Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Book III

[Voluntary Action]

Virtue, then, is about feelings and actions. These receive praise or blame if 30
they are voluntary, but pardon, sometimes even pity, if they are involuntary.* Hence, presumably, in examining virtue we must define the voluntary and the involuntary. §2 This is also useful to legislators, both for 35 honors and for corrective treatments.*

§3 Now it seems that things coming about by force or because of igno- 1110a
rance are involuntary.*

What is forced has an external principle, the sort of principle in which the agent, or [rather] the victim,* contributes nothing* -- if, for instance, a wind or people who have him in their control were to carry him off.

§4 But what about actions done because of fear of greater evils, or 5
because of something fine* Suppose, for instance, a tyrant tells you to do something shameful, when he has control over your parents and children, and if you do it, they will live, but if not, they will die.* These cases raise dispute about whether they are voluntary or involuntary.

§5 However, the same sort (of unwelcome choice] is found in throw

ing cargo overboard in storms.* For no one willingly throws cargo over- 10
board, without qualification,* but anyone with any sense throws it overboard to save himself and the others.

§6 These sorts of actions, then, are mixed,* but they are more like voluntary actions. For at the time they are done they are choiceworthy, and the goal of an action accords with the specific occasion; hence we should also call the action voluntary or involuntary on the occasion when he

does it. Now in fact he does it willingly. For in such actions he has within 15
him the principle of moving the limbs that are the instruments [of the action]; but if the principle of the actions is in him, it is also up to him to do them or not to do them.* Hence actions of this sort are voluntary, though presumably the actions without [the appropriate] qualification are involuntary, since no one would choose any such action in its own right.

§7 For such [mixed] actions people are sometimes actually praised, 1110a20
whenever they endure something shameful or painful as the price of great and fine results. If they do the reverse, they are blamed; for it is a base person who endures what is most shameful for nothing fine or for only some moderately fine result. In some cases there is no praise, but
there is pardon, whenever someone does a wrong action because of con- 25
ditions of a sort that overstrain human nature, and that no one would endure.*

§8 But presumably there are some things we cannot be compelled to do. Rather than do them we should suffer the most terrible consequences and accept death; for the things that [allegedly] compelled Euripide' Alcmaeon to kill his mother appear ridiculous.*

§9 It is sometimes difficult, however, to judge what [goods] should be 30 chosen at the price of what [evils], and what [evils] should be endured as the price of what [goods]. It is even more difficult to abide by our judgment, since the results we expect [when we endure] are usually painful, and the actions we are compelled [to endure, when we choose] are usu

ally shameful. That is why those who have been compelled or not com- 1110b
pelled receive praise or blame.

§10 What sorts of things, then, should we say are forced? Perhaps we should say that something is forced without qualification whenever its cause is external and the agent contributes nothing. Other things are involuntary in their own right, but choiceworthy on this occasion and as

the price of these [goods], and their principle is in the agent. These are 5
involuntary in their own right, but, on this occasion and as the price of these [goods], voluntary.* But they are more like voluntary actions, since the actions are particulars, and [in the case of mixed actions] these particulars are voluntary. But what sort of thing should be chosen as the price of what [good] is not easy to answer, since there are many differences in particular [conditions].

§11 But what if someone says that pleasant things and fine things force 10
us, on the ground that they are outside us and compel us? For him, then, everything must be forced, since everyone in every action aims at something fine or pleasant. Moreover, if we are forced and unwilling to act, we find it painful; but if something pleasant or fine is its cause, we do it with pleasure. It is ridiculous, then,* for him to ascribe responsibility to exter
nal causes, not to himself as being easily snared by such things;* and 15
ridiculous to hold himself responsible for his fine actions, but pleasant things responsible for his shameful actions.

§12 What is forced, then, would seem to be what has its principle outside the person forced, who contributes nothing.

§13 Everything caused by ignorance is nonvoluntary, but what is

involuntary also involves pain and regret. For if someone's action was 20
caused by ignorance, but he now has no objection to the action, he has
done it neither willingly, since he did not know what it was, nor unwill- 1110b
ingly, since he now feels no pain.* Hence, among those who act because of ignorance, the agent who now regrets his action seems to be unwilling, but the agent with no regrets may be called nonwilling, since he is another case -- for, since he is different, it is better if he has his own special name.

§14 Further, action caused by ignorance would seem to be different 25
from action done in ignorance. For if the agent is drunk or angry, his action seems to be caused by drunkenness or anger, not by ignorance, though it is done in ignorance, not in knowledge. Certainly every vicious person is ignorant of the actions he must do or avoid, and this sort of
error makes people unjust, and in general bad. 30

§15 [This] ignorance of what is beneficial is not taken to make action involuntary. For the cause of involuntary action is not [this] ignorance in the decision, which causes vice; it is not [in other words] ignorance of the

universal, since that is a cause for blame.* Rather, the cause is ignorance 1111a
of the particulars which the action consists in and is concerned with,* since these allow both pity and pardon. For an agent acts involuntarily if he is ignorant of one of these particulars.

§16 Presumably, then, it is not a bad idea to define these particulars, and say what they are, and how many. They are: who is doing it; what he

is doing; about what or to what he is doing it; sometimes also what he is 5
doing it with -- with what instrument, for example; for what result, for example, safety; in what way, for example, gently or hard.

