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Ethics by Aristotle

Part 3 out of 6

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several meanings, we do not always denote the same quality by the term
"Lover of Honour;" but when we use it as a term of commendation we
denote more than the mass of men are; when for blame more than a man
should be.

And the mean state having no proper name the extremes seem to dispute
for it as unoccupied ground: but of course where there is excess and
defect there must be also the mean. And in point of fact, men do grasp
at Honour more than they should, and less, and sometimes just as they
ought; for instance, this state is praised, being a mean state in regard
of Honour, but without any appropriate name. Compared with what is
called Ambition it shows like a want of love for Honour, and compared
with this it shows like Ambition, or compared with both, like both
faults: nor is this a singular case among the virtues. Here the
extreme characters appear to be opposed, because the mean has no name
appropriated to it.


Meekness is a mean state, having for its object-matter Anger: and as the
character in the mean has no name, and we may almost say the same of the
extremes, we give the name of Meekness (leaning rather to the defect,
which has no name either) to the character in the mean.

The excess may be called an over-aptness to Anger: for the passion is
Anger, and the producing causes many and various. Now he who is angry at
what and with whom he ought, and further, in right manner and time, and
for proper length of time, is praised, so this Man will be Meek since
Meekness is praised. For the notion represented by the term Meek man is
the being imperturbable, and not being led away by passion, but being
angry in that manner, and at those things, and for that length of time,
which Reason may direct. This character however is thought to err rather
on [Sidenote:1126a] the side of defect, inasmuch as he is not apt to
take revenge but rather to make allowances and forgive. And the defect,
call it Angerlessness or what you will, is blamed: I mean, they who are
not angry at things at which they ought to be angry are thought to be
foolish, and they who are angry not in right manner, nor in right time,
nor with those with whom they ought; for a man who labours under this
defect is thought to have no perception, nor to be pained, and to have
no tendency to avenge himself, inasmuch as he feels no anger: now to
bear with scurrility in one's own person, and patiently see one's own
friends suffer it, is a slavish thing.

As for the excess, it occurs in all forms; men are angry with those with
whom, and at things with which, they ought not to be, and more than they
ought, and too hastily, and for too great a length of time. I do not
mean, however, that these are combined in any one person: that would
in fact be impossible, because the evil destroys itself, and if it is
developed in its full force it becomes unbearable.

Now those whom we term the Passionate are soon angry, and with people
with whom and at things at which they ought not, and in an excessive
degree, but they soon cool again, which is the best point about them.
And this results from their not repressing their anger, but repaying
their enemies (in that they show their feeings by reason of their
vehemence), and then they have done with it.

The Choleric again are excessively vehement, and are angry at
everything, and on every occasion; whence comes their Greek name
signifying that their choler lies high.

The Bitter-tempered are hard to reconcile and keep their anger for
a long while, because they repress the feeling: but when they have
revenged themselves then comes a lull; for the vengeance destroys their
anger by producing pleasure in lieu of pain. But if this does not happen
they keep the weight on their minds: because, as it does not show
itself, no one attempts to reason it away, and digesting anger within
one's self takes time. Such men are very great nuisances to themselves
and to their best friends.

Again, we call those Cross-grained who are angry at wrong objects, and
in excessive degree, and for too long a time, and who are not appeased
without vengeance or at least punishing the offender.

To Meekness we oppose the excess rather than the defect, because it is
of more common occurrence: for human nature is more disposed to take
than to forgo revenge. And the Cross-grained are worse to live with
[than they who are too phlegmatic].

Now, from what has been here said, that is also plain which was said
before. I mean, it is no easy matter to define how, and with what
persons, and at what kind of things, and how long one ought to be
angry, and up to what point a person is right or is wrong. For he that
transgresses the strict rule only a little, whether on the side of
too much or too little, is not blamed: sometimes we praise those who
[Sidenote:1126b] are deficient in the feeling and call them Meek,
sometimes we call the irritable Spirited as being well qualified for
government. So it is not easy to lay down, in so many words, for what
degree or kind of transgression a man is blameable: because the decision
is in particulars, and rests therefore with the Moral Sense. Thus much,
however, is plain, that the mean state is praiseworthy, in virtue of
which we are angry with those with whom, and at those things with which,
we ought to be angry, and in right manner, and so on; while the excesses
and defects are blameable, slightly so if only slight, more so if
greater, and when considerable very blameable.

It is clear, therefore, that the mean state is what we are to hold to.

This then is to be taken as our account of the various moral states
which have Anger for their object-matter.


Next, as regards social intercourse and interchange of words and acts,
some men are thought to be Over-Complaisant who, with a view solely to
giving pleasure, agree to everything and never oppose, but think their
line is to give no pain to those they are thrown amongst: they, on
the other hand, are called Cross and Contentious who take exactly the
contrary line to these, and oppose in everything, and have no care at
all whether they give pain or not.

Now it is quite clear of course, that the states I have named are
blameable, and that the mean between them is praiseworthy, in virtue
of which a man will let pass what he ought as he ought, and also will
object in like manner. However, this state has no name appropriated, but
it is most like Friendship; since the man who exhibits it is just the
kind of man whom we would call the amiable friend, with the addition of
strong earnest affection; but then this is the very point in which it
differs from Friendship, that it is quite independent of any feeling or
strong affection for those among whom the man mixes: I mean, that he
takes everything as he ought, not from any feeling of love or hatred,
but simply because his natural disposition leads him to do so; he will
do it alike to those whom he does know and those whom he does not, and
those with whom he is intimate and those with whom he is not; only in
each case as propriety requires, because it is not fitting to care
alike for intimates and strangers, nor again to pain them alike.

It has been stated in a general way that his social intercourse will be
regulated by propriety, and his aim will be to avoid giving pain and to
contribute to pleasure, but with a constant reference to what is noble
and expedient.

His proper object-matter seems to be the pleasures and pains which arise
out of social intercourse, but whenever it is not honourable or even
hurtful to him to contribute to pleasure, in these instances he will run
counter and prefer to give pain.

Or if the things in question involve unseemliness to the doer, and this
not inconsiderable, or any harm, whereas his opposition will cause some
little pain, here he will not agree but will run counter.

[Sidenote:1127a] Again, he will regulate differently his intercourse
with great men and with ordinary men, and with all people according to
the knowledge he has of them; and in like manner, taking in any other
differences which may exist, giving to each his due, and in itself
preferring to give pleasure and cautious not to give pain, but still
guided by the results, I mean by what is noble and expedient according
as they preponderate.

Again, he will inflict trifling pain with a view to consequent pleasure.

Well, the man bearing the mean character is pretty well such as I have
described him, but he has no name appropriated to him: of those who try
to give pleasure, the man who simply and disinterestedly tries to be
agreeable is called Over-Complaisant, he who does it with a view to
secure some profit in the way of wealth, or those things which wealth
may procure, is a Flatterer: I have said before, that the man who is
"always non-content" is Cross and Contentious. Here the extremes have
the appearance of being opposed to one another, because the mean has no
appropriate name.


The mean state which steers clear of Exaggeration has pretty much the
same object-matter as the last we described, and likewise has no name
appropriated to it. Still it may be as well to go over these states:
because, in the first place, by a particular discussion of each we shall
be better acquainted with the general subject of moral character, and
next we shall be the more convinced that the virtues are mean states by
seeing that this is universally the case.

In respect then of living in society, those who carry on this
intercourse with a view to pleasure and pain have been already spoken
of; we will now go on to speak of those who are True or False, alike in
their words and deeds and in the claims which they advance.

Now the Exaggerator is thought to have a tendency to lay claim to things
reflecting credit on him, both when they do not belong to him at all and
also in greater degree than that in which they really do: whereas the
Reserved man, on the contrary, denies those which really belong to
him or else depreciates them, while the mean character being a
Plain-matter-of-fact person is Truthful in life and word, admitting
the existence of what does really belong to him and making it neither
greater nor less than the truth.

It is possible of course to take any of these lines either with or
without some further view: but in general men speak, and act, and live,
each according to his particular character and disposition, unless
indeed a man is acting from any special motive.

Now since falsehood is in itself low and blameable, while truth is noble
and praiseworthy, it follows that the Truthful man (who is also in the
mean) is praiseworthy, and the two who depart from strict truth are both
blameable, but especially the Exaggerator.

We will now speak of each, and first of the Truthful man: I call him
Truthful, because we are not now meaning the man who is true in his
agreements nor in such matters as amount to justice or injustice (this
would come within the [Sidenote:1127b] province of a different virtue),
but, in such as do not involve any such serious difference as this, the
man we are describing is true in life and word simply because he is in a
certain moral state.

And he that is such must be judged to be a good man: for he that has a
love for Truth as such, and is guided by it in matters indifferent, will
be so likewise even more in such as are not indifferent; for surely he
will have a dread of falsehood as base, since he shunned it even in
itself: and he that is of such a character is praiseworthy, yet he leans
rather to that which is below the truth, this having an appearance of
being in better taste because exaggerations are so annoying.

As for the man who lays claim to things above what really belongs to him
_without_ any special motive, he is like a base man because he would
not otherwise have taken pleasure in falsehood, but he shows as a fool
rather than as a knave. But if a man does this _with_ a special motive,
suppose for honour or glory, as the Braggart does, then he is not
so very blameworthy, but if, directly or indirectly, for pecuniary
considerations, he is more unseemly.

Now the Braggart is such not by his power but by his purpose, that is to
say, in virtue of his moral state, and because he is a man of a certain
kind; just as there are liars who take pleasure in falsehood for its
own sake while others lie from a desire of glory or gain. They who
exaggerate with a view to glory pretend to such qualities as are
followed by praise or highest congratulation; they who do it with a view
to gain assume those which their neighbours can avail themselves of,
and the absence of which can be concealed, as a man's being a skilful
soothsayer or physician; and accordingly most men pretend to such things
and exaggerate in this direction, because the faults I have mentioned
are in them.

The Reserved, who depreciate their own qualities, have the appearance of
being more refined in their characters, because they are not thought to
speak with a view to gain but to avoid grandeur: one very common trait
in such characters is their denying common current opinions, as Socrates
used to do. There are people who lay claim falsely to small things and
things the falsity of their pretensions to which is obvious; these are
called Factotums and are very despicable.

This very Reserve sometimes shows like Exaggeration; take, for instance,
the excessive plainness of dress affected by the Lacedaemonians: in
fact, both excess and the extreme of deficiency partake of the nature of
Exaggeration. But they who practise Reserve in moderation, and in cases
in which the truth is not very obvious and plain, give an impression of
refinement. Here it is the Exaggerator (as being the worst character)
who appears to be opposed to the Truthful Man.


[Sidenote:II28a] Next, as life has its pauses and in them admits of
pastime combined with Jocularity, it is thought that in this respect
also there is a kind of fitting intercourse, and that rules may be
prescribed as to the kind of things one should say and the manner of
saying them; and in respect of hearing likewise (and there will be a
difference between the saying and hearing such and such things). It is
plain that in regard to these things also there will be an excess and
defect and a mean.

