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Ethics by Aristotle

Part 5 out of 6

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It seems also, that as the Just is of two kinds, the unwritten and the
legal, so Friendship because of advantage is of two kinds, what may
be called the Moral, and the Legal: and the most fruitful source of
complaints is that parties contract obligations and discharge them not
in the same line of Friendship. The Legal is upon specified conditions,
either purely tradesmanlike from hand to hand or somewhat more
gentlemanly as regards time but still by agreement a _quid pro quo_.

In this Legal kind the obligation is clear and admits of no dispute, the
friendly element is the delay in requiring its discharge: and for this
reason in some countries no actions can be maintained at Law for the
recovery of such debts, it being held that they who have dealt on the
footing of credit must be content to abide the issue.

That which may be termed the Moral kind is not upon specified
conditions, but a man gives as to his friend and so on: but still he
expects to receive an equivalent, or even more, as though he had not
given but lent: he also will find fault, because he does not get the
obligation discharged in the same way as it was contracted.

[Sidenote:1163a] Now this results from the fact, that all men, or the
generality at least, _wish_ what is honourable, but, when tested,
_choose_ what is profitable; and the doing kindnesses disinterestedly
is honourable while receiving benefits is profitable. In such cases one
should, if able, make a return proportionate to the good received, and
do so willingly, because one ought not to make a disinterested friend of
a man against his inclination: one should act, I say, as having made a
mistake originally in receiving kindness from one from whom one ought
not to have received it, he being not a friend nor doing the act
disinterestedly; one should therefore discharge one's self of the
obligation as having received a kindness on specified terms: and if able
a man would engage to repay the kindness, while if he were unable even
the doer of it would not expect it of him: so that if he is able he
ought to repay it. But one ought at the first to ascertain from whom
one is receiving kindness, and on what understanding, that on that same
understanding one may accept it or not.

A question admitting of dispute is whether one is to measure a kindness
by the good done to the receiver of it, and make this the standard by
which to requite, or by the kind intention of the doer?

For they who have received kindnesses frequently plead in depreciation
that they have received from their benefactors such things as were small
for them to give, or such as they themselves could have got from others:
while the doers of the kindnesses affirm that they gave the best they
had, and what could not have been got from others, and under danger, or
in such-like straits.

May we not say, that as utility is the motive of the Friendship the
advantage conferred on the receiver must be the standard? because he it
is who requests the kindness and the other serves him in his need on the
understanding that he is to get an equivalent: the assistance rendered
is then exactly proportionate to the advantage which the receiver has
obtained, and he should therefore repay as much as he gained by it, or
even more, this being more creditable.

In Friendships based on goodness, the question, of course, is never
raised, but herein the motive of the doer seems to be the proper
standard, since virtue and moral character depend principally on motive.


Quarrels arise also in those Friendships in which the parties are
unequal because each party thinks himself entitled to the greater share,
and of course, when this happens, the Friendship is broken up.

The man who is better than the other thinks that having the greater
share pertains to him of right, for that more is always awarded to the
good man: and similarly the man who is more profitable to another than
that other to him: "one who is useless," they say, "ought not to share
equally, for it comes to a tax, and not a Friendship, unless the fruits
of the Friendship are reaped in proportion to the works done:" their
notion being, that as in a money partnership they who contribute more
receive more so should it be in Friendship likewise.

On the other hand, the needy man and the less virtuous advance the
opposite claim: they urge that "it is the very business of a good friend
to help those who are in need, else what is the use of having a good or
powerful friend if one is not to reap the advantage at all?"

[Sidenote: 1163b] Now each seems to advance a right claim and to be
entitled to get more out of the connection than the other, only _not
more of the same thing_: but the superior man should receive more
respect, the needy man more profit: respect being the reward of goodness
and beneficence, profit being the aid of need.

This is plainly the principle acted upon in Political Communities:
he receives no honour who gives no good to the common stock: for the
property of the Public is given to him who does good to the Public, and
honour is the property of the Public; it is not possible both to make
money out of the Public and receive honour likewise; because no one will
put up with the less in every respect: so to him who suffers loss as
regards money they award honour, but money to him who can be paid by
gifts: since, as has been stated before, the observing due proportion
equalises and preserves Friendship.

Like rules then should be observed in the intercourse of friends who
are unequal; and to him who advantages another in respect of money, or
goodness, that other should repay honour, making requital according to
his power; because Friendship requires what is possible, not what is
strictly due, this being not possible in all cases, as in the honours
paid to the gods and to parents: no man could ever make the due return
in these cases, and so he is thought to be a good man who pays respect
according to his ability.

For this reason it may be judged never to be allowable for a son to
disown his father, whereas a father may his son: because he that owes
is bound to pay; now a son can never, by anything he has done, fully
requite the benefits first conferred on him by his father, and so is
always a debtor. But they to whom anything is owed may cast off their
debtors: therefore the father may his son. But at the same time it must
perhaps be admitted, that it seems no father ever _would_ sever himself
utterly from a son, except in a case of exceeding depravity: because,
independently of the natural Friendship, it is like human nature not to
put away from one's self the assistance which a son might render. But to
the son, if depraved, assisting his father is a thing to be avoided, or
at least one which he will not be very anxious to do; most men
being willing enough to receive kindness, but averse to doing it as

Let thus much suffice on these points.



[Sidenote: 1164a] Well, in all the Friendships the parties to which are
dissimilar it is the proportionate which equalises and preserves the
Friendship, as has been already stated: I mean, in the Social Friendship
the cobbler, for instance, gets an equivalent for his shoes after a
certain rate; and the weaver, and all others in like manner. Now in
this case a common measure has been provided in money, and to this
accordingly all things are referred and by this are measured: but in
the Friendship of Love the complaint is sometimes from the lover that,
though he loves exceedingly, his love is not requited; he having perhaps
all the time nothing that can be the object of Friendship: again,
oftentimes from the object of love that he who as a suitor promised any
and every thing now performs nothing. These cases occur because the
Friendship of the lover for the beloved object is based upon pleasure,
that of the other for him upon utility, and in one of the parties the
requisite quality is not found: for, as these are respectively the
grounds of the Friendship, the Friendship comes to be broken up because
the motives to it cease to exist: the parties loved not one another but
qualities in one another which are not permanent, and so neither are the
Friendships: whereas the Friendship based upon the moral character of
the parties, being independent and disinterested, is permanent, as we
have already stated.

Quarrels arise also when the parties realise different results and not
those which they desire; for the not attaining one's special object is
all one, in this case, with getting nothing at all: as in the well-known
case where a man made promises to a musician, rising in proportion to
the excellence of his music; but when, the next morning, the musician
claimed the performance of his promises, he said that he had given him
pleasure for pleasure: of course, if each party had intended this, it
would have been all right: but if the one desires amusement and the
other gain, and the one gets his object but the other not, the dealing
cannot be fair: because a man fixes his mind upon what he happens to
want, and will give so and so for that specific thing.

The question then arises, who is to fix the rate? the man who first
gives, or the man who first takes? because, _prima facie_, the man who
first gives seems to leave the rate to be fixed by the other party.
This, they say, was in fact the practice of Protagoras: when he taught
a man anything he would bid the learner estimate the worth of the
knowledge gained by his own private opinion; and then he used to take so
much from him. In such cases some people adopt the rule,

"With specified reward a friend should be content."

They are certainly fairly found fault with who take the money in advance
and then do nothing of what they said they would do, their promises
having been so far beyond their ability; for such men do not perform
what they agreed, The Sophists, however, are perhaps obliged to take
this course, because no one would give a sixpence for their knowledge.
These then, I say, are fairly found fault with, because they do not what
they have already taken money for doing.

[Sidenote: 1164b] In cases where no stipulation as to the respective
services is made they who disinterestedly do the first service will not
raise the question (as we have said before), because it is the nature of
Friendship, based on mutual goodness to be reference to the intention of
the other, the intention being characteristic of the true friend and of

And it would seem the same rule should be laid down for those who are
connected with one another as teachers and learners of philosophy; for
here the value of the commodity cannot be measured by money, and, in
fact, an exactly equivalent price cannot be set upon it, but perhaps it
is sufficient to do what one can, as in the case of the gods or one's

But where the original giving is not upon these terms but avowedly for
some return, the most proper course is perhaps for the requital to be
such as _both_ shall allow to be proportionate, and, where this cannot
be, then for the receiver to fix the value would seem to be not only
necessary but also fair: because when the first giver gets that which is
equivalent to the advantage received by the other, or to what he would
have given to secure the pleasure he has had, then he has the value from
him: for not only is this seen to be the course adopted in matters of
buying and selling but also in some places the law does not allow of
actions upon voluntary dealings; on the principle that when one man has
trusted another he must be content to have the obligation discharged in
the same spirit as he originally contracted it: that is to say, it is
thought fairer for the trusted, than for the trusting, party, to fix the
value. For, in general, those who have and those who wish to get things
do not set the same value on them: what is their own, and what they give
in each case, appears to them worth a great deal: but yet the return
is made according to the estimate of those who have received first, it
should perhaps be added that the receiver should estimate what he has
received, not by the value he sets upon it now that he has it, but by
that which he set upon it before he obtained it.


Questions also arise upon such points as the following: Whether one's
father has an unlimited claim on one's services and obedience, or
whether the sick man is to obey his physician? or, in an election of
a general, the warlike qualities of the candidates should be alone

In like manner whether one should do a service rather to one's friend or
to a good man? whether one should rather requite a benefactor or give to
one's companion, supposing that both are not within one's power?

[Sidenote: 1165a] Is not the true answer that it is no easy task to
determine all such questions accurately, inasmuch as they involve
numerous differences of all kinds, in respect of amount and what is
honourable and what is necessary? It is obvious, of course, that no one
person can unite in himself all claims. Again, the requital of benefits
is, in general, a higher duty than doing unsolicited kindnesses to one's
companion; in other words, the discharging of a debt is more obligatory
upon one than the duty of giving to a companion. And yet this rule may
admit of exceptions; for instance, which is the higher duty? for one who
has been ransomed out of the hands of robbers to ransom in return his
ransomer, be he who he may, or to repay him on his demand though he has
not been taken by robbers, or to ransom his own father? for it would
seem that a man ought to ransom his father even in preference to

Well then, as has been said already, as a general rule the debt
should be discharged, but if in a particular case the giving greatly
preponderates as being either honourable or necessary, we must be swayed
by these considerations: I mean, in some cases the requital of the
obligation previously existing may not be equal; suppose, for instance,
that the original benefactor has conferred a kindness on a good man,
knowing him to be such, whereas this said good man has to repay it
believing him to be a scoundrel.

