasonings, but, as Philolaus said, some arguments are too strong for us.
So that if the voluntary and involuntary had to be considered in reference to the presence of force as well as from other points of view, let this be our final distinction. Nothing obscures the idea of the voluntary so much as the use of the expression that men act from force and yet voluntarily.
9. Since we have finished this subject, and we have found the voluntary not to be defined either by desire or by choice, it remains to define it as that which depends on thought. The voluntary, then, seems opposed to the involuntary, and to act with knowledge of the person acted on, instrument and tendency—for sometimes one knows the object, e.g. as father, but not that the tendency of the act is to kill, not to save, as in the case of Pelias's daughters; or knows the object to be a drink but takes it to be a philtre or wine when it was really hemlock—seems opposed to action in ignorance of the person, instrument, or thing, if, that is, the action is essentially the effect of ignorance. All that is done owing to ignorance, whether of person, instrument, or thing, is involuntary; the opposite therefore is voluntary. All, then, that a man does—it being in his power to abstain from doing it—not in ignorance and owing to himself must needs be voluntary; voluntariness is this. But all that he does in ignorance and owing to his ignorance, he does involuntarily. But since science or knowledge is of two sorts, one the possession, the other the use of knowledge, the man who has, but does not use knowledge may in a sense be justly called ignorant, but in another sense not justly, e.g. if he had not used his knowledge owing to carelessness. Similarly, one might be blamed for not having the knowledge, if it were something easy or necessary and he does not have it because of carelessness or pleasure or pain. This, then, we must add to our definition.
Such, then, is the completion of our distinction of the voluntary and the involuntary.
10. Let us next speak about choice, first raising various difficulties about it. For one might doubt to what genus it belongs and in which to place it, and whether the voluntary and the chosen are or are not the same. Now some insist that choice is either opinion or desire, and the inquirer might well think that it was one or the other, for both are found accompanying it. Now that it is not desire is plain; for then it would be either wish, appetite, or anger, for none desires without having experienced one of these feelings. But anger and appetite belong also to the brutes while choice does not; further, even those who are capable of both the former often choose without either anger or appetite; and when they are under the influence of those passions they do not choose but remain unmoved by them. Further, anger and appetite always involve pain, but we often choose without pain. But neither are wish and choice the same; for we often wish for what we know is impossible, e.g. to rule all mankind or to be immortal, but no one chooses such things unless ignorant of the impossibility, nor even what is possible, generally, if he does not think it in his power to do or to abstain from doing it. So that this is clear, that the object of choice must be one of the things in our own power. Similarly, choice is not an opinion nor, generally, what one thinks; for the object of choice was something in one's power and many things may be thought that are not, e.g. that the diagonal is commensurable; and further, choice is not either true or false. Nor yet is choice identical with our opinion about matters of practice which are in our own power, as when we think that we ought to do or not to do something. This argument applies to wish as well as to opinion; for no one chooses an end, but the means to an end, e.g. no one chooses to be in health, but to walk or to sit for the purpose of keeping well; no one chooses to be happy but to make money or run risks for the purpose of being happy. And in general, in choosing we show both what we choose and for what we choose it, the latter being that for which we choose something else, the former that which we choose for something else. But it is the end that we specially wish for, and we think we ought to be healthy and happy. So that it is clear through this that choice is different both from opinion and from wish; for wish and opinion are specially of the end, but choice is not.
It is clear, then, that choice is not wish, or opinion, or judgment simply. But in what does it differ from these? How is it related to the voluntary? The answer to these questions will also make it clear what choice is. Of possible things, then, there are some such that we can deliberate about them, while about others we cannot. For some things are possible, but the production of them is not in our power, some being due to nature, others to other causes; and about these none would attempt to deliberate except in ignorance. But about others, not only existence and non- existence is possible, but also human deliberation; these are things the doing or not doing of which is in our own power. Therefore, we do not deliberate about the affairs of the Indians nor how the circle may be squared; for the first are not in our power, the second is wholly beyond the power of action; but we do not even deliberate about all things that may be done and that are in our power (by which it is clear that choice is not opinion simply), though the matters of choice and action belong to the class of things in our own power.
One might then raise the problem—why do doctors deliberate about matters within their science, but not grammarians? The reason is that error may occur in two ways (either in reasoning or in perception when we are engaged in the very act), and in medicine one may go wrong in both ways, but in grammar one can do so only in respect of the perception and action, and if they inquired about this there would be no end to their inquiries. Since then choice is neither opinion nor wish singly nor yet both (for no one chooses suddenly, though he thinks he ought to act, and wishes, suddenly), it must be compounded of both, for both are found in a man choosing. But we must ask—how compounded out of these? The very name is some indication. For choice is not simply taking but taking one thing before another; and this is impossible without consideration and deliberation; therefore choice arises out of deliberate opinion.
Now about the end no one deliberates (this being fixed for all), but about that which tends to it—whether this or that tends to it, and—supposing this or that resolved on—how it is to be brought about. All consider this till they have brought the commencement of the production to a point in their own power. If then, no one deliberately chooses without some preparation, without some consideration whether it is better or worse to do so and so, and if one considers all that are in one's power of the means to the end which are capable of existing or not existing, it is clear that choice is a considered desire for something in one's own power; for we all consider what we choose, but we do not choose all that we consider. I call it considered when consideration is the source and cause of the desire, and the man desires because of the consideration. Therefore in the other animals choice does not exist, nor in man at every age or in every condition; for there is not consideration or judgment of the ground of an act; but it is quite possible that many animals have an opinion whether a thing is to be done or not; only thinking with consideration is impossible to them. For the considering part of the soul is that which observes a cause of some sort; and the object of an action is one of the causes; for we call cause that owing to which a thing comes about; but the purpose of a thing's existence or production is what we specially call its cause, e.g. of walking, the fetching of things, if this is the purpose for which one walks.
Therefore, those who have no aim fixed have no inclination to deliberate. So that since, if a man of himself and not through ignorance does or abstains from that which is in his power to do or abstain from, he acts or abstains voluntarily, but we do many such things without deliberation or premeditation, it follows that all that has been deliberately chosen is voluntary, but not all the voluntary is deliberately chosen, and that all that is according to choice is voluntary, but not all that is voluntary is according to choice. And at the same time it is clear from this that those legislators define well who enact that some states of feeling are to be considered voluntary, some involuntary, and some premeditated; for if they are not thoroughly accurate, at least they approximate to the truth. But about this we will speak in our investigation of justice; meanwhile, it is clear that deliberate choice is not simply wish or simply opinion, but opinion and desire together when following as a conclusion from deliberation.
But since in deliberating one always deliberates for the sake of some end, and he who deliberates has always an aim by reference to which he judges what is expedient, no one deliberates about the end; this is the starting-point and assumption, like the assumptions in theoretical science (we have spoken about this shortly in the beginning of this work and minutely in the Analytics). Every one's inquiry, whether made with or without art, is about what tends to the end, e.g. whether they shall go to war or not, when this is what they are deliberating about. But the cause or object will come first, e.g. wealth, pleasure, or anything else of the sort that happens to be our object. For the man deliberating deliberates if he has considered, from the point of view of the end, what conduces to bringing the end within his own action, or what he at present can do towards the object. But the object or end is always something good by nature, and men deliberate about its partial constituents, e.g. the doctor whether he is to give a drug, or the general where he is to pitch his camp. To them the absolutely best end is good. But contrary to nature and by perversion not the good but the apparent good is the end. And the reason is that some things cannot be used for anything but what their nature determines, e.g. sight; for one can see nothing but what is visible, nor hear anything but what is audible. But science enables us to do what does not belong to that science; for the same science is not similarly related to health and disease, but naturally to the former, contrary to nature to the latter. And similarly wish is of the good naturally, but of the bad contrary to nature, and by nature one wishes the good, but contrary to nature and through perversion the bad as well.
But further, the corruption and perversion of a thing does not tend to anything at random but to the contrary or the intermediate between it and the contrary. For out of this province one cannot go, since error leads not to anything at random but to the contrary of truth where there is a contrary, and to that contrary which is according to the appropriate science contrary. Therefore, the error and the resulting choice must deviate from the mean towards the opposite—and the opposite of the mean is excess or defect. And the cause is pleasantness or painfulness; for we are so constituted that the pleasant appears good to the soul and the more pleasant better, while the painful appears bad and the more painful worse. So that from this also it is clear that virtue and vice have to do with pleasures and pains; for they have to do with objects of choice, and choice has to do with the good and bad or what seems such, and pleasure and pain naturally seem such.
It follows then, since moral virtue is itself a mean and wholly concerned with pleasures and pains, and vice lies in excess or defect and is concerned with the same matters as virtue, that moral virtue is a habit tending to choose the mean in relation to us in things pleasant and painful, in regard to which, according as one is pleased or pained, men are said to have a definite sort of character; for one is not said to have a special sort of character merely for liking what is sweet or what is bitter.
11. These distinctions having been made, let us say whether virtue makes the choice correct and the end right so that a man chooses for the right end, or whether (as some say) it makes the reason so. But what does this is continence, for this preserves the reason. But virtue and continence differ. We must speak later about them, since those who think that virtue makes the reason right, do so for this cause—namely, that continence is of this nature and continence is one of the things we praise. Now that we have discussed preliminary questions let us state our view. It is possible for the aim to be right, but for a man to go wrong in the means to that aim; and again the aim may be mistaken, while the means leading to it are right; or both may be mistaken. Does then virtue make the aim, or the means to that aim? We say the aim, because this is not attained by inference or reasoning. Let us assume this as starting-point. For the doctor does not ask whether one ought to be in health or not, but whether one ought to walk or not; nor does the trainer ask whether one ought to be in good condition or not, but whether one should wrestle or not. And similarly no art asks questions about the end; for as in theoretical sciences the assumptions are our starting-points, so in the productive the end is starting-point and assumed. E.g. we reason that since this body is to be made healthy, therefore so and so must be found in it if health is to be had—just as in geometry we argue, if the angles of the triangle are equal to two right angles, then so and so must be the case.
The end aimed at is, then, the starting-point of our thought, the end of our thought the starting-point of action. If, then, of all correctness either reason or virtue is the cause, if reason is not the cause, then the end (but not the means) must owe its rightness to virtue. But the end is the object of the action; for all choice is of some thing and for the sake of some object. The object, then, is the mean, and virtue is the cause of this by choosing it. Still choice is not of this but of the things done for the sake of this. To hit on these things—I mean what ought to be done for the sake of the object—belongs to another faculty; but of the rightness of the end of the choice the cause is virtue. And therefore it is from a man's choice that we judge his character—that is from the object for the sake of which he acts, not from the act itself. Similarly, vice makes the choice to be for the sake of the opposite object. If, then, a man, having it in his power to do the honorable and abstain from the base, does the opposite, it is clear that this man is not good. Hence, it follows that both vice and virtue are voluntary; for there is no necessity to do what is wicked. Therefore vice is blamable and virtue praiseworthy. For the involuntary if base or bad is not blamable, if good is not praiseworthy, but only the voluntary. Further, we praise and blame all men with regard to their choice rather than their acts (though activity is more desirable than virtue), because men may do bad acts under compulsion, but no one chooses them under compulsion. Further, it is only because it is not easy to see the nature of a man's choice that we are forced to judge of his character by his acts. The activity then is more desirable, but the choice more praiseworthy. And this both follows from our assumptions and is in agreement with observation.
1. THAT there are mean states, then, in the virtues, and that these are states of deliberate purpose, and that the opposite states are vices and what these are, has been stated in its universal form. But let us take them individually and speak of them in order; and first let us speak of bravery. All are practically agreed that the brave man is concerned with fears and that bravery is one of the virtues. We distinguished also in the table confidence and fear as contraries; in a sense they are, indeed, opposed to one another. Clearly, then, those named after these habits will be similarly opposed to one another, e.g. the coward, for he is so called from fearing more than he ought and being less confident than he ought, and the confident man, who is so called for fearing less than he ought and being more confident than he ought. (Hence they have names cognate to those of the qualities, e.g. 'confident' is cognate to 'confidence'.) So that since bravery is the best habit in regard to fear and confidence, and one should be neither like the confident (who are defective in one way, excessive in another) nor like the cowards (of whom the same may be said, only not about the same objects, but inversely, for they are defective in confidence and excessive in fear), it is clear that the middle habit between confidence and cowardice is bravery, for this is the best.