§17 Now certainly someone could not be ignorant of all of these unless he were mad. Nor, clearly, could he be ignorant of who is doing it, since he could hardly be ignorant of himself. But he might be ignorant of what he is doing, as when someone says that [the secret] slipped out while he was speaking, or, as Aeschylus said about the mysteries, that he did not

know it was forbidden to reveal it; or, like the person with the catapult, 10
that he let it go when he [only] wanted to demonstrate it. Again, he might think that his son is an enemy, as Merope did;* or that the barbed spear has a button on it, or that the stone is pumice stone. By giving someone a
drink to save his life we might kill him; and wanting to touch someone, as 15
they do in sparring, we might wound him.

§18 Since an agent may be ignorant of any of these particular constituents of his action, someone who was ignorant of one of these seems to have acted unwillingly, especially if he was ignorant of the most important; these seem to be what he is doing, and the result for which he does it.*

§19 Hence the agent who acts involuntarily is the one who acts in

accord with this specific sort of ignorance, who must also feel pain and 20
regret for his action.*

§20 Since involuntary action is either forced or caused by ignorance, voluntary action seems to be what has its principle in the agent himself, knowing the particulars that constitute the action.*

§21 For, presumably, it is not right to say that action caused by spirit or 1111a25
appetite is involuntary.* §22 For, first of all, on this view none of the other animals will ever act voluntarily; nor will children.* §23 Next, among all the actions caused by appetite or spirit do we do none of them voluntarily? Or do we do the fine actions voluntarily and the shameful involuntarily? Surely [the second answer] is ridiculous, given that one and the same thing [i.e., appetite or spirit] causes [both fine and shameful
actions]. §24 And presumably it is also absurd to say [as the first 30
answer implies] that things we ought to desire* are involuntary. Indeed, we ought both to be angry at some things and to have appetite for some things -- for health and learning, for instance. §25 Again, what is involuntary seems to be painful, whereas what accords with appetite seems to be pleasant.

§26 Moreover, how are errors in accord with spirit any less voluntary

than those in accord with rational calculation? For both sorts of errors are 1111b
to be avoided. §27 Besides, nonrational feelings seem to be no less human than rational calculation; and so actions resulting from spirit or appetite are also proper to a human being. It is absurd, then, to regard them as involuntary.

Now that we have defined the voluntary and the involuntary, the next 5
task is to discuss decision; for decision seems to be most proper to virtue, and to distinguish characters from one another better than actions do.*

§2 Decision, then, is apparently voluntary, but not the same as the voluntary, which extends more widely. For children and the other animals share in voluntary action, but not in decision; and the actions we do on

the spur of the moment are said to be voluntary, but not to accord with 10

§3 Those who say decision is appetite or spirit or wish or some sort of belief would seem to be wrong. For decision is not shared with nonrational animals, but appetite and spirit are shared with them. §4 Again,

the incontinent person acts on appetite, not on decision,* but the conti- 15
nent person does the reverse, by acting on decision, not on appetite. §5 Again, appetite is contrary to decision, but not to appetite. Besides, the object of appetite is what is pleasant or painful, whereas neither of these is the object of decision.* §6 And still less is spirit decision; for actions caused by spirit seem least of all to accord with decision.

§7 But further, it is not wish either, though it is apparently close to it.* 20
For we do not decide on impossible things -- anyone claiming to decide on them would seem a fool;* but we do wish for impossible things -- for immortality, for instance -- as well as possible things. §8 Further, we
wish [not only for results we can achieve], but also for results that are 1111b
[possible, but] not achievable through our own agency* -- victory for
some actor or athlete, for instance.* But what we decide on is never any- 25
thing of that sort, but what we think would come about through our own agency. §9 Again, we wish for the end more [than for the things that promote it], but we decide on things that promote the end.* We wish, for instance, to be healthy, but we decide to do things that will make us healthy; and we wish to be happy, and say so, but we could not appropri
ately say we decide to be happy, since in general the things we decide on 30
would seem to be things that are up to us.

§10 Nor is it belief. For belief seems to be about everything, no less about things that are eternal and things that are impossible [for us] than about things that are up to us. Moreover, beliefs are divided into true and false, not into good and bad, but decisions are divided into good and bad more than into true and false.

§11 Now presumably no one even claims that decision is the same as 1112a
belief in general. But it is not the same as any kind of belief either. For our decisions to do good or bad actions, not our beliefs, form the characters we have. §12 Again, we decide to take or avoid something good or bad.
We believe what it is, whom it benefits or how; but we do not exactly 5
believe to take or avoid. §13 Further, decision is praised more for deciding on what is right, whereas belief is praised for believing rightly.* Moreover, we decide on something [even] when we know most completely that it is good;* but [what] we believe [is] what we do not quite know. §14 Again, those who make the best decisions do not seem to be the same
as those with the best beliefs; on the contrary, some seem to have better 10
beliefs, but to make the wrong decisions because of vice. §15 We may grant that decision follows or implies belief. But that is irrelevant, since it is not the question we are asking; our question is whether decision is the same as some sort of belief.

§16 Then what, or what sort of thing, is decision, since it is none of the

things mentioned? Well, apparently it is voluntary, but not everything 15
voluntary is decided. §17 Then perhaps what is decided is what has been previously deliberated. For decision involves reason and thought, and even the name itself would seem to indicate that [what is decided, prohaireton] is chosen [haireton] before [pro] other things.*

Do we deliberate about everything, and is everything open to deliberation?

