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Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book IV

Book IV, Chapter 1

In the next place, let us speak concerning liberality. But it appears to be a medium about riches. For the liberal man is praised, not in warlike concerns, nor in those things in which the temperate man is praised, nor, again, in judicial affairs, but in the giving and receiving of riches; and more in the giving, than the receiving. We call, however, riches everything, the worth of which is measured by money. But prodigality and illiberality are excesses and defects about riches. And we always, indeed, ascribe illiberality to those, who pay more attention to riches than is proper; but combining, we sometimes attribute prodigality to the intemperate. For we call both the incontinent, and those who consume their property in intemperance, prodigals. Hence, men of this description appear to be most depraved; for at one and the same time they have many vices. They are noto however, appropriately denominated. For he is a prodigal, who has one certain vice, viz. the consumplion of his property. For he is a prodigal, who is destroyed through himself; since the consumption of his property appears to be a certain destruction of himself, as through this the means of living are obtained. In this way, therefore, we consider prodigality.

With respect to those things, however, of which there is a certain use, it is possible to use them well or ill. But wealth is among the number of things useful. And he uses everything in the best manner, who possesses the virtue pertaining to each thing. He, therefore, will use wealth in the best manner, who has the virtue pertaining to riches; and he is the liberal man. The use, however, of riches appears to be expense and donation; but the accepting and preservation of riches, is rather possession. Hence, it is more the province of a liberal man to give to those to whom it is proper, than to receive whence it is proper, and not to receive whence it is not proper. For it is more the province of virtue to benefit than to be benefited, and to perform things which are beautiful, than not to perform things which are base. It is not, however, immanifest, that to giving, to benefit and to act beautifully are consequent; but to receiving, to be benefited, or not to act basely. Thanks, also, are presented to the giver, but not to the receiver; and praise is rather bestowed on the former than the latter. It is, likewise, more easy not to receive than to give; for men are less willing to bestow what is their own, than not to receive what belongs to another. Those, also, who bestow are called liberal; but those who do not receive, are not praised for liberality, but are no less praised for justice. Those, however, who receive, are not very much praised. But of all those who are loved on account of virtue, the liberal are nearly beloved the most; for they benefit others; and this consists in giving. The actions, however, according to virtue are beautiful, and are for the sake of the beautiful. The liberal man, therefore, gives for the sake of the beautiful, and gives rightly; for he gives to those to whom it is proper, and such things as are proper, and when it is proper, and whatever other particulars are consequent to giving rightly; and this he does either delectably, or without pain. For that which is conformable to virtue is delectable or without pain, but is in the smallest degree painful. But he who gives to those to whom it is not proper, or not for the sake of the beautiful, but from some other cause, is not liberal, but must be called by some other name. Nor is he liberal who gives with pain; for such a one would prefer riches to a beautiful action; but this is not the province of a liberal man. Nor does the liberal man receive from whence it is not proper to receive; for neither is such a kind of receiving the province of one who does not honour riches. Neither will the liberal man be readily disposed to ask a favour; for it is not the province of him who benefits, to be benefited easily. But he will take whence it is proper; as, for instance, from his own possessions, not as a thing beautiful, but as necessary, in order that he may have the means of giving. Nor will he neglect his own affairs, because he wishes, through these, to supply the wants of certain persons. Nor will he give to any casual persons, in order that he may have to give to those to whom it is proper, and when it is proper, and where it is beautiful to give. It is, likewise, very much the province of a liberal man, so to exceed in giving, as to leave but little for himself; for it is the property of a liberal man not to consider himself. But liberality is denominated according to the property which is possessed; for the liberal does not consist in the multitude of gifts, but in the habit of the giver; and this habit gives according to the means of giving. Nothing, however, hinders but that he may be a more liberal man who gives fewer things, if he gives them from less means. But those persons appear to be more liberal, who have not acquired property themselves, but have received it from others; for they have had no experience of want, and all men are more attached to their own works, as is evident in parents and poets. It is not, however, easy for the liberal man to be rich, since he is neither anxious to receive nor preserve wealth, but is more disposed to give, and does not honour riches on their own account, but for the sake of giving. Hence, also, fortune is accused, because those who most deserve to be, are in the smallest degree, wealthy. This, however, does not happen unreasonably; for it is not possible that he should be rich, who pays no attention to the means of obtaining wealth; as is also the case in other things. Nevertheless, the liberal man will not give to those to whom he ought not, nor when he ought not, and other things of the like kind; for if he did, he would no longer act conformably to liberality; and by thus consuming his wealth improperly, he would not have the means of giving to those to whom he ought to give. For as we have said, he is a liberal man who spends according to his property, and on things on which he ought to spend; but he who exceeds (his means) in spending, is a prodigal. Hence, we do not call tyrants prodigals; for it does not seem to be easy by gifts and expenses to exceed the abundance of their possessions. Since, therefore, liberality is a medium which is conversant about giving and receiving riches, the liberal man will give and spend on things on which he ought, and as much as he ought, as well in small things as in great; and he will thus act willingly, and with pleasure. He will likewise receive whence it is proper, and such things as he ought to receive. For since this virtue is a medium about giving and receiving, he will do both these in such a way as is proper; since a receiving of this kind is consequent to giving equitably; but a receiving which is not of this kind, is the contrary. Things, therefore, which are consequent may subsist together in the same thing; but it is evident that contraries cannot. But if it should happen to the liberal man that he should spend beyond what he ought, and beyond what is becoming, he will be pained, yet moderately, and in such a manner as is proper. For it is the province of virtue to be pleased and pained with those things with which it is proper to be so, and in such a way as is proper. The liberal man, also, is very pliable in pecuniary contracts. For he may be injured, since he does not honour riches; and he is more indignant if he has not spent what he ought, than pained if he has spent what he ought not; for he does not assent to Simonides.' But the prodigal errs, also, in these things. For he is neither pleased nor pained with things with which he ought, nor as he ought; but this will be more evident as we proceed.