Now they who exceed in the ridiculous are judged to be Buffoons and
Vulgar, catching at it in any and every way and at any cost, and aiming
rather at raising laughter than at saying what is seemly and at avoiding
to pain the object of their wit. They, on the other hand, who would not
for the world make a joke themselves and are displeased with such as do
are thought to be Clownish and Stern. But they who are Jocular in good
taste are denominated by a Greek term expressing properly ease of
movement, because such are thought to be, as one may say, motions of the
moral character; and as bodies are judged of by their motions so too are
moral characters.

Now as the ridiculous lies on the surface, and the majority of men take
more pleasure than they ought in Jocularity and Jesting, the Buffoons
too get this name of Easy Pleasantry, as if refined and gentlemanlike;
but that they differ from these, and considerably too, is plain from
what has been said.

One quality which belongs to the mean state is Tact: it is
characteristic of a man of Tact to say and listen to such things as are
fit for a good man and a gentleman to say and listen to: for there are
things which are becoming for such a one to say and listen to in the way
of Jocularity, and there is a difference between the Jocularity of the
Gentleman and that of the Vulgarian; and again, between that of the
educated and uneducated man. This you may see from a comparison of the
Old and New Comedy: in the former obscene talk made the fun; in the
latter it is rather innuendo: and this is no slight difference _as
regards decency_.

Well then, are we to characterise him who jests well by his saying what
is becoming a gentleman, or by his avoiding to pain the object of his
wit, or even by his giving him pleasure? or will not such a definition
be vague, since different things are hateful and pleasant to different

Be this as it may, whatever he says such things will he also listen to,
since it is commonly held that a man will do what he will bear to hear:
this must, however, be limited; a man will not do quite all that he will
hear: because jesting is a species of scurrility and there are some
points of scurrility forbidden by law; it may be certain points of
jesting should have been also so forbidden. So then the refined and
gentlemanlike man will bear himself thus as being a law to himself. Such
is the mean character, whether denominated the man of Tact or of Easy

But the Buffoon cannot resist the ridiculous, sparing neither himself
nor any one else so that he can but raise his laugh, saying things of
such kind as no man of refinement would say and some which he would not
even tolerate if said by others in his hearing. [Sidenote:1128b] The
Clownish man is for such intercourse wholly useless: inasmuch as
contributing nothing jocose of his own he is savage with all who do.

Yet some pause and amusement in life are generally judged to be

The three mean states which have been described do occur in life, and
the object-matter of all is interchange of words and deeds. They differ,
in that one of them is concerned with truth, and the other two with the
pleasurable: and of these two again, the one is conversant with
the jocosities of life, the other with all other points of social


To speak of Shame as a Virtue is incorrect, because it is much more like
a feeling than a moral state. It is defined, we know, to be "a kind of
fear of disgrace," and its effects are similar to those of the fear of
danger, for they who feel Shame grow red and they who fear death turn
pale. So both are evidently in a way physical, which is thought to be a
mark of a feeling rather than a moral state.

Moreover, it is a feeling not suitable to every age, but only to youth:
we do think that the young should be Shamefaced, because since they live
at the beck and call of passion they do much that is wrong and Shame
acts on them as a check. In fact, we praise such young men as are
Shamefaced, but no one would ever praise an old man for being given
to it, inasmuch as we hold that he ought not to do things which cause
Shame; for Shame, since it arises at low bad actions, does not at all
belong to the good man, because such ought not to be done at all: nor
does it make any difference to allege that some things are disgraceful
really, others only because they are thought so; for neither should be
done, so that a man ought not to be in the position of feeling Shame. In
truth, to be such a man as to do anything disgraceful is the part of a
faulty character. And for a man to be such that he would feel Shame if
he should do anything disgraceful, and to think that this constitutes
him a good man, is absurd: because Shame is felt at voluntary actions
only, and a good man will never voluntarily do what is base.

True it is, that Shame may be good on a certain supposition, as "if a
man should do such things, he would feel Shame:" but then the Virtues
are good in themselves, and not merely in supposed cases. And, granted
that impudence and the not being ashamed to do what is disgraceful is
base, it does not the more follow that it is good for a man to do such
things and feel Shame.

Nor is Self-Control properly a Virtue, but a kind of mixed state:
however, all about this shall be set forth in a future Book.


[Sidenote:1129a] Now the points for our inquiry in respect of Justice
and Injustice are, what kind of actions are their object-matter, and
what kind of a mean state Justice is, and between what points the
abstract principle of it, i.e. the Just, is a mean. And our inquiry
shall be, if you please, conducted in the same method as we have
observed in the foregoing parts of this treatise.

We see then that all men mean by the term Justice a moral state such
that in consequence of it men have the capacity of doing what is
just, and actually do it, and wish it: similarly also with respect to
Injustice, a moral state such that in consequence of it men do unjustly
and wish what is unjust: let us also be content then with these as a
ground-work sketched out.

I mention the two, because the same does not hold with regard to States
whether of mind or body as with regard to Sciences or Faculties: I mean
that whereas it is thought that the same Faculty or Science embraces
contraries, a State will not: from health, for instance, not the
contrary acts are done but the healthy ones only; we say a man walks
healthily when he walks as the healthy man would.

However, of the two contrary states the one may be frequently known from
the other, and oftentimes the states from their subject-matter: if it be
seen clearly what a good state of body is, then is it also seen what a
bad state is, and from the things which belong to a good state of body
the good state itself is seen, and _vice versa_. If, for instance,
the good state is firmness of flesh it follows that the bad state is
flabbiness of flesh; and whatever causes firmness of flesh is connected
with the good state. It follows moreover in general, that if of two
contrary terms the one is used in many senses so also will the other be;
as, for instance, if "the Just," then also "the Unjust." Now Justice and
Injustice do seem to be used respectively in many senses, but, because
the line of demarcation between these is very fine and minute, it
commonly escapes notice that they are thus used, and it is not plain
and manifest as where the various significations of terms are widely
different for in these last the visible difference is great, for
instance, the word [Greek: klehis] is used equivocally to denote the
bone which is under the neck of animals and the instrument with which
people close doors.

Let it be ascertained then in how many senses the term "Unjust man" is
used. Well, he who violates the law, and he who is a grasping man, and
the unequal man, are all thought to be Unjust and so manifestly the Just
man will be, the man who acts according to law, and the equal man "The
Just" then will be the lawful and the equal, and "the Unjust" the
unlawful and the unequal.

[Sidenote:1129b] Well, since the Unjust man is also a grasping man, he
will be so, of course, with respect to good things, but not of every
kind, only those which are the subject-matter of good and bad fortune
and which are in themselves always good but not always to the
individual. Yet men pray for and pursue these things: this they should
not do but pray that things which are in the abstract good may be so
also to them, and choose what is good for themselves.

But the Unjust man does not always choose actually the greater part, but
even sometimes the less; as in the case of things which are simply evil:
still, since the less evil is thought to be in a manner a good and the
grasping is after good, therefore even in this case he is thought to be
a grasping man, i.e. one who strives for more good than fairly falls to
his share: of course he is also an unequal man, this being an inclusive
and common term.

We said that the violator of Law is Unjust, and the keeper of the Law
Just: further, it is plain that all Lawful things are in a manner
Just, because by Lawful we understand what have been defined by the
legislative power and each of these we say is Just. The Laws too give
directions on all points, aiming either at the common good of all, or
that of the best, or that of those in power (taking for the standard
real goodness or adopting some other estimate); in one way we mean by
Just, those things which are apt to produce and preserve happiness and
its ingredients for the social community.

Further, the Law commands the doing the deeds not only of the brave man
(as not leaving the ranks, nor flying, nor throwing away one's arms),
but those also of the perfectly self-mastering man, as abstinence from
adultery and wantonness; and those of the meek man, as refraining from
striking others or using abusive language: and in like manner in respect
of the other virtues and vices commanding some things and forbidding
others, rightly if it is a good law, in a way somewhat inferior if it is
one extemporised.

Now this Justice is in fact perfect Virtue, yet not simply so but as
exercised towards one's neighbour: and for this reason Justice is
thought oftentimes to be the best of the Virtues, and

"neither Hesper nor the Morning-star
So worthy of our admiration:"

and in a proverbial saying we express the same;

"All virtue is in Justice comprehended."

And it is in a special sense perfect Virtue because it is the practice
of perfect Virtue. And perfect it is because he that has it is able to
practise his virtue towards his neighbour and not merely on himself; I
mean, there are many who can practise virtue in the regulation of their
own personal conduct who are wholly unable to do it in transactions with
[Sidenote:1130a] their neighbour. And for this reason that saying of
Bias is thought to be a good one,

"Rule will show what a man is;"

for he who bears Rule is necessarily in contact with others, i.e. in a
community. And for this same reason Justice alone of all the Virtues is
thought to be a good to others, because it has immediate relation to
some other person, inasmuch as the Just man does what is advantageous to
another, either to his ruler or fellow-subject. Now he is the basest
of men who practises vice not only in his own person but towards his
friends also; but he the best who practises virtue not merely in his
own person but towards his neighbour, for this is a matter of some

However, Justice in this sense is not a part of Virtue but is
co-extensive with Virtue; nor is the Injustice which answers to it a
part of Vice but co-extensive with Vice. Now wherein Justice in this
sense differs from Virtue appears from what has been said: it is the
same really, but the point of view is not the same: in so far as it has
respect to one's neighbour it is Justice, in so far as it is such and
such a moral state it is simply Virtue.


But the object of our inquiry is Justice, in the sense in which it is
a part of Virtue (for there is such a thing, as we commonly say), and
likewise with respect to particular Injustice. And of the existence of
this last the following consideration is a proof: there are many vices
by practising which a man acts unjustly, of course, but does not grasp
at more than his share of good; if, for instance, by reason of cowardice
he throws away his shield, or by reason of ill-temper he uses abusive
language, or by reason of stinginess does not give a friend pecuniary
assistance; but whenever he does a grasping action, it is often in the
way of none of these vices, certainly not in all of them, still in
the way of some vice or other (for we blame him), and in the way of
Injustice. There is then some kind of Injustice distinct from that
co-extensive with Vice and related to it as a part to a whole, and some
"Unjust" related to that which is co-extensive with violation of the law
as a part to a whole.

Again, suppose one man seduces a man's wife with a view to gain and
actually gets some advantage by it, and another does the same from
impulse of lust, at an expense of money and damage; this latter will be
thought to be rather destitute of self-mastery than a grasping man, and
the former Unjust but not destitute of self-mastery: now why? plainly
because of his gaining.

Again, all other acts of Injustice we refer to some particular
depravity, as, if a man commits adultery, to abandonment to his
passions; if he deserts his comrade, to cowardice; if he strikes
another, to anger: but if he gains by the act to no other vice than to

[Sidenote:1131b] Thus it is clear that there is a kind of Injustice
different from and besides that which includes all Vice, having the same
name because the definition is in the same genus; for both have their
force in dealings with others, but the one acts upon honour, or wealth,
or safety, or by whatever one name we can include all these things, and
is actuated by pleasure attendant on gain, while the other acts upon all
things which constitute the sphere of the good man's action.

