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[Aristotle,_Roger_Crisp]_Nicomachean_Ethics_(Cambr(BookFi)

Nicomachean Ethics bodily pleasures and ®nds his enjoyment in doing just this is temperate, while the person who ®nds doing it oppressive is intemperate; and the person who enjoys facing up to danger, or at least does not ®nd it painful to do so, is courageous, while he who does ®nd it painful is a coward. For virtue of character is concerned with pleasures and pains: it is because of pleasure that we do bad actions, and pain that we abstain from noble ones. It is for this reason that we need to have been brought up in a particular way from our early days, as Plato says, 10 so we might ®nd enjoyment or pain in the right things; for the right education is just this. Again, if the virtues are to do with actions and situations of being affected, and pleasure and pain follow from every action and situation of being affected, then this is another reason why virtue will be concerned with pleasures and pains. The fact that punishment is based on pleasure and pain is further evidence of their relevance; for punishment is a kind of cure, and cures by their nature are effected by contraries. Again, as we said recently, every state of the soul is naturally related to, and concerned with, the kind of things by which it is naturally made better or worse. It is because of pleasures and pains that people become bad ± through pursuing or avoiding the wrong ones, or at the wrong time, or in the wrong manner, or in any other of the various ways distinguished by reason. This is why some have classi®ed virtues as forms of insensibility or states of rest; but this is wrong, because they speak without quali®cation, without saying `in the right way' and `in the wrong way', `at the right time' and `at the wrong time', and the other things one can add. We assume, then, that virtue will be the sort of state to do the best actions in connection with pleasures and pains, and vice the contrary. The following considerations should also make it plain to us that virtue and vice are concerned with the same things. There are three objects of choice ± the noble, the useful, and the pleasant ± and three of avoidance ± their contraries, the shameful, the harmful, and the painful. In respect of all of these, especially pleasure, the good person tends to go right, and the bad person to go wrong. For pleasure is shared with animals, and accompanies all objects of 10 Plato, Republic 401e±402a; Laws 653a±c. 26

Book II choice, because what is noble and what is useful appear pleasant as well. Again, pleasure has grown up with all of us since infancy and is consequently a feeling dif®cult to eradicate, ingrained as it is in our lives. And, to a greater or lesser extent, we regulate our actions by pleasure and pain. Our whole inquiry, then, must be concerned with them, because whether we feel enjoyment and pain in a good or bad way has great in¯uence on our actions. Again, as Heraclitus says, it is harder to ®ght against pleasure than against spirit. 11 But both skill and virtue are always concerned with what is harder, because success in what is harder is superior. So this is another reason why the whole concern of virtue and political science is pleasures and pains: the person who manages them well will be good, while he who does so badly will be bad. Let it be taken as established, then, that virtue is to do with pleasures and pains; that the actions which produce it also increase it, or, if they assume a different character, corrupt it; and that the sphere of its activity is the actions that themselves gave rise to it. 1105a Chapter 4 Someone might, however, wonder what we mean by saying that becoming just requires doing just actions ®rst, and becoming temperate, temperate actions. For if we do just and temperate actions, we are already just and temperate; similarly, if we do what is literate or musical, we must be literate or musical. But surely this is not true even of the skills? For one can produce something literate by chance or under instruction from another. Someone will be literate, then, only when he produces something literate and does so in a literate way, that is, in accordance with his own literacy. Again, the case of the skills is anyway not the same as that of the virtues. For the products of the skills have their worth within themselves, so it is enough for them to be turned out with a certain quality. But actions done in accordance with virtues are done in a just or temperate way not merely by having some quality of their own, but 11 Heraclitus, 22 B 85 DK. ¯. c. 500 BCE. Important Ionian philosopher. 27

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