It has, however, been observed by us, that prodigality and illiberality are excesses and defects; and in two things, viz. in giving and receiving. For we place expense in the same class with giving. Prodigality, therefore, exceeds in giving and not receiving, but it fails in receiving. And illiberality fails, indeed, in giving, but exceeds in receiving, except in small things. The peculiarities, therefore, of prodigality cannot be very much conjoined. For it is not easy for him who receives nothing, to give to every one; since the property of those private individuals rapidly fails, who also appear to be prodigals. For a man of this description does seem to be better, though not much, than the illiberal man; for he is easily cured by age, and by want, and may arrive at the medium. For he has the properties of the liberal man; since he gives, and does not receive; yet neither as he ought, nor in a becoming manner. If, therefore, he should happen to be accustomed to this, or in some other way should be changed, he would become liberal; for he would give to those to whom it is proper, and would not receive whence it is not proper. Hence, the prodigal does not appear to be depraved in his manners; for it is not the property of a bad, or ignoble, but of a stupid man, to exceed in giving and not receiving. But the who is prodigal after this manner, appears to be much better than the illiberal man, for the above-mentioned reasons, and also because the one benefits many, but the other no one, and not even himself. The multitude of prodigals, however, as we have said, receive whence they ought not, and according to this are illiberal. But they become prompt to receive, because, through being willing to spend, they are unable to do this with facility; for the means of spending rapidly fail them. Hence, they are compelled to procure money elsewhere; but at the same time, because they pay no attention to the beautiful in conduct, they receive negligently, and from every one indiscriminately. For they desire to give; but it is of no consequence to them how, or whence they give. On this account, neither are their gifts liberal; for they are not beautiful, nor for the sake of this very thing the beautiful in conduct, nor are they bestowed as they ought to be; but sometimes they cause those to be rich who ought to be poor, and give nothing to men whose manners are moderate, but bestow much, on flatterers, or those who are the means of procuring them any other pleasures. Hence, also, most of them are intemperate; for as they spend their money easily, they likewise spend profusely, on things of an intemperate nature; and because they do not live with a view to the beautiful in conduct, they incline to pleasures. The prodigal, therefore, unless he is corrected, falls into these vices; but by care and diligence, he may arrive at the medium, and to what is becoming in conduct.