Now that there is more than one kind of Justice, and that there is one
which is distinct from and besides that which is co-extensive with,
Virtue, is plain: we must next ascertain what it is, and what are its

Well, the Unjust has been divided into the unlawful and the unequal, and
the Just accordingly into the lawful and the equal: the aforementioned
Injustice is in the way of the unlawful. And as the unequal and the more
are not the same, but differing as part to whole (because all more is
unequal, but not all unequal more), so the Unjust and the Injustice we
are now in search of are not the same with, but other than, those before
mentioned, the one being the parts, the other the wholes; for this
particular Injustice is a part of the Injustice co-extensive with Vice,
and likewise this Justice of the Justice co-extensive with Virtue.
So that what we have now to speak of is the particular Justice and
Injustice, and likewise the particular Just and Unjust.

Here then let us dismiss any further consideration of the Justice
ranking as co-extensive with Virtue (being the practice of Virtue in all
its bearings towards others), and of the co-relative Injustice (being
similarly the practice of Vice). It is clear too, that we must separate
off the Just and the Unjust involved in these: because one may pretty
well say that most lawful things are those which naturally result in
action from Virtue in its fullest sense, because the law enjoins the
living in accordance with each Virtue and forbids living in accordance
with each Vice. And the producing causes of Virtue in all its bearings
are those enactments which have been made respecting education for

By the way, as to individual education, in respect of which a man is
simply good without reference to others, whether it is the province of
[Greek: politikhae] or some other science we must determine at a
future time: for it may be it is not the same thing to be a good man and
a good citizen in every case.

Now of the Particular Justice, and the Just involved in it, one species
is that which is concerned in the distributions of honour, or wealth, or
such other things as are to be shared among the members of the social
community (because in these one man as compared with another may have
either an equal or an unequal share), and the other is that which is
Corrective in the various transactions between man and man.

[Sidenote: 1131a] And of this latter there are two parts: because of
transactions some are voluntary and some involuntary; voluntary, such as
follow; selling, buying, use, bail, borrowing, deposit, hiring: and this
class is called voluntary because the origination of these transactions
is voluntary.

The involuntary again are either such as effect secrecy; as theft,
adultery, poisoning, pimping, kidnapping of slaves, assassination, false
witness; or accompanied with open violence; as insult, bonds, death,
plundering, maiming, foul language, slanderous abuse.


Well, the unjust man we have said is unequal, and the abstract "Unjust"
unequal: further, it is plain that there is some mean of the unequal,
that is to say, the equal or exact half (because in whatever action
there is the greater and the less there is also the equal, i.e. the
exact half). If then the Unjust is unequal the Just is equal, which all
must allow without further proof: and as the equal is a mean the Just
must be also a mean. Now the equal implies two terms at least: it
follows then that the Just is both a mean and equal, and these to
certain persons; and, in so far as it is a mean, between certain things
(that is, the greater and the less), and, so far as it is equal, between
two, and in so far as it is just it is so to certain persons. The Just
then must imply four terms at least, for those to which it is just are
two, and the terms representing the things are two.

And there will be the same equality between the terms representing the
persons, as between those representing the things: because as the latter
are to one another so are the former: for if the persons are not equal
they must not have equal shares; in fact this is the very source of all
the quarrelling and wrangling in the world, when either they who are
equal have and get awarded to them things not equal, or being not equal
those things which are equal. Again, the necessity of this equality of
ratios is shown by the common phrase "according to rate," for all agree
that the Just in distributions ought to be according to some rate:
but what that rate is to be, all do not agree; the democrats are for
freedom, oligarchs for wealth, others for nobleness of birth, and the
aristocratic party for virtue.

The Just, then, is a certain proportionable thing. For proportion does
not apply merely to number in the abstract, but to number generally,
since it is equality of ratios, and implies four terms at least (that
this is the case in what may be called discrete proportion is plain and
obvious, but it is true also in continual proportion, for this uses the
one [Sidenote: 1131b] term as two, and mentions it twice; thus A:B:C may
be expressed A:B::B:C. In the first, B is named twice; and so, if, as
in the second, B is actually written twice, the proportionals will be
four): and the Just likewise implies four terms at the least, and the
ratio between the two pair of terms is the same, because the persons and
the things are divided similarly. It will stand then thus, A:B::C:D, and
then permutando A:C::B:D, and then (supposing C and D to represent the
things) A+C:B+D::A:B. The distribution in fact consisting in putting
together these terms thus: and if they are put together so as to
preserve this same ratio, the distribution puts them together justly. So
then the joining together of the first and third and second and fourth
proportionals is the Just in the distribution, and this Just is the
mean relatively to that which violates the proportionate, for
the proportionate is a mean and the Just is proportionate. Now
mathematicians call this kind of proportion geometrical: for in
geometrical proportion the whole is to the whole as each part to each
part. Furthermore this proportion is not continual, because the person
and thing do not make up one term.

The Just then is this proportionate, and the Unjust that which violates
the proportionate; and so there comes to be the greater and the less:
which in fact is the case in actual transactions, because he who acts
unjustly has the greater share and he who is treated unjustly has the
less of what is good: but in the case of what is bad this is reversed:
for the less evil compared with the greater comes to be reckoned for
good, because the less evil is more choiceworthy than the greater, and
what is choiceworthy is good, and the more so the greater good.

This then is the one species of the Just.


And the remaining one is the Corrective, which arises in voluntary as
well as involuntary transactions. Now this just has a different form
from the aforementioned; for that which is concerned in distribution of
common property is always according to the aforementioned proportion: I
mean that, if the division is made out of common property, the
shares will bear the same proportion to one another as the original
contributions did: and the Unjust which is opposite to this Just is that
which violates the proportionate.

But the Just which arises in transactions between men is an equal in a
certain sense, and the Unjust an unequal, only not in the way of that
proportion but of arithmetical. [Sidenote: 1132a ] Because it makes no
difference whether a robbery, for instance, is committed by a good man
on a bad or by a bad man on a good, nor whether a good or a bad man has
committed adultery: the law looks only to the difference created by the
injury and treats the men as previously equal, where the one does and
the other suffers injury, or the one has done and the other suffered
harm. And so this Unjust, being unequal, the judge endeavours to reduce
to equality again, because really when the one party has been wounded
and the other has struck him, or the one kills and the other dies, the
suffering and the doing are divided into unequal shares; well, the judge
tries to restore equality by penalty, thereby taking from the gain.

For these terms gain and loss are applied to these cases, though perhaps
the term in some particular instance may not be strictly proper, as
gain, for instance, to the man who has given a blow, and loss to him who
has received it: still, when the suffering has been estimated, the one
is called loss and the other gain.

And so the equal is a mean between the more and the less, which
represent gain and loss in contrary ways (I mean, that the more of good
and the less of evil is gain, the less of good and the more of evil is
loss): between which the equal was stated to be a mean, which equal we
say is Just: and so the Corrective Just must be the mean between loss
and gain. And this is the reason why, upon a dispute arising, men have
recourse to the judge: going to the judge is in fact going to the Just,
for the judge is meant to be the personification of the Just. And men
seek a judge as one in the mean, which is expressed in a name given by
some to judges ([Greek: mesidioi], or middle-men) under the notion that
if they can hit on the mean they shall hit on the Just. The Just is then
surely a mean since the judge is also.

So it is the office of a judge to make things equal, and the line, as it
were, having been unequally divided, he takes from the greater part that
by which it exceeds the half, and adds this on to the less. And when the
whole is divided into two exactly equal portions then men say they have
their own, when they have gotten the equal; and the equal is a mean
between the greater and the less according to arithmetical equality.

This, by the way, accounts for the etymology of the term by which we
in Greek express the ideas of Just and Judge; ([Greek: dikaion] quasi
[Greek: dichaion], that is in two parts, and [Greek: dikastaes] quasi
[Greek: dichastaes], he who divides into two parts). For when from one
of two equal magnitudes somewhat has been taken and added to the other,
this latter exceeds the former by twice that portion: if it had been
merely taken from the former and not added to the latter, then the
latter would [Sidenote:1132b] have exceeded the former only by that one
portion; but in the other case, the greater exceeds the mean by one, and
the mean exceeds also by one that magnitude from which the portion was
taken. By this illustration, then, we obtain a rule to determine what
one ought to take from him who has the greater, and what to add to him
who has the less. The excess of the mean over the less must be added to
the less, and the excess of the greater over the mean be taken from the

Thus let there be three straight lines equal to one another. From one of
them cut off a portion, and add as much to another of them. The whole
line thus made will exceed the remainder of the first-named line, by
twice the portion added, and will exceed the untouched line by that
portion. And these terms loss and gain are derived from voluntary
exchange: that is to say, the having more than what was one's own is
called gaining, and the having less than one's original stock is called
losing; for instance, in buying or selling, or any other transactions
which are guaranteed by law: but when the result is neither more nor
less, but exactly the same as there was originally, people say they have
their own, and neither lose nor gain.

So then the Just we have been speaking of is a mean between loss and
gain arising in involuntary transactions; that is, it is the having the
same after the transaction as one had before it took place.

[Sidenote: V] There are people who have a notion that Reciprocation is
simply just, as the Pythagoreans said: for they defined the Just simply
and without qualification as "That which reciprocates with another." But
this simple Reciprocation will not fit on either to the Distributive
Just, or the Corrective (and yet this is the interpretation they put
on the Rhadamanthian rule of Just, If a man should suffer what he hath
done, then there would be straightforward justice"), for in many
cases differences arise: as, for instance, suppose one in authority
has struck a man, he is not to be struck in turn; or if a man has
struck one in authority, he must not only be struck but punished also.
And again, the voluntariness or involuntariness of actions makes a
great difference.

[Sidenote: II33_a_] But in dealings of exchange such a principle of
Justice as this Reciprocation forms the bond of union, but then it must
be Reciprocation according to proportion and not exact equality, because
by proportionate reciprocity of action the social community is held
together, For either Reciprocation of evil is meant, and if this be
not allowed it is thought to be a servile condition of things: or else
Reciprocation of good, and if this be not effected then there is no
admission to participation which is the very bond of their union.

And this is the moral of placing the Temple of the Graces ([Greek:
charites]) in the public streets; to impress the notion that there may
be requital, this being peculiar to [Greek: charis] because a man ought
to requite with a good turn the man who has done him a favour and then
to become himself the originator of another [Greek: charis], by doing
him a favour.

Now the acts of mutual giving in due proportion may be represented
by the diameters of a parallelogram, at the four angles of which the
parties and their wares are so placed that the side connecting the
parties be opposite to that connecting the wares, and each party be
connected by one side with his own ware, as in the accompanying diagram.

[Illustration: Builder_Shoemaker House_Shoes.]