Or is there no deliberation about some things? §2 By 'open to 20
deliberation', presumably, we should mean that someone with some sense, not some fool or madman, might deliberate about it.
§3 Now no one deliberates about eternal things -- about the universe, 1112a
for instance, or about the incommensurability of the sides and the diagonal; §4 nor about things that are in movement but always come
about the same way, either from necessity or by nature* or by some other 25
cause -- the solstices, for instance, or the rising of the stars; §5 nor about what happens in different ways at different times -- droughts and rains, for instance; nor about what results from fortune -- the finding of a treasure, for
instance. For none of these results could be achieved through our agency. 30

§7 We deliberate about what is up to us, that is to say, about the actions we can do; and this is what is left [besides the previous cases]. For

causes seem to include nature, necessity, and fortune, but besides them 33
mind and everything [operating] through human agency. §6 But we do 28
not deliberate about all human affairs; no Spartan, for instance, deliber- 29
ates about how the Scythians might have the best political system.*
Rather, each group of human beings deliberates about the actions that 33
they themselves can do.

§8 There is no deliberation about the sciences that are exact and self- 1112b
sufficient, as, for instance, about letters, since we are in no doubt about how to write them [in spelling a word]. Rather, we deliberate about what results through our agency, but in different ways on different occasions -
about, for instance, medicine and money making. We deliberate about 5
navigation more than about gymnastics, to the extent that it is less exactly worked out, and similarly with other [crafts]. §9 And we deliberate about beliefs more than about sciences,* since we are more in doubt about them.

§10 Deliberation concerns what is usually [one way rather than

another], where the outcome is unclear and the right way to act* is unde- 10
fined. And we enlist partners in deliberation on large issues when we distrust our own ability to discern [the right answer].

§11 We deliberate not about ends, but about what promotes ends.* A doctor, for instance, does not deliberate about whether he will cure, or an orator about whether he will persuade, or a politician about whether he

will produce good order, or any other [expert] about the end [that his sci- 15
ence aims at]. Rather, we lay down the end, and then examine the ways and means* to achieve it.

If it appears that any of several [possible] means will reach it, we examine which of them will reach it most easily and most finely;* and if only one [possible] means reaches it, we examine how that means will reach it, and how the means itself is reached, until we come to the first

cause, the last thing to be discovered. For a deliberator would seem to 20
inquire and analyze in the way described, as though analyzing a diagram. [The comparison is apt, since], §12 apparently, all deliberation is inquiry, though not all inquiry -- in mathematics, for instance -- is deliberation. And the last thing [found] in the analysis would seem to be the first that comes into being.*

§13 If we encounter an impossible step -- for instance, we need money 1112b25
but cannot raise it -- we desist; but if the action appears possible, we undertake it.* What is possible is what we could achieve through our agency [including what our friends could achieve for us]; for what our friends achieve is, in a way, achieved through our agency, since the principle is in us. §14 [In crafts] we sometimes look for instruments, some
times [for the way] to use them; so also in other cases we sometimes look 30
for the means to the end, sometimes for the proper use of the means, or for the means to that proper use.

§15 As we have said, then, a human being would seem to be a principle of action. Deliberation is about the actions he can do, and actions are for the sake of other things; §16 hence we deliberate* about things that

promote an end, not about the end. Nor do we deliberate about particu- 1113a
lars, about whether this is a loaf, for instance, or is cooked the right amount; for these are questions for perception, and if we keep on deliberating at each stage we shall go on without end.

§17 What we deliberate about is the same as what we decide to do, except that by the time we decide to do it, it is definite; for what we

decide to do is what we have judged [to be right] as a result of delibera- 5
tion. For each of us stops inquiring how to act as soon as he traces the principle to himself, and within himself to the guiding part; for this is the part that decides. §18 This is also clear from the ancient political systems described by Homer; there the kings would first decide and then announce their decision to the people.*

§19 We have found, then,* that what we decide to do is whatever 10
action, among those up to us, we deliberate about and [consequently] desire to do. Hence also decision will be deliberative desire to do an action that is up to us; for when we have judged [that it is right] as a result of deliberation, we desire to do it in accord with our wish.*

§20 We have said in outline, then, what sorts of things decision is about, and [specifically] that we decide on things that promote the end.


Wish, we have said, is for the end. But some think that wish is for the 15
good, others that it is for the apparent good.

§2 For those who say the good is wished, it follows that what someone wishes if he chooses incorrectly is not wished at all. For if it is wished, then [on this view] it is good; but what he wishes is in fact bad, if it turns

out that way. [Hence what he wishes is not wished, which is self-contradictory.] 20

§3 But for those who say the apparent good is wished, it follows that nothing is wished by nature. Rather, for each person what is wished is

what seems [good to him]; but different things, and indeed contrary 1113a
things, if it turns out that way, appear good to different people.* [Hence contrary things will be wished and nothing will be wished by nature.]

§4 If, then, these views do not satisfy us, should we say that, without qualification and in reality, what is wished is the good, but for each per

son what is wished is the apparent good? For the excellent person, then, 25
what is wished will be what is [wished] in reality, while for the base person what is wished is whatever it turns out to be [that appears good to him]. Similarly in the case of bodies, really healthy things are healthy to people in good condition, while other things are healthy to sickly people;
and the same is true of what is bitter, sweet, hot, heavy, and so on.* For 30
the excellent person judges each sort of thing correctly, and in each case what is true appears to him.