Illiberality, however, is incurable; for old age, and every infirmity, appear to render men illiberal, and it is more congenial to them than prodigality. For the multitude are more desirous of gain, than disposed to give. Illiberality, likewise, extends widely, and is multiform; since there appear to be many modes of it. For, consisting in two things, a deficiency in giving, and excess in receiving, it is not wholly and entirely present with all illiberal men, but sometimes it is divided; and some, in deed, exceed in receiving, but others are deficient in giving. For all those to whom such appellations apply, as, niggardly, tenacious, and sordid, are deficient in giving; but they do not desire the property of others, nor do they wish to receive, some, indeed, through a certain probity, and an avoidance of base conduct. For some of them seem to take care of their own property, or at least say that they do so, in order that they may not at any time be compelled to do any thing base. Of these characters, however, the skinflint, and every one of the like kind, is so denominated from giving to no one in excess. But others of these abstain from property which is not their own, through fear, because it is not easy for him who takes what belongs to others, to preserve his own property unviolated. Hence, they are disposed neither to receive nor give. Others, again, exceed in receiving, in consequence of receiving on all sides and everything; such as those who perform illiberal works, together with panders, usurers, gamesters, sharpers, and other depredators, and those who for the sake of a little, subject themselves to greatinfamy. For all these receive whence they ought not, and what they ought not. The acquisition, however, of base gain appears to be common to these; for all of them endure disgrace for the sake of gain, and this small. For we do not call those illiberal, who receive great things whence they ought not, and such as they ought not, as, for instance, tyrants, the subverters of cities, and the plunderers of temples; but we rather call them depraved and impious, and unjust. The gamester, indeed, the highwayman, and the sharper, are among the number of illiberal characters; for they are addicted to base gain; since, for the sake of gain, they devote themselves to these employments, and endure disgrace. And some, indeed, expose themselves to the greatest dangers for the sake of what they may get; but others gain something from their friends to whom they ought to give. Both these, therefore, since they wish to enrich themselves whence they ought not, are addicted to base gain; and all such receivings are illiberal. Reasonably, also, is illiberality said to be contrary to liberality; for it is a greater evil than prodigality, and men terr more in this than in the prodigality of which we have spoken above. And thus much concerning liberality, and the opposite vices.

Book IV, Chapter 2

It would seem to follow that we should, in the next place, discuss magnificence; for it also appears to be a certain virtue which is conversant with riches. It does not, however, in the same manner as liberality, extend to all pecuniary actions, but only to those that are sumptuous. … But in these it surpasses liberality in magnitude; for, as its name signifies, it is a becoming costliness in great things. Magnitude, however, is a relative; for the same expense does not become the commander of a three-ranked galley, and the president of a public spectacle. The becoming, therefore, subsists with reference to him who spends, and to the thing on which he spends his money, and the money which is spent. He, however, who spends with decorum in small, or in moderate things, is not called magnificent; such as,

To vagrant mendicants I oft have giv’n;

but he who spends appropriately in great things. For the magnificent is a liberal man; but the liberal man is not, because liberal, magnificent. Of a habit, however, of this kind, the deficiency indeed is called parsimony; but the excess, vulgar ostentation, and ignorance of what is elegant; and such other appellations as belong to habits which do not exceed in magnitude about things in which great expense is becoming, but exhibit a splendid profusion, in things in which such profusion is not. proper. Concerning these, however, we shall speak hereafter. But the magnificent resembles the scientific man; for he is able to survey what is decorous, and can spend largely with elegance. For, as we said in the beginning, habit is defined by energies, and by those things of which it is the habit. But the expenses of the magnificent man are great and becoming; and such also are his deeds; for thus the expense will be great, and adapted to the deed. Hence, it is necessary that the deed should be worthy the expense, and the expense worthy the deed, or even surpassing it. The magnificent man, therefore, spends after this manner for the sake of the beautiful in conduct; for this is common to the virtues; and he also spends with pleasure and largely, because an accurate attention to expense, is the province of a parsimonious man. The magnificent man, likewise, will rather consider how he may accomplish the most beautiful and becoming work, than the money it will cost, and how it may be accomplished with the least expense. It is necessary, therefore, that the magnificent should also be a liberal man; for the liberal man spends what he ought, and as he ought. But in these things whatever is great pertains to the magnificent man, magnificence being as it were a certain magnitude of liberality. Since, however, liberality is conversant with the same things as magnificence, the magnificent man will produce a more magnificent work from an equal expense. For there is not the same virtue of possession and a work; since the virtue of a possession is, to be of great worth, and most precious, as gold; but the virtue of a work is to be great and beautiful. For the survey of a thing of this kind is admirable. But the magnificent is admirable; and the virtue of a work is magnificence in magnitude. Among expenses, however, which we call honourable, are such as pertain to the worship of the gods, gifts dedicated to divinity, the building of temples, and sacrifices; and in a similar manner such things as pertain to every demoniacal nature, and such as are bestowed on the community at large from a laudable ambition. Thus the expenses of the magnificent man will be of this kind, if he should think it requisite to furnish public spectacles splendidly, or three-ranked gallies, or to feast the city. But in all things, as we have said, it must be considered who the agent is, and what the means are which he possesses. For the expense ought to be such as is worthy of the means, and not only adapted to the work, but also to him by whom it is effected. Hence a poor cannot be a magnificent man; for he has not the means of spending much in a becoming manner. The poor man, therefore, who endeavours to do so is stupid; for such an endeavour is repugnant to his means and to the becoming. But that which is done rightly, is done according to virtue. Such expense, however, becomes those who possess hereditary wealth, or have procured it themselves, or have derived it from their ancestors, or by legacy. And it likewise becomes those who are noble and renowned, and other persons of the like kind; for all these have magnitude and dignity. The magnificent man, therefore, is especially a person of this description; and magnificence, as we have said, consists in such-like expenses; for they are the greatest, and the most honourable.