The builder is to receive from the shoemaker of his ware, and to give
him of his own: if then there be first proportionate equality, and
_then_ the Reciprocation takes place, there will be the just result
which we are speaking of: if not, there is not the equal, nor will the
connection stand: for there is no reason why the ware of the one may not
be better than that of the other, and therefore before the exchange is
made they must have been equalised. And this is so also in the other
arts: for they would have been destroyed entirely if there were not a
correspondence in point of quantity and quality between the producer and
the consumer. For, we must remember, no dealing arises between two of
the same kind, two physicians, for instance; but say between a physician
and agriculturist, or, to state it generally, between those who are
different and not equal, but these of course must have been equalised
before the exchange can take place.

It is therefore indispensable that all things which can be exchanged
should be capable of comparison, and for this purpose money has come
in, and comes to be a kind of medium, for it measures all things and so
likewise the excess and defect; for instance, how many shoes are equal
to a house or a given quantity of food. As then the builder to the
shoemaker, so many shoes must be to the house (or food, if instead of a
builder an agriculturist be the exchanging party); for unless there is
this proportion there cannot be exchange or dealing, and this proportion
cannot be unless the terms are in some way equal; hence the need, as was
stated above, of some one measure of all things. Now this is really
and truly the Demand for them, which is the common bond of all such
dealings. For if the parties were not in want at all or not similarly of
one another's wares, there would either not be any exchange, or at least
not the same.

And money has come to be, by general agreement, a representative of
Demand: and the account of its Greek name [Greek: nomisma] is this, that
it is what it is not naturally but by custom or law ([Greek: nomos]),
and it rests with us to change its value, or make it wholly useless.

[Sidenote: 1113b] Very well then, there will be Reciprocation when
the terms have been equalised so as to stand in this proportion;
Agriculturist : Shoemaker : : wares of Shoemaker : wares of
Agriculturist; but you must bring them to this form of proportion when
they exchange, otherwise the one extreme will combine both exceedings of
the mean: but when they have exactly their own then they are equal and
have dealings, because the same equality can come to be in their case.
Let A represent an agriculturist, C food, B a shoemaker, D his wares
equalised with A's. Then the proportion will be correct, A:B::C:D; _now_
Reciprocation will be practicable, if it were not, there would have been
no dealing.

Now that what connects men in such transactions is Demand, as being some
one thing, is shown by the fact that, when either one does not want the
other or neither want one another, they do not exchange at all: whereas
they do when one wants what the other man has, wine for instance, giving
in return corn for exportation.

And further, money is a kind of security to us in respect of exchange
at some future time (supposing that one wants nothing now that we shall
have it when we do): the theory of money being that whenever one brings
it one can receive commodities in exchange: of course this too is liable
to depreciation, for its purchasing power is not always the same,
but still it is of a more permanent nature than the commodities it
represents. And this is the reason why all things should have a price
set upon them, because thus there may be exchange at any time, and if
exchange then dealing. So money, like a measure, making all things
commensurable equalises them: for if there was not exchange there would
not have been dealing, nor exchange if there were not equality, nor
equality if there were not the capacity of being commensurate: it
is impossible that things so greatly different should be really
commensurate, but we can approximate sufficiently for all practical
purposes in reference to Demand. The common measure must be some one
thing, and also from agreement (for which reason it is called [Greek:
nomisma]), for this makes all things commensurable: in fact, all things
are measured by money. Let B represent ten minae, A a house worth five
minae, or in other words half B, C a bed worth 1/10th of B: it is clear
then how many beds are equal to one house, namely, five.

It is obvious also that exchange was thus conducted before the existence
of money: for it makes no difference whether you give for a house five
beds or the price of five beds. We have now said then what the abstract
Just and Unjust are, and these having been defined it is plain that
just acting is a mean between acting unjustly and being acted unjustly
towards: the former being equivalent to having more, and the latter to
having less.

But Justice, it must be observed, is a mean state not after the same
manner as the forementioned virtues, but because it aims at producing
the mean, while Injustice occupies _both_ the extremes.

[Sidenote: 1134_a_] And Justice is the moral state in virtue of which
the just man is said to have the aptitude for practising the Just in
the way of moral choice, and for making division between _, himself and
another, or between two other men, not so as to give to himself the
greater and to his neighbour the less share of what is choiceworthy and
contrariwise of what is hurtful, but what is proportionably equal, and
in like manner when adjudging the rights of two other men.

Injustice is all this with respect to the Unjust: and since the Unjust
is excess or defect of what is good or hurtful respectively, in
violation of the proportionate, therefore Injustice is both excess and
defect because it aims at producing excess and defect; excess, that is,
in a man's own case of what is simply advantageous, and defect of what
is hurtful: and in the case of other men in like manner generally
speaking, only that the proportionate is violated not always in one
direction as before but whichever way it happens in the given case. And
of the Unjust act the less is being acted unjustly towards, and the
greater the acting unjustly towards others.

Let this way of describing the nature of Justice and Injustice, and
likewise the Just and the Unjust generally, be accepted as sufficient.

[Sidenote: VI] Again, since a man may do unjust acts and not yet have
formed a character of injustice, the question arises whether a man is
unjust in each particular form of injustice, say a thief, or adulterer,
or robber, by doing acts of a given character.

We may say, I think, that this will not of itself make any difference; a
man may, for instance, have had connection with another's wife, knowing
well with whom he was sinning, but he may have done it not of deliberate
choice but from the impulse of passion: of course he acts unjustly, but
he has not necessarily formed an unjust character: that is, he may have
stolen yet not be a thief; or committed an act of adultery but still not
be an adulterer, and so on in other cases which might be enumerated.

Of the relation which Reciprocation bears to the Just we have already
spoken: and here it should be noticed that the Just which we are
investigating is both the Just in the abstract and also as exhibited in
Social Relations, which latter arises in the case of those who live in
communion with a view to independence and who are free and equal either
proportionately or numerically.

It follows then that those who are not in this position have not among
themselves the Social Just, but still Just of some kind and resembling
that other. For Just implies mutually acknowledged law, and law the
possibility of injustice, for adjudication is the act of distinguishing
between the Just and the Unjust.

And among whomsoever there is the possibility of injustice among these
there is that of acting unjustly; but it does not hold conversely that
injustice attaches to all among whom there is the possibility of acting
unjustly, since by the former we mean giving one's self the larger share
of what is abstractedly good and the less of what is abstractedly evil.

[Sidenote: 134_b_] This, by the way, is the reason why we do not allow
a man to govern, but Principle, because a man governs for himself and
comes to be a despot: but the office of a ruler is to be guardian of the
Just and therefore of the Equal. Well then, since he seems to have no
peculiar personal advantage, supposing him a Just man, for in this case
he does not allot to himself the larger share of what is abstractedly
good unless it falls to his share proportionately (for which reason he
really governs for others, and so Justice, men say, is a good not to
one's self so much as to others, as was mentioned before), therefore
some compensation must be given him, as there actually is in the shape
of honour and privilege; and wherever these are not adequate there
rulers turn into despots.

But the Just which arises in the relations of Master and Father, is not
identical with, but similar to, these; because there is no possibility
of injustice towards those things which are absolutely one's own; and
a slave or child (so long as this last is of a certain age and not
separated into an independent being), is, as it were, part of a man's
self, and no man chooses to hurt himself, for which reason there cannot
be injustice towards one's own self: therefore neither is there the
social Unjust or Just, which was stated to be in accordance with law and
to exist between those among whom law naturally exists, and these were
said to be they to whom belongs equality of ruling and being ruled.

Hence also there is Just rather between a man and his wife than between
a man and his children or slaves; this is in fact the Just arising in
domestic relations: and this too is different from the Social Just.

[Sidenote: VII] Further, this last-mentioned Just is of two kinds,
natural and conventional; the former being that which has everywhere the
same force and does not depend upon being received or not; the latter
being that which originally may be this way or that indifferently but
not after enactment: for instance, the price of ransom being fixed at
a mina, or the sacrificing a goat instead of two sheep; and again, all
cases of special enactment, as the sacrificing to Brasidas as a hero; in
short, all matters of special decree.

But there are some men who think that all the Justs are of this latter
kind, and on this ground: whatever exists by nature, they say, is
unchangeable and has everywhere the same force; fire, for instance,
burns not here only but in Persia as well, but the Justs they see
changed in various places.

Now this is not really so, and yet it is in a way (though among the gods
perhaps by no means): still even amongst ourselves there is somewhat
existing by nature: allowing that everything is subject to change, still
there is that which does exist by nature, and that which does not.

Nay, we may go further, and say that it is practically plain what among
things which can be otherwise does exist by nature, and what does not
but is dependent upon enactment and conventional, even granting
that both are alike subject to be changed: and the same distinctive
illustration will apply to this and other cases; the right hand is
naturally the stronger, still some men may become equally strong in

[Sidenote: 1135_a_] A parallel may be drawn between the Justs which
depend upon convention and expedience, and measures; for wine and corn
measures are not equal in all places, but where men buy they are large,
and where these same sell again they are smaller: well, in like manner
the Justs which are not natural, but of human invention, are not
everywhere the same, for not even the forms of government are, and yet
there is one only which by nature would be best in all places.

Now of Justs and Lawfuls each bears to the acts which embody and
exemplify it the relation of an universal to a particular; the acts
being many, but each of the principles only singular because each is an
universal. And so there is a difference between an unjust act and the
abstract Unjust, and the just act and the abstract Just: I mean, a thing
is unjust in itself, by nature or by ordinance; well, when this has been
embodied in act, there is an unjust act, but not till then, only
some unjust thing. And similarly of a just act. (Perhaps [Greek:
dikaiopragaema] is more correctly the common or generic term for just
act, the word [Greek: dikaioma], which I have here used, meaning
generally and properly the act corrective of the unjust act.) Now as
to each of them, what kinds there are, and how many, and what is their
object-matter, we must examine afterwards.

[Sidenote: VIII] For the present we proceed to say that, the Justs
and the Unjusts being what have been mentioned, a man is said to act
unjustly or justly when he embodies these abstracts in voluntary
actions, but when in involuntary, then he neither acts unjustly or
justly except accidentally; I mean that the being just or unjust is
really only accidental to the agents in such cases.

So both unjust and just actions are limited by the being voluntary or
the contrary: for when an embodying of the Unjust is voluntary, then
it is blamed and is at the same time also an unjust action: but, if
voluntariness does not attach, there will be a thing which is in itself
unjust but not yet an unjust action.

By voluntary, I mean, as we stated before, whatsoever of things in his
own power a man does with knowledge, and the absence of ignorance as to
the person to whom, or the instrument with which, or the result with
which he does; as, for instance, whom he strikes, what he strikes him
with, and with what probable result; and each of these points again, not
accidentally nor by compulsion; as supposing another man were to seize
his hand and strike a third person with it, here, of course, the owner
of the hand acts not voluntarily, because it did not rest with him to do
or leave undone: or again, it is conceivable that the person struck may
be his father, and he may know that it is a man, or even one of the
present company, whom he is striking, but not know that it is his
father. And let these same distinctions be supposed to be carried into
the case of the result and in fact the whole of any given action. In
fine then, that is involuntary which is done through ignorance, or
which, not resulting from ignorance, is not in the agent's control or is
done on compulsion.