§5 For each state [of character] has its own distinctive [view of] what is fine and pleasant. Presumably, then, the excellent person is far superior because he sees what is true in each case, being himself a sort of standard and measure.* In the many, however, pleasure would seem to cause

deception, since it appears good when it is not. §6 Certainly, they 1113b
choose what is pleasant because they assume it is good, and avoid pain because they assume it is evil.*
[Virtue and Vice Are in Our Power]

We have found, then, that we wish for the end, and deliberate and decide

about things that promote it; hence the actions concerned with things that 5
promote the end are in accord with decision and are voluntary. The activities of the virtues are concerned with these things [that promote the end].*

§2 Hence virtue is also up to us, and so also, in the same way, is vice. For when acting is up to us, so is not acting, and when no is up to us, so is yes. And so if acting, when it is fine, is up to us, not acting, when it is

shameful, is also up to us; and if not acting, when it is fine, is up to us, 10
then acting, when it is shameful, is also up to us. §3 But if doing, and likewise not doing, fine or shameful actions is up to us, and if, as we saw, [doing or not doing them] is [what it is] to be a good or bad person, being decent or base is up to us.*

§4 The claim that 'no one is willingly bad or unwillingly blessed'* 15
would seem to be partly true but partly false. For while certainly no one is unwillingly blessed, vice is voluntary.

§5 If this is not so, we must dispute what has been said, and we must deny that a human being is a principle, begetting actions as he begets

children. §6 But if what we have said appears true, and we cannot refer 20
back to other principles apart from those that are up to us,* those things that have their principle in us are themselves up to us and voluntary.
§7 There would seem to be evidence in favor of our view not only in 1113b
what each of us does as a private citizen, but also in what legislators themselves do. For they impose corrective treatments and penalties on
anyone who does vicious actions, unless his action is forced or is caused 25
by ignorance that he is not responsible for;* and they honor anyone who does fine actions. In all this they assume that they will encourage the second sort of person, and restrain the first. But no one encourages us to do anything that is not up to us and voluntary; people assume it is pointless to persuade us not to get hot or distressed or hungry or anything else of that sort, since persuasion will not stop it happening to us.

§8 Indeed, legislators also impose corrective treatments for the igno- 30
rance itself, if the agent seems to be responsible for the ignorance.* A drunk, for instance, pays a double penalty; for the principle is in him, since he controls whether he gets drunk, and his getting drunk causes his ignorance.* They also impose corrective treatment on someone who [does a vicious action] in ignorance of some provision of law that he is required
to know and that is not hard [to know]. §9 And they impose it in other 1114a
cases likewise for any other ignorance that seems to be caused by the agent's inattention; they assume it is up to him not to be ignorant, since he controls whether he pays attention.

§10 But presumably he is the sort of person who is inattentive.* Still, he is himself responsible for becoming this sort of person, because he has

lived carelessly. Similarly, an individual is responsible for being unjust, 5
because he has cheated, and for being intemperate, because he has passed his time in drinking and the like; for each type of activity produces the corresponding sort of person.* §11 This is clear from those who train for any contest or action, since they continually practice the
appropriate activities. §12 [Only] a totally insensible person would not 10
know that a given type of activity is the source of the corresponding
state; §13 [Hence] if someone does what he knows will make him 12
unjust, he is willingly unjust.* 13
, Further, it is unreasonable for someone doing injustice not to wish to 11 12
be unjust, or for someone doing intemperate action not to wish to be 13
intemperate.* §14 This does not mean, however, that if he is unjust and
wishes to stop, he will thereby stop and be just.* For neither does a sick 15
person recover his health [simply by wishing]; nonetheless, he is sick willingly,* by living incontinently and disobeying the doctors, if that was how it happened. At that time, then, he was free not to be sick, though no longer free once he has let himself go, just as it was up to someone to throw a stone, since the principle was up to him,* though he can no
longer take it back once he has thrown it. Similarly, then, the person who 20
is [now] unjust or intemperate was originally free not to acquire this character, so that he has it willingly, though once he has acquired the character, he is no longer free not to have it [now].*

§15 It is not only vices of the soul that are voluntary; vices of the body

are also voluntary for some people, and we actually censure them. For we 1114a
never censure someone if nature causes his ugliness; but if his lack of
training or attention causes it, we do censure him. The same is true for 25
weakness or maiming; for everyone would pity someone, not reproach him, if he were blind by nature or because of a disease or a wound, but would censure him if his heavy drinking or some other form of intemperance made him blind. §16 Hence bodily vices that are up to us are cell
sured, while those not up to us are not censured. If so, then in the other 30
cases also the vices that are censured will be up to us.

§17 But someone may say that everyone aims at the apparent good, 1114b
and does not control how it appears, but, on the contrary, his character controls how the end appears to him.* [We reply that] if each person is in some way responsible for his own state [of character], he is also himself in some way responsible for how [the end] appears.*

Suppose, on the other hand, that no one* is responsible for acting

badly, but one does so because one is ignorant of the end, and thinks this 5
is the way to gain what is best for oneself. In that case, one's aiming at the end is not one's own choice; one needs a sort of natural, inborn sense of sight, to judge finely and to choose what is really good. Whoever by nature has this sense in a fine condition has a good nature; for [, according to this view,] this sense is the greatest and finest thing, given that one can
not acquire it or learn it from another, but its natural character determines 10
[his] later condition, and when it is naturally good and fine, that is true and complete good nature.* If all this is true, then, surely virtue will be no more voluntary than vice.*

§18 For how the end appears is laid down, by nature or in whatever 15
way, for the good and the bad person alike; they trace all the other things back to the end in doing whatever actions they do.* §19 Let us suppose, then, that nature does not make the end appear however it appears to each person, but something also depends on him.* Alternatively, let us suppose that [how] the end [appears] is natural, but virtue is voluntary because the virtuous person does the other things voluntarily.* In either
case, vice will be no less voluntary than virtue; for the bad person, no less 20
than the good, is responsible for his own actions, even if not for [how] the end [appears].*