The brave man seems to be in general fearless, the coward prone to fear; the latter fears many things and few, great things and small, and intensely and quickly, while his opposite fears either not at all or slightly and reluctantly and seldom, and great things only. The brave endures even what is very formidable, the coward not even what is slightly formidable. What, then, does the brave man endure? First, is it the things that appear formidable to himself or to another? If the latter, his bravery would be no considerable matter. But if it is the things formidable to himself, then he must find many things formidable—formidable things being things that cause fear to those who find them formidable, great fear if very formidable, slight fear if slightly formidable. Then it follows that the brave man feels much and serious fear; but on the contrary bravery seemed to make a man fearless, fearlessness consisting in fearing few things if any, and in fearing slightly and with reluctance. But perhaps we use 'formidable'—like 'pleasant' and 'good'—in two senses. Some things are pleasant or good absolutely, others to a particular person pleasant or good—but absolutely bad and not pleasant, e.g. what is useful to the wicked or pleasant to children as such; and similarly the formidable is either absolutely such or such to a particular person.
What, then, a coward as such fears is not formidable to any one or but slightly so; but what is formidable to the majority of men or to human nature, that we call absolutely formidable. But the brave man shows himself fearless towards these and endures such things, they being to him formidable in one sense but in another not—formidable to him qua man, but not formidable to him except slightly so, or not at all, qua brave. These things, however, are terrible, for they are so to the majority of men. This is the reason, by the way, why the habit of the brave man is praised; his condition is analogous to that of the strong or healthy. For these are what they are, not because, in the case of the one, no toil, in the case of the other, no extreme, crushes them, but because they are either unaffected absolutely or affected only to a slight extent by the things that affect the many or the majority. The sick, then, and the weak and the cowardly are affected by the common affections, as well as by others, only more quickly and to a greater extent than the many, and further, by the things that affect the many they are wholly unaffected or but slightly affected.
But it is still questioned whether anything is terrible to the brave man, whether he would not be incapable of fear. May we not allow him to be capable of it in the way above mentioned? For bravery consists in following reason, and reason bids one choose the noble. Therefore the man who endures the terrible from any other cause than this is either out of his wits or confident; but the man who does so for the sake of the noble is alone fearless and brave. The coward, then, fears even what he ought not, the confident is confident even when he ought not to be; the brave man both fears and is confident when he ought to be, and is in this sense a mean, for he is confident or fears as reason bids him. But reason does not bid a man to endure what is very painful or destructive unless it is noble; now the confident is confident about such things even if reason does not bid him be so, while the coward is not confident even if it does; the brave man alone is confident about them only if reason bids him.
There are five kinds of courage, so named from a certain analogy between them; for they all endure the same things but not for the same reasons. One is a civic courage, due to the sense of shame; another is military, due to experience and knowledge, not (as Socrates said) of what is fearful, but of the resources they have to meet what is fearful. The third kind is due to inexperience and ignorance; it is that which makes children and mad-men face objects moving towards them and take hold of snakes. Another kind is due to hope, which makes those who have often been fortunate, or those who are drunk, face dangers—for wine makes them sanguine. Another kind is due to irrational feeling, e.g. love or anger; for a man in love is rather confident than timid, and faces many dangers, like him who slew the tyrant in Metapontium or the man of whom stories are told in Crete. Similar is the action of anger or passion, for passion is beside itself. Hence wild boars are thought to be brave though they are not really so, for they behave as such when beside themselves, but at other times are variable, like confident men. But still the bravery of passion is above all natural (passion is invincible, and therefore children are excellent fighters); civic courage is the effect of law. But in truth none of these forms is courage, though all are useful for encouragement in danger.
So far we have spoken of the terrible generally; now it is best to distinguish further. In general, then, whatever is productive of fear is called fearful, and this is all that causes destructive pain. For those who expect some other pain may perhaps have another pain and another emotion but not fear, e.g. if a man foresees that he will suffer the pain of envy or of jealousy or of shame. But fear only occurs in connection with the expectation of pains whose nature is to be destructive to life. Therefore men who are very effeminate as to some things are brave, and some who are hard and enduring are cowards. Indeed, it is thought practically the special mark of bravery to take up a certain attitude towards death and the pain of it. For if a man were so constituted as to be patient as reason requires towards heat and cold and similar not dangerous pains, but weak and timid about death, not for any other feeling, but just because it means destruction, while another was soft in regard to these but unaffected in regard to death, the former would seem cowardly, the latter brave; for we speak of danger also only in regard to such objects of fear as bring near to us that which will cause such destruction; when this seems close, then we speak of danger.
The objects of fear, then, in regard to which we call a man brave are, as we have said, those which appear capable of causing destructive pain, but only when they appear near and not far off, and are of such magnitude, real or apparent, as is not out of proportion to man, for some things must appear terrible to and must upset any man. For just as things hot and cold and certain other powers are too strong for us and the conditions of the human body, so it may be with regard to the emotions of the soul.
The cowardly, then, and the confident are misled by their habits; for to the coward what is not terrible seems terrible, and what is slightly terrible greatly so, while in the opposite way, to the confident the terrible seems safe and the very terrible but slightly so; but the brave man thinks things what they truly are. Therefore, if a man faces the terrible through ignorance (e.g. if a man faces in the transport of madness the attack of a thunderbolt), he is not brave, nor yet if, knowing the magnitude of the danger, he faces it through passion—as the Celts take up their arms to go to meet the waves; in general, all the bravery of barbarians involves passion. But some face danger also for other pleasures—for passion is not without a certain pleasure, involving as it does the hope of vengeance. But still, whether a man faces death for this or some other pleasure or to flee from greater evils, he would not justly be called brave. For if dying were pleasant, the profligate would have often died because of his incontinence, just as now— since what causes death is pleasant though not death itself—many knowingly incur death through their incontinence, but none of them would be thought brave even if they do it with perfect readiness to die. Nor is a man brave if he seeks death to avoid trouble, as many do; to use Agathon's words: 'Bad men too weak for toil are in love with death.' And so the poets narrate that Chiron, because of the pain of his wound, prayed for death and release from his immortality.
Similarly, all who face dangers owing to experience are not really brave; this is what, perhaps, most soldiers do. For the truth is the exact opposite of what Socrates thought; he held that bravery was knowledge. But those who know how to ascend masts are confident not because they know what is terrible, but because they know how to help themselves in dangers. Nor is all that makes men fight more boldly courage; for then, as Theognis puts it, strength and wealth would be bravery—'every man' (he says) 'daunted by poverty'. Obviously some, though cowards, face dangers because of their experience, because they do not think them dangers, as they know how to help themselves; and a proof of this is that, when they think they can get no help and the danger is close at hand, they no longer face it. But it is where shame, among all such causes, makes a man face danger that the man would most seem to be brave, as Homer says Hector faced the danger from Achilles—'and shame seized Hector'; and, again, 'Polydamas will be the first to taunt me'. Such bravery is civic. But the true bravery is neither this nor any of the others, but like them, as is also the bravery of brutes which from passion run to meet the blow. For a man ought to hold his ground though frightened, not because he will incur disrepute, nor through anger, nor because he does not expect to be killed or has powers by which to protect himself; for in that case he will not even think that there is anything to be feared. But since all virtue implies deliberate choice—we have said before what this means and that it makes a man choose everything for the sake of some end, and that the end is the noble—it is clear that bravery, because it is a virtue, will make a man face the fearful for some end, so that he does it neither through ignorance—for his virtue rather makes him judge correctly—nor for pleasure, but because the act is noble; since, if it be not noble but frantic, he does not face the danger, for that would be disgraceful. In regard, then, to what things bravery is a mean state, between what, and why, and the meaning of the fearful, we have now spoken tolerably adequately for our present purpose.
2. After this we must try to draw certain distinctions regarding profligacy and temperance. 'Profligate' has many senses. It is, in a sense, the unchastened and uncured, as the undivided is the not divided, and with the same two classes, i.e. the one capable, the other incapable of division; for undivided means both what is incapable of division, and what is capable but not actually divided; and so with 'profligate'. For it is both that which by its nature refuses chastening, and that which is of a nature to accept but has not yet received chastening for the faults in regard to which the temperate man acts rightly—e.g. children. For we give them the same name as the profligate, but because of this latter kind of profligacy. And, further, it is in different senses that we give the name to those hard to cure and to those whom it is quite impossible to cure through chastening. Profligacy, then, having many senses, it is clear that it has to do with certain pleasures and pains, and that the forms differ from one another and from other states by the kind of attitude towards these; we have already stated how, in the use of the word 'profligacy', we apply it to various states by analogy. As to those who from insensibility are unmoved by these same pleasures, some call them insensible, while others describe them as such by other names; but this state is not very familiar or common because all rather err in the opposite direction, and it is congenital to all to be overcome by and to be sensible to such pleasures. It is the state chiefly of such as the boors introduced on the stage by comic writers, who keep aloof from even moderate and necessary pleasures.
But since temperance has to do with pleasures, it must also have to do with certain appetites; we must, then, ascertain which. For the temperate man does not exhibit his temperance in regard to all appetites and all pleasures, but about the objects, as it seems, of two senses, taste and touch, or rather really about those of touch alone. For his temperance is shown not in regard to visual pleasure in the beautiful (so long as it is unaccompanied by sexual appetite) or visual pain at the ugly; nor, again, in regard to the pleasure or pain of the ear at harmony or discord; nor, again, in regard to olfactory pleasure or pain at pleasant or disagreeable odors. Nor is a man called profligate for feeling or want of feeling in regard to such matters. For instance, if one sees a beautiful statue, or horse, or human being, or hears singing, without any accompanying wish for eating, drinking, or sexual indulgence, but only with the wish to see the beautiful and to hear the singers, he would not be thought profligate any more than those who were charmed by the Sirens. Temperance and profligacy have to do with those two senses whose objects are alone felt by and give pleasure and pain to brutes as well; and these are the senses of taste and touch, the brutes seeming insensible to the pleasures of practically all the other senses alike, e.g. harmony or beauty; for they obviously have no feeling worth mentioning at the mere sight of the beautiful or the hearing of the harmonious, except, perhaps, in some marvellous instances. And with regard to pleasant and disagreeable odors it is the same, though all their senses are sharper than ours.
They do, indeed, feel pleasure at certain odors; but these gladden them accidentally and not of their own nature, being those that give us pleasure owing to expectation and memory, e.g. the pleasure from the scent of food or drinks; for these we enjoy because of a different pleasure, that of eating or drinking; the odors enjoyed for their own nature are such as those of flowers; (therefore Stratonicus neatly remarked that these smell beautifully, food, &c., pleasantly). Indeed, the brutes are not excited over every pleasure connected with taste, e.g. not over those which are felt in the tip of the tongue, but only over those that are felt in the gullet, the sensation being one of touch rather than of taste. Therefore gluttons pray not for a long tongue but for the gullet of a crane, as did Philoxenus, the son of Eryxis. Therefore, broadly, we should regard profligacy as concerned with objects of touch. Similarly it is with such pleasures that the profligate man is concerned. For drunkenness, gluttony, lecherousness, gormandizing, and all such things are concerned with the above-mentioned senses; and these are the parts into which we divide profligacy. But in regard to the pleasures of sight, hearing, and smell, no one is called profligate if he is in excess, but we blame without considering disgraceful such faults, and all in regard to which we do not speak of men as continent; the incontinent are neither profligate nor temperate.
The man, then, so constituted as to be deficient in the pleasures in which all must in general partake and rejoice is insensible (or whatever else we ought to call him); the man in excess is profligate. For all naturally take delight in these objects and conceive appetites for them, and neither are nor are called profligate; for they neither exceed by rejoicing more than is right when they get them, nor by feeling greater pain than they ought when they miss them; nor are they insensible, for they are not deficient in the feeling of joy or pain, but rather in excess.
But since there is excess and defect in regard to these things, there is clearly also a mean, and this state is the best and opposed to both of the others; so that if the best state about the objects with which the profligate is concerned is temperance, temperance would be the mean state in regard to the above-mentioned sensible pleasures, the mean between profligacy and insensibility, the excess being profligacy, and the defect either nameless or expressed by the names we have suggested. More accurate distinctions about the class of pleasures will be drawn in what is said later about continence and incontinence.
