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Nicomachean Ethics bene®ts, since eagerness to be bene®ted is not a noble thing. Presumably, though, we should avoid any rejection's giving rise to a reputation for unpleasantness, since this does happen sometimes. The presence of friends, then, seems worth choosing in all circumstances. 1172a Chapter 12 So, as what the lover likes most is the sight of his beloved, and this is the perception he chooses over the others, assuming that it is on this that love depends most for its being and its source, is it not the same with friends, so that what they ®nd most worthy of choice is living together? For friendship is community, and as we are in relation to ourselves, so we are in relation to a friend. And, since the perception of our own being is worthy of choice, so is that of the being of a friend. This perception's activity arises in our living together, so that, as one would expect, this is what we aim at. And whatever being consists in for each, or whatever the end for which each chooses to live, it is this that they wish to pursue in the company of their friends. So some drink together, some dice together, others join in athletic games and hunt together, or philosophize together, each type spending their days together in that which they like most in life; for since they wish to live with their friends, they do these things and share in them as much as they can. The friendship of bad people therefore turns out to be an evil. For, because of their lack of stability, they share in bad pursuits, and turn evil through becoming like one another. But the friendship of good people is good, and increases through their association. They seem to become even better through their activity and their improving each other, because each takes impressions from the other of what meets with his approval, which gives rise to the saying, `From noble people nobility. . .'. So much, then, for our account of friendship. Next we must discuss pleasure. 182

Book X Chapter 1 After this our next task is presumably to discuss pleasure, because pleasure seems to be especially closely associated with beings like us. This is why people educate the young by steering them in the right direction with pleasure and pain. Also, enjoying and hating the right things seem the most important factors in virtue of character, because pleasure and pain run through the whole of life; and they have weighty signi®cance for virtue and the happy life, since people rationally choose what is pleasant, and avoid what is painful. It would seem, then, that these are the last things that should be ignored, especially since there is much dispute about them: some say that pleasure is the good, while others say on the contrary that it is thoroughly bad. Some of those who say it is bad presumably say this because they are convinced that this is how things are. Others, however, say it because they believe that it is better with a view to how we live to represent pleasure as a bad thing, even if it is not. For they think that the masses are inclined towards it and are slaves to their pleasures, and that we ought therefore to lead them in the opposite direction, since in this way they might arrive at the mean point. But surely this view is incorrect. For in matters to do with feelings and actions, arguments are less reliable than the facts; so when they con¯ict with the facts of perception, they are scorned, and undermine the truth as well. For if a person who criticizes pleasure is once seen aiming at it, the reason for his inclining towards it is thought to be that he regards all pleasure as worth pursuing, because it is not characteristic of the masses to draw distinctions. True 183 1172b

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