§20 Now the virtues, as we say, are voluntary. For in fact we are ourselves in a way jointly responsible for our states of character, and the sort of character we have determines the sort of end we lay down.* Hence the

vices will also be voluntary, since the same is true of them. 25

§21 We have now discussed the virtues in common. We have described their genus in outline; they are means, and they are states. Certain actions produce them, and they cause us to do these same actions in accord with the virtues themselves, in the way that correct reason prescribes. They are up to us and voluntary.*

§22 Actions and states, however, are not voluntary in the same way. 1114b30
For we are in control of actions from the beginning to the end, when we
know the particulars. With states, however, we are in control of the begin- 1115a
ning, but do not know, any more than with sicknesses, what the cumulative effect of particular actions will be. Nonetheless, since it was up to us to exercise a capacity either this way or another way, states are voluntary.

§23 Let us now take up the virtues again, and discuss them one by

one. Let us say what they are, what sorts of thing they are concerned 5
with, and how they are concerned with them. It will also be clear at the same time how many of them there are.
[Bravery; Its Scope]

First let us discuss bravery. We have already made it apparent that there is a mean about feelings of fear and confidence.* §2 What we fear, clearly, is what is frightening,* and such things are, speaking without qualification, bad things; hence people define fear as expectation of something bad.*

§3 Certainly we fear all bad things -- for instance, bad reputation, 10
poverty, sickness, friendlessness, death -- but they do not all seem to concern the brave person. For fear of some bad things, such as bad reputation, is actually right and fine, and lack of fear is shameful; for if someone fears bad reputation, he is decent and properly prone to shame, and if he has no fear of it, he has no feeling of disgrace. Some, however,
call this fearless person brave, by a transference of the name; for he has 15
some similarity to the brave person, since the brave person is also a type of fearless person.

§4 Presumably it is wrong to fear poverty or sickness or, in general, [bad things] that are not the results of vice or caused by ourselves; still, someone who is fearless about these is not thereby brave. He is also called

brave by similarity; for some people who are cowardly in the dangers of 20
war are nonetheless generous, and face with confidence the [danger of] losing money*

§5 Again, if someone is afraid of committing wanton aggression on children or women,* or of being envious or anything of that sort, that does not make him cowardly. And if someone is confident when he is going to be whipped for his crimes, that does not make him brave.

§6 Then what sorts of frightening conditions concern the brave per- 25
son? Surely the most frightening; for no one stands firmer against terrifying conditions. Now death is most frightening of all, since it is a boundary, and when someone is dead nothing beyond it seems either
good or bad for him any more. §7 Still, not even death in all condi- 1115a
tions -- on the sea, for instance, or in sickness -- seems to be the brave person's concern.

§8 In what conditions, then, is death his concern? Surely in the finest 30
conditions. Now such deaths are those in war, since they occur in the greatest and finest danger.* §9 This judgment is endorsed by the honors given in cities and by monarchs. §10 Hence someone is called fully brave if he is intrepid in facing a fine death and the immediate dangers 35 that bring death. And this is above all true of the dangers of war.

§11 Certainly the brave person is also intrepid on the sea and in sick- 1115b
ness, but not in the same way as seafarers are. For he has given up hope of safety, and objects to this sort of death [with nothing fine in it], but seafarers' experience makes them hopeful. §12 Moreover, we act like brave
men on occasions when we can use our strength, or when it is fine to be 5
killed; and neither of these is true when we perish on the sea.
[Bravery; Its Characteristic Outlook]

Now what is frightening is not the same for everyone. We say, however, that some things are too frightening for a human being to resist;* these, then, are frightening for everyone, at least for everyone with any sense.

What is frightening, but not irresistible for a human being, varies in its 10
seriousness and degree; and the same is true of what inspires confidence.

§2 The brave person is unperturbed, as far as a human being can be. Hence, though he will fear even the sorts of things that are not irresistible, he will stand firm against them, in the right way, as reason prescribes, for the sake of the fine, since this is the end aimed at by virtue.*

§3 It is possible to be more or less afraid of these frightening things,

and also possible to be afraid of what is not frightening as though it were 15
frightening. §4 The cause of error may be fear of the wrong thing, or in the wrong way, or at the wrong time, or something of that sort; and the same is true for things that inspire confidence.

§5 Hence whoever stands firm against the right things and fears the right things, for the right end, in the right way, at the right time, and is correspondingly confident, is the brave person; for the brave person's actions and feelings accord with what something is worth, and follow what reason prescribes.

§6 Every activity aims at actions in accord with the state of character. 20
Now to the brave person bravery is fine; hence the end it aims at is also fine, since each thing is defined by its end.* The brave person, then, aims at the fine when he stands firm and acts in accord with bravery

§7 Among those who go to excess the excessively fearless person has 25
no name -- we said earlier that many cases have no names.* He would be
some sort of madman, or incapable of feeling distress, if he feared noth- 1115b
ing, neither earthquake nor waves, as they say about the Celts.*

The person who is excessively confident about frightening things is

rash. §8 The rash person also seems to be a boaster, and a pretender to 30
bravery.* At any rate, the attitude to frightening things that the brave person really has is the attitude that the rash person wants to appear to have; hence he imitates the brave person where he can. §9 That is why most of them are rash cowards; for, rash though they are on these [occasions for imitation], they do not stand firm against anything frightening.
§12 Moreover, rash people are impetuous, wishing for dangers before 1116a7
, they arrive, but they shrink from them when they come. Brave people, on 8 9
the contrary, are eager when in action, but keep quiet until then.*

§10 The person who is excessively afraid is the coward, since he fears 1115b34
the wrong things, and in the wrong way, and so on. Certainly, he is also 35
deficient in confidence, but his excessive pain distinguishes him more 1116a
clearly. §11 Hence, since he is afraid of everything, he is a despairing sort. The brave person, on the contrary, is hopeful, since [he is confident and] confidence is proper to a hopeful person.