3. In the same way we must ascertain what is gentleness and irascibility. For we see that the gentle is concerned with the pain that arises from anger, being characterized by a certain attitude towards this. We have given in our list as opposed to the passionate, irascible, and savage—all such being names for the same state—the slavish and the senseless. For these are practically the names we apply to those who are not moved to anger even when they ought, but take insults easily and are humble towards contempt—for slowness to anger is opposed to quickness, violence to quietness, long persistence in that feeling of pain which we call anger to short. And since there is here, as we have said there is elsewhere, excess and defect—for the irascible is one that feels anger more quickly, to a greater degree, and for a longer time, and when he ought not, and at what he ought not, and frequently, while the slavish is the opposite—it is clear that there is a mean to this inequality. Since, then, both the above-mentioned habits are wrong, it is clear that the mean state between them is good; for he is neither too soon nor too late, and does not feel anger when he ought not, nor feel no anger when he ought. So that since in regard to these emotions the best condition is gentleness, gentleness would be a mean state, and the gentle a mean between the irascible and the slavish.
Also magnanimity, magnificence, and liberality are mean states—liberality being shown in the acquisition or expenditure of wealth. For the man who is more pleased than he ought to be with every acquisition and more pained than he ought to be at every expenditure is illiberal; he who feels less of both than he ought is lavish; he who feels both as he ought is liberal. (By 'as he ought', both in this and in the other cases, I mean 'as right reason directs'.) But since the two former show their nature respectively by excess and defect—and where there are extremes, there is also a mean and that is best, a single best for each kind of action— liberality must be the mean between lavishness and meanness in regard to the acquisition and expenditure of wealth. I take wealth and the art of wealth in two senses; the art in one sense being the proper use of one's property (say of a shoe or a coat), in the other an accidental mode of using it—not the use of a shoe for a weight, but, say, the selling of it or letting it out for money; for here too the shoe is used. Now the lover of money is a man eager for actual money, which is a sign of possession taking the place of the accidental use of other possessions. But the illiberal man may even be lavish in the accidental pursuit of wealth, for it is in the natural pursuit of it that he aims at increase. The lavish runs short of necessaries; but the liberal man gives his superfluities. There are also species of these genera which exceed or fall short as regards parts of the subject-matter of liberality, e.g. the sparing, the skinflint, the grasper at disgraceful gain, are all illiberal; the sparing is characterized by his refusal to spend, the grasper at disgraceful gain by his readiness to accept anything, the skinflint by his strong feeling over small amounts, while the man who has the sort of injustice that involves meanness is a false reckoner and cheat. And similarly one class of spendthrift is a waster by his disorderly expenditure, the other a fool who cannot bear the pain of calculation.
5. As to magnanimity we must define its specific nature from the qualities that we ascribe to the magnanimous. For just as with other things, in virtue of their nearness and likeness up to a certain point, their divergence beyond that point escapes notice, so it is with magnanimity. Therefore, sometimes men really opposite lay claim to the same character, e.g. the lavish to that of the liberal, the self-willed to that of the dignified, the confident to that of the brave. For they are concerned with the same things, and are up to a certain point contiguous; thus the brave man and the confident are alike ready to face danger—but the former in one way, the latter in another; and these ways differ greatly.
Now, we assert that the magnanimous man, as is indicated by the name we apply to him, is characterized by a certain greatness of soul and faculty; and so he seems like the dignified and the magnificent man, since magnanimity seems to accompany all the virtues. For to distinguish correctly great goods from small is laudable. Now, those goods are thought great which are pursued by the man of the best habit in regard to what seem to be pleasures; and magnanimity is the best habit. But every special virtue correctly distinguishes the greater from the less among its objects, as the wise man and virtue would direct, so that all the virtues seem to go with this one of magnanimity, or this with all the virtues.
Further, it seems characteristic of the magnanimous man to be disdainful; each virtue makes one disdainful of what is esteemed great contrary to reason (e g. bravery disdains dangers of this kind for it considers it disgraceful to hold them great; and numbers are not always fearful: so the temperate disdains many great pleasures, and the liberal wealth). But this characteristic seems to belong to the magnanimous man because he cares about few things only, and those great, and not because some one else thinks them so. The magnanimous man would consider rather what one good man thinks than many ordinary men, as Antiphon after his condemnation said to Agathon when he praised his defense of himself. Contempt seems particularly the special characteristic of the magnanimous man; and, again, as regards honor, life, and wealth—about which mankind seems to care—he values none of them except honor. He would be pained if denied honor, and if ruled by one undeserving. He delights most of all when he obtains honor.
In this way he would seem to contradict himself; for to be concerned above all with honor, and yet to disdain the multitude and reputation, are inconsistent. So we must first distinguish. For honor, great or small, is of two kinds; for it may be given by a crowd of ordinary men or by those worthy of consideration; and, again, there is a difference according to the ground on which honor is given. For it is made great not merely by the number of those who give the honor or by their quality, but also by its being precious; but in reality, power and all other goods are precious and worthy of pursuit only if they are truly great, so that there is no virtue without greatness; therefore every virtue, as we have said, makes man magnanimous in regard to the object with which that virtue is concerned. But still there is a single virtue, magnanimity, alongside of the other virtues, and he who has this must be called in a special sense magnanimous. But since some goods are precious and some not, according to the distinction above made, and of such goods some are in truth great and some small, and of these some men are worthy and think themselves so, among these we must look for the magnanimous man. There must be four different kinds of men. For a man may be worthy of great goods and think himself worthy of them, and again there may be small goods and a man worthy of them and thinking himself worthy; and we may have the opposites in regard to either kind of goods; for there may be a man worthy of small who thinks himself worthy of great and esteemed goods; and, again, one worthy of great but thinking himself worthy only of small. He then who is worthy of the small but thinks himself worthy of the great is blameable; for it is silly and not noble that he should obtain out of proportion to his worth: the man also is blameable who being worthy of great goods, because he possesses the gifts that make a man worthy, does not think himself worthy to share in them.
There remains then the opposite of these two—the man who is worthy of great goods and thinks himself worthy of them, such being his disposition; he is the mean between the other two and is praiseworthy. Since, then, in respect of the choice and use of honor and the other esteemed goods, the best condition is magnanimity, and we define the magnanimous man as being this, and not as being concerned with things useful; and since this mean is the most praiseworthy state, it is clear that magnanimity is a mean. But of the opposites, as shown in our list, the quality consisting in thinking oneself worthy of great goods when not worthy is vanity—for we give the name of vain to those who think themselves worthy of great things though they are not; but the quality of not thinking oneself worthy of great things though one is, we call mean-spiritedness—for it is held to be the mark of the mean-spirited not to think himself worthy of any thing great though he possesses that for which he would justly be deemed worthy of it; hence, it follows that magnanimity is a mean between vanity and mean-spiritedness. The fourth of the sorts of men we have distinguished is neither wholly blameable nor yet magnanimous, not having to do with anything that possesses greatness, for he is neither worthy nor thinks himself worthy of great goods; therefore, he is not opposite to the magnanimous man; yet to be worthy and think oneself worthy of small goods might seem opposite to being worthy and thinking oneself worthy of great ones. But such a man is not opposite to the magnanimous man, for he is not to be blamed (his habit being what reason directs); he is, in fact, similar in nature to the magnanimous man; for both think themselves worthy of what they really are worthy of. He might become magnanimous, for of whatever he is worthy of he will think himself worthy. But the mean-spirited man who, possessed of great and honorable qualities, does not think himself worthy of great good—what would he do if he deserved only small? Either he would think himself worthy of great goods and thus be vain, or else of still smaller than he has. Therefore, no one would call a man mean-spirited because, being an alien in a city, he does not claim to govern but submits, but only one who does not, being well born and thinking power a great thing.
6. The magnificent man is not concerned with any and every action or choice, but with expenditure—unless we use the name metaphorically; without expense there cannot be magnificence. It is the fitting in ornament, but ornament is not to be got out of ordinary expenditure, but consists in surpassing the merely necessary. The man, then, who tends to choose in great expenditure the fitting magnitude, and desires this sort of mean, and with a view to this sort of pleasure is magnificent; the man whose inclination is to something larger than necessary but out of harmony, has no name, though he is near to those called by some tasteless and showy: e.g. if a rich man, spending money on the marriage of a favorite, thinks it sufficient to make such arrangements as one makes to entertain those who drink to the Good Genius, he is shabby; while one who receives guests of this sort in the way suited to a marriage feast resembles the showy man, if he does it neither for the sake of reputation nor to gain power; but he who entertains suitably and as reason directs, is magnificent; for what looks well is the suitable; nothing unsuitable is fitting. And what one does should be fitting, For in what is fitting is involved suitability both to the object (e.g. one thing is fitting for a servant's, another for a favorite's wedding) and to the entertainer both in extent and kind, e.g. one thought that the mission conducted by Themistocles to the Olympian games was not fitting to him because of his previous low station, but would have been to Cimon. But the man who is indifferent to questions of suitability is in none of the above classes.
Similarly with liberality; for a man may be neither liberal nor illiberal.
7. In general of the other blameable or praiseworthy qualities of character some are excesses, others defects, others means, but of feelings, e.g. the envious man and the man who rejoices over another's misfortunes. For, to consider the habits to which they owe their names, envy is pain felt at deserved good fortune, while the feeling of the man who rejoices at misfortunes has itself no name, but such a man shows his nature by rejoicing over undeserved ill fortune. Between them is the man inclined to righteous indignation, the name given by the ancients to pain felt at either good or bad fortune if undeserved, or to joy felt at them if deserved. Hence they make righteous indignation (νεμεσις) a god. Shame is a mean between shamelessness and shyness; for the man who thinks of no one's opinion is shameless, he who thinks of every one's alike is shy, he who thinks only of that of apparently good men is modest. Friendliness is a mean between animosity and flattery; for the man who readily accommodates himself in all respects to another's desires is a flatterer; the man who opposes every desire is prone to enmity; the man who neither accommodates himself to nor resists every one's pleasure, but only accommodates himself to what seems to be best, is friendly. Dignity is a mean between self-will and too great obligingness; for the contemptuous man who lives with no consideration for another is self-willed; the man who adapts his whole life to another and is submissive to everybody is too obliging; but he who acts thus in certain cases but not in others, and only to those worthy, is dignified.
The sincere and simple, or, as he is called, 'downright' man, is a mean between the dissembler and the charlatan. For the man who knowingly and falsely depreciates himself is a dissembler; the man who exalts himself is a charlatan; the man who represents himself as he is, is sincere, and in the Homeric phrase 'intelligent'; in general the one loves truth, the other a lie. Wittiness also is a mean, the witty being a mean between the boorish or stiff and the buffoon. For just as the squeamish differs from the omnivorous in that the one takes little or nothing and that with reluctance, while the other accepts everything readily, so is the boor related to the vulgar buffoon; the one accepts nothing comic without difficulty, the other takes all easily and with pleasure. Neither attitude is right; one ought to accept some things and not others, as reason directs—and the man who does this is witty. The proof is the usual one; wittiness of this kind, supposing we do not use the word in some transferred sense, is the best habit, and the mean is praiseworthy, and the extremes blameable. But wit being of two kinds—one being delight in the comic, even when directed against one's self, if it be really comic, like a jeer, the other being the faculty of producing such things—the two sorts differ from one another but both are means. For the man that can produce what a good judge will be pleased at, even if the joke is against himself, will be midway between the vulgar and the frigid man; this definition is better than that which merely requires the thing said to be not painful to the person jeered at, no matter what sort of man he is; one ought rather to please the man who is in the mean, for he is a good judge.
All these mean states are praiseworthy without being virtues; nor are their opposites vices—for they do not involve deliberate choice. All of them occur in the classifications of affections, for each is an affection. But since they are natural, they tend to the natural virtues; for, as will be said later, each virtue is found both naturally and also otherwise, viz. as including thought. Envy then tends to injustice (for the acts arising from it affect another), righteous indignation to justice, shame to temperance—whence some even put temperance into this genus. The sincere and the false are respectively sensible and foolish.
But the mean is more opposed to the extremes than these to one another, because the mean is found with neither, but the extremes often with one another, and sometimes the same people are at once cowardly and confident, or lavish in some ways, illiberal in others, and in general are lacking in uniformity in a bad sense—for if they lack uniformity in a good sense, men of the mean type are produced; since, in a way, both extremes are present in the mean.
The opposition between the mean and the extremes does not seem to be alike in both cases; sometimes the opposition is that of the excessive extreme, sometimes that of the defective, and the causes are the two first given—rarity, e.g. of those insensible to pleasures, and the fact that the error to which we are most prone seems the more opposed to the mean. There is a third reason, namely, that the more like seems less opposite, e.g. confidence to bravery, lavishness to liberality.
We have, then, spoken sufficiently about the other praiseworthy virtues; we must now speak of justice.