I mention these cases, because there are many natural *[Sidenote:
1135_b_] things which we do and suffer knowingly but still no one of
which is either voluntary or involuntary, growing old, or dying, for

Again, accidentality may attach to the unjust in like manner as to the
just acts. For instance, a man may have restored what was deposited
with him, but against his will and from fear of the consequences of
a refusal: we must not say that he either does what is just, or does
justly, except accidentally: and in like manner the man who through
compulsion and against his will fails to restore a deposit, must be said
to do unjustly, or to do what is unjust, accidentally only.

Again, voluntary actions we do either from deliberate choice or without
it; from it, when we act from previous deliberation; without it, when
without any previous deliberation. Since then hurts which may be done in
transactions between man and man are threefold, those mistakes which are
attended with ignorance are, when a man either does a thing not to the
man to whom he meant to do it, or not the thing he meant to do, or not
with the instrument, or not with the result which he intended: either he
did not think he should hit him at all, or not with this, or this is not
the man he thought he should hit, or he did not think this would be
the result of the blow but a result has followed which he did not
anticipate; as, for instance, he did it not to wound but merely to prick
him; or it is not the man whom, or the way in which, he meant.

Now when the hurt has come about contrary to all reasonable expectation,
it is a Misadventure; when though not contrary to expectation yet
without any viciousness, it is a Mistake; for a man makes a mistake when
the origination of the cause rests with himself, he has a misadventure
when it is external to himself. When again he acts with knowledge, but
not from previous deliberation, it is an unjust action; for instance,
whatever happens to men from anger or other passions which are necessary
or natural: for when doing these hurts or making these mistakes they act
unjustly of course and their actions are unjust, still they are not yet
confirmed unjust or wicked persons by reason of these, because the hurt
did not arise from depravity in the doer of it: but when it does arise
from deliberate choice, then the doer is a confirmed unjust and depraved

And on this principle acts done from anger are fairly judged not to be
from malice prepense, because it is not the man who acts in wrath who
is the originator really but he who caused his wrath. And again,
the question at issue in such cases is not respecting the fact but
respecting the justice of the case, the occasion of anger being a notion
of injury. I mean, that the parties do not dispute about the fact, as in
questions of contract (where one of the two must be a rogue, unless real
forgetfulness can be pleaded), but, admitting the fact, they dispute on
which side the justice of the case lies (the one who plotted against the
other, _i.e._ the real aggressor, of course, cannot be ignorant), so
that the one thinks there is injustice committed while the other does

[Sidenote: 11364] Well then, a man acts unjustly if he has hurt another
of deliberate purpose, and he who commits such acts of injustice is
_ipso facto_ an unjust character when they are in violation of the
proportionate or the equal; and in like manner also a man is a just
character when he acts justly of deliberate purpose, and he does act
justly if he acts voluntarily.

Then as for involuntary acts of harm, they are either such as are
excusable or such as are not: under the former head come all errors done
not merely in ignorance but from ignorance; under the latter all that
are done not from ignorance but in ignorance caused by some passion
which is neither natural nor fairly attributable to human infirmity.

[Sidenote: IX] Now a question may be raised whether we have spoken with
sufficient distinctness as to being unjustly dealt with, and dealing
unjustly towards others. First, whether the case is possible which
Euripides has put, saying somewhat strangely,

"My mother he hath slain; the tale is short,
Either he willingly did slay her willing,
Or else with her will but against his own."

I mean then, is it really possible for a person to be unjustly dealt
with with his own consent, or must every case of being unjustly dealt
with be against the will of the sufferer as every act of unjust dealing
is voluntary?

And next, are cases of being unjustly dealt with to be ruled all one way
as every act of unjust dealing is voluntary? or may we say that some
cases are voluntary and some involuntary?

Similarly also as regards being justly dealt with: all just acting is
voluntary, so that it is fair to suppose that the being dealt with
unjustly or justly must be similarly opposed, as to being either
voluntary or involuntary.

Now as for being justly dealt with, the position that every case of this
is voluntary is a strange one, for some are certainly justly dealt
with without their will. The fact is a man may also fairly raise this
question, whether in every case he who has suffered what is unjust is
therefore unjustly dealt with, or rather that the case is the same with
suffering as it is with acting; namely that in both it is possible to
participate in what is just, but only accidentally. Clearly the case of
what is unjust is similar: for doing things in themselves unjust is not
identical with acting unjustly, nor is suffering them the same as being
unjustly dealt with. So too of acting justly and being justly dealt
with, since it is impossible to be unjustly dealt with unless some one
else acts unjustly or to be justly dealt with unless some one else acts

Now if acting unjustly is simply "hurting another voluntarily" (by which
I mean, knowing whom you are hurting, and wherewith, and how you are
hurting him), and the man who fails of self-control voluntarily hurts
himself, then this will be a case of being voluntarily dealt unjustly
with, and it will be possible for a man to deal unjustly with himself.
(This by the way is one of the questions raised, whether it is possible
for a man to deal unjustly with himself.) Or again, a man may, by
reason of failing of self-control, receive hurt from another man acting
voluntarily, and so here will be another case of being unjustly dealt
with voluntarily. [Sidenote: 1136]

The solution, I take it, is this: the definition of being unjustly dealt
with is not correct, but we must add, to the hurting with the knowledge
of the person hurt and the instrument and the manner of hurting him, the
fact of its being against the wish of the man who is hurt.

So then a man may be hurt and suffer what is in itself unjust
voluntarily, but unjustly dealt with voluntarily no man can be: since no
man wishes to be hurt, not even he who fails of self-control, who really
acts contrary to his wish: for no man wishes for that which he does not
_think_ to be good, and the man who fails of self-control does not what
he thinks he ought to do.

And again, he that gives away his own property (as Homer says Glaucus
gave to Diomed, "armour of gold for brass, armour worth a hundred oxen
for that which was worth but nine") is not unjustly dealt with, because
the giving rests entirely with himself; but being unjustly dealt with
does not, there must be some other person who is dealing unjustly
towards him.

With respect to being unjustly dealt with then, it is clear that it is
not voluntary.

There remain yet two points on which we purposed to speak: first, is he
chargeable with an unjust act who in distribution has _given_ the larger
share to one party contrary to the proper rate, or he that _has_ the
larger share? next, can a man deal unjustly by himself?

In the first question, if the first-named alternative is possible and
it is the distributor who acts unjustly and not he who has the larger
share, then supposing that a person knowingly and willingly gives more
to another than to himself here is a case of a man dealing unjustly by
himself; which, in fact, moderate men are thought to do, for it is a
characteristic of the equitable man to take less than his due.

Is not this the answer? that the case is not quite fairly stated,
because of some other good, such as credit or the abstract honourable,
in the supposed case the man did get the larger share. And again, the
difficulty is solved by reference to the definition of unjust dealing:
for the man suffers nothing contrary to his own wish, so that, on this
score at least, he is not unjustly dealt with, but, if anything, he is
hurt only.

It is evident also that it is the distributor who acts unjustly and not
the man who has the greater share: because the mere fact of the abstract
Unjust attaching to what a man does, does not constitute unjust action,
but the doing this voluntarily: and voluntariness attaches to that
quarter whence is the origination of the action, which clearly is in the
distributor not in the receiver. And again the term doing is used in
several senses; in one sense inanimate objects kill, or the hand, or
the slave by his master's bidding; so the man in question does not act
unjustly but does things which are in themselves unjust.

[Sidenote: 1137a] Again, suppose that a man has made a wrongful award
in ignorance; in the eye of the law he does not act unjustly nor is
his awarding unjust, but yet he is in a certain sense: for the Just
according to law and primary or natural Just are not coincident: but, if
he knowingly decided unjustly, then he himself as well as the receiver
got the larger share, that is, either of favour from the receiver or
private revenge against the other party: and so the man who decided
unjustly from these motives gets a larger share, in exactly the same
sense as a man would who received part of the actual matter of the
unjust action: because in this case the man who wrongly adjudged, say a
field, did not actually get land but money by his unjust decision.

Now men suppose that acting Unjustly rests entirely with themselves,
and conclude that acting Justly is therefore also easy. But this is not
really so; to have connection with a neighbour's wife, or strike one's
neighbour, or give the money with one's hand, is of course easy and
rests with one's self: but the doing these acts with certain inward
dispositions neither is easy nor rests entirely with one's self. And in
like way, the knowing what is Just and what Unjust men think no great
instance of wisdom because it is not hard to comprehend those things
of which the laws speak. They forget that these are not Just actions,
except accidentally: to be Just they must be done and distributed in
a certain manner: and this is a more difficult task than knowing what
things are wholesome; for in this branch of knowledge it is an easy
matter to know honey, wine, hellebore, cautery, or the use of the knife,
but the knowing how one should administer these with a view to health,
and to whom and at what time, amounts in fact to being a physician.

From this very same mistake they suppose also, that acting Unjustly is
equally in the power of the Just man, for the Just man no less, nay even
more, than the Unjust, may be able to do the particular acts; he may be
able to have intercourse with a woman or strike a man; or the brave man
to throw away his shield and turn his back and run this way or that.
True: but then it is not the mere doing these things which constitutes
acts of cowardice or injustice (except accidentally), but the doing them
with certain inward dispositions: just as it is not the mere using or
not using the knife, administering or not administering certain drugs,
which constitutes medical treatment or curing, but doing these things in
a certain particular way.

Again the abstract principles of Justice have their province among those
who partake of what is abstractedly good, and can have too much or too
little of these. Now there are beings who cannot have too much of them,
as perhaps the gods; there are others, again, to whom no particle of
them is of use, those who are incurably wicked to whom all things are
hurtful; others to whom they are useful to a certain degree: for this
reason then the province of Justice is among Men.

[Sidenote: 1137b] We have next to speak of Equity and the Equitable,
that is to say, of the relations of Equity to Justice and the Equitable
to the Just; for when we look into the matter the two do not appear
identical nor yet different in kind; and we sometimes commend the
Equitable and the man who embodies it in his actions, so that by way of
praise we commonly transfer the term also to other acts instead of the
term good, thus showing that the more Equitable a thing is the better it
is: at other times following a certain train of reasoning we arrive at a
difficulty, in that the Equitable though distinct from the Just is yet
praiseworthy; it seems to follow either that the Just is not good or the
Equitable not Just, since they are by hypothesis different; or if both
are good then they are identical.

This is a tolerably fair statement of the difficulty which on these
grounds arises in respect of the Equitable; but, in fact, all these may
be reconciled and really involve no contradiction: for the Equitable is
Just, being also better than one form of Just, but is not better than
the Just as though it were different from it in kind: Just and Equitable
then are identical, and, both being good, the Equitable is the better of
the two.

