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[Aristotle,_Roger_Crisp]_Nicomachean_Ethics_(Cambr(BookFi)

1152b

1152b Nicomachean Ethics And the incontinent person is not like someone who knows and is attending to his knowledge, but like someone asleep or drunk. He acts voluntarily (because he knows in a way what he is doing and for what end), but he is not wicked; his rational choice is good, so that he is only half-wicked. Nor is he unjust, since he does not plan his misdeeds. Of the two, one type is not disposed to stand by the results of his deliberation, while the other, the excitable person, does not do wrong deliberately at all. So the incontinent person is like a city that passes all the right decrees and has good laws, but makes no use of them, as in Anaxandrides' joke: `The city willed it, which cares nothing for laws.' 56 The wicked person, however, is like a city that implements its laws, but implements wicked ones. Incontinence and self-control are concerned with what exceeds the state of most people; the self-controlled person stands ®rm more than most people can, the incontinent less. The kind of incontinence exhibited by excitable people is easier to cure than that of people who deliberate but do not stand by the result. And those incontinent through habituation are easier to cure than those who are so naturally, because it is easier to change a habit than one's nature. Indeed, the reason why habit is also hard to alter is that it is like one's nature, as Euenus says: I tell you, my friend, it is long-lasting training And this ends up as nature for human beings. 57 So we have said what continence, incontinence, endurance and softness are, and how these states are related to one another. Chapter 11 It is part of the job of the political philosopher to study pleasure and pain, since he is the architect of the end, with an eye on which we call one thing unquali®edly bad, another good. Again, examining them is also one of the things we must do, because one of our assumptions was that virtue of character, and vice, are concerned with pains and pleasures, and because most people claim that 56 Anaxandrides, fr. 66 KA. Fourth-century comic poet, possibly from Rhodes. 57 Euenus, fr. 9 Diehl. Fifth-century rhetorician and sophist, from Paros. 136

Book VII happiness involves pleasure; this is why people call the blessed (makarios) person by that name, from chairein (to enjoy). Some people think that no pleasure is a good, either in itself or incidentally, on the ground that the good and pleasure are not the same. Others think that some pleasures are good, but that most are bad. Again, there is a third point of view, that even if all pleasures are good, nevertheless the chief good cannot be pleasure. The reasons offered for the view that pleasure is not a good at all are that every pleasure is a perceived coming-to-be towards a natural state, and that no coming-to-be is in the same genus as its ends ± no instance of building, for example, is in the same genus as what is built. Again, a temperate person avoids pleasures. Again, the practically wise person pursues what is painless, not what is pleasant. Again, pleasures are a hindrance to thought, the more so the more one enjoys them: sexual pleasure, for example ± no one could think of anything in the midst of that. Again, there is no skill of pleasure, whereas every good thing is the product of a skill. Again, children and animals pursue pleasures. The reasons offered for the view that not all pleasures are good are that there are shameful and reprehensible pleasures, and that there are harmful pleasures, since some pleasant things make people ill. The reason offered for the view that pleasure is not the chief good is that it is not an end, but a coming-to-be. These, then, are roughly the views people express. Chapter 12 It is clear, however, from the following considerations that these arguments do not show that pleasure is not a good, or even that it is not the chief good. First, since things are called good in two senses (good without quali®cation, and good for somebody), it follows that natures and states, and hence also processes and comings-to-be, will be called good in these ways. And so, of those that seem to be bad, some are bad without quali®cation, but not bad for a particular person, and indeed, for this person, worthy of choice. Some are not even worthy of choice for a particular person, but nevertheless are so sometimes and for a short period, though not without quali®cation. Others are not even pleasures, 137

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