1. FRIENDSHIP, what it is and of what nature, who is a friend, and whether friendship has one or many senses (and if many, how many), and, further, how we should treat a friend, and what is justice in friendship—all this must be examined not less than any of the things that are noble and desirable in character. For it is thought to be the special business of the political art to produce friendship, and men say that virtue is useful for this, for those who are unjustly treated by one another cannot be friends to one another. Further, all say that justice and injustice are specially exhibited towards friends; the same man seems both good and a friend, and friendship seems a sort of moral habit; and if one wishes to act without injustice, it is enough to make friends, for genuine friends do not act unjustly. But neither will men act unjustly if they are just; therefore justice and friendship are either the same or not far different.
Further, men believe a friend to be among the greatest of goods, and friendlessness and solitude to be most terrible, because all life and voluntary association is with friends; for we spend our days with our family, kinsmen, or comrades, children, parents, or wife. The private justice practiced to friends depends on ourselves alone, while justice towards all others is determined by the laws, and does not depend on us.
Many questions are raised about friendship. There is the view of those who include the external world and give the term an extended meaning; for some think that like is friend to like, whence the saying 'how God ever draws like to like'; or the saying 'crow to crow'; or 'thief knows thief, and wolf wolf.' The physicists even systematize the whole of nature on the principle that like goes to like—whence Empedocles said that the dog sat on the tile because it was most like it. Some, then, describe a friend thus, but others say that opposites are friends; for they say the loved and desired is in every case a friend, but the dry does not desire the dry but the moist—whence the sayings, 'Earth loves the rain', and 'in all things change is pleasant'; but change is change to an opposite. And like hates like, for 'potter is jealous of potter', and animals nourished from the same source are enemies. Such, then, is the discrepancy between these views; for some think the like a friend, and the opposite an enemy—'the less is ever the enemy of the more, and begins a day of hate'; and, further, the places of contraries are separated, but friendship seems to bring together. But others think opposites are friends, and Heraclitus blames the poet who wrote 'may strife perish from among gods and men'; for (says he) there could not be harmony without the low and the high note, nor living things without male and female, two opposites.
There are, then, these two views about friendship; and when so far separated from one another both are too broad. There are other views that come nearer to and are more suitable to observed facts. Some think that bad men cannot be friends but only the good; while others think it strange that mothers should not love their own children. (Even among the brutes we find such friendship; at least they choose to die for their children.) Some, again, think that we only regard the useful as a friend, their proof being that all pursue the useful, but the useless, even in themselves, they throw away (as old Socrates said, citing the case of our spittle, hairs, and nails), and that we cast off useless parts, and in the end at death our very body, the corpse being useless; but those who have a use for it keep it, as in Egypt. Now all these things [i.e. likeness, contrariety, utility] seem opposed to one another; for the like is useless to the like, and contrariety is furthest removed from likeness, and the contrary is most useless to its contrary, for contraries destroy one another. Further, some think it easy to acquire a friend, others a very rare thing to recognize one, and impossible without misfortune; for all wish to seem friends to the prosperous. But others would have us distrust even those who remain with us in misfortune, alleging that they are deceiving us and making pretense, that by giving their company to us when we are in misfortune they may obtain our friendship when we are again prosperous.
2. We must, then, find a method that will best explain the views held on these topics, and also put an end to difficulties and contradictions. And this will happen if the contrary views are seen to be held with some show of reason; such a view will be most in harmony with the facts of observation; and both the contradictory statements will in the end stand, if what is said is true in one sense but untrue in another.
Another puzzle is whether the good or the pleasant is the object of love. For if we love what we desire—and love is of this kind, for 'none is a lover but one who ever loves';—and if desire is for the pleasant, in this way the object of love would be the pleasant; but if it is what we wish for, then it is the good—the good and the pleasant being different.
About all these and the other cognate questions we must attempt to gain clear distinctions, starting from the following principle. The desired and the wished for is either the good or the apparent good. Now this is why the pleasant is desired, for it is an apparent good; for some think it such, and to some it appears such, though they do not think so. For appearance and opinion do not reside in the same part of the soul. It is clear, then, that we love both the good and the pleasant.
This being settled, we must make another assumption. Of the good some is absolutely good, some good to a particular man, though not absolutely; and the same things are at once absolutely good and absolutely pleasant. For we say that what is advantageous to a body in health is absolutely good for a body, but not what is good for a sick body, such as drugs and the knife. Similarly, things absolutely pleasant to a body are those pleasant to a healthy and unaffected body, e.g. seeing in light, not in darkness, though the opposite is the case to one with ophthalmia. And the pleasanter wine is not that which is pleasant to one whose tongue has been spoilt by inebriety (for such men add vinegar to it), but that which is pleasant to sensation unspoiled. So with the soul; what is pleasant not to children or brutes, but to the adult, is really pleasant; at least, when we remember both we choose the latter. And as the child or brute is to the adult man, so are the bad and foolish to the good and sensible. To these, that which suits their habit is pleasant, and that is the good and noble.
Since, then, 'good' has many meanings—for one thing we call good because its nature is such, and another because it is profitable and useful—and further, the pleasant is in part absolutely pleasant and absolutely good, and in part pleasant to a particular individual and apparent good; just as in the case of inanimate things we may choose and love a thing for either of these reasons, so in the case of a man loving one because of his character or because of virtue, another because he is profitable and useful, another because he is pleasant, and for pleasure. And a man becomes a friend when he is loved and returns that love, and this is recognized by the two men in question.
There must, then, be three kinds of love, not all being so named for one thing or as species of one genus, nor yet having the same name quite by mere accident. For all the senses of love are related to one which is the primary, just as is the case with the word 'medical', and just as we speak of a medical soul, body, instrument, or act, but properly the name belongs to that primarily so called. The primary is that of which the definition is implied in the definition of all; e.g. a medical instrument is one that a medical man would use, but the definition of the instrument is not implied in that of 'medical man'. Everywhere, then, we seek for the primary. But because the universal is primary, they also take the primary to be universal, and this is an error. And so they are not able to do justice to all the observed facts about friendship; for since one definition will not suit all, they think there are no other friendships; but the others are friendships, only not similarly so. But they, finding the primary friendship will not suit, assuming it would be universal if really primary, deny that the other friendships even are friendships; whereas there are many species of friendship; this was part of what we have already said, since we have distinguished the three senses of friendship—one due to virtue, another to usefulness, a third to pleasantness.
Of these the friendship based on usefulness is of course that of the majority; men love one another because of their usefulness and to the extent of this; so we have the proverb 'Glaucus, a helper is a friend so long as he fights', and 'the Athenians no longer know the Megarians'. But the friendship based on pleasure is that of the young, for they are sensitive to pleasure; therefore also their friendship easily changes; for with a change in their characters as they grow up there is also a change in their pleasures. But the friendship based on virtue is that of the best men.
It is clear from this that the primary friendship, that of good men, is a mutual returning of love and purpose. For what is loved is dear to him who loves it, but a man loving another man is himself dear also to the man loved. This friendship, then, is peculiar to man, for he alone perceives another's purpose. But the other friendships are found also among the brutes where utility is in some degree present, both between tame animals and men, and between animals themselves, as in the case mentioned by Herodotus of the friendship between the sandpiper and the crocodile, and the coming together and parting of birds that soothsayers speak of. The bad may be friends to one another on the ground both of usefulness and of pleasure; but some deny them to be friends, because there is not the primary friendship between them; for a bad man will injure a bad man, and those who are injured by one another do not love one another; but in fact they love, only not with the primary friendship. Nothing prevents their loving with the other kinds; for owing to pleasure they put up with each other's injury, so long as they are incontinent. But those whose love is based on pleasure do not seem to be friends, when we look carefully, because their friendship is not of the primary kind, being unstable, while that is stable; it is, however, as has been said, a friendship, only not the primary kind but derived from it. To speak, then, of friendship in the primary sense only is to do violence to facts, and makes one assert paradoxes; but it is impossible for all friendships to come under one definition. The only alternative left is that in a sense there is only one friendship, the primary; but in a sense all kinds are friendship, not as possessing a common name accidentally without being specially related to one another, nor yet as falling under one species, but rather as in relation to one and the same thing.
But since the same thing is at the same time absolutely good and absolutely pleasant (if nothing interferes), and the genuine friend is absolutely the friend in the primary sense, and such is the man desirable for himself (and he must be such; for the man to whom one wishes good to happen for himself, one must also desire to exist), the genuine friend is also absolutely pleasant; hence any sort of friend is thought pleasant; but here one ought rather to distinguish further, for the subject needs reflection. Is what is good for one's self or what is good absolutely dear? and is actual loving attended with pleasure, so that the loved object is pleasant, or not? For the two must be harmonized. For what is not absolutely good, but perhaps bad, is something to avoid, and what is not good for one's self is nothing to one; but what is sought is that the absolutely good should be good in the further sense of being good to the individual. For the absolutely good is absolutely desirable, but for each individual his own; and these must agree. Virtue brings about this agreement, and the political art exists to make them agree for those to whom as yet they do not. And one who is a human being is ready and on the road for this (for by nature that which is absolutely good is good to him), and man rather than woman, and the gifted rather than the ungifted; but the road is through pleasure; the noble must be pleasant. But when these two disagree a man cannot yet be perfectly good, for incontinence may arise; for it is in the disagreement of the good with the pleasant in the passions that incontinence occurs.
So that since the primary friendship is grounded on virtue, friends of this sort will be themselves absolutely good, and this not because they are useful, but in another way. For good to the individual and the absolutely good are two, and as with the profitable so with habits. For the absolutely profitable differs from what is profitable to certain people, as taking exercise does from taking drugs. So that the habit called human virtue is of two kinds, for we will assume man to be one of the things excellent by nature; therefore the virtue of the naturally excellent is an absolute good, but the virtue of that which is not thus good only to it. Similarly, then, with the pleasant. For here one must pause and examine whether friendship can exist without pleasure, how such a friendship differs from other friendship, and on which of the two—goodness or pleasure—the loving depends, whether one loves a man because he is good even if not pleasant, and in any case not for his pleasantness. Now, loving having two senses, does actual love seem to involve pleasure because activity is good? It is clear that just as in science what we have recently contemplated and learnt is most perceptible because of its pleasantness, so also is the recognition of the familiar, and the same account applies to both. Naturally, at least, the absolutely good is absolutely pleasant, and pleasant to those to whom it is good. From which it at once follows that like takes pleasure in like, and that nothing is so pleasant to man as man; and if this is so even before they are perfect, it is clear it must be so when they are perfected; and the good man is perfect. But if active loving is a mutual choice with pleasure in each other's acquaintanceship, it is clear that in general the primary friendship is a reciprocal choice of the absolutely good and pleasant because it is good and pleasant; and friendship itself is the habit from which such choice springs. For its function is an activity, and this is not external, but in the one who feels love, but the function of every faculty is external; for it is in something different or in one's self qua different.
Therefore to love is to feel pleasure, but not to be loved; for to be loved is the activity of what is lovable, but to love is the activity of friendship also; and the one is found only in the animate, the other also in the inanimate, for even inanimate things are loved. But since active loving is to treat the loved qua loved, and the friend is loved by the friend qua friend and not qua musician or doctor, the pleasure coming from him merely as being himself is the pleasure of friendship; for he loves the object as himself and not for being something else. So that if he does not rejoice in him for being good the primary friendship does not exist, nor should any of his incidental qualities hinder more than his goodness gives pleasure. For if a man has an unpleasant odor he is left. For he must be content with goodwill without actual association. This then is primary friendship, and all admit it to be friendship. It is through it that the other friendships seem friendships to some, but are doubted to be such by others. For friendship seems something stable, and this alone is stable. For a formed decision is stable, and where we do not act quickly or easily, we get the decision right. There is no stable friendship without confidence, but confidence needs time. One must then make trial, as Theognis says, 'You cannot know the mind of man or woman till you have tried them as you might cattle.' Nor is a friend made except through time; they do indeed wish to be friends, and such a state easily passes muster as friendship. For when men are eager to be friends, by performing every friendly service to one another they think they not merely wish to be, but are friends. But it happens with friendship as with other things; as man is not in health merely because he wishes to be so, neither are men at once friends as soon as they wish to be friends. The proof is that men in this condition, without having made trial of one another, are easily made enemies; wherever each has allowed the other to test him, they are not easily made enemies; but where they have not, they will be persuaded whenever those who try to break up the friendship produce evidence.