What causes the difficulty is this; the Equitable is Just, but not the
Just which is in accordance with written law, being in fact a correction
of that kind of Just. And the account of this is, that every law is
necessarily universal while there are some things which it is not
possible to speak of rightly in any universal or general statement.
Where then there is a necessity for general statement, while a general
statement cannot apply rightly to all cases, the law takes the
generality of cases, being fully aware of the error thus involved; and
rightly too notwithstanding, because the fault is not in the law, or
in the framer of the law, but is inherent in the nature of the thing,
because the matter of all action is necessarily such.

When then the law has spoken in general terms, and there arises a
case of exception to the general rule, it is proper, in so far as the
lawgiver omits the case and by reason of his universality of statement
is wrong, to set right the omission by ruling it as the lawgiver himself
would rule were he there present, and would have provided by law had he
foreseen the case would arise. And so the Equitable is Just but better
than one form of Just; I do not mean the abstract Just but the error
which arises out of the universality of statement: and this is the
nature of the Equitable, "a correction of Law, where Law is defective by
reason of its universality."

This is the reason why not all things are according to law, because
there are things about which it is simply impossible to lay down a law,
and so we want special enactments for particular cases. For to speak
generally, the rule of the undefined must be itself undefined also, just
as the rule to measure Lesbian building is made of lead: for this rule
shifts according to the form of each stone and the special enactment
according to the facts of the case in question.

[Sidenote: 1138a] It is clear then what the Equitable is; namely that it
is Just but better than one form of Just: and hence it appears too who
the Equitable man is: he is one who has a tendency to choose and carry
out these principles, and who is not apt to press the letter of the law
on the worse side but content to waive his strict claims though backed
by the law: and this moral state is Equity, being a species of Justice,
not a different moral state from Justice.


The answer to the second of the two questions indicated above, "whether
it is possible for a man to deal unjustly by himself," is obvious from
what has been already stated. In the first place, one class of Justs is
those which are enforced by law in accordance with Virtue in the most
extensive sense of the term: for instance, the law does not bid a man
kill himself; and whatever it does not bid it forbids: well, whenever a
man does hurt contrary to the law (unless by way of requital of hurt),
voluntarily, i.e. knowing to whom he does it and wherewith, he acts
Unjustly. Now he that from rage kills himself, voluntarily, does this
in contravention of Right Reason, which the law does not permit. He
therefore acts Unjustly: but towards whom? towards the Community, not
towards himself (because he suffers with his own consent, and no man can
be Unjustly dealt with with his own consent), and on this principle the
Community punishes him; that is a certain infamy is attached to the
suicide as to one who acts Unjustly towards the Community.

Next, a man cannot deal Unjustly by himself in the sense in which a man
is Unjust who only does Unjust acts without being entirely bad (for the
two things are different, because the Unjust man is in a way bad, as the
coward is, not as though he were chargeable with badness in the full
extent of the term, and so he does not act Unjustly in this sense),
because if it were so then it would be possible for the same thing to
have been taken away from and added to the same person: but this is
really not possible, the Just and the Unjust always implying a plurality
of persons.

Again, an Unjust action must be voluntary, done of deliberate purpose,
and aggressive (for the man who hurts because he has first suffered and
is merely requiting the same is not thought to act Unjustly), but here
the man does to himself and suffers the same things at the same time.

Again, it would imply the possibility of being Unjustly dealt with with
one's own consent.

And, besides all this, a man cannot act Unjustly without his act falling
under some particular crime; now a man cannot seduce his own wife,
commit a burglary on his own premises, or steal his own property. After
all, the general answer to the question is to allege what was settled
respecting being Unjustly dealt with with one's own consent.

It is obvious, moreover, that being Unjustly dealt by and dealing
Unjustly by others are both wrong; because the one is having less, the
other having more, than the mean, and the case is parallel to that of
the healthy in the healing art, and that of good condition in the art of
training: but still the dealing Unjustly by others is the worst of the
two, because this involves wickedness and is blameworthy; wickedness, I
mean, either wholly, or nearly so (for not all voluntary wrong implies
injustice), but the being Unjustly dealt by does not involve wickedness
or injustice.

[Sidenote: 1138b] In itself then, the being Unjustly dealt by is the
least bad, but accidentally it may be the greater evil of the two.
However, scientific statement cannot take in such considerations; a
pleurisy, for instance, is called a greater physical evil than a bruise:
and yet this last may be the greater accidentally; it may chance that a
bruise received in a fall may cause one to be captured by the enemy and

Further: Just, in the way of metaphor and similitude, there may be I do
not say between a man and himself exactly but between certain parts of
his nature; but not Just of every kind, only such as belongs to the
relation of master and slave, or to that of the head of a family. For
all through this treatise the rational part of the Soul has been viewed
as distinct from the irrational.

Now, taking these into consideration, there is thought to be a
possibility of injustice towards one's self, because herein it is
possible for men to suffer somewhat in contradiction of impulses really
their own; and so it is thought that there is Just of a certain kind
between these parts mutually, as between ruler and ruled.

Let this then be accepted as an account of the distinctions which we
recognise respecting Justice and the rest of the moral virtues.


I having stated in a former part of this treatise that men should choose
the mean instead of either the excess or defect, and that the mean
is according to the dictates of Right Reason; we will now proceed to
explain this term.

For in all the habits which we have expressly mentioned, as likewise
in all the others, there is, so to speak, a mark with his eye fixed on
which the man who has Reason tightens or slacks his rope; and there is a
certain limit of those mean states which we say are in accordance with
Right Reason, and lie between excess on the one hand and defect on the

Now to speak thus is true enough but conveys no very definite meaning:
as, in fact, in all other pursuits requiring attention and diligence on
which skill and science are brought to bear; it is quite true of course
to say that men are neither to labour nor relax too much or too little,
but in moderation, and as Right Reason directs; yet if this were all
a man had he would not be greatly the wiser; as, for instance, if in
answer to the question, what are proper applications to the body, he
were to be told, "Oh! of course, whatever the science of medicine, and
in such manner as the physician, directs."

And so in respect of the mental states it is requisite not merely that
this should be true which has been already stated, but further that it
should be expressly laid down what Right Reason is, and what is the
definition of it.

[Sidenote: 1139a] Now in our division of the Excellences of the Soul, we
said there were two classes, the Moral and the Intellectual: the former
we have already gone through; and we will now proceed to speak of the
others, premising a few words respecting the Soul itself. It was
stated before, you will remember, that the Soul consists of two parts,
the Rational, and Irrational: we must now make a similar division of the

Let it be understood then that there are two parts of the Soul possessed
of Reason; one whereby we realise those existences whose causes cannot
be otherwise than they are, and one whereby we realise those which can
be otherwise than they are (for there must be, answering to things
generically different, generically different parts of the soul naturally
adapted to each, since these parts of the soul possess their knowledge
in virtue of a certain resemblance and appropriateness in themselves to
the objects of which they are percipients); and let us name the
former, "that which is apt to know," the latter, "that which is apt to
calculate" (because deliberating and calculating are the same, and no
one ever deliberates about things which cannot be otherwise than they
are: and so the Calculative will be one part of the Rational faculty of
the soul).

We must discover, then, which is the best state of each of these,
because that will be the Excellence of each; and this again is relative
to the work each has to do.


There are in the Soul three functions on which depend moral action and
truth; Sense, Intellect, Appetition, whether vague Desire or definite
Will. Now of these Sense is the originating cause of no moral action, as
is seen from the fact that brutes have Sense but are in no way partakers
of moral action.

[Intellect and Will are thus connected,] what in the Intellectual
operation is Affirmation and Negation that in the Will is Pursuit and
Avoidance, And so, since Moral Virtue is a State apt to exercise Moral
Choice and Moral Choice is Will consequent on deliberation, the Reason
must be true and the Will right, to constitute good Moral Choice, and
what the Reason affirms the Will must pursue. Now this Intellectual
operation and this Truth is what bears upon Moral Action; of course
truth and falsehood than the conclusion such knowledge as he has will be
merely accidental.


[Sidenote:1140a] Let thus much be accepted as a definition of Knowledge.
Matter which may exist otherwise than it actually does in any given case
(commonly called Contingent) is of two kinds, that which is the object
of Making, and that which is the object of Doing; now Making and Doing
are two different things (as we show in the exoteric treatise), and
so that state of mind, conjoined with Reason, which is apt to Do, is
distinct from that also conjoined with Reason, which is apt to Make: and
for this reason they are not included one by the other, that is, Doing
is not Making, nor Making Doing. Now as Architecture is an Art, and is
the same as "a certain state of mind, conjoined with Reason, which is
apt to Make," and as there is no Art which is not such a state, nor any
such state which is not an Art, Art, in its strict and proper sense,
must be "a state of mind, conjoined with true Reason, apt to Make."

Now all Art has to do with production, and contrivance, and seeing how
any of those things may be produced which may either be or not be, and
the origination of which rests with the maker and not with the thing

And, so neither things which exist or come into being necessarily, nor
things in the way of nature, come under the province of Art, because
these are self-originating. And since Making and Doing are distinct, Art
must be concerned with the former and not the latter. And in a certain
sense Art and Fortune are concerned with the same things, as, Agathon
says by the way,

"Art Fortune loves, and is of her beloved."

So Art, as has been stated, is "a certain state of mind, apt to Make,
conjoined with true Reason;" its absence, on the contrary, is the same
state conjoined with false Reason, and both are employed upon Contingent


As for Practical Wisdom, we shall ascertain its nature by examining to
what kind of persons we in common language ascribe it.

[Sidenote: 1140b] It is thought then to be the property of the
Practically Wise man to be able to deliberate well respecting what is
good and expedient for himself, not in any definite line, as what is
conducive to health or strength, but what to living well. A proof of
this is that we call men Wise in this or that, when they calculate well
with a view to some good end in a case where there is no definite
rule. And so, in a general way of speaking, the man who is good at
deliberation will be Practically Wise. Now no man deliberates respecting
things which cannot be otherwise than they are, nor such as lie not
within the range of his own action: and so, since Knowledge requires
strict demonstrative reasoning, of which Contingent matter does not
admit (I say Contingent matter, because all matters of deliberation must
be Contingent and deliberation cannot take place with respect to things
which are Necessarily), Practical Wisdom cannot be Knowledge nor Art;
nor the former, because what falls under the province of Doing must be
Contingent; not the latter, because Doing and Making are different in

It remains then that it must be "a state of mind true, conjoined with
Reason, and apt to Do, having for its object those things which are good
or bad for Man:" because of Making something beyond itself is always the
object, but cannot be of Doing because the very well-doing is in itself
an End.

For this reason we think Pericles and men of that stamp to be
Practically Wise, because they can see what is good for themselves and
for men in general, and we also think those to be such who are skilled
in domestic management or civil government. In fact, this is the reason
why we call the habit of perfected self-mastery by the name which in
Greek it bears, etymologically signifying "that which preserves the
Practical Wisdom:" for what it does preserve is the Notion I have
mentioned, _i.e._ of one's own true interest, For it is not every kind
of Notion which the pleasant and the painful corrupt and pervert, as,
for instance, that "the three angles of every rectilineal triangle are
equal to two right angles," but only those bearing on moral action.