And again, in certain cases no obligation lies on a man to lend to one
who has lent to him; suppose, for instance, that a bad man lent to him,
as being a good man, under the notion that he should get repaid, whereas
the said good man has no hope of repayment from him being a bad man.
Either then the case is really as we have supposed it and then the claim
is not equal, or it is not so but supposed to be; and still in so acting
people are not to be thought to act wrongly. In short, as has been
oftentimes stated before, all statements regarding feelings and actions
can be definite only in proportion as their object-matter is so; it is
of course quite obvious that all people have not the same claim upon
one, nor are the claims of one's father unlimited; just as Jupiter does
not claim all kinds of sacrifice without distinction: and since the
claims of parents, brothers, companions, and benefactors, are all
different, we must give to each what belongs to and befits each.

And this is seen to be the course commonly pursued: to marriages men
commonly invite their relatives, because these are from a common stock
and therefore all the actions in any way pertaining thereto are common
also: and to funerals men think that relatives ought to assemble in
preference to other people, for the same reason.

And it would seem that in respect of maintenance it is our duty to
assist our parents in preference to all others, as being their debtors,
and because it is more honourable to succour in these respects the
authors of our existence than ourselves. Honour likewise we ought to pay
to our parents just as to the gods, but then, not all kinds of honour:
not the same, for instance, to a father as to a mother: nor again to a
father the honour due to a scientific man or to a general but that
which is a father's due, and in like manner to a mother that which is a

To all our elders also the honour befitting their age, by rising up in
their presence, turning out of the way for them, and all similar marks
of respect: to our companions again, or brothers, frankness and free
participation in all we have. And to those of the same family, or tribe,
or city, with ourselves, and all similarly connected with us, we should
constantly try to render their due, and to discriminate what belongs to
each in respect of nearness of connection, or goodness, or intimacy:
of course in the case of those of the same class the discrimination is
easier; in that of those who are in different classes it is a matter of
more trouble. This, however, should not be a reason for giving up
the attempt, but we must observe the distinctions so far as it is
practicable to do so.


A question is also raised as to the propriety of dissolving or not
dissolving those Friendships the parties to which do not remain what
they were when the connection was formed.

[Sidenote: 1165b] Now surely in respect of those whose motive to
Friendship is utility or pleasure there can be nothing wrong in breaking
up the connection when they no longer have those qualities; because they
were friends [not of one another, but] of those qualities: and, these
having failed, it is only reasonable to expect that they should cease to
entertain the sentiment.

But a man has reason to find fault if the other party, being really
attached to him because of advantage or pleasure, pretended to be so
because of his moral character: in fact, as we said at the commencement,
the most common source of quarrels between friends is their not being
friends on the same grounds as they suppose themselves to be.

Now when a man has been deceived in having supposed himself to excite
the sentiment of Friendship by reason of his moral character, the other
party doing nothing to indicate he has but himself to blame: but when he
has been deceived by the pretence of the other he has a right to find
fault with the man who has so deceived him, aye even more than with
utterers of false coin, in proportion to the greater preciousness of
that which is the object-matter of the villany.

But suppose a man takes up another as being a good man, who turns out,
and is found by him, to be a scoundrel, is he bound still to entertain
Friendship for him? or may we not say at once it is impossible? since
it is not everything which is the object-matter of Friendship, but only
that which is good; and so there is no obligation to be a bad man's
friend, nor, in fact, ought one to be such: for one ought not to be a
lover of evil, nor to be assimilated to what is base; which would be
implied, because we have said before, like is friendly to like.

Are we then to break with him instantly? not in all cases; only where
our friends are incurably depraved; when there is a chance of amendment
we are bound to aid in repairing the moral character of our friends
even more than their substance, in proportion as it is better and
more closely related to Friendship. Still he who should break off the
connection is not to be judged to act wrongly, for he never was a friend
to such a character as the other now is, and therefore, since the man is
changed and he cannot reduce him to his original state, he backs out of
the connection.

To put another case: suppose that one party remains what he was when
the Friendship was formed, while the other becomes morally improved and
widely different from his friend in goodness; is the improved character
to treat the other as a friend?

May we not say it is impossible? The case of course is clearest where
there is a great difference, as in the Friendships of boys: for suppose
that of two boyish friends the one still continues a boy in mind and the
other becomes a man of the highest character, how can they be friends?
since they neither are pleased with the same objects nor like and
dislike the same things: for these points will not belong to them as
regards one another, and without them it was assumed they cannot be
friends because they cannot live in intimacy: and of the case of those
who cannot do so we have spoken before.

Well then, is the improved party to bear himself towards his former
friend in no way differently to what he would have done had the
connection never existed?

Surely he ought to bear in mind the intimacy of past times, and just as
we think ourselves bound to do favours for our friends in preference to
strangers, so to those who have been friends and are so no longer we
should allow somewhat on the score of previous Friendship, whenever the
cause of severance is not excessive depravity on their part.


[Sidenote: II66a] Now the friendly feelings which are exhibited towards
our friends, and by which Friendships are characterised, seem to have
sprung out of those which we entertain toward ourselves. I mean, people
define a friend to be "one who intends and does what is good (or what
he believes to be good) to another for that other's sake," or "one who
wishes his friend to be and to live for that friend's own sake" (which
is the feeling of mothers towards their children, and of friends who
have come into collision). Others again, "one who lives with another and
chooses the same objects," or "one who sympathises with his friend in
his sorrows and in his joys" (this too is especially the case with

Well, by some one of these marks people generally characterise
Friendship: and each of these the good man has towards himself, and all
others have them in so far as they suppose themselves to be good. (For,
as has been said before, goodness, that is the good man, seems to be a
measure to every one else.)

For he is at unity in himself, and with every part of his soul he
desires the same objects; and he wishes for himself both what is, and
what he believes to be, good; and he does it (it being characteristic
of the good man to work at what is good), and for the sake of himself,
inasmuch as he does it for the sake of his Intellectual Principle which
is generally thought to be a man's Self. Again, he wishes himself And
specially this Principle whereby he is an intelligent being, to live and
be preserved in life, because existence is a good to him that is a good

But it is to himself that each individual wishes what is good, and no
man, conceiving the possibility of his becoming other than he now is,
chooses that that New Self should have all things indiscriminately: a
god, for instance, has at the present moment the Chief Good, but he has
it in right of being whatever he actually now is: and the Intelligent
Principle must be judged to be each man's Self, or at least eminently so
[though other Principles help, of course, to constitute him the man he
is]. Furthermore, the good man wishes to continue to live with himself;
for he can do it with pleasure, in that his memories of past actions are
full of delight and his anticipations of the future are good and such
are pleasurable. Then, again, he has good store of matter for his
Intellect to contemplate, and he most especially sympathises with his
Self in its griefs and joys, because the objects which give him pain and
pleasure are at all times the same, not one thing to-day and a different
one to-morrow: because he is not given to repentance, if one may so
speak. It is then because each of these feelings are entertained by the
good man towards his own Self and a friend feels towards a friend as
towards himself (a friend being in fact another Self), that Friendship
is thought to be some one of these things and they are accounted friends
in whom they are found. Whether or no there can really be Friendship
between a man and his Self is a question we will not at present
entertain: there may be thought to be Friendship, in so far as there are
two or more of the aforesaid requisites, and because the highest degree
of Friendship, in the usual acceptation of that term, resembles the
feeling entertained by a man towards himself.

[Sidenote: 1166b] But it may be urged that the aforesaid requisites are
to all appearance found in the common run of men, though they are men of
a low stamp.

May it not be answered, that they share in them only in so far as they
please themselves, and conceive themselves to be good? for certainly,
they are not either really, or even apparently, found in any one of
those who are very depraved and villainous; we may almost say not
even in those who are bad men at all: for they are at variance with
themselves and lust after different things from those which in cool
reason they wish for, just as men who fail of Self-Control: I mean, they
choose things which, though hurtful, are pleasurable, in preference to
those which in their own minds they believe to be good: others again,
from cowardice and indolence, decline to do what still they are
convinced is best for them: while they who from their depravity have
actually done many dreadful actions hate and avoid life, and accordingly
kill themselves: and the wicked seek others in whose company to spend
their time, but fly from themselves because they have many unpleasant
subjects of memory, and can only look forward to others like them when
in solitude but drown their remorse in the company of others: and as
they have nothing to raise the sentiment of Friendship so they never
feel it towards themselves.

Neither, in fact, can they who are of this character sympathise with
their Selves in their joys and sorrows, because their soul is, as it
were, rent by faction, and the one principle, by reason of the depravity
in them, is grieved at abstaining from certain things, while the other
and better principle is pleased thereat; and the one drags them this way
and the other that way, as though actually tearing them asunder. And
though it is impossible actually to have at the same time the sensations
of pain and pleasure; yet after a little time the man is sorry for
having been pleased, and he could wish that those objects had not given
him pleasure; for the wicked are full of remorse.

It is plain then that the wicked man cannot be in the position of a
friend even towards himself, because he has in himself nothing which can
excite the sentiment of Friendship. If then to be thus is exceedingly
wretched it is a man's duty to flee from wickedness with all his might
and to strive to be good, because thus may he be friends with himself
and may come to be a friend to another.

[Sidenote: V] Kindly Feeling, though resembling Friendship, is not
identical with it, because it may exist in reference to those whom we
do not know and without the object of it being aware of its existence,
which Friendship cannot. (This, by the way, has also been said before.)
And further, it is not even Affection because it does not imply
intensity nor yearning, which are both consequences of Affection. Again
Affection requires intimacy but Kindly Feeling may arise quite suddenly,
as happens sometimes in respect of men against whom people are matched
in any way, I mean they come to be kindly disposed to them and
sympathise in their wishes, but still they would not join them in any
action, because, as we said, they conceive this feeling of kindness
suddenly and so have but a superficial liking.

What it does seem to be is the starting point of a Friendship; just as
pleasure, received through the sight, is the commencement of Love: for
no one falls in love without being first pleased with the personal
appearance of the beloved object, and yet he who takes pleasure in it
does not therefore necessarily love, but when he wearies for the object
in its absence and desires its presence. Exactly in the same way men
cannot be friends without having passed through the stage of Kindly
Feeling, and yet they who are in that stage do not necessarily advance
to Friendship: they merely have an inert wish for the good of those
toward whom they entertain the feeling, but would not join them in
any action, nor put themselves out of the way for them. So that, in
a metaphorical way of speaking, one might say that it is dormant
Friendship, and when it has endured for a space and ripened into
intimacy comes to be real Friendship; but not that whose object is
advantage or pleasure, because such motives cannot produce even Kindly

I mean, he who has received a kindness requites it by Kindly Feeling
towards his benefactor, and is right in so doing: but he who wishes
another to be prosperous, because he has hope of advantage through his
instrumentality, does not seem to be kindly disposed to that person but
rather to himself; just as neither is he his friend if he pays court to
him for any interested purpose.