It is clear at the same time that this friendship does not exist between the bad, for the bad man feels distrust and is malignant to all, measuring others by himself. Therefore the good are more easily deceived unless experience has taught them distrust. But the bad prefer natural goods to a friend and none of them loves a man so much as things; therefore they are not friends. The proverbial 'community among friends' is not found among them; the friend is made a part of things, not things regarded as part of the friend. The primary friendship then is not found between many, for it is hard to test many men, for one would have to live with each. Nor should one choose a friend like a garment. Yet in all things it seems the mark of a sensible man to choose the better of two alternatives; and if one has used the worse garment for a long time and not the better, the better is to be chosen, but not in place of an old friend one of whom you do not know whether he is better. For a friend is not to be had without trial nor in a single day, but there is need of time and so 'the bushel of salt' has become proverbial. He must also be not merely good absolutely but good for you, if the friend is to be a friend to you. For a man is good absolutely by being good, but a friend by being good for another, and absolutely good and friend when these two attributes are combined so that what is absolutely good is good for the other, or else not absolutely good, but good to another in the sense of useful. But the need of active loving also prevents one from being at the same time a friend to many; for one cannot be active towards many at the same time.
From these facts then it is clear that it is correctly said that friendship is a stable thing, just as happiness is a thing sufficient in itself. It has been rightly said, 'for nature is stable but not wealth', but it is still better to say 'virtue' than 'nature'; and Time is said to show the friend, and bad fortune rather than good fortune. For then it is clear that the goods of friends are common (for these alone instead of things naturally good and evil—which are the matters with which good and bad fortune are concerned—choose a man rather than the existence of some of those things and the non-existence of others). But misfortune shows those who are not really friends, but friends only for some accidental utility. But time reveals both sorts; for even the useful man does not show his usefulness quickly, as the pleasant man does his pleasantness; yet the absolutely pleasant is not quick to show himself either. For men are like wines and meats; the pleasantness of them shows itself quickly, but if it continues longer it is unpleasant and not sweet, and so it is with men. For the absolutely pleasant must be determined as such by the end it realizes and the time for which it continues pleasant. Even the vulgar would admit this, judging not merely according to results but in the way in which, speaking of a drink, they call it sweeter. For this is unpleasant not for the result but from not being continuous, though it deceives us at the start.
The first friendship then—by reason of which the others get the name—is that based on virtue and due to the pleasure of virtue, as has been said before; the other kinds occur also in children, brutes, and bad men, whence the sayings, 'like is pleased with like' and 'bad adheres to bad from pleasure'. And the bad may be pleasant to one another, not qua bad or qua neither good nor bad, but (say) as both being musicians, or the one fond of music and the other a musician, and inasmuch as all have some good in them, and in this way they harmonize with one another. Further, they might be useful and profitable to one another, not absolutely but in relation to their purpose, in virtue of some neutral characteristic. Also a bad man may be a friend to a good, the bad being of use to the good in relation to the good man's existing purpose, the good to the incontinent in relation to his existing purpose, and to the bad in relation to his natural purpose. And he will wish for his friend what is good, the absolutely good absolutely, and conditionally what is good for the friend, so far as poverty or illness is of advantage to him—and these for the sake of absolute goods; taking a medicine is an instance, for that no one wishes, but wishes only for some particular purpose. Further, a good man and a bad man may be friends in the way in which those not good might be friends to one another. A man might be pleasant, not as bad but as partaking in some common property, e.g. as being musical, or again, so far as there is something good in all (for which reason some might be glad to associate even with the good), or in so far as they suit each individual; for all have something of the good.
3. These then are three kinds of friendship; and in all of them the word friendship implies a kind of equality. For even those who are friends through virtue are mutually friends by a sort of equality of virtue.
But another variety is the friendship of superiority to inferiority, e.g. as the virtue of a god is superior to that of a man (for this is another kind of friendship)—and in general that of ruler to subject; just as justice in this case is different, for here it is a proportional equality, not numerical equality. Into this class falls the relation of father to son and of benefactor to beneficiary; and there are varieties of these again, e.g. there is a difference between the relation of father to son, and of husband to wife, the latter being that of ruler to subject, the former that of benefactor to beneficiary. In these varieties there is not at all, or at least not in equal degree, the return of love for love. For it would be ridiculous to accuse God because the love one receives in return from him is not equal to the love given him, or for the subject to make the same complaint against his ruler. For the part of a ruler is to receive not to give love, or at least to give love in a different way. And the pleasure is different, and that of the man who needs nothing over his own possessions or child, and that of him who lacks over what comes to him, are not the same.
Similarly also with those who are friends through use or pleasure, some are on an equal footing with each other, in others there is the relation of superiority and inferiority. Therefore those who think themselves to be on the former footing find fault if the other is not equally useful to and a benefactor of them; and similarly with regard to pleasure. This is obvious in the case of lover and beloved; for this is frequently a cause of strife between them. The lover does not perceive that the passion in each has not the same reason; therefore Aenicus has said 'a beloved, not a lover, would say such things'. But they think that there is the same reason for the passion of each.
4. There being, then, as has been said, three kinds of friendship—based on virtue, utility, and pleasantness—these again are subdivided each into two, one kind based on equality, the other on superiority. Both are friendships, but only those between whom there is equality are friends; it would be absurd for a man to be the friend of a child, yet certainly he loves and is loved by him. Sometimes the superior ought to be loved, but if he loves, he is reproached for loving one undeserving; for measurement is made by the worth of the friends and a sort of [i.e. proportional] equality. Some then, owing to inferiority in age, do not deserve to receive an equal love, and others because of virtue or birth or some other such superiority possessed by the other person. The superior ought to claim either not to return the love or not to return it in the same measure, whether in the friendship of utility, pleasure, or virtue. Where the superiority is small, disputes naturally arise; for the small is in some cases of no account, e.g. in weighing wood, though not in weighing gold. But men judge wrongly what is small; for their own good by its nearness seems great, that of another by its distance small. But when the difference is excessive, then not even those affected seek to make out that their love should be returned or equally returned, e.g. as if a man were to claim this from God.
It is clear then that men are friends when on an equality with each other, but we may have return of love without their being friends. And it is clear why men seek the friendship of superiority rather than that of equality; for in the former they obtain both love and superiority. Therefore with some the flatterer is more valued than the friend, for he procures the appearance of both love and superiority for the object of his flattery. The ambitious are especially of this kind; for to be an object of admiration involves superiority. By nature some grow up loving, and others ambitious; the former is one who delights rather in loving than in being loved, the other is rather fond of honor. He, then, who delights in being loved and admired really loves superiority; the other, the loving, is fond of the pleasure of loving. This by his mere activity of loving he must have; for to be loved is an accident; one may be loved without knowing it, but not love. Loving, rather than being loved, depends on lovingness; being loved rather depends on the nature of the object of love. And here is a proof. The friend or lover would choose, if both were not possible, rather to know than to be known, as we see women do when allowing others to adopt their children, e.g. Antiphon's Andromache. For wishing to be known seems to be felt on one's own account and in order to get, not to do, some good; but wishing to know is felt in order that one may do and love. Therefore we praise those who persist in their love towards the dead; for they know but are not known. That, then, there are several sorts of friendship, that they are three in number, and what are the differences between being loved and having love returned, and between friends on an equality and friends in a relation of superiority and inferiority, has now been stated.
But since 'friendly' is also used more universally, as was indeed said at the beginning, by those who take in extraneous considerations—some saying that the like is friendly, and some the contrary,—we must speak also of the relation of these friendships to those previously mentioned. The like is brought both under the pleasant and under the good, for the good is simple, but the bad various in form; and the good man is ever like himself and does not change in character; but the bad and the foolish are quite different in the evening from what they were in the morning. Therefore unless the bad come to some agreement, they are not friends to one another but are parted; but unstable friendship is not friendship. So thus the like is friendly, because the good is like; but it may also be friendly because of pleasure; for those like one another have the same pleasures, and everything too is by nature pleasant to itself. Therefore the voices, habits, and company of those of the same species are pleasantest to each side, even in the animals other than man; and in this way it is possible for even the bad to love one another: 'pleasure glues the bad to the bad.'
But opposites are friendly through usefulness; for the like is useless to itself; therefore master needs slave, and slave master; man and wife need one another, and the opposite is pleasant and desired qua useful, not as included in the end but as a means towards it. For when a thing has obtained what it desires, it has reached its end and no longer desires the opposite, e.g. heat does not desire cold, nor dryness moisture. Yet in a sense the love of the contrary is love of the good; for the opposites desire one another because of the mean; they desire one another like tallies because thus out of the two arises a single mean. Further, the love is accidentally of the opposite, but per se of the mean, for opposites desire not one another but the mean. For if over-chilled they return to the mean by being warmed, and if over-warmed by being chilled. And so with everything else. Otherwise they are ever desiring, never in the mean states; but that which is in the mean delights without desire in what is naturally pleasant, while the others delight in all that puts them out of their natural condition. This kind of relation then is found also among inanimate things; but love occurs when the relation is found among the living. Therefore some delight in what is unlike themselves, the rigid in the witty, the energetic in the lazy; for they reduce each other to the mean state. Accidentally, then, as has been said, opposites are friendly, because of the good.
The number then of kinds of friendship, and the different senses in which we speak of 'friends' and of persons as 'loving' and 'loved', both where this constitutes friendship and where it does not, have now been stated.
6. The question whether 'a man is a friend to himself' or not requires much inquiry. For some think that every man is above all a friend to himself; and they use this friendship as a canon by which to test his friendship to all other friends. If we look to argument and to the properties usually thought characteristic of friends, then the two kinds of friendship are in some of these respects opposed to one another, but in others alike. For this friendship—that to oneself—is, in a way, friendship by analogy, not absolutely. For loving and being loved requires two separate individuals. Therefore a man is a friend to himself rather in the sense in which we have described the incontinent and continent as willing or unwilling, namely in the sense that the parts of his soul are in a certain relation to each other; and all problems of this sort have a similar explanation, e.g. whether a man can be a friend or enemy to himself, and whether a man can wrong himself. For all these relations require two separate individuals; so far then as the soul is two, these relations can in a sense belong to it; so far as these two are not separate, the relations cannot belong to it.
By a man's attitude to himself the other modes of friendship, under which we are accustomed to consider friendship in this discourse, are determined. For a man seems to us a friend, who wishes the good or what he thinks to be such to some one, not on his own account but for the sake of that other; or, in another way, if he wishes for another man existence—even if he is not bestowing goods, still less existence—on that other's account and not on his own, he would seem most of all to be a friend to him. And in yet another manner he would be a friend to him whom he wishes to live with merely for the sake of his company and for no other reason; thus fathers wish the existence of their sons, but prefer to live with others. Now these various ways of friendship are discordant with one another. For some think they are not loved, unless the other wishes them this or that good, some unless their existence or their society is desired. Further, to sorrow with the sorrowing, for no other reason than their sorrow, we shall regard as love (e.g. slaves towards their masters feel grief because their masters when in trouble are cruel to them, not for the sake of the masters themselves)—as mothers feel towards their children, and birds that share one another's pains. For the friend wants, if possible, not merely to feel pain along with his friend, but to feel the same pain, e.g. to feel thirsty when he is thirsty, if that were possible, and if not, then to feel a pain as like as possible. The same words are applicable to joy, which, if felt for no other reason than that the other feels joy, is a sign of friendship.
Further, we say about friendship such things as that friendship is equality, and true friends a single soul. All such phrases point back to the single individual; for a man wishes good to himself in this fashion; for no one benefits himself for some further reason or speaks well of himself for a certain consideration, because his action is that of an individual; for he who shows that he loves wishes not to love but to be thought to love. And wishing the existence above all of the friend, living with him, sharing his joy and his grief, unity of soul with the friend, the impossibility of even living without one another, and the dying together are characteristic of a single individual. (For such is the condition of the individual and he is perhaps company to himself.) All these characters then we find in the relation of the good man to himself. In the bad man, e.g. the incontinent, there is variance, and for this reason it seems possible for a man to be at enmity with himself; but so far as he is single and indivisible, he is an object of desire to himself. Such is the good man, the man whose friendship is based on virtue, for the wicked man is not one but many, in the same day other than himself and fickle. So that a man's friendship for himself is at bottom friendship towards the good; for because a man is in a sense like himself, single, and good for himself, so far he is a friend and object of desire to himself. And this is natural to man; but the bad man is unnatural.