For the Principles of the matters of moral action are the final cause
of them: now to the man who has been corrupted by reason of pleasure or
pain the Principle immediately becomes obscured, nor does he see that it
is his duty to choose and act in each instance with a view to this final
cause and by reason of it: for viciousness has a tendency to destroy the
moral Principle: and so Practical Wisdom must be "a state conjoined with
reason, true, having human good for its object, and apt to do."

Then again Art admits of degrees of excellence, but Practical Wisdom
does not: and in Art he who goes wrong purposely is preferable to him
who does so unwittingly, but not so in respect of Practical Wisdom or
the other Virtues. It plainly is then an Excellence of a certain kind,
and not an Art.

Now as there are two parts of the Soul which have Reason, it must be the
Excellence of the Opinionative [which we called before calculative or
deliberative], because both Opinion and Practical Wisdom are exercised
upon Contingent matter. And further, it is not simply a state conjoined
with Reason, as is proved by the fact that such a state may be forgotten
and so lost while Practical Wisdom cannot.


Now Knowledge is a conception concerning universals and Necessary
matter, and there are of course certain First Principles in all trains
of demonstrative reasoning (that is of all Knowledge because this is
connected with reasoning): that faculty, then, which takes in the first
principles of that which comes under the range of Knowledge, cannot be
either Knowledge, or Art, or Practical Wisdom: not Knowledge, because
what is the object of Knowledge must be derived from demonstrative
reasoning; not either of the other two, because they are exercised upon
Contingent matter only. [Sidenote: 1141a] Nor can it be Science which
takes in these, because the Scientific Man must in some cases depend on
demonstrative Reasoning.

It comes then to this: since the faculties whereby we always attain
truth and are never deceived when dealing with matter Necessary or even
Contingent are Knowledge, Practical Wisdom, Science, and Intuition, and
the faculty which takes in First Principles cannot be any of the three
first; the last, namely Intuition, must be it which performs this


Science is a term we use principally in two meanings: in the first
place, in the Arts we ascribe it to those who carry their arts to the
highest accuracy; Phidias, for instance, we call a Scientific or cunning
sculptor; Polycleitus a Scientific or cunning statuary; meaning, in this
instance, nothing else by Science than an excellence of art: in the
other sense, we think some to be Scientific in a general way, not in any
particular line or in any particular thing, just as Homer says of a man
in his Margites; "Him the Gods made neither a digger of the ground, nor
ploughman, nor in any other way Scientific."

So it is plain that Science must mean the most accurate of all
Knowledge; but if so, then the Scientific man must not merely know the
deductions from the First Principles but be in possession of truth
respecting the First Principles. So that Science must be equivalent
to Intuition and Knowledge; it is, so to speak, Knowledge of the most
precious objects, _with a head on_.

I say of the most precious things, because it is absurd to suppose
[Greek: politikae], or Practical Wisdom, to be the highest, unless it
can be shown that Man is the most excellent of all that exists in the
Universe. Now if "healthy" and "good" are relative terms, differing
when applied to men or to fish, but "white" and "straight" are the same
always, men must allow that the Scientific is the same always, but the
Practically Wise varies: for whatever provides all things well for
itself, to this they would apply the term Practically Wise, and commit
these matters to it; which is the reason, by the way, that they call
some brutes Practically Wise, such that is as plainly have a faculty of
forethought respecting their own subsistence.

And it is quite plain that Science and [Greek: politikae] cannot be
identical: because if men give the name of Science to that faculty which
is employed upon what is expedient for themselves, there will be many
instead of one, because there is not one and the same faculty employed
on the good of all animals collectively, unless in the same sense as you
may say there is one art of healing with respect to all living beings.

[Sidenote: 1141b] If it is urged that man is superior to all other
animals, that makes no difference: for there are many other things more
Godlike in their nature than Man, as, most obviously, the elements of
which the Universe is composed.

It is plain then that Science is the union of Knowledge and Intuition,
and has for its objects those things which are most precious in their
nature. Accordingly, Anexagoras, Thales, and men of that stamp, people
call Scientific, but not Practically Wise because they see them ignorant
of what concerns themselves; and they say that what they know is quite
out of the common run certainly, and wonderful, and hard, and very fine
no doubt, but still useless because they do not seek after what is good
for them as men.

But Practical Wisdom is employed upon human matters, and such as are
objects of deliberation (for we say, that to deliberate well is most
peculiarly the work of the man who possesses this Wisdom), and no man
deliberates about things which cannot be otherwise than they are, nor
about any save those that have some definite End and this End good
resulting from Moral Action; and the man to whom we should give the name
of Good in Counsel, simply and without modification, is he who in the
way of calculation has a capacity for attaining that of practical goods
which is the best for Man. Nor again does Practical Wisdom consist in
a knowledge of general principles only, but it is necessary that one
should know also the particular details, because it is apt to act, and
action is concerned with details: for which reason sometimes men who
have not much knowledge are more practical than others who have; among
others, they who derive all they know from actual experience: suppose a
man to know, for instance, that light meats are easy of digestion and
wholesome, but not what kinds of meat are light, he will not produce a
healthy state; that man will have a much better chance of doing so,
who knows that the flesh of birds is light and wholesome. Since then
Practical Wisdom is apt to act, one ought to have both kinds of
knowledge, or, if only one, the knowledge of details rather than
of Principles. So there will be in respect of Practical Wisdom the
distinction of supreme and subordinate.


Further: [Greek: politikhae] and Practical Wisdom are the same mental
state, but the point of view is not the same.

Of Practical Wisdom exerted upon a community that which I would call
the Supreme is the faculty of Legislation; the subordinate, which is
concerned with the details, generally has the common name [Greek:
politikhae], and its functions are Action and Deliberation (for the
particular enactment is a matter of action, being the ultimate issue of
this branch of Practical Wisdom, and therefore people commonly say, that
these men alone are really engaged in government, because they alone
act, filling the same place relatively to legislators, that workmen do
to a master).

Again, that is thought to be Practical Wisdom in the most proper sense
which has for its object the interest of the Individual: and this
usually appropriates the common name: the others are called respectively
Domestic Management, Legislation, Executive Government divided into two
branches, Deliberative and Judicial. Now of course, knowledge for
one's self is one kind of knowledge, but it admits of many shades of
difference: and it is a common notion that the man [Sidenote:1142a] who
knows and busies himself about his own concerns merely is the man of
Practical Wisdom, while they who extend their solicitude to society at
large are considered meddlesome.

Euripides has thus embodied this sentiment; "How," says one of his
Characters, "How foolish am I, who whereas I might have shared equally,
idly numbered among the multitude of the army ... for them that are busy
and meddlesome [Jove hates]," because the generality of mankind seek
their own good and hold that this is their proper business. It is then
from this opinion that the notion has arisen that such men are the
Practically-Wise. And yet it is just possible that the good of the
individual cannot be secured independently of connection with a family
or a community. And again, how a man should manage his own affairs is
sometimes not quite plain, and must be made a matter of inquiry.

A corroboration of what I have said is the fact, that the young come to
be geometricians, and mathematicians, and Scientific in such matters,
but it is not thought that a young man can come to be possessed of
Practical Wisdom: now the reason is, that this Wisdom has for its object
particular facts, which come to be known from experience, which a young
man has not because it is produced only by length of time.

By the way, a person might also inquire why a boy may be made a
mathematician but not Scientific or a natural philosopher. Is not this
the reason? that mathematics are taken in by the process of abstraction,
but the principles of Science and natural philosophy must be gained by
experiment; and the latter young men talk of but do not realise, while
the nature of the former is plain and clear.

Again, in matter of practice, error attaches either to the general rule,
in the process of deliberation, or to the particular fact: for instance,
this would be a general rule, "All water of a certain gravity is bad;"
the particular fact, "this water is of that gravity."

And that Practical Wisdom is not knowledge is plain, for it has to do
with the ultimate issue, as has been said, because every object of
action is of this nature.

To Intuition it is opposed, for this takes in those principles which
cannot be proved by reasoning, while Practical Wisdom is concerned with
the ultimate particular fact which cannot be realised by Knowledge but
by Sense; I do not mean one of the five senses, but the same by which
we take in the mathematical fact, that no rectilineal figure can be
contained by less than three lines, i.e. that a triangle is the ultimate
figure, because here also is a stopping point.

This however is Sense rather than Practical Wisdom, which is of another


Now the acts of inquiring and deliberating differ, though deliberating
is a kind of inquiring. We ought to ascertain about Good Counsel
likewise what it is, whether a kind of Knowledge, or Opinion, or Happy
Conjecture, or some other kind of faculty. Knowledge it obviously is
not, because men do not inquire about what they know, and Good Counsel
is a kind of deliberation, and the man who is deliberating is inquiring
and calculating. [Sidenote:1142b]

Neither is it Happy Conjecture; because this is independent of
reasoning, and a rapid operation; but men deliberate a long time, and
it is a common saying that one should execute speedily what has been
resolved upon in deliberation, but deliberate slowly.

Quick perception of causes again is a different faculty from good
counsel, for it is a species of Happy Conjecture. Nor is Good Counsel
Opinion of any kind.

Well then, since he who deliberates ill goes wrong, and he who
deliberates well does so rightly, it is clear that Good Counsel is
rightness of some kind, but not of Knowledge nor of Opinion: for
Knowledge cannot be called right because it cannot be wrong, and
Rightness of Opinion is Truth: and again, all which is the object of
opinion is definitely marked out.

Still, however, Good Counsel is not independent of Reason, Does it
remain then that it is a rightness of Intellectual Operation simply,
because this does not amount to an assertion; and the objection to
Opinion was that it is not a process of inquiry but already a definite
assertion; whereas whosoever deliberates, whether well or ill, is
engaged in inquiry and calculation.

Well, Good Counsel is a Rightness of deliberation, and so the first
question must regard the nature and objects of deliberation. Now
remember Rightness is an equivocal term; we plainly do not mean
Rightness of any kind whatever; the [Greek: akrataes], for instance, or
the bad man, will obtain by his calculation what he sets before him as
an object, and so he may be said to have deliberated _rightly_ in one
sense, but will have attained a great evil. Whereas to have deliberated
well is thought to be a good, because Good Counsel is Rightness of
deliberation of such a nature as is apt to attain good.

But even this again you may get by false reasoning, and hit upon the
right effect though not through right means, your middle term being
fallacious: and so neither will this be yet Good Counsel in consequence
of which you get what you ought but not through proper means.

Again, one man may hit on a thing after long deliberation, another
quickly. And so that before described will not be yet Good Counsel, but
the Rightness must be with reference to what is expedient; and you must
have a proper end in view, pursue it in a right manner and right time.

Once more. One may deliberate well either generally or towards some
particular End. Good counsel in the general then is that which goes
right towards that which is the End in a general way of consideration;
in particular, that which does so towards some particular End.