§12 Hence the coward, the rash person, and the brave person are all 5
concerned with the same things, but have different states related to them;
the others are excessive or defective, but the brave person has the inter- 7
mediate and right state.

§13 As we have said, then, bravery is a mean about what inspires con- 10
fidence and about what is frightening in the conditions we have described; it chooses and stands firm because that is fine or because anything else is shameful. Dying to avoid poverty or erotic passion or something painful is proper to a coward, not to a brave person. For shirking
burdens is softness, and such a person stands firm [in the face of death] to 15
avoid an evil, not because standing firm is fine.*
[Conditions That Resemble Bravery]

Bravery, then, is something of this sort. But five other sorts of things are also called bravery.*

The bravery of citizens comes first, since it looks most like bravery. For citizens seem to stand firm against dangers with the aim of avoiding

reproaches and legal penalties and of winning honors; that is why the 20
bravest seem to be those who hold cowards in dishonor and do honor to brave people. §2 That is how Homer also describes them when he speaks of Diomede and Hector: 'Polydamas will be the first to heap dis
grace on me', and 'For some time Hector speaking among the Trojans 25
will say, "The son of Tydeus fled from me."'* §3 This is most like the
[genuine] bravery described above, because it results from a virtue; for it 1116a
is caused by shame and by desire for something fine, namely honor,* and by aversion from reproach, which is shameful.

§4 In this class we might also place those who are compelled by their 30
superiors. However, they are worse to the extent that they act because of fear, not because of shame, and to avoid pain, not disgrace. For their com
manders compel them, as Hector does; 'If I notice anyone shrinking back 35
from the battle, nothing will save him from being eaten by the dogs.'*
§5 Commanders who strike any troops who give ground, or who post 1116b
them in front of ditches and suchlike, do the same thing, since they all compel them.* The brave person, however, must be moved by the fine, not by compulsion.

§6 Experience about a given situation also seems to be bravery; that is 5
why Socrates actually thought that bravery is scientific knowledge.* Different people have this sort [of apparent courage] in different conditions. In wartime professional soldiers have it; for there seem to be many groundless alarms in war, and the professionals are the most familiar with these.* Hence they appear brave, since others do not know that the alarms are groundless. §7 Moreover, their experience makes them most
capable in attack and defense, since they are skilled in the use of their 10
weapons, and have the best weapons for attack and defense. §8 The result is that in fighting nonprofessionals they are like armed troops against unarmed, or trained athletes against ordinary people; for in these contests also the best fighters are the strongest and physically fittest, not the bravest. 15

§9 Professional soldiers, however, turn out to be cowards whenever the danger overstrains them* and they are inferior in numbers and equipment. For they are the first to run, whereas the citizen troops stand firm and get killed; this was what happened at the temple of Hermes.* For the

citizens find it shameful to run, and find death more choiceworthy than 20
safety at this cost. But the professionals from the start were facing the danger on the assumption of their superiority; once they learn their mistake, they run, since they are more afraid of being killed than of doing something shameful. That is not the brave person's character.

§10 Spirit is also counted as bravery; for those who act on spirit also 25
seem to be brave -- as beasts seem to be when they attack those who have wounded them -- because brave people are also full of spirit.* For spirit is most eager to run and face dangers; hence Homer's words, 'put strength
in his spirit', 'aroused strength and spirit', and 'his blood boiled'.* All 30
these would seem to signify the arousal and the impulse of spirit.

§11 Now brave people act because of the fine, and their spirit cooperates with them. But beasts act because of pain; for they attack only because they have been wounded or frightened, (since they keep away from us in a forest). They are not brave, then, since distress and spirit

drives them in an impulsive rush to meet danger, foreseeing none of the 35

terrifying prospects. For if they were brave, hungry asses would also be 1117a
brave, since they keep on feeding even if they are beaten;* and adulterers also do many daring actions because of lust.

§12 Human beings as well as beasts find it painful to be angered, and 5
pleasant to exact a penalty. But those who fight for these reasons are not brave, though they are good fighters; for they fight because of their feelings, not because of the fine nor as reason prescribes. Still, they have
something similar [to bravery]. The [bravery] caused by spirit would 4
seem to be the most natural sort, and to be [genuine] bravery once it has 5
also acquired decision and the goal.*

, §13 Hopeful people are not brave either; for their many victories over 9 10
many opponents make them confident in dangers. They are somewhat similar to brave people, since both are confident. But whereas brave people are confident for the reason given earlier, the hopeful are confident because they think they are stronger and nothing could happen to
them; §14 drunks do the same sort of thing, since they become hopeful 15
. When things turn out differently from how they expected, they run away. The brave person, on the contrary, stands firm against what is and appears frightening to a human being; he does this because it is fine to stand firm and shameful to fail.