The good man never finds fault with himself at the moment of his act, like the incontinent, nor the later with the earlier man, like the penitent, nor the earlier with the later, like the liar. Generally, if it is necessary to distinguish as the sophists do, he is related to himself as 'Coriscus' to 'good Coriscus'. For it is clear that some identical portion of them is good; for when they blame themselves, they kill themselves. But every one seems good to himself. But the man that is good absolutely, seeks to be a friend to himself, as has been said, since he has within him two parts which by nature desire to be friends and which it is impossible to tear apart. Therefore in the case of man each is thought to be the friend of himself; but not so with the other animals; e.g. the horse is himself to himself . . . therefore not a friend. Nor are children, till they have attained the power of deliberate choice; for already then the mind is at variance with the appetite. One's friendship to oneself resembles the friendship arising from kinship; for neither bond can be dissolved by one's own power; but, even if they quarrel, the kinsmen remain kinsmen; and so the man remains one so long as he lives.
The various senses then of loving, and how all friendships reduce to the primary kind, is clear from what has been said.
7. It is appropriate to the inquiry to study agreement of feeling and kindly feeling; for some identify these, and others think they cannot exist apart. Now kindly feeling is not altogether different from friendship, nor yet the same; for when we distinguish friendship according to its three sorts, kindly feeling is found neither in the friendship of usefulness nor in that of pleasure. For if one wishes well to the other because that is useful to one, one would be so wishing not for the object's sake, but for his own; but goodwill seems like . . . to be not for the sake of him who feels the goodwill, but for the sake of him towards whom it is felt. But if goodwill existed in the friendship towards the pleasant, then men would feel goodwill towards things inanimate. So that it is clear that goodwill is concerned with the friendship that depends on character; but goodwill shows itself in merely wishing, friendship in also doing what one wishes. For goodwill is the beginning of friendship; every friend has goodwill, but not all who have goodwill are friends. He who has goodwill only is like a man at the beginning, and therefore it is the beginning of friendship, not friendship itself.
For friends seem to agree in feeling, and those who agree in feeling seem to be friends. Friendly agreement is not about all things, but only about things that may be done by those in agreement and what relates to their common life. Nor is it agreement merely in thought or merely in desire, for it is possible to know one thing and desire the opposite, as in the incontinent the motives disagree, nor if a man agrees with another in deliberate choice, does he necessarily agree in desire. Agreement is only found in the case of good men; at least, bad men when they choose and desire the same things harm one another. Agreement, like friendship, does not appear to have a single meaning; but still in its primary and natural form it is morally good; and so the bad cannot agree; the agreement of the bad, when they choose and desire the same things, is something different. And the two parties must so desire the same thing that it is possible for both to get what they desire; for if they desire that which cannot belong to both, they will quarrel; but those in agreement will not quarrel. There is agreement when the two parties make the same choice as to who is to rule, who to be ruled, meaning by 'the same', not that each one should choose himself, but that both should choose the same person. Agreement is the friendship of fellow citizens. So much then about agreement and goodwill.
8. It is disputed why benefactors are more fond of the benefited than the benefited of their benefactors. The opposite seems to be just. One might suppose it happens from consideration of utility and what is profitable to oneself; for the benefactor has a debt due to him, while the benefited has to repay a debt. This, however, is not all; the reason is partly the general natural principle— activity is more desirable. There is the same relation between the effect and the activity, the benefited being as it were an effect or creation of the benefactor. Hence in animals their strong feeling for their children, both in begetting them and in preserving them afterwards. And so fathers love their children—and still more mothers—more than they are loved by them. And these again love their own children more than their parents, because nothing is so good as activity; in fact, mothers love more than fathers because they think the children to be more their own creation; for the amount of work is measured by the difficulty, and the mother suffers more in birth. So much then for friendship towards oneself and among more than one.
9. But both justice seems to be a sort of equality and friendship also involves equality, if the saying is not wrong that 'love is equality.' Now constitutions are all of them a particular form of justice; for a constitution is a partnership, and every partnership rests on justice, so that whatever be the number of species of friendship, there are the same of justice and partnership; these all border on one another, and the species of one have differences akin to those of the other. But since there is the same relation between soul and body, artisan and tool, and master and slave, between each of these pairs there is no partnership; for they are not two, but the first term in each is one, and the second a part of this one, but not itself one. Nor is the good to be divided between the two, but that of both belongs to the one for the sake of which the pair exists. For the body is the soul's congenital tool, while the slave is as it were a part and detachable tool of the master, the tool being a sort of inanimate slave.
The other partnerships are a part of the civic partnership, e.g. those of the phratries and priestly colleges or pecuniary partnerships. All constitutions are found together in the household, both the true and the corrupt forms, for the same thing is true in constitutions as of harmonies. The government of the children by the father is royal, the relation of husband and wife aristocratic, the relation of brothers that of a commonwealth; the corruption of these three are tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy. The forms of justice then are also so many in number.
But since equality is either numerical or proportional, there will be various species of justice, friendship, and partnership; on numerical equality rests the commonwealth, and the friendship of comrades both being measured by the same standard, on proportional the aristocratic (which is best), and the royal. For the same thing is not just for the superior and the inferior; what is proportional is just. Such is the friendship between father and child; and the same sort of thing may be seen in partnerships.
10. We speak of friendships of kinsmen, comrades, partners, the so-called 'civic friendship'. That of kinsmen has more than one species, that of brothers, that of father and sons. There is the friendship based on proportion, as that of the father to his children, and that based on mere number, e.g. that of brothers, for this latter resembles the friendship of comrades; for here too age gives certain privileges. Civic friendship has been established mainly in accordance with utility; for men seem to have come together because each is not sufficient for himself, though they would have come together anyhow for the sake of living in company. Only the civic friendship and its parallel corruption are not merely friendships, but the partnership is that of friends; other friendships rest on the relation of superiority. The justice belonging to the friendship of those useful to one another is pre-eminently justice, for it is civic or political justice. The concurrence of the saw and the art that uses it is of another sort; for it is not for some end common to both—it is like instrument and soul—but for the sake of the user. It is true that the tool itself receives attention, and it is just that it should receive it, for its function, that is; for it exists for the sake of its function. And the essence of a gimlet is twofold, but more properly it is its activity, namely boring. In this class come the body and a slave, as has been said before.
To inquire, then, how to behave to a friend is to look for a particular kind of justice, for generally all justice is in relation to a friend. For justice involves a number of individuals who are partners, and the friend is a partner either in family or in one's scheme of life. For man is not merely a political but also a household-maintaining animal, and his unions are not, like those of the other animals, confined to certain times, and formed with any chance partner, whether male or female; but in a special sense man is not a lonely being, but has a tendency to partnership with those to whom he is by nature akin. There would, then, be partnership and a kind of justice, even if there were no State; and the household is a kind of friendship; the relation, indeed, of master and servant is that of an art and its tools, a soul and its body; and these are not friendships, nor forms of justice, but something similar to justice; just as health is not justice, but something similar. But the friendship of man and wife is a friendship based on utility, a partnership; that of father and son is the same as that of God to man, of the benefactor to the benefited, and in general of the natural ruler to the natural subject. That of brothers to one another is eminently that of comrades, inasmuch as it involves equality;—'for I was not declared a bastard brother to him; but the same Zeus, my king, was called the father of both of us.' For this is the language of men that seek equality. Therefore in the household first we have the sources and springs of friendship, of political organization, and of justice.
But since there are three sorts of friendship, based on virtue, utility, and pleasantness respectively, and two varieties of each of these—for each of them may imply either superiority or equality—and the justice involved in these is clear from the debates that have been held on it, in a friendship between superior and inferior the claim for proportion takes different forms, the superior's claim being one for inverse proportion, i.e. as he is to the inferior, so should what he receives from the inferior be to what the inferior receives from him, he being in the position of ruler to subject; if he cannot get that, he demands at least numerical equality. For so it is in the other associations, the two members enjoying an equality sometimes of number, sometimes of ratio. For if they contributed numerically equal sums of money, they divide an equal amount, and by an equal number; if not equal sums, then they divide proportionally. But the inferior inverts this proportion and joins crosswise. But in this way the superior would seem to come off the worse, and friendship and partnership to be a gratuitous burden. Equality must then be restored and proportion created by some other means; and this means is honor, which by nature belongs to a ruler or god in relation to a subject. The profit and the honor must be equated.
But civic friendship is that resting on equality; it is based on utility, and just as cities are friends to one another, so in the like way are citizens. 'The Athenians no longer know the Megarians'; nor do citizens one another, when they are no longer useful to one another, and the friendship is merely a temporary one for a particular exchange of goods. There is here, too, the relation of ruler and subject which is neither the natural relation, nor that involved in kingship, but each is ruler and ruled in turn; nor is it either's purpose to act with the free beneficence of a god, but that he may share equally in the good and in the burdensome service. Civic friendship, then, claims to be one based on equality. But of the friendship of utility there are two kinds, the strictly legal and the moral. Civic friendship looks to equality and to the object as sellers and buyers do; hence the proverb 'a fixed wage for a friend'.
When, then, friendship proceeds by contract, it is of the civic and strictly legal kind; but when each of the two parties leaves the return for his services to be fixed by the other, we have the moral friendship, that of comrades. Therefore recrimination is very frequent in this sort of friendship; and the reason is that it is unnatural; for friendships based on utility and based on virtue are different; but these wish to have both together, associating together really for the sake of utility, but representing their friendship as moral, like that of good men; pretending to trust one another they make out their friendship to be not merely legal. For in general there are more recriminations in the useful friendship than in either of the other two (for virtue is not given to recrimination, and pleasant friends having got what they wanted, and given what they had, are done with it; but useful friends do not dissolve their, association at once, if their relations are not merely legal but those of comrades); still the legal form of useful friendship is free from recrimination. The legal association is dissolved by a money-payment (for it measures equality in money), but the moral is dissolved by voluntary consent. Therefore in some countries the law forbids lawsuits for voluntary transactions between those who associate thus as friends, and rightly; for good men do not go to law with one another; and such as these have dealings with one another as good men themselves, and dealing with men who can be trusted. In this kind of friendship it is uncertain how either will recriminate on the other, seeing that they trust each other, not in a limited legal way but on the basis of their characters.
It is a further problem on which of two grounds we are to determine what is just, whether by looking to the amount of the service rendered, or to what was its character for the recipient; for, to borrow the language of Theognis, the service may be 'Small to thee, O goddess, but great to me'. Or the opposite may happen, as in the saying, 'this is sport to you but death to me.' Hence, as we have said, come recriminations. For the benefactor claims a return on the ground of having done a great service, because he has done it at the request of the other, or with some other plea of the great value of the benefit to the other's interest, saying nothing about what it was to himself; while the recipient insists on its value to the benefactor, not on its value to himself. Sometimes the receiver inverts the position, insisting how little the benefit has turned out to him, while the doer insists on its great magnitude to him, e.g. if at considerable risk one has benefited another to the extent of a drachma, the one insists on the greatness of the risk, the other on the smallness of the money, just as in the repayment of money—for there the dispute is on this point—the one claims the value of it when it was lent, the other concedes only the value of it now when it is returned, unless they have made an explicit provision in the contract.
Civic friendship, then, looks to the agreement and the thing, moral friendship to the purpose; here then we have more truly justice, and a friendly justice. The reason of the quarrel is that moral friendship is more noble, but useful friendship more necessary; men come, then, proposing to be moral friends, i.e. friends through virtue; but when some private interest stands in the way, they show clearly they were not so. For the multitude aim at the noble only when they have plenty of everything else; and at noble friendship similarly. So that it is clear what distinctions should be drawn in these matters. If the two are moral friends, we must look to see if the purpose of each is equal; and then nothing more should be claimed by either from the other. But if their friendship is of the useful or civic kind, we must consider what would have been profitable lines for an agreement. And if one declares that they are friends on one basis, but the other on the other, it is not honorable, if one ought to do something in return, merely to use fine language; and so too, in the other case, but since they have not declared their friendship a moral friendship, some one must be made judge, so that neither cheats the other by a false pretense; and so each must put up with his luck. But that moral friendship is based on purpose is clear, since even if after receiving great benefits one does not repay them through inability, but repays only to the extent of his ability, he acts honorably; and God is satisfied at getting sacrifices as good as our power allows. But a seller of goods will not be satisfied if the buyer says he cannot pay more; nor will a lender of money.