Since then deliberating well is a quality of men possessed of Practical
Wisdom, Good Counsel must be "Rightness in respect of what conduces to a
given End, of which Practical Wisdom is the true conception." [Sidenote:
X 1143_a_] There is too the faculty of Judiciousness, and also its
absence, in virtue of which we call men Judicious or the contrary.

Now Judiciousness is neither entirely identical with Knowledge or
Opinion (for then all would have been Judicious), nor is it any one
specific science, as medical science whose object matter is things
wholesome; or geometry whose object matter is magnitude: for it has not
for its object things which always exist and are immutable, nor of those
things which come into being just any which may chance; but those in
respect of which a man might doubt and deliberate.

And so it has the same object matter as Practical Wisdom; yet the two
faculties are not identical, because Practical Wisdom has the capacity
for commanding and taking the initiative, for its End is "what one
should do or not do:" but Judiciousness is only apt to decide upon
suggestions (though we do in Greek put "well" on to the faculty and its
concrete noun, these really mean exactly the same as the plain words),
and Judiciousness is neither the having Practical Wisdom, nor attaining
it: but just as learning is termed [Greek: sunievai] when a man uses
his knowledge, so judiciousness consists in employing the Opinionative
faculty in judging concerning those things which come within the
province of Practical Wisdom, when another enunciates them; and not
judging merely, but judging well (for [Greek: eu] and [Greek: kalos]
mean exactly the same thing). And the Greek name of this faculty is
derived from the use of the term [Greek: suvievai] in learning: [Greek:
mavthaveiv] and [Greek: suvievai] being often used as synonymous.

[Sidenote: XI] The faculty called [Greek: gvomh], in right of which we
call men [Greek: euyvomoves], or say they have [Greek: gvomh], is "the
right judgment of the equitable man." A proof of which is that we most
commonly say that the equitable man has a tendency to make allowance,
and the making allowance in certain cases is equitable. And [Greek:
sungvomae] (the word denoting allowance) is right [Greek: gvomh] having
a capacity of making equitable decisions, By "right" I mean that which
attains the True. Now all these mental states tend to the same object,
as indeed common language leads us to expect: I mean, we speak of
[Greek: gnomae], Judiciousness, Practical Wisdom, and Practical
Intuition, attributing the possession of [Greek: gnomae] and Practical
Intuition to the same Individuals whom we denominate Practically-Wise
and Judicious: because all these faculties are employed upon the
extremes, i.e. on particular details; and in right of his aptitude
for deciding on the matters which come within the province of the
Practically-Wise, a man is Judicious and possessed of good [Greek:
gnomae]; i.e. he is disposed to make allowance, for considerations of
equity are entertained by all good men alike in transactions with their

And all matters of Moral Action belong to the class of particulars,
otherwise called extremes: for the man of Practical Wisdom must know
them, and Judiciousness and [Greek: gnomae] are concerned with matters
of Moral Actions, which are extremes.

[Sidenote:1143b] Intuition, moreover, takes in the extremes at both
ends: I mean, the first and last terms must be taken in not by reasoning
but by Intuition [so that Intuition comes to be of two kinds], and that
which belongs to strict demonstrative reasonings takes in immutable,
i.e. Necessary, first terms; while that which is employed in practical
matters takes in the extreme, the Contingent, and the minor Premiss: for
the minor Premisses are the source of the Final Cause, Universals being
made up out of Particulars. To take in these, of course, we must have
Sense, i.e. in other words Practical Intuition. And for this reason
these are thought to be simply gifts of nature; and whereas no man is
thought to be Scientific by nature, men are thought to have [Greek:
gnomae], and Judiciousness, and Practical Intuition: a proof of which is
that we think these faculties are a consequence even of particular ages,
and this given age has Practical Intuition and [Greek: gnomae], we say,
as if under the notion that nature is the cause. And thus Intuition is
both the beginning and end, because the proofs are based upon the one
kind of extremes and concern the other.

And so one should attend to the undemonstrable dicta and opinions of the
skilful, the old and the Practically-Wise, no less than to those which
are based on strict reasoning, because they see aright, having gained
their power of moral vision from experience.


Well, we have now stated the nature and objects of Practical Wisdom and
Science respectively, and that they belong each to a different part
of the Soul. But I can conceive a person questioning their utility.
"Science," he would say, "concerns itself with none of the causes of
human happiness (for it has nothing to do with producing anything):
Practical Wisdom has this recommendation, I grant, but where is the need
of it, since its province is those things which are just and honourable,
and good for man, and these are the things which the good man as such
does; but we are not a bit the more apt to do them because we know them,
since the Moral Virtues are Habits; just as we are not more apt to be
healthy or in good condition from mere knowledge of what relates to
these (I mean, of course, things so called not from their producing
health, etc., but from their evidencing it in a particular subject),
for we are not more apt to be healthy and in good condition merely from
knowing the art of medicine or training.

"If it be urged that _knowing what is_ good does not by itself make a
Practically-Wise man but _becoming_ good; still this Wisdom will be no
use either to those that are good, and so have it already, or to those
who have it not; because it will make no difference to them whether they
have it themselves or put themselves under the guidance of others who
have; and we might be contented to be in respect of this as in respect
of health: for though we wish to be healthy still we do not set about
learning the art of healing.

"Furthermore, it would seem to be strange that, though lower in the
scale than Science, it is to be its master; which it is, because
whatever produces results takes the rule and directs in each matter."

This then is what we are to talk about, for these are the only points
now raised.

[Sidenote:1144a] Now first we say that being respectively Excellences
of different parts of the Soul they must be choiceworthy, even on the
supposition that they neither of them produce results.

In the next place we say that they _do_ produce results; that Science
makes Happiness, not as the medical art but as healthiness makes health:
because, being a part of Virtue in its most extensive sense, it makes a
man happy by being possessed and by working.

Next, Man's work _as Man_ is accomplished by virtue of Practical Wisdom
and Moral Virtue, the latter giving the right aim and direction, the
former the right means to its attainment; but of the fourth part of the
Soul, the mere nutritive principle, there is no such Excellence, because
nothing is in its power to do or leave undone.

As to our not being more apt to do what is noble and just by reason of
possessing Practical Wisdom, we must begin a little higher up, taking
this for our starting-point. As we say that men may do things in
themselves just and yet not be just men; for instance, when men do what
the laws require of them, either against their will, or by reason of
ignorance or something else, at all events not for the sake of the
things themselves; and yet they do what they ought and all that the good
man should do; so it seems that to be a good man one must do each act in
a particular frame of mind, I mean from Moral Choice and for the sake of
the things themselves which are done. Now it is Virtue which makes the
Moral Choice right, but whatever is naturally required to carry out
that Choice comes under the province not of Virtue but of a different
faculty. We must halt, as it were, awhile, and speak more clearly on
these points.

There is then a certain faculty, commonly named Cleverness, of such a
nature as to be able to do and attain whatever conduces to _any_ given
purpose: now if that purpose be a good one the faculty is praiseworthy;
if otherwise, it goes by a name which, denoting strictly the ability,
implies the willingness to do _anything_; we accordingly call the
Practically-Wise Clever, and also those who can and will do anything.

Now Practical Wisdom is not identical with Cleverness, nor is it without
this power of adapting means to ends: but this Eye of the Soul (as we
may call it) does not attain its proper state without goodness, as we
have said before and as is quite plain, because the syllogisms into
which Moral Action may be analysed have for their Major Premiss, "since
----------is the End and the Chief Good" (fill up the blank with just
anything you please, for we merely want to exhibit the Form, so that
anything will do), but _how_ this blank should be filled is seen only by
the good man: because Vice distorts the moral vision and causes men to
be deceived in respect of practical principles.

It is clear, therefore, that a man cannot be a Practically-Wise,
without being a good, man.


[Sidenote:1144b] We must inquire again also about Virtue: for it may be
divided into Natural Virtue and Matured, which two bear to each other a
relation similar to that which Practical Wisdom bears to Cleverness, one
not of identity but resemblance. I speak of Natural Virtue, because men
hold that each of the moral dispositions attach to us all somehow by
nature: we have dispositions towards justice, self-mastery and courage,
for instance, immediately from our birth: but still we seek Goodness
in its highest sense as something distinct from these, and that these
dispositions should attach to us in a somewhat different fashion.
Children and brutes have these natural states, but then they are plainly
hurtful unless combined with an intellectual element: at least thus much
is matter of actual experience and observation, that as a strong body
destitute of sight must, if set in motion, fall violently because it has
not sight, so it is also in the case we are considering: but if it can
get the intellectual element it then excels in acting. Just so the
Natural State of Virtue, being like this strong body, will then
be Virtue in the highest sense when it too is combined with the
intellectual element.

So that, as in the case of the Opinionative faculty, there are two
forms, Cleverness and Practical Wisdom; so also in the case of the Moral
there are two, Natural Virtue and Matured; and of these the latter
cannot be formed without Practical Wisdom.

This leads some to say that all the Virtues are merely intellectual
Practical Wisdom, and Socrates was partly right in his inquiry and
partly wrong: wrong in that he thought all the Virtues were merely
intellectual Practical Wisdom, right in saying they were not independent
of that faculty.

A proof of which is that now all, in defining Virtue, add on the "state"
[mentioning also to what standard it has reference, namely that] "which
is accordant with Right Reason:" now "right" means in accordance with
Practical Wisdom. So then all seem to have an instinctive notion that
that state which is in accordance with Practical Wisdom is Virtue;
however, we must make a slight change in their statement, because that
state is Virtue, not merely which is in accordance with but which
implies the possession of Right Reason; which, upon such matters, is
Practical Wisdom. The difference between us and Socrates is this: he
thought the Virtues were reasoning processes (_i.e._ that they were all
instances of Knowledge in its strict sense), but we say they imply the
possession of Reason.

From what has been said then it is clear that one cannot be, strictly
speaking, good without Practical Wisdom nor Practically-Wise without
moral goodness.

And by the distinction between Natural and Matured Virtue one can
meet the reasoning by which it might be argued "that the Virtues are
separable because the same man is not by nature most inclined to all at
once so that he will have acquired this one before he has that other:"
we would reply that this is possible with respect to the Natural Virtues
but not with respect to those in right of which a man is denominated
simply good: because they will all belong to him together with the one
faculty of Practical Wisdom. [Sidenote:1145a]

It is plain too that even had it not been apt to act we should have
needed it, because it is the Excellence of a part of the Soul; and that
the moral choice cannot be right independently of Practical Wisdom and
Moral Goodness; because this gives the right End, that causes the doing
these things which conduce to the End.

Then again, it is not Master of Science (i.e. of the superior part of
the Soul), just as neither is the healing art Master of health; for it
does not make use of it, but looks how it may come to be: so it commands
for the sake of it but does not command it.

The objection is, in fact, about as valid as if a man should say
[Greek: politikae] governs the gods because it gives orders about all
things in the communty.


On [Greek: epistaemae], from I. Post. Analyt. chap. i. and ii.

(Such parts only are translated as throw light on the Ethics.)

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