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[Aristotle,_Roger_Crisp]_Nicomachean_Ethics_(Cambr(BookFi)

1169b

1169b Nicomachean Ethics Everyone approves of and praises those who take special trouble to act nobly. And if everyone strives for what is noble and strains to do the noblest actions, everything will be as it should be for the common interest, and individually each will have the greatest goods, since such is virtue. So the good person should be a self-lover, since he will help himself as well as bene®t others by doing noble acts, but the wicked person should not, because he will harm both himself and those around him by following his evil feelings. There is, then, a clash for the wicked person between what he ought to do and what he does; whereas what the good person does is the same as what he ought to do, since intellect always chooses what is best for itself, and the good person obeys his intellect. It is true also of the good person that he does a great deal for his friends and his country, and will die for them if he must; he will sacri®ce money, honours, and in general the goods for which people compete, procuring for himself what is noble. He would prefer a short period of intense pleasure to a long period of mild pleasure, a year of living nobly to many indifferent years, and a single noble and great action to many trivial ones. Presumably, this is what happens with those who die for others; it is indeed a great and noble thing that they choose for themselves. They will also sacri®ce money on the condition that their friends gain more; while the friend gets money, he gets what is noble, and therefore assigns himself the greater good. Honours and public of®ces he deals with in the same way; he will sacri®ce all of them for his friend, since for him this is noble and praiseworthy. It is quite reasonable, then, that he is thought to be good, since he prefers what is noble to everything. It is even possible to sacri®ce actions for his friend, and it may be nobler to be responsible for his friend's acting than to act himself. In all praiseworthy actions, then, the good person is seen to assign himself the larger share of what is noble. So, as we have said, we ought to be self-lovers. But in the way that the masses are, we should not. Chapter 9 There is also a dispute about whether a happy person will need friends or not. People say that those who are blessed and self-suf®cient have no need of friends, since they already have the things that are good, and, 176

Book IX being self-suf®cient, need nothing further. But a friend, since he is another self, provides what a person cannot provide by himself; hence the saying, `When fortune is generous, what need of friends?'. 74 But it seems odd, when we assign to the happy person all good things, not to give him friends, who seem to constitute the greatest of external goods. Again, if it is more characteristic of a friend to treat another well than to be treated well, and characteristic of the good person and of virtue to bene®t people, and if it is nobler to treat friends well than strangers, the good person will need people whom he can treat well. This is why people wonder whether there is greater need of friends when our fortunes are good than when they are bad, since it is assumed that not only do we need people to bene®t us when our fortunes are bad, but people whom we can bene®t when our fortunes are good. Surely it is also odd to make the blessed person solitary, since no one would choose to have all good things and yet be by himself. For a human is a social being and his nature is to live in the company of others. So this will be the case with the happy person as well, because he possesses the natural goods, and it is clearly better to spend his days with friends and good people than with strangers or anybody he happens to bump into. So the happy person does need friends. What, then, do those who hold the ®rst view mean, and in what way is it true? Perhaps the reason for it is that the masses think friends to be those who are useful. The blessed person will indeed have no need of such people, since he already has what is good. And he will have no need, or little need, of friends for pleasure (because his life is pleasant, it has no need of imported pleasure). Since he has no need of these sorts of friends, he seems not to need friends at all. But this is presumably not true. As we said at the beginning, happiness is a kind of activity, and it is obvious that an activity comes into being and is not there for someone, like a possession. If being happy consists in living and engaging in activity, and the activity of the good person is good and pleasant in itself, as we said at the beginning; and if what is our own is pleasant; and if we are better able to contemplate our neighbours than ourselves, and their actions than our own; and if the good person ®nds pleasure in the actions of good people who are his friends (since they have both the qualities that are pleasant 1170a 74 Euripides, Orestes 667. 177

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