Recriminations are common in dissimilar friendships, where action and reaction are not in the same straight line; and it is not easy to see what is just. For it is hard to measure by just this one unit different directions; we find this in the relation of lovers, for there the one pursues the other as the one pleasant person, in order to live with him, while the latter seeks the other at times for his utility. When the love is over, one changes as the other changes. Then they calculate the quid pro quo; thus Python and Pammenes quarrelled; and so in general do teacher and pupil (for knowledge and money have no common measure), and so Herodicus the doctor quarrelled with a patient who paid him only a small fee; such too was the case of the king and the lyre-player; the former regarded his associate as pleasant, the latter his as useful; and so the king, when he had to pay, chose to regard himself as an associate of the pleasant kind, and said that just as the player had given him pleasure by singing, so he had given the player pleasure by his promise. But it is clear here too how one should decide; the measurement must be by one measure, only here not by a number but by a ratio; we must measure by proportion, just as one measures in the associations of citizens. For how is a cobbler to have dealings with a farmer unless one equates the work of the two by proportion? so to all whose exchanges are not of the same for the same, proportion is the measure, e.g. if the one complains that he has given wisdom, and the other that he has given money, we must measure first the ratio of wisdom to wealth, and then what has been given for each. For if the one gives half of the lesser, and the other does not give even a small fraction of the greater object, it is clear that the latter does injustice. Here, too, there may be a dispute at the start, if one party pretends they have come together for use, and the other denies this and alleges that they have met from some other kind of friendship.
11. As regards the good man who is loved for his virtue, we must consider whether we ought to render useful services and help to him, or to one who makes a return and has power. This is the same problem as whether we ought rather to benefit a friend or a virtuous man. For if a man is both virtuous and a friend, there is perhaps no great difficulty, if one does not exaggerate the one quality and minimize the other, making him very much of a friend, but not much of a good man. But in other cases many problems arise, e.g. if the one has been but will no longer remain so, and the other will be but is not yet what he is going to be, or the one was but is not, and the other is but has not been and will not be. But the other is a harder question. For perhaps Euripides is right in saying, 'A word is your just pay for a word, but a deed for him who has given deeds.' And one must not do everything for one's father, but there are some things also one should do for one's mother, though a father is the better of the two. For, indeed, even to Zeus we do not sacrifice all things, nor does he have all honors but only some. Perhaps, then, there are things which should be rendered to the useful friend and others to the good one; e.g. because a man gives you food and what is necessary, you need not give him your society; nor, therefore, need you give the man to whom you grant your society that which not he but the useful friend gives. Those who doing this give all to the object of their love, when they ought not, are worthless.
And the various definitions of friendship that we give in our discourse all belong to friendship in some sense, but not to the same friendship. To the useful friend applies the fact that one wishes what is good for him, and to a benefactor, and in fact to any kind of friend—for this definition does not distinguish the class of friendship; to another we should wish existence, of another we should wish the society, to the friend on the basis of pleasure sympathy in joy and grief is the proper gift. All these definitions are appropriate to some friendship, but none to a single unique thing, friendship. Hence there are many definitions, and each appears to belong to a single unique thing, viz. friendship, though really it does not, e.g. the purpose to maintain the friend's existence. For the superior friend and benefactor wishes the existence of that which he has made, and to him who has given one existence one ought to give it in return, but not necessarily one's society; that gift is for the pleasant friend.
Some friends wrong one another; they love rather the things than the possessor of them; and so they love the persons much as they choose wine because it is pleasant, or wealth because it is useful; for wealth is more useful than its owner. Therefore the owner is indignant, as if the other had preferred his wealth to him as to something inferior. But the other side complain in turn; for they now look to find in him a good man, when before they looked for one pleasant or useful.
12. We must also consider about independence and friendship, and the relations they have to one another. For one might doubt whether, if a man be in all respects independent, he will have a friend, if one seeks a friend from want and the good man is perfectly independent. If the possessor of virtue is happy, why should he need a friend? For the independent man neither needs useful people nor people to cheer him, nor society; his own society is enough for him. This is most plain in the case of a god; for it is clear that, needing nothing, he will not need a friend, nor have one, supposing that he does not need one. So that the happiest man will least need a friend, and only as far as it is impossible for him to be independent. Therefore the man who lives the best life must have fewest friends, and they must always be becoming fewer, and he must show no eagerness for men to become his friends, but despise not merely the useful but even men desirable for society. But surely this makes it all the clearer that the friend is not for use or help, but that the friend through virtue is the only friend. For when we need nothing, then we all seek others to share our enjoyment, those whom we may benefit rather than those who will benefit us. And we judge better when independent than when in want, and most of all we then seek friends worthy to be lived with. But as to this problem, we must see if we have not been partially right, and partially missed the truth owing to our illustration.
It will be clear if we ascertain what is life in its active sense and as end. Clearly, it is perception and knowledge, and therefore life in society is perception and knowledge in common. And mere perception and mere knowledge is most desirable to every one, and hence the desire of living is congenital in all; for living must be regarded as a kind of knowledge. If then we were to cut off and abstract mere knowledge and its opposite—this passes unnoticed in the argument as we have given it, but in fact need not remain unnoticed—there would be no difference between this and another's knowing instead of oneself; and this is like another's living instead of oneself. But naturally the perception and knowledge of oneself is more desirable. For we must take two things into consideration, that life is desirable and also the good, and thence that it is desirable that such a nature should belong to oneself as belongs to them. If, then, of such a pair of corresponding series there is always one series of the desirable, and the known and the perceived are in general constituted by their participation in the nature of the determined, . . . so that to wish to perceive one's self is to wish oneself to be of a certain definite character,—since, then, we are not in ourselves possessed of each of such characters, but only by participation in these qualities in perceiving and knowing—for the perceiver becomes perceived in that way and in that respect in which he first perceives, and according to the way in which and the object which he perceives; and the knower becomes known in the same way—therefore it is for this reason that one always desires to live, because one always desires to know; and this is because he himself wishes to be the object known.
The choice to live with others might seem, from a certain point of view, silly—(first, in the case of things common also to the other animals, e.g. eating together, drinking together; for what is the difference between doing these things in the neighborhood of others or apart from them, if you take away speech? But even to share in speech of a casual kind does not make the case different. Further, for friends who are self-dependent neither teaching nor learning is possible; for if one learns, he is not as he should be: and if he teaches, his friend is not; and likeness is friendship)—but surely it is obviously so, and all of us find greater pleasure in sharing good things with friends as far as these come to each—I mean the greatest good one can share; but to some it falls to share in bodily delights, to others in artistic contemplation, to others in philosophy. And the friend must be present too; whence the proverb, 'distant friends are a burden,' so that men must not be at a distance from one another when there is friendship between them. Hence sensuous love seems like friendship; for the lover aims at the society of his beloved, but not as ideally he ought, but in a merely sensuous way.
The argument, then, says what we have before mentioned, raising difficulties; but the facts are as we saw later, so that it is clear that the objector is in a way misleading us. We must see the truth from this: a friend wants to be, in the words of the proverb, another Heracles, a second self: but he is severed from his friend, and it is hard to find in two people the characteristics of a single individual. But though a friend is by nature what is most akin to his friend, one man is like another in body, and another like him in soul, and one like him in one part of the body or soul, and another like him in another. But none the less does a friend wish to be as it were a separate self. Therefore to perceive a friend must be in a way to perceive one's self and to know one's self.
So that even the vulgar forms of pleasure and life in the society of a friend are naturally pleasant (for perception of the friend always takes place at the same time), but still more the communion in the diviner pleasures. And the reason is, that it is always pleasanter to see one's self enjoying the superior good. And this is sometimes a passion, sometimes an action, sometimes something else. But if it is pleasant for a man himself to live well and also his friend, and in their common life to engage in mutually helpful activity, their partnership surely would be above all in things included in the end. Therefore men should contemplate in common and feast in common, only not on the pleasures of food or on necessary pleasures; such society does not seem to be true society, but sensuous enjoyment. But the end which each can attain is that in which he desires the society of another; if that is not possible, men desire to benefit and be benefited by friends in preference to others. That society then is right, that all wish it above all things, and that the happiest and best man tends especially to do so, is clear. But that the contrary appeared as the conclusion of the argument was also reasonable, since the argument said what was true. For it is in respect of the comparison of the two cases that the solution is found, the case compared being in itself truly enough stated. For because God is not such as to need a friend, the argument claims the same of the man who resembles God. But by this reasoning the virtuous man will not even think; for the perfection of God is not in this, but in being superior to thinking of aught beside himself. The reason is, that with us welfare involves a something beyond us, but the deity is his own well-being.
As to our seeking and praying for many friends, while we say that the man who has many friends has no friend, both are correct. For if it is possible to live with and share the perceptions of many at the same time, it is most desirable that these should be as numerous as possible; but since this is most difficult, the activity of joint perception must exist among fewer. So that it is not only hard to get many friends—for probation is necessary—but also to use them when you have got them.
Sometimes we wish the object of our love to be happy away from us, sometimes to share the same fortune as ourselves; the wish to be together is characteristic of friendship. For if the two can both be together and be happy, all choose this; but if they cannot be both, then we choose as the mother of Heracles might have chosen, e.g. that her son should be a god rather than in her company but a serf to Eurystheus. One might say something like the jesting remark of the Laconian, when some one bade him in a storm to summon the Dioscuri.
It appears to be the mark of one who loves to keep the object of his love from sharing in hardships, but of the beloved to wish to share them; the conduct of both is reasonable. For nothing ought to be so painful to a friend as his friend should be pleasant to him, but it is thought that he ought not to choose what is for his own interest. Therefore men keep their friends from participation in their calamities; their own suffering is enough, that they may not show themselves studying their own interest, and choosing joy at the cost of a friend's pain, or relief by not bearing their troubles alone. But since both well-being and participation are desirable, it is clear that participation with a smaller good is more desirable than to enjoy a greater good in solitude. But since the weight to be attached to participation is not ascertained, men differ, and some think that participation in all things at once is the mark of friendship, e.g. they say that it is better to dine together than separately, though having the same food: others wish them to share prosperity, since (they say) if one takes extreme cases, great adversity in company is on a par with great prosperity enjoyed alone.
We have something similar in the case of ill-fortune. For sometimes we wish our friends to be absent and we wish to give them no pain, when they are not going to be of any use to us; at another time we find it pleasantest for them to be present. But this contradiction is quite reasonable. For this happens in consequence of what we have mentioned above, and because we often simply avoid the sight of a friend in pain or in bad condition, as we should the sight of ourselves so placed; yet to see a friend is as pleasant as anything can be (because of the above-mentioned cause), and, indeed, to see him ill is pleasant if you are ill yourself. So that whichever of these two is the pleasanter decides us whether to wish the friend present or not. This also happens, for the same reason, in the case of the worse sort of men; for they are most anxious that their friends should not fare well nor even exist if they themselves have to fare badly. Therefore some kill the objects of their love with themselves. For they think that if the objects of their love are to survive they perceive their own trouble more acutely, just as one who remembered that once he had been happy would feel it more than if he thought himself to be always unhappy.
13. Here one might raise a question. One can use each thing both for its natural purpose and otherwise, and either per se or again per accidens, as, for instance, one might use the eye, as eye, for seeing, and also for falsely seeing by squinting, so that one thing appears as two. Both these uses are due to the eye being an eye, but it was possible to use the eye in another way—per accidens, e.g. if one could sell or eat it. Knowledge may be used similarly; it is possible to use it really or to do what is wrong, e.g. when a man voluntarily writes incorrectly, to make knowledge into ignorance for the time, as dancing-girls sometimes exchange the uses of the hand and the foot, and use the foot as a hand and the hand as a foot. If, then, all the virtues are kinds of knowledge, one might use justice also as injustice, and so one would be unjust and do unjust actions from justice, as ignorant things may be done from knowledge. But if this is impossible, it is clear that the virtues are not species of knowledge. And even if ignorance cannot proceed from knowledge, but only error and the doing of the same things as proceed from ignorance, it must be remembered that from justice one will not act as from injustice. But since Prudence is knowledge and something true, it may behave like knowledge; one might act imprudently though possessed of prudence, and commit the errors of the imprudent. But if the use of each thing as such were single, then in so acting men would still be acting prudently.