§15 Indeed, that is why someone who is unafraid and unperturbed in emergencies seems braver than [someone who is unafraid only] when he

is warned in advance; for his action proceeds more from his state of char- 20
acter, because it proceeds less from preparation.* For if we are warned in advance, we might decide what to do [not only because of our state of character, but] also by reason and rational calculation; but in emergencies [we must decide] in accord with our state of character.*

§16 Those who act in ignorance also appear brave, and indeed they are close to hopeful people, though inferior to them insofar as they lack

the self-esteem of hopeful people. That is why the hopeful stand firm for 25
some time, whereas if ignorant people have been deceived and then realize or suspect that things are different, they run. That was what happened to the Argives when they stumbled on the Spartans and took them for Sicyonians.*

§17 We have described, then, the character of brave people and of those who seem to be brave.

[Feelings Proper to Bravery]

Bravery is about feelings of confidence and fear -- not, however, about 30
both in the same way, but more about frightening things. For someone is brave if he is undisturbed and in the right state about these, more than if he is in this state about things inspiring confidence.
§2 As we said, then, standing firm against what is painful makes us 1117a
call people brave; that is why bravery is both painful and justly praised,
since it is harder to stand firm against something painful than to refrain 35
from something pleasant. §3 Nonetheless, the end that bravery aims at 1117b
seems to be pleasant, though obscured by its surroundings. This is what happens in athletic contests. For boxers find that the end they aim at, the
crown and the honors, is pleasant, but, being made of flesh and blood, 5
they find it distressing and painful to take the punches and to bear all the hard work; and because there are so many of these painful things, the end, being small, appears to have nothing pleasant in it.

§4 And so, if the same is true for bravery, the brave person will find death and wounds painful, and suffer them unwillingly, but he will

endure them because that is fine or because failure is shameful.* Indeed, 10
the truer it is that he has every virtue and the happier he is, the more pain he will feel at the prospect of death. For this sort of person, more than anyone, finds it worthwhile to be alive, and knows he is being deprived of the greatest goods, and this is painful. But he is no less brave for all
that; presumably, indeed, he is all the braver, because he chooses what is 15
fine in war at the cost of all these goods. §5 It is not true, then, in the case of every virtue that its active exercise is pleasant; it is pleasant only insofar as we attain the end.

§6 But presumably it is quite possible for brave people, given the character we have described, not to be the best soldiers.* Perhaps the best will be those who are less brave, but possess no other good; for they are ready

to face dangers, and they sell their lives for small gains. 20

§7 So much for bravery. It is easy to grasp what it is, in outline at least, from what we have said.

[Temperance; Its Scope]

Let us discuss temperance next; for bravery and temperance seem to be

the virtues of the nonrational parts. Temperance, then, is a mean con- 25
cerned with pleasures, as we have already said; for it is concerned less, and in a different way, with pains. Intemperance appears in this same area too. Let us, then, now distinguish the specific pleasures that concern them.

§2 First, let us distinguish pleasures of the soul from those of the body Love of honor and of learning, for instance, are among the pleasures of

the soul; for though a lover of one of these enjoys it, only his thought, not 30
his body, is at all affected. Those concerned with such pleasures are called neither temperate nor intemperate. The same applies to those concerned
with any of the other nonbodily pleasures; for lovers of tales, storytellers, 35
those who waste their days on trivialities, are called babblers, but not 1117b
intemperate. Nor do we call people intemperate if they feel pain over money or friends 1118a

§3 Temperance, then, will be about bodily pleasures, but not even about all of these. For those who find enjoyment in objects of sight, such

as colors, shapes, a painting, are called neither temperate nor intemper- 5
ate, even though it would also seem possible to enjoy these either rightly or excessively and deficiently. §4 The same is true for hearing; no one is ever called intemperate for excessive enjoyment of songs or playacting, or temperate for the right enjoyment of them.

§5 Nor is this said about someone enjoying smells, except coinciden- 10
tally.* For someone is called intemperate not for enjoying the smell of apples or roses or incense, but rather for enjoying the smell of perfumes or cooked delicacies. For these are the smells an intemperate person enjoys because they remind him of the objects of his appetite. §6 And
we can see that others also enjoy the smells of food if they are hungry.* It 15
is the enjoyment of the things [that he is reminded of by these smells] that is proper to an intemperate person, since these are the objects of his appetite.

§7 Nor do other animals find pleasures from these senses, except coin

cidentally. What a hound enjoys, for instance, is not the smell of a hare, 20
but eating it; but the hare's smell made the hound perceive it. And what a lion enjoys is not the sound of the ox, but eating it; but since the ox's sound made the lion perceive that it was near, the lion appears to enjoy the sound. Similarly, what pleases him is not the sight of 'a deer or a wild goat',* but the prospect of food.

§8 The pleasures that concern temperance and intemperance are those 25
that are shared with the other animals, and so appear slavish and bestial.* These pleasures are touch and taste.*

§9 However, they seem to deal even with taste very little or not at all. For taste discriminates flavors -- the sort of thing that wine tasters

and cooks savoring food do; but people, or intemperate people at any rate, do not much enjoy this. Rather, they enjoy the gratification that 30
comes entirely through touch, in eating and drinking and in what are called the pleasures of sex. §10 That is why a glutton actually prayed
for his throat to become longer than a crane's, showing that he took 1118b
pleasure in the touching.* And so the sense that concerns intemperance is the most widely shared, and seems justifiably open to reproach, since we have it insofar as we are animals, not insofar as we are human beings.

§11 To enjoy these things, then, and to like them most of all, is bestial.