With respect to private expenses, however, those pertain to the magnificent man, which are incurred but once; such as marriage, and whatever also there may be of the like kind, and that about which the whole city is earnestly occupied, or those who are in a dignified situation. Also such expenses as pertain to the receiving and dismissing of strangers, together with gifts and remunerations. For the magnificent man does not spend sumptuously on himself, but on the public. But gifts have something similar to things consecrated to the gods. It is also the province of a magnificent man to build a house in a manner adapted to wealth, (for this also is a certain ornament;) and to bestow more upon those works which are more lasting; for these are most beautiful. It is likewise his province, in each of these to observe the becoming; for the same things are not adapted to gods and men, either in building a temple or a sepulchre. And every essense, indeed, is great in its own kind; and that is most magnificent which is greatin a great thing; but that is so in the second place which is great in these things. For there is a difference between magnitude in a work, and magnitude in expense; since a ball, indeed, or a most beautiful jug, possess the magnificence of a childish gift; but the price of these is small and illiberal. On this account it is the province of a magnificent man to do magnificently whatever he may do, in every genus of things. For a thing of this kind cannot easily be transcended, and the magnitude of the expense is appropriate. Such, therefore, is the magnificent man. But he who exceeds and is vulgarly ostentatious, exceeds by – spending, as we have before observed, beyond what is becoming. For in small things, and which require but small expense, he consumes much money, and is discordantly splendid. Thus, for instance, he will prepare a , wedding dinner through ostentation, and give money to players who are present at the entertainment, as if it were for the public advantage. And in plays he will introduce a purple curtain before the scenes, as is done by the Megarensians. He will likewise do everything of this kind, not for the sake of the beautiful in conduct, but that he may display his wealth, and fancies that on account of these things he shall be admired. In things likewise where much expense is required, he spends but little; but where little expense is required, he spends largely. The parsimonious man, however, is deficient in everything; and when he has incurred a great expense, then looking to the completion of the work, by a too accurate investigation, he leaves it imperfect through too little expense. Everything also which he does is accompanied with delay and consideration; and on this account he laments, and fancies that he does everything on a larger scale than he ought. These habits, therefore, are vices; yet they do not bring with them disgrace, because they are neither injurious to others, nor base in the extreme.