Kindly Feeling always arises by reason of goodness and a certain
amiability, when one man gives another the notion of being a fine
fellow, or brave man, etc., as we said was the case sometimes with those
matched against one another.

[Sidenote: VI] Unity of Sentiment is also plainly connected with
Friendship, and therefore is not the same as Unity of Opinion,
because this might exist even between people unacquainted with one

Nor do men usually say people are united in sentiment merely because
they agree in opinion on _any_ point, as, for instance, on points
of astronomical science (Unity of Sentiment herein not having any
connection with Friendship), but they say that Communities have Unity of
Sentiment when they agree respecting points of expediency and take the
same line and carry out what has been determined in common consultation.

Thus we see that Unity of Sentiment has for its object matters of
action, and such of these as are of importance, and of mutual, or, in
the case of single States, common, interest: when, for instance, all
agree in the choice of magistrates, or forming alliance with the
Lacedaemonians, or appointing Pittacus ruler (that is to say, supposing
he himself was willing). [Sidenote: 1167_b_] But when each wishes
himself to be in power (as the brothers in the Phoenissae), they quarrel
and form parties: for, plainly, Unity of Sentiment does not merely imply
that each entertains the same idea be it what it may, but that they do
so in respect of the same object, as when both the populace and the
sensible men of a State desire that the best men should be in office,
because then all attain their object.

Thus Unity of Sentiment is plainly a social Friendship, as it is also
said to be: since it has for its object-matter things expedient and
relating to life.

And this Unity exists among the good: for they have it towards
themselves and towards one another, being, if I may be allowed the
expression, in the same position: I mean, the wishes of such men are
steady and do not ebb and flow like the Euripus, and they wish what is
just and expedient and aim at these things in common.

The bad, on the contrary, can as little have Unity of Sentiment as they
can be real friends, except to a very slight extent, desiring as they
do unfair advantage in things profitable while they shirk labour and
service for the common good: and while each man wishes for these things
for himself he is jealous of and hinders his neighbour: and as they
do not watch over the common good it is lost. The result is that they
quarrel while they are for keeping one another to work but are not
willing to perform their just share.

[Sidenote: VII] Benefactors are commonly held to have more Friendship
for the objects of their kindness than these for them: and the fact
is made a subject of discussion and inquiry, as being contrary to
reasonable expectation.

The account of the matter which satisfies most persons is that the one
are debtors and the others creditors: and therefore that, as in the case
of actual loans the debtors wish their creditors out of the way while
the creditors are anxious for the preservation of their debtors, so
those who have done kindnesses desire the continued existence of the
people they have done them to, under the notion of getting a return
of their good offices, while these are not particularly anxious about

Epicharmus, I suspect, would very probably say that they who give this
solution judge from their own baseness; yet it certainly is like human
nature, for the generality of men have short memories on these points,
and aim rather at receiving than conferring benefits.

But the real cause, it would seem, rests upon nature, and the case is
not parallel to that of creditors; because in this there is no affection
to the persons, but merely a wish for their preservation with a view to
the return: whereas, in point of fact, they who have done kindnesses
feel friendship and love for those to whom they have done them, even
though they neither are, nor can by possibility hereafter be, in a
position to serve their benefactors.

[Sidenote: 1168_a_] And this is the case also with artisans; every one,
I mean, feels more affection for his own work than that work possibly
could for him if it were animate. It is perhaps specially the case with
poets: for these entertain very great affection for their poems, loving
them as their own children. It is to this kind of thing I should be
inclined to compare the case of benefactors: for the object of their
kindness is their own work, and so they love this more than this loves
its creator.

And the account of this is that existence is to all a thing choiceworthy
and an object of affection; now we exist by acts of working, that is, by
living and acting; he then that has created a given work exists, it may
be said, by his act of working: therefore he loves his work because he
loves existence. And this is natural, for the work produced displays in
act what existed before potentially.

Then again, the benefactor has a sense of honour in right of his action,
so that he may well take pleasure in him in whom this resides; but to
him who has received the benefit there is nothing honourable in respect
of his benefactor, only something advantageous which is both less
pleasant and less the object of Friendship.

Again, pleasure is derived from the actual working out of a present
action, from the anticipation of a future one, and from the recollection
of a past one: but the highest pleasure and special object of affection
is that which attends on the actual working. Now the benefactor's work
abides (for the honourable is enduring), but the advantage of him who
has received the kindness passes away.

Again, there is pleasure in recollecting honourable actions, but in
recollecting advantageous ones there is none at all or much less (by the
way though, the contrary is true of the expectation of advantage).

Further, the entertaining the feeling of Friendship is like acting on
another; but being the object of the feeling is like being acted upon.

So then, entertaining the sentiment of Friendship, and all feelings
connected with it, attend on those who, in the given case of a
benefaction, are the superior party.

Once more: all people value most what has cost them much labour in the
production; for instance, people who have themselves made their money
are fonder of it than those who have inherited it: and receiving
kindness is, it seems, unlaborious, but doing it is laborious. And this
is the reason why the female parents are most fond of their offspring;
for their part in producing them is attended with most labour, and they
know more certainly that they are theirs. This feeling would seem also
to belong to benefactors.

[Sidenote: VIII] A question is also raised as to whether it is right
to love one's Self best, or some one else: because men find fault with
those who love themselves best, and call them in a disparaging way
lovers of Self; and the bad man is thought to do everything he does
for his own sake merely, and the more so the more depraved he is;
accordingly men reproach him with never doing anything unselfish:
whereas the good man acts from a sense of honour (and the more so the
better man he is), and for his friend's sake, and is careless of his own

[Sidenote: 1168_b_] But with these theories facts are at variance, and
not unnaturally: for it is commonly said also that a man is to love most
him who is most his friend, and he is most a friend who wishes good to
him to whom he wishes it for that man's sake even though no one knows.
Now these conditions, and in fact all the rest by which a friend is
characterised, belong specially to each individual in respect of his
Self: for we have said before that all the friendly feelings are derived
to others from those which have Self primarily for their object. And all
the current proverbs support this view; for instance, "one soul," "the
goods of friends are common," "equality is a tie of Friendship," "the
knee is nearer than the shin." For all these things exist specially with
reference to a man's own Self: he is specially a friend to himself and
so he is bound to love himself the most.

It is with good reason questioned which of the two parties one should
follow, both having plausibility on their side. Perhaps then, in respect
of theories of this kind, the proper course is to distinguish and define
how far each is true, and in what way. If we could ascertain the sense
in which each uses the term "Self-loving," this point might be cleared

Well now, they who use it disparagingly give the name to those who,
in respect of wealth, and honours, and pleasures of the body, give to
themselves the larger share: because the mass of mankind grasp after
these and are earnest about them as being the best things; which is the
reason why they are matters of contention. They who are covetous in
regard to these gratify their lusts and passions in general, that is to
say the irrational part of their soul: now the mass of mankind are so
disposed, for which reason the appellation has taken its rise from that
mass which is low and bad. Of course they are justly reproached who are
Self-loving in this sense.

And that the generality of men are accustomed to apply the term to
denominate those who do give such things to themselves is quite plain:
suppose, for instance, that a man were anxious to do, more than other
men, acts of justice, or self-mastery, or any other virtuous acts, and,
in general, were to secure to himself that which is abstractedly noble
and honourable, no one would call him Self-loving, nor blame him.

Yet might such an one be judged to be more truly Self-loving: certainly
he gives to himself the things which are most noble and most good,
and gratifies that Principle of his nature which is most rightfully
authoritative, and obeys it in everything: and just as that which
possesses the highest authority is thought to constitute a Community or
any other system, so also in the case of Man: and so he is most truly
Self-loving who loves and gratifies this Principle.

Again, men are said to have, or to fail of having, self-control,
according as the Intellect controls or not, it being plainly implied
thereby that this Principle constitutes each individual; and people are
thought to have done of themselves, and voluntarily, those things
specially which are done with Reason. [Sidenote: 1169_a_]

It is plain, therefore, that this Principle does, either entirely or
specially constitute the individual man, and that the good man specially
loves this. For this reason then he must be specially Self-loving, in a
kind other than that which is reproached, and as far superior to it as
living in accordance with Reason is to living at the beck and call of
passion, and aiming at the truly noble to aiming at apparent advantage.

Now all approve and commend those who are eminently earnest about
honourable actions, and if all would vie with one another in respect of
the [Greek: kalhon], and be intent upon doing what is most truly noble
and honourable, society at large would have all that is proper while
each individual in particular would have the greatest of goods, Virtue
being assumed to be such.

And so the good man ought to be Self-loving: because by doing what is
noble he will have advantage himself and will do good to others: but the
bad man ought not to be, because he will harm himself and his neighbours
by following low and evil passions. In the case of the bad man, what he
ought to do and what he does are at variance, but the good man does what
he ought to do, because all Intellect chooses what is best for itself
and the good man puts himself under the direction of Intellect.

Of the good man it is true likewise that he does many things for the
sake of his friends and his country, even to the extent of dying for
them, if need be: for money and honours, and, in short, all the good
things which others fight for, he will throw away while eager to secure
to himself the [Greek: kalhon]: he will prefer a brief and great joy
to a tame and enduring one, and to live nobly for one year rather than
ordinarily for many, and one great and noble action to many trifling
ones. And this is perhaps that which befals men who die for their
country and friends; they choose great glory for themselves: and they
will lavish their own money that their friends may receive more, for
hereby the friend gets the money but the man himself the [Greek:
kalhon]; so, in fact he gives to himself the greater good. It is the
same with honours and offices; all these things he will give up to his
friend, because this reflects honour and praise on himself: and so
with good reason is he esteemed a fine character since he chooses the
honourable before all things else. It is possible also to give up the
opportunities of action to a friend; and to have caused a friend's doing
a thing may be more noble than having done it one's self.

In short, in all praiseworthy things the good man does plainly give to
himself a larger share of the honourable. [Sidenote: 1169_b_] In this
sense it is right to be Self-loving, in the vulgar acceptation of the
term it is not.

[Sidenote: IX] A question is raised also respecting the Happy man,
whether he will want Friends, or no?

Some say that they who are blessed and independent have no need of
Friends, for they already have all that is good, and so, as being
independent, want nothing further: whereas the notion of a friend's
office is to be as it were a second Self and procure for a man what he
cannot get by himself: hence the saying,

"When Fortune gives us good, what need we Friends?"

On the other hand, it looks absurd, while we are assigning to the Happy
man all other good things, not to give him Friends, which are, after
all, thought to be the greatest of external goods.