For indeed the most civilized of the pleasures coming through touch, 5
such as those produced by rubbing and warming in gymnasia, are excluded from intemperance, since the touching that is proper to the intemperate person concerns only some parts of the body, not all of it.
[Temperance; Its Outlook]

Some appetites seem to be shared [by everyone], while others seem to be 1119a
additions that are distinctive [of different people]. The appetite for nour- 10
ishment, for instance, is natural, since everyone who lacks nourishment, dry or liquid, has an appetite for it, sometimes for both; and, as Homer says, the young in their prime [all] have an appetite for sex.* Not everyone, however, has an appetite for a specific sort of food or drink or sex, or for the same things. §2 That is why an appetite of this type seems to be distinctive of [each of] us. Still, this also includes a natural element, since different sorts of people find different sorts of things more pleasant, and there are some things that are more pleasant for everyone than things chosen at random would be.

§3 In natural appetites few people are in error, and only in one direc- 15
tion, toward excess. Eating indiscriminately or drinking until we are too full is exceeding the quantity that accords with nature; for [the object of] natural appetite is the filling of a lack. That is why these people are called
'gluttons', showing that they glut their bellies past what is right;* that is 20
how especially slavish people turn out.

§4 With the pleasures that are distinctive of different people, many make errors and in many ways; for people are called lovers of something if they enjoy the wrong things, or if they enjoy something in the wrong

way. And in all these ways intemperate people go to excess. For some of 25
the things they enjoy are hateful, and hence wrong; distinctive pleasures that it is right to enjoy they enjoy more than is right, and more than most people enjoy them.

§5 Clearly, then, with pleasures excess is intemperance, and is blameworthy. With pains, however, we are not called temperate, as we are

called brave, for standing firm against them, or intemperate for not 30
standing firm. Rather, someone is intemperate because he feels more pain than is right at failing to get pleasant things; and even this pain is produced by the pleasure [he takes in them]. And someone is temperate because he does not feel pain at the absence of what is pleasant, or at refraining from it.

§6 The intemperate person, then, has an appetite for all pleasant 1119a
things, or rather for the most pleasant of them, and his appetite leads him to choose these at the cost of the other things. That is why he also feels pain both when he fails to get something and when he has an appetite for
it, since appetite involves pain. It would seem absurd, however, to suffer 5
pain because of pleasure.

§7 People who are deficient in pleasures and enjoy them less than is right are not found very much. For that sort of insensibility is not human; indeed, even the other animals discriminate among foods, enjoying some

but not others. If someone finds nothing pleasant, or preferable to any- 1119a
thing else, he is far from being human. The reason he has no name is that he is not found much. 10

§8 The temperate person has an intermediate state in relation to these [bodily pleasures]. For he finds no pleasure in what most pleases the intemperate person, but finds it disagreeable; he finds no pleasure at all in the wrong things. He finds no intense pleasure in any [bodily pleasures],

suffers no pain at their absence, and has no appetite for them, or only a 15
moderate appetite, not to the wrong degree or at the wrong time or anything else at all of that sort.* If something is pleasant and conducive to health or fitness, he will desire this moderately and in the right way; and he will desire in the same way anything else that is pleasant, if it is no obstacle to health and fitness, does not deviate from the fine, and does not exceed his means. For the opposite sort of person likes these pleasures
more than they are worth; that is not the temperate person's character, but he likes them as correct reason prescribes. 20

Intemperance is more like a voluntary condition than cowardice; for it is caused by pleasure, which is choiceworthy, whereas cowardice is caused by pain, which is to be avoided.* §2 Moreover, pain disturbs and ruins the nature of the sufferer, while pleasure does nothing of the sort; intem

perance, then, is more voluntary. That is why it is also more open to 25
reproach. For it is also easier to acquire the habit of facing pleasant things, since our life includes many of them and we can acquire the habit with no danger; but with frightening things the reverse is true.

§3 However, cowardice seems to be more voluntary than particular cowardly actions. For cowardice itself involves no pain, but the particular

actions disturb us because of the pain [that causes them], so that people 30
actually throw away their weapons and do all the other disgraceful actions. That is why these actions even seem to be forced [and hence involuntary].*

§4 For the intemperate person the reverse is true. The particular actions are the result of his appetite and desire, and so they are voluntary; but the whole condition is less voluntary [than the actions], since no one has an appetite to be intemperate.

§5 We also apply the name of intemperance to the errors of children, 1119b
since they have some similarity.* Which gets its name from which does not matter for our present purposes, but clearly the posterior is called after the prior.

§6 The name would seem to be quite appropriately transferred. For

the things that need to be tempered are those that desire shameful things 5
and tend to grow large. Appetites and children are most like this; for chil- 1119b
dren also live by appetite, and desire for the pleasant is found more in them than in anyone else.

§7 If, then, [the child or the appetitive part] is not obedient and subordinate to its rulers, it will go far astray. For when someone lacks understanding, his desire for the pleasant is insatiable and seeks indiscriminate satisfaction. The [repeated] active exercise of appetite increases the appe

tite he already had from birth, and if the appetites are large and intense, 10
they actually expel rational calculation. That is why appetites must be moderate and few, and never contrary to reason. §8 This is the condition we call obedient and temperate. And just as the child's life must fol
low the instructions of his guide, so too the appetitive part must follow 15

§9 Hence the temperate person's appetitive part must agree with reason; for both [his appetitive part and his reason] aim at the fine, and the temperate person's appetites are for the right things, in the right ways, at the right times, which is just what reason also prescribes.

So much, then, for temperance.

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