Over other kinds of knowledge, then, there is something superior that diverts them; but how can there be any knowledge that diverts the highest knowledge of all? There is no longer any knowledge or intuitive reason to do this. But neither can virtue do it, for prudence uses that; for the virtue of the ruling part uses that of the subject. Who is there then whose prudence is thus diverted? Perhaps the position is like that of incontinence, which is said to be a vice of the irrational part of the soul. The incontinent man is in a sense intemperate; he has reason, but supposing appetite to be strong it will twist him and he will draw the opposite conclusion. Or is it an obvious consequence that, similarly, if there is virtue in the irrational part, but folly in the rational, they are transformed in yet another way. Thus it will be possible to use justice unjustly and badly, and prudence foolishly—and therefore the opposite uses will also be possible. For it is absurd that vice occurring sometimes in the irrational part should twist the virtue in the rational part and make the man ignorant, but that virtue in the irrational part, when folly is present in the rational, should not divert the latter and make the man judge prudently and as is right, and again, prudence in the rational part should not make the intemperance in the irrational part act temperately.
This seems the very essence of continence. And therefore we shall also get prudent action arising out of ignorance. But all these consequences are absurd, especially that of acting prudently out of ignorance, for we certainly do not see this in any other case, e.g. intemperance perverts one's medical or grammatical knowledge. But at any rate we may say that not ignorance, if opposite, (for it has no superiority), but virtue, is rather related in this way to vice in general. For whatever the unjust can do, the just can do; and in general powerlessness is covered by power. And so it is clear that prudence and virtue go together, and that those complex states are states of one in whom prudence and virtue are not combined, and the Socratic saying that nothing is stronger than prudence is right. But when Socrates said this of knowledge he was wrong. For prudence is virtue and not scientific knowledge, but another kind of cognition.
14. But since not only prudence and virtue produce well-doing, but we say also that the fortunate 'do well', thus assuming that good fortune produces well-doing and the same results as knowledge, we must inquire whether it is or is not by nature that one man is fortunate, another not, and what is the truth about these things. For that there are fortunate men we see, who though silly are often successful in matters controlled by fortune, some also in matters involving art but into which chance largely enters, e.g. strategy and navigation. Does their success, then, arise from some acquired mental condition, or do they effect fortunate results not because of their own acquired qualities at all (at present men take the latter view, regarding them as having some special natural endowment); does nature, rather, make men with different qualities so that they differ from birth; as some are blue-eyed and some black-eyed because they have some particular part of a particular nature, so are some lucky and others unlucky? For that they do not succeed through prudence is clear, for prudence is not irrational but can give a reason why it acts as it does; but they could not say why they succeed; that would be art.
Further, it is clear that they succeed though imprudent, and not merely imprudent about other things—that would not be strange at all, e.g. Hippocrates was a geometer, but in other respects was thought foolish and imprudent, and once on a voyage was robbed of much money by the customs-collectors at Byzantium, owing to his silliness, as we are told—but imprudent in the very business in which they are lucky. For in navigation not the cleverest are the most fortunate, but it is as in throwing dice, where one throws nothing, another throws something; so a man is lucky according as nature determines. Or is it because he is loved, as the phrase is, by a god, success being something coming from without, as a worse-built vessel often sails better, not owing to itself but because it has a good pilot? But, if so, the fortunate man has a good pilot, namely, the divinity. But it is absurd that a god or divinity should love such a man and not the best and most prudent. If, then, success must be due either to nature or intelligence or some sort of protection, and the latter two causes are out of the question, then the fortunate must be so by nature. But, on the other hand, Nature is the cause of the absolutely uniform or of the usual, Fortune the opposite. If, then, it is thought that unexpected success is due to chance, but that, if it is through chance that one is fortunate, the cause of his fortune is not the sort of cause that produces always or usually the same result—further, if a person succeeds or fails because he is a certain sort of man, just as a man sees badly because he is blue-eyed, then it follows that not fortune but nature is the cause; the man then is not fortunate but rather naturally gifted. So we must say that the people we call fortunate are not so through fortune; therefore they are not fortunate, for those goods only are in the disposal of fortune of which good fortune is the cause.
But if this is so, shall we say that fortune does not exist at all, or that it exists but is not a cause? No, it must both exist and be a cause. It will, then, also cause good or evil to certain people. But whether it is to be wholly removed, and we ought to say that nothing happens by chance, but do say that chance is a cause simply because, though there is some other cause, we do not see it (and therefore, in defining chance, some make it a cause incalculable to human reasoning, taking it to be a genuine reality)—this would be matter for another inquiry. But since we see people who are fortunate once only, why should they not be fortunate a second time for the same reason, and a third time? For the same antecedent is cause of the same consequent. Then this cannot be a matter of chance. But when the same event follows from indefinite and undetermined antecedents, it will be for a particular man good or evil, but there will not be the science that comes by experience of it, since otherwise some lucky people would have learned it, or even—as Socrates said—all the sciences would have been kinds of good luck. What, then, prevents such things happening to a man often in succession, not because he has a certain character, but as, say, dice might continually throw a lucky number? But again, are there not in the soul impulses, some from reason and others from irrational desire, the latter being the earlier? For if the impulse arising from appetite for the pleasant is natural, the desire also would by nature march in each case towards the good. If, then, some have a fortunate natural endowment—as musical people, though they have not learned to sing, are fortunately endowed in this way—and move without reason in the direction given them by their nature, and desire that which they ought at the time and in the manner they ought, such men are successful, even if they are foolish and irrational, just as the others will sing well though not able to teach singing. And such men are fortunate, namely those who generally succeed without the aid of reason. Men, then, who are fortunate will be so by nature.
Perhaps, however, 'good fortune' is a phrase with several senses. For some things are done from impulse and are due to deliberate choice, and others not, but the opposite; and if, in the former cases, they succeed where they seem to have reasoned badly, we say that they have been lucky; and again, in the latter cases, if they wished for a different good or less of the good than they got. Men who are lucky in the former way, then, may be fortunate by nature, for the impulse and the desire was for the right object and succeeded, but the reasoning was silly; and people in this case, when it happens that their reasoning seems incorrect but desire is the cause of their reasoning, are saved by the rightness of their desire; but on another occasion a man reasons again in this way owing to appetite and turns out unfortunate.
But in the other cases how can the good luck be due to a natural goodness in desire and appetite? But surely the good fortune and chance spoken of here and in the other case are the same, or else there is more than one sort of good fortune, and chance has two meanings. But since we see some men lucky contrary to all knowledge and right reasonings, it is clear that the cause of luck must be something different from these. But is it luck or not by which a man desires what and when he ought, though for him human reasoning could not lead to this? For that is not altogether unreasonable, whereof the desire is natural, though reason is misled by something. The man, then, is thought to have good luck, because luck is the cause of things contrary to reason, and this is contrary to reason (for it is contrary to science and the universal). But probably it does not spring from chance, but seems so for the above reason. So that this argument shows not that good luck is due to nature, but that not all who seem to be lucky are successful owing to fortune, but rather owing to nature; nor does it show that there is no such thing as fortune, nor that fortune is not the cause of anything, but only not of all that it seems to be the cause of. This, however, one might question: whether fortune is the cause of just this, viz. desiring what and when one ought. But will it not in this case be the cause of everything, even of thought and deliberation? For one does not deliberate after previous deliberation which itself presupposed deliberation, but there is some starting-point; nor does one think after thinking previously to thinking, and so ad infinitum. Thought, then, is not the starting-point of thinking nor deliberation of deliberation. What, then, can be the starting-point except chance? Thus everything would come from chance. Perhaps there is a starting-point with none other outside it, and this can act in this sort of way by being such as it is.
The object of our search is this—what is the commencement of movement in the soul? The answer is clear: as in the universe, so in the soul, God moves everything. For in a sense the divine element in us moves everything. The starting-point of reasoning is not reasoning, but something greater. What, then, could be greater even than knowledge and intellect but God? Not virtue, for virtue is an instrument of the intellect. And for this reason as I said a while ago, those are called fortunate who, whatever they start on, succeed in it without being good at reasoning. And deliberation is of no advantage to them, for they have in them a principle that is better than intellect and deliberation, while the others have not this but have intellect; they have inspiration, but they cannot deliberate. For, though lacking reason, they attain the attribute of the prudent and wise—that their divination is speedy; and we must mark off as included in it all but the judgment that comes from reasoning; in some cases it is due to experience, in others to habituation in the use of reflection: and both experience and habituation use God. This quality sees well the future and the present, and these are the men in whom the reasoning-power is relaxed. Hence we have the melancholic men, the dreamers of what is true. For the moving principle seems to become stronger when the reasoning-power is relaxed. So the blind remember better, their memory being freed from concern with the visible. It is clear, then, that there are two kinds of good luck, the one divine—and so the lucky seem to succeed owing to God; men of this sort seem to succeed in following their aim, the others to succeed contrary to their aim; both are irrational, but the one is persistent good luck, the other not.
15. About each virtue by itself we have already spoken; now since we have distinguished their natures separately, we must describe clearly the excellence that arises out of the combination of them, what we have already called nobility and goodness. That he who truly deserves this denomination must have the separate virtues is clear; it cannot be otherwise with other things either, for no one is healthy in his entire body and yet healthy in no part of it, but the most numerous and important parts, if not all, must be in the same condition as the whole. Now goodness and nobility-and-goodness differ not only in name but also in themselves. For all goods have ends which are to be chosen for their own sake. Of these, we call noble those which, existing all of them for their own sake, are praised. For these are those which are the source of praised acts and are themselves praised, such as justice itself and just acts; also temperate acts, for temperance is praised, but health is not praised, for its effect is not; nor vigorous action, for vigor is not. These are good but not praised. Induction makes this clear about the rest, too. A good man, then, is one for whom the natural goods are good. For the goods men fight for and think the greatest—honor, wealth, bodily excellences, good fortune, and power—are naturally good, but may be to some hurtful because of their dispositions. For neither the imprudent nor the unjust nor the intemperate would get any good from the employment of them, any more than an invalid from the food of a healthy man, or one weak and maimed from the equipment of one in health and sound in all limbs. A man is noble and good because those goods which are noble are possessed by him for themselves, and because he practices the noble and for its own sake, the noble being the virtues and the acts that proceed from virtue.
There is also what we may call the 'civic' disposition, such as the Laconians have, and others like them might have; its nature would be something like this—there are some who think one should have virtue, but only for the sake of the natural goods, and so such men are good (for the natural goods are good for them), but they have not nobility and goodness. For it is not true of them that they acquire the noble for itself, that they purpose acts good and noble at once—more than this, that what is not noble by nature but good by nature is noble to them; for objects are noble when a man's motives for acting and choosing them are noble. Wherefore to the noble and good man the naturally good is noble—for what is just is noble, justice is proportion to merit, and the perfect man merits these things; or what is fitting is noble, and to the perfect man these things, wealth, high birth, and power, are fitting. So that to the perfect man things profitable are also noble; but to the many the profitable and the noble do not coincide, for things absolutely good are not good for them as they are for the good man; to the 'noble and good' man they are also noble, for he does many noble deeds by reason of them. But the man who thinks he ought to have the virtues for the sake of external goods does deeds that are noble only per accidens. 'Nobility and goodness', then, is complete virtue.
About pleasure, too, we have spoken, what it is and in what sense good; we have said that the absolutely pleasant is also noble, and the absolutely good pleasant. But pleasure only arises in action; therefore the truly happy man will also live most pleasantly: that this should be so is no idle demand of man.
But since the doctor has a standard by reference to which he distinguishes the healthy from the unhealthy body, and with reference to which each thing up to a certain point ought to be done and is wholesome, while if less or more is done health is the result no longer, so in regard to actions and choice of what is naturally good but not praiseworthy, the good man should have a standard both of disposition and of choice, and similarly in regard to avoidance of excess or deficiency of wealth and good fortune, the standard being—as above said—'as reason directs'; this corresponds to saying in regard to diet that the standard should be medical science and its principles. But this, though true, is not clear. One must, then, here as elsewhere, live with reference to the ruling principle and with reference to the formed habit and the activity of the ruling principle, as the slave must live with reference to that of the master, and each of us by the rule proper to him. But since man is by nature composed of a ruling and a subject part, each of us should live according to the governing element within himself—but this is ambiguous, for medical science governs in one sense, health in another, the former existing for the latter. And so it is with the theoretic faculty; for God is not an imperative ruler, but is the end with a view to which prudence issues its commands (the word 'end' is ambiguous, and has been distinguished elsewhere), for God at least needs nothing. What choice, then, or possession of the natural goods—whether bodily goods, wealth, friends, or other things—will most produce the contemplation of God, that choice or possession is best; this is the noblest standard, but any that through deficiency or excess hinders one from the contemplation and service of God is bad; this man possesses in his soul, and this is the best standard for the soul—to perceive the irrational part of the soul, as such, as little as possible.
So much, then, for the standard of perfection and the object of the absolute goods.