Again, if it is more characteristic of a friend to confer than to
receive kindnesses, and if to be beneficent belongs to the good man and
to the character of virtue, and if it is more noble to confer kindnesses
on friends than strangers, the good man will need objects for his
benefactions. And out of this last consideration springs a question
whether the need of Friends be greater in prosperity or adversity, since
the unfortunate man wants people to do him kindnesses and they who are
fortunate want objects for their kind acts.

Again, it is perhaps absurd to make our Happy man a solitary, because
no man would choose the possession of all goods in the world on the
condition of solitariness, man being a social animal and formed by
nature for living with others: of course the Happy man has this
qualification since he has all those things which are good by nature:
and it is obvious that the society of friends and good men must be
preferable to that of strangers and ordinary people, and we conclude,
therefore, that the Happy man does need Friends.

But then, what do they mean whom we quoted first, and how are they
right? Is it not that the mass of mankind mean by Friends those who are
useful? and of course the Happy man will not need such because he has
all good things already; neither will he need such as are Friends with
a view to the pleasurable, or at least only to a slight extent; because
his life, being already pleasurable, does not want pleasure imported
from without; and so, since the Happy man does not need Friends of these
kinds, he is thought not to need any at all.

But it may be, this is not true: for it was stated originally, that
Happiness is a kind of Working; now Working plainly is something
that must come into being, not be already there like a mere piece of

[Sidenote: 1170_a_] If then the being happy consists in living and
working, and the good man's working is in itself excellent and
pleasurable (as we said at the commencement of the treatise), and if
what is our own reckons among things pleasurable, and if we can view our
neighbours better than ourselves and their actions better than we
can our own, then the actions of their Friends who are good men are
pleasurable to the good; inasmuch as they have both the requisites which
are naturally pleasant. So the man in the highest state of happiness
will need Friends of this kind, since he desires to contemplate good
actions, and actions of his own, which those of his friend, being a good
man, are. Again, common opinion requires that the Happy man live with
pleasure to himself: now life is burthensome to a man in solitude, for
it is not easy to work continuously by one's self, but in company with,
and in regard to others, it is easier, and therefore the working, being
pleasurable in itself will be more continuous (a thing which should be
in respect of the Happy man); for the good man, in that he is good takes
pleasure in the actions which accord with Virtue and is annoyed at those
which spring from Vice, just as a musical man is pleased with beautiful
music and annoyed by bad. And besides, as Theognis says, Virtue itself
may be improved by practice, from living with the good.

And, upon the following considerations more purely metaphysical, it will
probably appear that the good friend is naturally choiceworthy to the
good man. We have said before, that whatever is naturally good is also
in itself good and pleasant to the good man; now the fact of living, so
far as animals are concerned, is characterised generally by the power
of sentience, in man it is characterised by that of sentience, or
of rationality (the faculty of course being referred to the actual
operation of the faculty, certainly the main point is the actual
operation of it); so that living seems mainly to consist in the act of
sentience or exerting rationality: now the fact of living is in itself
one of the things that are good and pleasant (for it is a definite
totality, and whatever is such belongs to the nature of good), but what
is naturally good is good to the good man: for which reason it seems
to be pleasant to all. (Of course one must not suppose a life which is
depraved and corrupted, nor one spent in pain, for that which is such is
indefinite as are its inherent qualities: however, what is to be said of
pain will be clearer in what is to follow.)

If then the fact of living is in itself good and pleasant (and this
appears from the fact that all desire it, and specially those who are
good and in high happiness; their course of life being most choiceworthy
and their existence most choiceworthy likewise), then also he that sees
perceives that he sees; and he that hears perceives that he hears; and
he that walks perceives that he walks; and in all the other instances
in like manner there is a faculty which reflects upon and perceives the
fact that we are working, so that we can perceive that we perceive and
intellectually know that we intellectually know: but to perceive that we
perceive or that we intellectually know is to perceive that we exist,
since existence was defined to be perceiving or intellectually knowing.
[Sidenote: 1170_b_ Now to perceive that one lives is a thing pleasant
in itself, life being a thing naturally good, and the perceiving of the
presence in ourselves of things naturally good being pleasant.]

Therefore the fact of living is choiceworthy, and to the good specially
so since existence is good and pleasant to them: for they receive
pleasure from the internal consciousness of that which in itself is

But the good man is to his friend as to himself, friend being but a name
for a second Self; therefore as his own existence is choiceworthy to
each so too, or similarly at least, is his friend's existence. But the
ground of one's own existence being choiceworthy is the perceiving of
one's self being good, any such perception being in itself pleasant.
Therefore one ought to be thoroughly conscious of one's friend's
existence, which will result from living with him, that is sharing in
his words and thoughts: for this is the meaning of the term as applied
to the human species, not mere feeding together as in the case of

If then to the man in a high state of happiness existence is in itself
choiceworthy, being naturally good and pleasant, and so too a friend's
existence, then the friend also must be among things choiceworthy. But
whatever is choiceworthy to a man he should have or else he will be in
this point deficient. The man therefore who is to come up to our notion
"Happy" will need good Friends. Are we then to make our friends as
numerous as possible? or, as in respect of acquaintance it is thought
to have been well said "have not thou many acquaintances yet be not
without;" so too in respect of Friendship may we adopt the precept, and
say that a man should not be without friends, nor again have exceeding
many friends?

Now as for friends who are intended for use, the maxim I have quoted
will, it seems, fit in exceedingly well, because to requite the services
of many is a matter of labour, and a whole life would not be long enough
to do this for them. So that, if more numerous than what will suffice
for one's own life, they become officious, and are hindrances in respect
of living well: and so we do not want them. And again of those who are
to be for pleasure a few are quite enough, just like sweetening in our


But of the good are we to make as many as ever we can, or is there
any measure of the number of friends, as there is of the number to
constitute a Political Community? I mean, you cannot make one out of ten
men, and if you increase the number to one hundred thousand it is not
any longer a Community. However, the number is not perhaps some one
definite number but any between certain extreme limits.

[Sidenote: 1171_a_] Well, of friends likewise there is a limited number,
which perhaps may be laid down to be the greatest number with whom it
would be possible to keep up intimacy; this being thought to be one of
the greatest marks of Friendship, and it being quite obvious that it is
not possible to be intimate with many, in other words, to part one's
self among many. And besides it must be remembered that they also are to
be friends to one another if they are all to live together: but it is a
matter of difficulty to find this in many men at once.

It comes likewise to be difficult to bring home to one's self the joys
and sorrows of many: because in all probability one would have to
sympathise at the same time with the joys of this one and the sorrows of
that other.

Perhaps then it is well not to endeavour to have very many friends but
so many as are enough for intimacy: because, in fact, it would seem not
to be possible to be very much a friend to many at the same time: and,
for the same reason, not to be in love with many objects at the same
time: love being a kind of excessive Friendship which implies but one
object: and all strong emotions must be limited in the number towards
whom they are felt.

And if we look to facts this seems to be so: for not many at a time
become friends in the way of companionship, all the famous Friendships
of the kind are between _two_ persons: whereas they who have many
friends, and meet everybody on the footing of intimacy, seem to be
friends really to no one except in the way of general society; I mean
the characters denominated as over-complaisant.

To be sure, in the way merely of society, a man may be a friend to many
without being necessarily over-complaisant, but being truly good: but
one cannot be a friend to many because of their virtue, and for the
persons' own sake; in fact, it is a matter for contentment to find even
a few such.


Again: are friends most needed in prosperity or in adversity? they are
required, we know, in both states, because the unfortunate need help and
the prosperous want people to live with and to do kindnesses to: for
they have a desire to act kindly to some one.

To have friends is more necessary in adversity, and therefore in this
case useful ones are wanted; and to have them in prosperity is more
honourable, and this is why the prosperous want good men for friends, it
being preferable to confer benefits on, and to live with, these. For the
very presence of friends is pleasant even in adversity: since men when
grieved are comforted by the sympathy of their friends.

And from this, by the way, the question might be raised, whether it is
that they do in a manner take part of the weight of calamities, or only
that their presence, being pleasurable, and the consciousness of their
sympathy, make the pain of the sufferer less. However, we will not
further discuss whether these which have been suggested or some other
causes produce the relief, at least the effect we speak of is a matter
of plain fact.

[Sidenote: _1171b_] But their presence has probably a mixed effect: I
mean, not only is the very seeing friends pleasant, especially to one in
misfortune, and actual help towards lessening the grief is afforded
(the natural tendency of a friend, if he is gifted with tact, being
to comfort by look and word, because he is well acquainted with the
sufferer's temper and disposition and therefore knows what things give
him pleasure and pain), but also the perceiving a friend to be grieved
at his misfortunes causes the sufferer pain, because every one avoids
being cause of pain to his friends. And for this reason they who are
of a manly nature are cautious not to implicate their friends in their
pain; and unless a man is exceedingly callous to the pain of others he
cannot bear the pain which is thus caused to his friends: in short, he
does not admit men to wail with him, not being given to wail at all:
women, it is true, and men who resemble women, like to have others to
groan with them, and love such as friends and sympathisers. But it
is plain that it is our duty in all things to imitate the highest

On the other hand, the advantages of friends in our prosperity are the
pleasurable intercourse and the consciousness that they are pleased at
our good fortune.

It would seem, therefore, that we ought to call in friends readily on
occasion of good fortune, because it is noble to be ready to do good to
others: but on occasion of bad fortune, we should do so with reluctance;
for we should as little as possible make others share in our ills; on
which principle goes the saying, "I am unfortunate, let that suffice."
The most proper occasion for calling them in is when with small trouble
or annoyance to themselves they can be of very great use to the person
who needs them.

But, on the contrary, it is fitting perhaps to go to one's friends in
their misfortunes unasked and with alacrity (because kindness is the
friend's office and specially towards those who are in need and who do
not demand it as a right, this being more creditable and more pleasant
to both); and on occasion of their good fortune to go readily, if we
can forward it in any way (because men need their friends for this
likewise), but to be backward in sharing it, any great eagerness to
receive advantage not being creditable.

One should perhaps be cautious not to present the appearance of
sullenness in declining the sympathy or help of friends, for this
happens occasionally.

It appears then that the presence of friends is, under all
circumstances, choiceworthy.

May we not say then that, as seeing the beloved object is most prized by
lovers and they choose this sense rather than any of the others because

"Is engendered in the eyes,
With gazing fed,"

in like manner intimacy is to friends most choiceworthy, Friendship
being communion? Again, as a man is to himself so is he to his friend;
now with respect to himself the perception of his own existence is
choiceworthy, therefore is it also in respect of his friend.

And besides, their Friendship is acted out in intimacy, and so with good
reason they desire this. And whatever in each man's opinion constitutes
existence, or whatsoever it is for the sake of which they choose life,
herein they wish their friends to join with them; and so some men drink
together, others gamble, others join in gymnastic exercises or hunting,
others study philosophy together: in each case spending their days
together in that which they like best of all things in life, for since
they wish to be intimate with their friends they do and partake in those
things whereby they think to attain this object.

Therefore the Friendship of the wicked comes to be depraved; for, being
unstable, they share in what is bad and become depraved in being made
like to one another: but the Friendship of the good is good, growing
with their intercourse; they improve also, as it seems, by repeated
acts, and by mutual correction, for they receive impress from one
another in the points which give them pleasure; whence says the poet,

"Thou from the good, good things shalt surely learn."

Here then we will terminate our discourse of Friendship. The next thing
is to go into the subject of Pleasure.


Next, it would seem, follows a discussion respecting Pleasure, for it is
thought to be most closely bound up with our kind: and so men train the
young, guiding them on their course by the rudders of Pleasure and Pain.
And to like and dislike what one ought is judged to be most important
for the formation of good moral character: because these feelings extend
all one's life through, giving a bias towards and exerting an influence
on the side of Virtue and Happiness, since men choose what is pleasant
and avoid what is painful.

Subjects such as these then, it would seem, we ought by no means to pass
by, and specially since they involve much difference of opinion. There
are those who call Pleasure the Chief Good; there are others who on the
contrary maintain that it is exceedingly bad; some perhaps from a real
conviction that such is the case, others from a notion that it is
better, in reference to our life and conduct, to show up Pleasure as
bad, even if it is not so really; arguing that, as the mass of men have
a bias towards it and are the slaves of their pleasures, it is right to
draw them to the contrary, for that so they may possibly arrive at the

I confess I suspect the soundness of this policy; in matters respecting
men's feelings and actions theories are less convincing than facts:
whenever, therefore, they are found conflicting with actual experience,
they not only are despised but involve the truth in their fall: he, for
instance, who deprecates Pleasure, if once seen to aim at it, gets the
credit of backsliding to it as being universally such as he said it was,
the mass of men being incapable of nice distinctions.

Real accounts, therefore, of such matters seem to be most expedient, not
with a view to knowledge merely but to life and conduct: for they are
believed as being in harm with facts, and so they prevail with the wise
to live in accordance with them.

But of such considerations enough: let us now proceed to the current
maxims respecting Pleasure.

II Now Eudoxus thought Pleasure to be the Chief Good because he saw all,
rational and irrational alike, aiming at it: and he argued that, since
in all what was the object of choice must be good and what most so the
best, the fact of all being drawn to the same thing proved this thing to
be the best for all: "For each," he said, "finds what is good for itself
just as it does its proper nourishment, and so that which is good for
all, and the object of the aim of all, is their Chief Good."

(And his theories were received, not so much for their own sake, as
because of his excellent moral character; for he was thought to be
eminently possessed of perfect self-mastery, and therefore it was not
thought that he said these things because he was a lover of Pleasure but
that he really was so convinced.)

And he thought his position was not less proved by the argument from the
contrary: that is, since Pain was in itself an object of avoidance to
all the contrary must be in like manner an object of choice.

Again he urged that that is most choiceworthy which we choose, not by
reason of, or with a view to, anything further; and that Pleasure is
confessedly of this kind because no one ever goes on to ask to what
purpose he is pleased, feeling that Pleasure is in itself choiceworthy.

Again, that when added to any other good it makes it more choiceworthy;
as, for instance, to actions of justice, or perfected self-mastery; and
good can only be increased by itself.

However, this argument at least seems to prove only that it belongs to
the class of goods, and not that it does so more than anything else: for
every good is more choicewortby in combination with some other than when
taken quite alone. In fact, it is by just such an argument that Plato
proves that Pleasure is not the Chief Good: "For," says he, "the life of
Pleasure is more choiceworthy in combination with Practical Wisdom than
apart from it; but, if the compound better then simple Pleasure cannot
be the Chief Good; because the very Chief Good cannot by any addition
become choiceworthy than it is already:" and it is obvious that nothing
else can be the Chief Good, which by combination with any of the things
in themselves good comes to be more choiceworthy.

What is there then of such a nature? (meaning, of course, whereof we can
partake; because that which we are in search of must be such).

As for those who object that "what all aim at is not necessarily good,"
I confess I cannot see much in what they say, because what all _think_
we say _is_. And he who would cut away this ground from under us will
not bring forward things more dependable: because if the argument had
rested on the desires of irrational creatures there might have been
something in what he says, but, since the rational also desire Pleasure,
how can his objection be allowed any weight? and it may be that, even in
the lower animals, there is some natural good principle above themselves
which aims at the good peculiar to them.

Nor does that seem to be sound which is urged respecting the argument
from the contrary: I mean, some people say "it does not follow that
Pleasure must be good because Pain is evil, since evil may be opposed to
evil, and both evil and good to what is indifferent:" now what they say
is right enough in itself but does not hold in the present instance.
If both Pleasure and Pain were bad both would have been objects of
avoidance; or if neither then neither would have been, at all events
they must have fared alike: but now men do plainly avoid the one as bad
and choose the other as good, and so there is a complete opposition. III
Nor again is Pleasure therefore excluded from being good because it
does not belong to the class of qualities: the acts of virtue are not
qualities, neither is Happiness [yet surely both are goods].

Again, they say the Chief Good is limited but Pleasure unlimited, in
that it admits of degrees.

Now if they judge this from the act of feeling Pleasure then the same
thing will apply to justice and all the other virtues, in respect of
which clearly it is said that men are more or less of such and such
characters (according to the different virtues), they are more just or
more brave, or one may practise justice and self-mastery more or less.

If, on the other hand, they judge in respect of the Pleasures themselves
then it may be they miss the true cause, namely that some are unmixed
and others mixed: for just as health being in itself limited, admits of
degrees, why should not Pleasure do so and yet be limited? in the former
case we account for it by the fact that there is not the same adjustment
of parts in all men, nor one and the same always in the same individual:
but health, though relaxed, remains up to a certain point, and differs
in degrees; and of course the same may be the case with Pleasure.

Again, assuming the Chief Good to be perfect and all Movements and
Generations imperfect, they try to shew that Pleasure is a Movement and
a Generation.

Yet they do not seem warranted in saying even that it is a Movement: for
to every Movement are thought to belong swiftness and slowness, and
if not in itself, as to that of the universe, yet relatively: but to
Pleasure neither of these belongs: for though one may have got quickly
into the state Pleasure, as into that of anger, one cannot be in the
state quickly, nor relatively to the state of any other person; but we
can walk or grow, and so on, quickly or slowly.

Of course it is possible to change into the state of Pleasure quickly or
slowly, but to act in the state (by which, I mean, have the perception
of Pleasure) quickly, is not possible. And how can it be a Generation?
because, according to notions generally held, not _any_thing is
generated from _any_thing, but a thing resolves itself into that out
of which it was generated: whereas of that of which Pleasure is a
Generation Pain is a Destruction.

Again, they say that Pain is a lack of something suitable to nature and
Pleasure a supply of it.

But these are affections of the body: now if Pleasure really is a
supplying of somewhat suitable to nature, that must feel the Pleasure in
which the supply takes place, therefore the body of course: yet this
is not thought to be so: neither then is Pleasure a supplying, only a
person of course will be pleased when a supply takes place just as he
will be pained when he is cut.

This notion would seem to have arisen out of the Pains and Pleasures
connected with natural nourishment; because, when people have felt a
lack and so have had Pain first, they, of course, are pleased with the
supply of their lack.

But this is not the case with all Pleasures: those attendant on
mathematical studies, for instance, are unconnected with any Pain; and
of such as attend on the senses those which arise through the sense of
Smell; and again, many sounds, and sights, and memories, and hopes: now
of what can these be Generations? because there has been here no lack of
anything to be afterwards supplied.

And to those who bring forward disgraceful Pleasures we may reply that
these are not really pleasant things; for it does not follow because
they are pleasant to the ill-disposed that we are to admit that they are
pleasant except to them; just as we should not say that those things
are really wholesome, or sweet, or bitter, which are so to the sick,
or those objects really white which give that impression to people
labouring under ophthalmia.

Or we might say thus, that the Pleasures are choiceworthy but not as
derived from these sources: just as wealth is, but not as the price of
treason; or health, but not on the terms of eating anything however
loathsome. Or again, may we not say that Pleasures differ in kind? those
derived from honourable objects, for instance are different from those
arising from disgraceful ones; and it is not possible to experience
the Pleasure of the just man without being just, or of the musical man
without being musical; and so on of others.

The distinction commonly drawn between the friend and the flatterer
would seem to show clearly either that Pleasure is not a good, or that
there are different kinds of Pleasure: for the former is thought to have
good as the object of his intercourse, the latter Pleasure only; and
this last is reproached, but the former men praise as having different
objects in his intercourse.

[Sidenote: 1174a]

Again, no one would choose to live with a child's intellect all his
life through, though receiving the highest possible Pleasure from such
objects as children receive it from; or to take Pleasure in doing any of
the most disgraceful things, though sure never to be pained.

There are many things also about which we should be diligent even though
they brought no Pleasure; as seeing, remembering, knowing, possessing
the various Excellences; and the fact that Pleasures do follow on these
naturally makes no difference, because we should certainly choose them
even though no Pleasure resulted from them.

It seems then to be plain that Pleasure is not the Chief Good, nor is
every kind of it choiceworthy: and that there are some choiceworthy in
themselves, differing in kind, _i.e._ in the sources from which they
are derived. Let this then suffice by way of an account of the current
maxims respecting Pleasure and Pain.

[Sidenote: IV]

Now what it is, and how characterised, will be more plain if we take up
the subject afresh.

An act of Sight is thought to be complete at any moment; that is to say,
it lacks nothing the accession of which subsequently will complete its
whole nature.

Well, Pleasure resembles this: because it is a whole, as one may say;
and one could not at any moment of time take a Pleasure whose whole
nature would be completed by its lasting for a longer time. And for this
reason it is not a Movement: for all Movement takes place in time of
certain duration and has a certain End to accomplish; for instance, the
Movement of house-building is then only complete when the builder has
produced what he intended, that is, either in the whole time [necessary
to complete the whole design], or in a given portion. But all the
subordinate Movements are incomplete in the parts of the time, and are
different in kind from the whole movement and from one another (I
mean, for instance, that the fitting the stones together is a Movement
different from that of fluting the column, and both again from the
construction of the Temple as a whole: but this last is complete as
lacking nothing to the result proposed; whereas that of the basement,
or of the triglyph, is incomplete, because each is a Movement of a part

As I said then, they differ in kind, and you cannot at any time you
choose find a Movement complete in its whole nature, but, if at all, in
the whole time requisite.

[Sidenote: 1174_b_]

And so it is with the Movement of walking and all others: for, if motion
be a Movement from one place to another place, then of it too there are
different kinds, flying, walking, leaping, and such-like. And not only
so, but there are different kinds even in walking: the where-from and
where-to are not the same in the whole Course as in a portion of it;
nor in one portion as in another; nor is crossing this line the same as
crossing that: because a man is not merely crossing a line but a line in
a given place, and this is in a different place from that.

Of Movement I have discoursed exactly in another treatise. I will now
therefore only say that it seems not to be complete at any given moment;
and that most movements are incomplete and specifically different, since
the whence and whither constitute different species.

But of Pleasure the whole nature is complete at any given moment: it
is plain then that Pleasure and Movement must be different from one
another, and that Pleasure belongs to the class of things whole and
complete. And this might appear also from the impossibility of moving
except in a definite time, whereas there is none with respect to the
sensation of Pleasure, for what exists at the very present moment is a
kind of "whole."

From these considerations then it is plain that people are not warranted
in saying that Pleasure is a Movement or a Generation: because these
terms are not applicable to all things, only to such as are divisible
and not "wholes:" I mean that of an act of Sight there is no Generation,
nor is there of a point, nor of a monad, nor is any one of these a
Movement or a Generation: neither then of Pleasure is there Movement or
Generation, because it is, as one may say, "a whole."

Now since every Percipient Faculty works upon the Object answering to
it, and perfectly the Faculty in a good state upon the most excellent of
the Objects within its range (for Perfect Working is thought to be much
what I have described; and we will not raise any question about saying
"the Faculty" works, instead of, "that subject wherein the Faculty
resides"), in each case the best Working is that of the Faculty in its
best state upon the best of the Objects answering to it. And this will
be, further, most perfect and most pleasant: for Pleasure is attendant
upon every Percipient Faculty, and in like manner on every intellectual
operation and speculation; and that is most pleasant which is most
perfect, and that most perfect which is the Working of the best Faculty
upon the most excellent of the Objects within its range.

And Pleasure perfects the Working. But Pleasure does not perfect it in
the same way as the Faculty and Object of Perception do, being good;
just as health and the physician are not in similar senses causes of a
healthy state.

And that Pleasure does arise upon the exercise of every Percipient
Faculty is evident, for we commonly say that sights and sounds are
pleasant; it is plain also that this is especially the case when the
Faculty is most excellent and works upon a similar Object: and when both
the Object and Faculty of Perception are such, Pleasure will always
exist, supposing of course an agent and a patient.

[Sidenote: 1175_a_]

Furthermore, Pleasure perfects the act of Working not in the way of an
inherent state but as a supervening finish, such as is bloom in people
at their prime. Therefore so long as the Object of intellectual or
sensitive Perception is such as it should be and also the Faculty which
discerns or realises the Object, there will be Pleasure in the Working:
because when that which has the capacity of being acted on and that
which is apt to act are alike and similarly related, the same result
follows naturally.

How is it then that no one feels Pleasure continuously? is it not that
he wearies, because all human faculties are incapable of unintermitting
exertion; and so, of course, Pleasure does not arise either, because
that follows upon the act of Working. But there are some things which
please when new, but afterwards not in the like way, for exactly the
same reason: that at first the mind is roused and works on these Objects
with its powers at full tension; just as they who are gazing stedfastly
at anything; but afterwards the act of Working is not of the kind it was
at first, but careless, and so the Pleasure too is dulled.

Again, a person may conclude that all men grasp at Pleasure, because all
aim likewise at Life and Life is an act of Working, and every man works
at and with those things which also he best likes; the musical man, for
instance, works with his hearing at music; the studious man with his
intellect at speculative questions, and so forth. And Pleasure perfects
the acts of Working, and so Life after which men grasp. No wonder then
that they aim also at Pleasure, because to each it perfects Life, which
is itself choiceworthy. (We will take leave to omit the question whether
we choose Life for Pleasure's sake of Pleasure for Life's sake; because
these two plainly are closely connected and admit not of separation;
since Pleasure comes not into being without Working, and again, every
Working Pleasure perfects.)

And this is one reason why Pleasures are thought to differ in kind,
because we suppose that things which differ in kind must be perfected by
things so differing: it plainly being the case with the productions of
Nature and Art; as animals, and trees, and pictures, and statues, and
houses, and furniture; and so we suppose that in like manner acts of
Working which are different in kind are perfected by things differing in
kind. Now Intellectual Workings differ specifically from those of the
Senses, and these last from one another; therefore so do the Pleasures
which perfect them.

This may be shown also from the intimate connection subsisting between
each Pleasure and the Working which it perfects: I mean, that the
Pleasure proper to any Working increases that Working; for they who
work with Pleasure sift all things more closely and carry them out to a
greater degree of nicety; for instance, those men become geometricians
who take Pleasure in geometry, and they apprehend particular points more
completely: in like manner men who are fond of music, or architecture,
or anything else, improve each on his own pursuit, because they feel
Pleasure in them. Thus the Pleasures aid in increasing the Workings, and
things which do so aid are proper and peculiar: but the things which are
proper and peculiar to others specifically different are themselves also
specifically different.

Yet even more clearly may this be shown from the fact that the Pleasures
arising from one kind of Workings hinder other Workings; for instance,
people who are fond of flute-music cannot keep their attention to
conversation or discourse when they catch the sound of a flute; because
they take more Pleasure in flute-playing than in the Working they are
at the time engaged on; in other words, the Pleasure attendant on
flute-playing destroys the Working of conversation or discourse. Much
the same kind of thing takes place in other cases, when a person is
engaged in two different Workings at the same time: that is, the
pleasanter of the two keeps pushing out the other, and, if the disparity
in pleasantness be great, then more and more till a man even ceases
altogether to work at the other.

This is the reason why, when we are very much pleased with anything
whatever, we do nothing else, and it is only when we are but moderately
pleased with one occupation that we vary it with another: people,
for instance, who eat sweetmeats in the theatre do so most when the
performance is indifferent.

Since then the proper and peculiar Pleasure gives accuracy to the
Workings and makes them more enduring and better of their kind, while
those Pleasures which are foreign to them mar them, it is plain there
is a wide difference between them: in fact, Pleasures foreign to any
Working have pretty much the same effect as the Pains proper to it,
which, in fact, destroy the Workings; I mean, if one man dislikes
writing, or another calculation, the one does not write, the other does
not calculate; because, in each case, the Working is attended with some
Pain: so then contrary effects are produced upon the Workings by the
Pleasures and Pains proper to them, by which I mean those which arise
upon the Working, in itself, independently of any other circumstances.
As for the Pleasures foreign to a Working, we have said already that
they produce a similar effect to the Pain proper to it; that is they
destroy the Working, only not in like way.

Well then, as Workings differ from one another in goodness and badness,
some being fit objects of choice, others of avoidance, and others in
their nature indifferent, Pleasures are similarly related; since its own
proper Pleasure attends or each Working: of course that proper to a good
Working is good, that proper to a bad, bad: for even the desires for
what is noble are praiseworthy, and for what is base blameworthy.

Furthermore, the Pleasures attendant on Workings are more closely
connected with them even than the desires after them: for these last
are separate both in time and nature, but the former are close to the
Workings, and so indivisible from them as to raise a question whether
the Working and the Pleasure are identical; but Pleasure does not seem
to be an Intellectual Operation nor a Faculty of Perception, because
that is absurd; but yet it gives some the impression of being the same
from not being separated from these.

As then the Workings are different so are their Pleasures; now Sight
differs from Touch in purity, and Hearing and Smelling from Taste;
therefore, in like manner, do their Pleasures; and again, Intellectual
Pleasures from these Sensual, and the different kinds both of
Intellectual and Sensual from one another.

It is thought, moreover, that each animal has a Pleasure proper to
itself, as it has a proper Work; that Pleasure of course which is
attendant on the Working. And the soundness of this will appear upon
particular inspection: for horse, dog, and man have different Pleasures;
as Heraclitus says, an ass would sooner have hay than gold; in other
words, provender is pleasanter to asses than gold. So then the Pleasures
of animals specifically different are also specifically different, but
those of the same, we may reasonably suppose, are without difference.

Yet in the case of human creatures they differ not a little: for the
very same things please some and pain others: and what are painful and
hateful to some are pleasant to and liked by others. The same is the
case with sweet things: the same will not seem so to the man in a fever
as to him who is in health: nor will the invalid and the person in
robust health have the same notion of warmth. The same is the case with
other things also.

Now in all such cases that is held to _be_ which impresses the good man
with the notion of being such and such; and if this is a second maxim
(as it is usually held to be), and Virtue, that is, the Good man, in
that he is such, is the measure of everything, then those must be real
Pleasures which gave him the impression of being so and those things
pleasant in which he takes Pleasure. Nor is it at all astonishing that
what are to him unpleasant should give another person the impression of
being pleasant, for men are liable to many corruptions and marrings; and
the things in question are not pleasant really, only to these particular
persons, and to them only as being thus disposed.

Well of course, you may say, it is obvious that we must assert those
which are confessedly disgraceful to be real Pleasures, except to
depraved tastes: but of those which are thought to be good what kind,
or which, must we say is _The Pleasure of Man?_ is not the answer plain
from considering the Workings, because the Pleasures follow upon these?

Whether then there be one or several Workings which belong to the
perfect and blessed man, the Pleasures which perfect these Workings must
be said to be specially and properly _The Pleasures of Man;_ and all
the rest in a secondary sense, and in various degrees according as the
Workings are related to those highest and best ones.


Now that we have spoken about the Excellences of both kinds, and
Friendship in its varieties, and Pleasures, it remains to sketch out
Happiness, since we assume that to be the one End of all human things:
and we shall save time and trouble by recapitulating what was stated

[Sidenote: 1176b] Well then, we said that it is not a State merely;
because, if it were, it might belong to one who slept all his life
through and merely vegetated, or to one who fell into very great
calamities: and so, if these possibilities displease us and we would
rather put it into the rank of some kind of Working (as was also said
before), and Workings are of different kinds (some being necessary
and choiceworthy with a view to other things, while others are so in
themselves), it is plain we must rank Happiness among those choiceworthy
for their own sakes and not among those which are so with a view to
something further: because Happiness has no lack of anything but is

By choiceworthy in themselves are meant those from which nothing is
sought beyond the act of Working: and of this kind are thought to be the
actions according to Virtue, because doing what is noble and excellent
is one of those things which are choiceworthy for their own sake alone.

And again, such amusements as are pleasant; because people do not choose
them with any further purpose: in fact they receive more harm than
profit from them, neglecting their persons and their property. Still the
common run of those who are judged happy take refuge in such pastimes,
which is the reason why they who have varied talent in such are highly
esteemed among despots; because they make themselves pleasant in those
things which these aim at, and these accordingly want such men.

Now these things are thought to be appurtenances of Happiness because
men in power spend their leisure herein: yet, it may be, we cannot
argue from the example of such men: because there is neither Virtue nor
Intellect necessarily involved in having power, and yet these are the
only sources of good Workings: nor does it follow that because these
men, never having tasted pure and generous Pleasure, take refuge in
bodily ones, we are therefore to believe them to be more choiceworthy:
for children too believe that those things are most excellent which are
precious in their eyes.

We may well believe that as children and men have different ideas as to
what is precious so too have the bad and the good: therefore, as we have
many times said, those things are really precious and pleasant which
seem so to the good man: and as to each individual that Working is most
choiceworthy which is in accordance with his own state to the good man
that is so which is in accordance with Virtue.

Happiness then stands not in amusement; in fact the very notion is
absurd of the End being amusement, and of one's toiling and enduring
hardness all one's life long with a view to amusement: for everything in
the world, so to speak, we choose with some further End in view, except
Happiness, for that is the End comprehending all others. Now to take
pains and to labour with a view to amusement is plainly foolish and
very childish: but to amuse one's self with a view to steady employment
afterwards, as Anacharsis says, is thought to be right: for amusement is
like rest, and men want rest because unable to labour continuously.

Rest, therefore, is not an End, because it is adopted with a view to
Working afterwards.

[Sidenote: 1177a] Again, it is held that the Happy Life must be one in
the way of Excellence, and this is accompanied by earnestness and stands
not in amusement. Moreover those things which are done in earnest, we
say, are better than things merely ludicrous and joined with amusement:
and we say that the Working of the better part, or the better man, is
more earnest; and the Working of the better is at once better and more
capable of Happiness.

Then, again, as for bodily Pleasures, any ordinary person, or even
a slave, might enjoy them, just as well as the best man living but
Happiness no one supposes a slave to share except so far as it is
implied in life: because Happiness stands not in such pastimes but in
the Workings in the way of Excellence, as has also been stated before.


Now if Happiness is a Working in the way of Excellence of course that
Excellence must be the highest, that is to say, the Excellence of the
best Principle. Whether then this best Principle is Intellect or some
other which is thought naturally to rule and to lead and to conceive of
noble and divine things, whether being in its own nature divine or the
most divine of all our internal Principles, the Working of this in
accordance with its own proper Excellence must be the perfect Happiness.

That it is Contemplative has been already stated: and this would seem to
be consistent with what we said before and with truth: for, in the first
place, this Working is of the highest kind, since the Intellect is the
highest of our internal Principles and the subjects with which it
is conversant the highest of all which fall within the range of our

Next, it is also most Continuous: for we are better able to contemplate
than to do anything else whatever, continuously.

Again, we think Pleasure must be in some way an ingredient in Happiness,
and of all Workings in accordance with Excellence that in the way of
Science is confessedly most pleasant: at least the pursuit of Science is
thought to contain Pleasures admirable for purity and permanence; and it
is reasonable to suppose that the employment is more pleasant to those
who have mastered, than to those who are yet seeking for, it.

And the Self-Sufficiency which people speak of will attach chiefly to
the Contemplative Working: of course the actual necessaries of life are
needed alike by the man of science, and the just man, and all the other
characters; but, supposing all sufficiently supplied with these, the
just man needs people towards whom, and in concert with whom, to
practise his justice; and in like manner the man of perfected
self-mastery, and the brave man, and so on of the rest; whereas the man
of science can contemplate and speculate even when quite alone, and the
more entirely he deserves the appellation the more able is he to do so:
it may be he can do better for having fellow-workers but still he is
certainly most Self-Sufficient.

[Sidenote: 1177b] Again, this alone would seem to be rested in for
its own sake, since nothing results from it beyond the fact of having
contemplated; whereas from all things which are objects of moral action
we do mean to get something beside the doing them, be the same more or

Also, Happiness is thought to stand in perfect rest; for we toil that we
may rest, and war that we may be at peace. Now all the Practical Virtues
require either society or war for their Working, and the actions
regarding these are thought to exclude rest; those of war entirely,
because no one chooses war, nor prepares for war, for war's sake: he
would indeed be thought a bloodthirsty villain who should make enemies
of his friends to secure the existence of fighting and bloodshed. The
Working also of the statesman excludes the idea of rest, and, beside the
actual work of government, seeks for power and dignities or at least
Happiness for the man himself and his fellow-citizens: a Happiness
distinct the national Happiness which we evidently seek as being
different and distinct.

If then of all the actions in accordance with the various virtues those
of policy and war are pre-eminent in honour and greatness, and these are
restless, and aim at some further End and are not choiceworthy for
their own sakes, but the Working of the Intellect, being apt for
contemplation, is thought to excel in earnestness, and to aim at no End
beyond itself and to have Pleasure of its own which helps to increase
the Working, and if the attributes of Self-Sufficiency, and capacity of
rest, and unweariedness (as far as is compatible with the infirmity
of human nature), and all other attributes of the highest Happiness,
plainly belong to this Working, this must be perfect Happiness, if
attaining a complete duration of life, which condition is added because
none of the points of Happiness is incomplete.

But such a life will be higher than mere human nature, because a man
will live thus, not in so far as he is man but in so far as there is in
him a divine Principle: and in proportion as this Principle excels
his composite nature so far does the Working thereof excel that in
accordance with any other kind of Excellence: and therefore, if pure
Intellect, as compared with human nature, is divine, so too will the
life in accordance with it be divine compared with man's ordinary life.
[Sidenote: 1178a] Yet must we not give ear to those who bid one as man
to mind only man's affairs, or as mortal only mortal things; but, so far
as we can, make ourselves like immortals and do all with a view to
living in accordance with the highest Principle in us, for small as it
may be in bulk yet in power and preciousness it far more excels all the

In fact this Principle would seem to constitute each man's "Self," since
it is supreme and above all others in goodness it _would_ be absurd then
for a man not to choose his own life but that of some other.

And here will apply an observation made before, that whatever is proper
to each is naturally best and pleasantest to him: such then is to Man
the life in accordance with pure Intellect (since this Principle is most
truly Man), and if so, then it is also the happiest.


And second in degree of Happiness will be that Life which is in
accordance with the other kind of Excellence, for the Workings in
accordance with this are proper to Man: I mean, we do actions of
justice, courage, and the other virtues, towards one another, in
contracts, services of different kinds, and in all kinds of actions and
feelings too, by observing what is befitting for each: and all these
plainly are proper to man. Further, the Excellence of the Moral
character is thought to result in some points from physical
circumstances, and to be, in many, very closely connected with the

Again, Practical Wisdom and Excellence of the Moral character are
very closely united; since the Principles of Practical Wisdom are in
accordance with the Moral Virtues and these are right when they accord
with Practical Wisdom.

These moreover, as bound up with the passions, must belong to the
composite nature, and the Excellences or Virtues of the composite nature
are proper to man: therefore so too will be the life and Happiness which
is in accordance with them. But that of the Pure Intellect is separate
and distinct: and let this suffice upon the subject, since great
exactness is beyond our purpose,

It would seem, moreover, to require supply of external goods to a small
degree, or certainly less than the Moral Happiness: for, as far as
necessaries of life are concerned, we will suppose both characters to
need them equally (though, in point of fact, the man who lives in
society does take more pains about his person and all that kind of
thing; there will really be some little difference), but when we come to
consider their Workings there will be found a great difference.

I mean, the liberal man must have money to do his liberal actions with,
and the just man to meet his engagements (for mere intentions
are uncertain, and even those who are unjust make a pretence of
_wishing_ to do justly), and the brave man must have power, if
he is to perform any of the actions which appertain to his particular
Virtue, and the man of perfected self-mastery must have opportunity of
temptation, else how shall he or any of the others display his real

[Sidenote: 1178b]

(By the way, a question is sometimes raised, whether the moral choice or
the actions have most to do with Virtue, since it consists in both: it
is plain that the perfection of virtuous action requires both: but for
the actions many things are required, and the greater and more numerous
they are the more.) But as for the man engaged in Contemplative
Speculation, not only are such things unnecessary for his Working, but,
so to speak, they are even hindrances: as regards the Contemplation at
least; because of course in so far as he is Man and lives in society he
chooses to do what Virtue requires, and so he will need such things
for maintaining his character as Man though not as a speculative

And that the perfect Happiness must be a kind of Contemplative Working
may appear also from the following consideration: our conception of the
gods is that they are above all blessed and happy: now what kind of
Moral actions are we to attribute to them? those of justice? nay,
will they not be set in a ridiculous light if represented as forming
contracts, and restoring deposits, and so on? well then, shall we
picture them performing brave actions, withstanding objects of fear and
meeting dangers, because it is noble to do so? or liberal ones? but to
whom shall they be giving? and further, it is absurd to think they have
money or anything of the kind. And as for actions of perfected
self-mastery, what can theirs be? would it not be a degrading praise
that they have no bad desires? In short, if one followed the subject
into all details all the circumstances connected with Moral actions
would appear trivial and unworthy of gods.

Still, every one believes that they live, and therefore that they
Work because it is not supposed that they sleep their time away like
Endymion: now if from a living being you take away Action, still more
if Creation, what remains but Contemplation? So then the Working of
the Gods, eminent in blessedness, will be one apt for Contemplative
Speculation; and of all human Workings that will have the greatest
capacity for Happiness which is nearest akin to this.

A corroboration of which position is the fact that the other animals
do not partake of Happiness, being completely shut out from any such

To the gods then all their life is blessed; and to men in so far as
there is in it some copy of such Working, but of the other animals none
is happy because it in no way shares in Contemplative Speculation.

Happiness then is co-extensive with this Contemplative Speculation, and
in proportion as people have the act of Contemplation so far have they
also the being happy, not incidentally, but in the way of Contemplative
Speculation because it is in itself precious.

So Happiness must be a kind of Contemplative Speculation; but since it
is Man we are speaking of he will need likewise External Prosperity,
because his Nature is not by itself sufficient for Speculation, but
there must be health of body, and nourishment, and tendance of all

[Sidenote: 1179a] However, it must not be thought, because without
external goods a man cannot enjoy high Happiness, that therefore he
will require many and great goods in order to be happy: for neither
Self-sufficiency, nor Action, stand in Excess, and it is quite possible
to act nobly without being ruler of sea and land, since even with
moderate means a man may act in accordance with Virtue.

And this may be clearly seen in that men in private stations are thought
to act justly, not merely no less than men in power but even more: it
will be quite enough that just so much should belong to a man as is
necessary, for his life will be happy who works in accordance with

Solon perhaps drew a fair picture of the Happy, when he said that they
are men moderately supplied with external goods, and who have achieved
the most noble deeds, as he thought, and who have lived with perfect
self-mastery: for it is quite possible for men of moderate means to act
as they ought.

Anaxagoras also seems to have conceived of the Happy man not as either
rich or powerful, saying that he should not wonder if he were accounted
a strange man in the judgment of the multitude: for they judge by
outward circumstances of which alone they have any perception.

And thus the opinions of the Wise seem to be accordant with our account
of the matter: of course such things carry some weight, but truth, in
matters of moral action, is judged from facts and from actual life,
for herein rests the decision. So what we should do is to examine the
preceding statements by referring them to facts and to actual life, and
when they harmonise with facts we may accept them, when they are at
variance with them conceive of them as mere theories.

Now he that works in accordance with, and pays observance to, Pure
Intellect, and tends this, seems likely to be both in the best frame of
mind and dearest to the Gods: because if, as is thought, any care is
bestowed on human things by the Gods then it must be reasonable to think
that they take pleasure in what is best and most akin to themselves (and
this must be the Pure Intellect); and that they requite with kindness
those who love and honour this most, as paying observance to what is
dear to them, and as acting rightly and nobly. And it is quite obvious
that the man of Science chiefly combines all these: he is therefore
dearest to the Gods, and it is probable that he is at the same time most

Thus then on this view also the man of Science will be most Happy.


Now then that we have said enough in our sketchy kind of way
on these subjects; I mean, on the Virtues, and also on Friendship and
Pleasure; are we to suppose that our original purpose is completed? Must
we not rather acknowledge, what is commonly said, that in matters of
moral action mere Speculation and Knowledge is not the real End but
rather Practice: and if so, then neither in respect of Virtue is
Knowledge enough; we must further strive to have and exert it, and take
whatever other means there are of becoming good.

Now if talking and writing were of themselves sufficient to make men
good, they would justly, as Theognis observes have reaped numerous and
great rewards, and the thing to do would be to provide them: but in
point of fact, while they plainly have the power to guide and stimulate
the generous among the young and to base upon true virtuous principle
any noble and truly high-minded disposition, they as plainly are
powerless to guide the mass of men to Virtue and goodness; because it is
not their nature to be amenable to a sense of shame but only to fear;
nor to abstain from what is low and mean because it is disgraceful to do
it but because of the punishment attached to it: in fact, as they live
at the beck and call of passion, they pursue their own proper pleasures
and the means of securing them, and they avoid the contrary pains; but
as for what is noble and truly pleasurable they have not an idea of it,
inasmuch as they have never tasted of it.

Men such as these then what mere words can transform? No, indeed! it is
either actually impossible, or a task of no mean difficulty, to alter by
words what has been of old taken into men's very dispositions: and,
it may be, it is a ground for contentment if with all the means and
appliances for goodness in our hands we can attain to Virtue.

The formation of a virtuous character some ascribe to Nature, some to
Custom, and some to Teaching. Now Nature's part, be it what it may,
obviously does not rest with us, but belongs to those who in the truest
sense are fortunate, by reason of certain divine agency,

Then, as for Words and Precept, they, it is to be feared, will not avail
with all; but it may be necessary for the mind of the disciple to have
been previously prepared for liking and disliking as he ought; just as
the soil must, to nourish the seed sown. For he that lives in obedience
to passion cannot hear any advice that would dissuade him, nor, if he
heard, understand: now him that is thus how can one reform? in fact,
generally, passion is not thought to yield to Reason but to brute force.
So then there must be, to begin with, a kind of affinity to Virtue in
the disposition; which must cleave to what is honourable and loath
what is disgraceful. But to get right guidance towards Virtue from the
earliest youth is not easy unless one is brought up under laws of such
kind; because living with self-mastery and endurance is not pleasant to
the mass of men, and specially not to the young. For this reason the
food, and manner of living generally, ought to be the subject of
legal regulation, because things when become habitual will not be

[Sidenote: 1180_a_] Yet perhaps it is not sufficient that men while
young should get right food and tendance, but, inasmuch as they will
have to practise and become accustomed to certain things even after they
have attained to man's estate, we shall want laws on these points as
well, and, in fine, respecting one's whole life, since the mass of men
are amenable to compulsion rather than Reason, and to punishment rather
than to a sense of honour.

And therefore some men hold that while lawgivers should employ the sense
of honour to exhort and guide men to Virtue, under the notion that they
will then obey who have been well trained in habits; they should
impose chastisement and penalties on those who disobey and are of less
promising nature; and the incurable expel entirely: because the good man
and he who lives under a sense of honour will be obedient to reason;
and the baser sort, who grasp at pleasure, will be kept in check, like
beasts of burthen by pain. Therefore also they say that the pains should
be such as are most contrary to the pleasures which are liked.

As has been said already, he who is to be good must have been brought up
and habituated well, and then live accordingly under good institutions,
and never do what is low and mean, either against or with his will. Now
these objects can be attained only by men living in accordance with some
guiding Intellect and right order, with power to back them.

As for the Paternal Rule, it possesses neither strength nor compulsory
power, nor in fact does the Rule of any one man, unless he is a king or
some one in like case: but the Law has power to compel, since it is a
declaration emanating from Practical Wisdom and Intellect. And people
feel enmity towards their fellow-men who oppose their impulses, however
rightly they may do so: the Law, on the contrary, is not the object of
hatred, though enforcing right rules.

The Lacedaemonian is nearly the only State in which the framer of the
Constitution has made any provision, it would seem, respecting the food
and manner of living of the people: in most States these points are
entirely neglected, and each man lives just as he likes, ruling his wife
and children Cyclops-Fashion.

Of course, the best thing would be that there should be a right Public
System and that we should be able to carry it out: but, since as a
public matter those points are neglected, the duty would seem to devolve
upon each individual to contribute to the cause of Virtue with his own
children and friends, or at least to make this his aim and purpose: and
this, it would seem, from what has been said, he will be best able to do
by making a Legislator of himself: since all public *[Sidenote: 1180_b_]
systems, it is plain, are formed by the instrumentality of laws and
those are good which are formed by that of good laws: whether they are
written or unwritten, whether they are applied to the training of one or
many, will not, it seems, make any difference, just as it does not in
music, gymnastics, or any other such accomplishments, which are gained
by practice.

For just as in Communities laws and customs prevail, so too in families
the express commands of the Head, and customs also: and even more in the
latter, because of blood-relationship and the benefits conferred:
for there you have, to begin with, people who have affection and are
naturally obedient to the authority which controls them.

Then, furthermore, Private training has advantages over Public, as in
the case of the healing art: for instance, as a general rule, a man who
is in a fever should keep quiet, and starve; but in a particular case,
perhaps, this may not hold good; or, to take a different illustration,
the boxer will not use the same way of fighting with all antagonists.

It would seem then that the individual will be most exactly attended to
under Private care, because so each will be more likely to obtain what
is expedient for him. Of course, whether in the art of healing, or
gymnastics, or any other, a man will treat individual cases the better
for being acquainted with general rules; as, "that so and so is good for
all, or for men in such and such cases:" because general maxims are not
only said to be but are the object-matter of sciences: still this is no
reason against the possibility of a man's taking excellent care of
some _one_ case, though he possesses no scientific knowledge but from
experience is exactly acquainted with what happens in each point; just
as some people are thought to doctor themselves best though they would
be wholly unable to administer relief to others. Yet it may seem to be
necessary nevertheless, for one who wishes to become a real artist and
well acquainted with the theory of his profession, to have recourse
to general principles and ascertain all their capacities: for we have
already stated that these are the object-matter of sciences.

If then it appears that we may become good through the instrumentality
of laws, of course whoso wishes to make men better by a system of care
and training must try to make a Legislator of himself; for to treat
skilfully just any one who may be put before you is not what any
ordinary person can do, but, if any one, he who has knowledge; as in the
healing art, and all others which involve careful practice and skill.

[Sidenote: 1181_a_] Will not then our next business be to inquire from
what sources, or how one may acquire this faculty of Legislation; or
shall we say, that, as in similar cases, Statesmen are the people to
learn from, since this faculty was thought to be a part of the Social
Science? Must we not admit that the Political Science plainly does not
stand on a similar footing to that of other sciences and faculties? I
mean, that while in all other cases those who impart the faculties
and themselves exert them are identical (physicians and painters for
instance) matters of Statesmanship the Sophists profess to teach, but
not one of them practises it, that being left to those actually engaged
in it: and these might really very well be thought to do it by some
singular knack and by mere practice rather than by any intellectual
process: for they neither write nor speak on these matters (though it
might be more to their credit than composing speeches for the courts or
the assembly), nor again have they made Statesmen of their own sons or
their friends.

One can hardly suppose but that they would have done so if they could,
seeing that they could have bequeathed no more precious legacy to their
communities, nor would they have preferred, for themselves or their
dearest friends, the possession of any faculty rather than this.

Practice, however, seems to contribute no little to its acquisition;
merely breathing the atmosphere of politics would never have made
Statesmen of them, and therefore we may conclude that they who would
acquire a knowledge of Statesmanship must have in addition practice.

But of the Sophists they who profess to teach it are plainly a long way
off from doing so: in fact, they have no knowledge at all of its nature
and objects; if they had, they would never have put it on the same
footing with Rhetoric or even on a lower: neither would they have
conceived it to be "an easy matter to legislate by simply collecting
such laws as are famous because of course one could select the best," as
though the selection were not a matter of skill, and the judging aright
a very great matter, as in Music: for they alone, who have practical
knowledge of a thing, can judge the performances rightly or understand
with what means and in what way they are accomplished, and what
harmonises with what: the unlearned must be content with being able to
discover whether the result is good or bad, as in painting.

[Sidenote: 1181_b_] Now laws may be called the performances or tangible
results of Political Science; how then can a man acquire from these
the faculty of Legislation, or choose the best? we do not see men made
physicians by compilations: and yet in these treatises men endeavour to
give not only the cases but also how they may be cured, and the proper
treatment in each case, dividing the various bodily habits. Well, these
are thought to be useful to professional men, but to the unprofessional
useless. In like manner it may be that collections of laws and
Constitutions would be exceedingly useful to such as are able to
speculate on them, and judge what is well, and what ill, and what
kind of things fit in with what others: but they who without this
qualification should go through such matters cannot have right judgment,
unless they have it by instinct, though they may become more intelligent
in such matters.

Since then those who have preceded us have left uninvestigated the
subject of Legislation, it will be better perhaps for us to investigate

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