Book IV, Chapter 3

But magnanimity is conversant with great things, as is evident from the very name. What the quality of the things is, however, with which it is conversant, we must in the first place consider. But it makes no difference whether we survey the habit, or him who subsists according to the habit. He, however, appears to be magnanimous who deserving great things thinks that he deserves them; for he who thinks thus of himself undeservedly, is stupid. But no one who is endued with virtue, is either stupid or a fool. The above-mentioned character, therefore, is magnanimous. For he who deserves small things, and thinks that he deserves them, is a modest, but not a magnanimous man; since magnanimity consists in magnitude, just as beauty consists in a large body; for small men are elegant, and have symmetry of form, but are not beautiful. He, however, who thinks that he deserves great things, but thus thinks undeservedly, is proud; though not every one is proud, who, deserving many things, thinks he deserves more. But he who estimates himself less than he deserves is pusillanimous, if, deserving things of a moderate or small nature, he thinks himself to deserve still less than these. And he will especially appear to be a character of this kind, who, deserving great things, (has this humiliating opinion of himself.) For what would he do if he were not deserving of such things? The magnanimous man, therefore, is in magnitude the summit, but in that which is requisite the middle; for he thinks himself deserving of that which he does deserve; but the other characters exceed and are deficient. Hence, if deserving great things he thinks that he deserves them, and especially if he deserves the greatest things, he will principally be conversant with one thing. What this is, therefore, must be assumed from desert, and desert is denominated with reference to external goods. We must, however, consider that as the greatest of external goods, which we attribute to the Gods, after which those who are in a dignified situation especially aspire, and which is the reward of the most beautiful deeds. But honour is a thing of this kind; for this is the greatest of external goods. The magnanimous man, therefore, is conversant with honour and dishonour, in such a manner as is proper. And indeed, without any reasoning process, the magnanimous appear to be conversant with honour; for great men especially think themselves deserving of honour; but they think so deservedly. The pusillanimous man, however, is deficient both with respect to himself, and the desert of the magnanimous man. But the proud man exceeds, indeed, with respect to himself, yet not with respect to the magnanimous man. The magnanimous man, however, if he is deserving of the greatest things, will be the best of men; for a better character always deserves something greater, and the best of characters deserves the greatest of things. Hence it is necessary, that the truly magnanimous man should be a good man; and that which is great in every virtue will appear to belong to the magnanimous man. Nor does it by any means accord with the character of the magnanimous man to fly, agitated (with fear, or to injure any one. For on what account will he act basely, to whom nothing is great. But from a survey of particulars, the magnanimous man will appear to be ridiculous, if he is not a good man. Nor, indeed, will he be worthy of honour if he is a bad man; for honour is the reward of virtue, and is conferred on good men. Magnanimity, therefore, appears to be, as it were, a certain ornament of the virtues; for it causes them to be greater, and does not exist without them. On this account it is truly difficult to be magnanimous; for it is not possible to be so without integrity and worth.

The magnanimous man, therefore, is especially conversant with honour and dishonour. And with great honours, indeed, and those which are conferred by worthy men, he is moderately pleased, as being things familiar and adapted to him, or rather less than he deserves; for there can be no honour equal to the desert of allperfect virtue. Nevertheless, he will admit these honours, because they have not any thing greater to confer upon him. But he will entirely despise the honour which is paid him by casual persons, and for things of a trifling nature; for these do not accord with his desert. And in a similar manner he will despise dishonour; for it will not justly befal him. The magnanimous man, therefore, as we have said, is especially conversant with honour. Nevertheless, with respect to wealth also, and power, and all prosperous and adverse fortune, he will conduct himself in these moderately, in whatever manner they may take place. And neither in prosperity will he be very much elated, nor in adversity very much dejected. For neither is he affected with respect to honour, as if it were the greatest of things, since dominion and wealth are eligible on account of honour. Those, therefore, who possess these, wish through them to be honoured.” To him, however, to whom honour is a small thing, other things also will be small. Hence, likewise, magnanimous men appear to be supercilious. Prosperity, however, seems to contribute to magnanimity. For those that are nobly born are thought worthy of honour; and also men in authority, and those that are rich; for they surpass others. But everything which excels in good, is more honourable. Hence also things of this kind cause men to be more magnanimous; for they are honoured by certain persons on account of them. In reality, however, the good man alone is to be honoured; but he who possesses both these, (i.e., good fortune and virtue, is reckoned more deserving of honour. Those, however, who possess such-like goods without virtue, neither justly think themselves worthy of great things, nor are rightly called magnanimous men; for magnanimity cannot exist without all-perfect virtue. But those who possess things of this kind become supercilious and insolent, and bad men; for without virtue, it is not easy to bear prosperity elegantly. But not being able to bear prosperity, and fancying that they surpass other men, they despise them, and act in a casual manner. For they imitate the magnanimous man without resembling him; and they do this in those things in which they are able. They do not, therefore, act conformably to virtue, but they despise other men. The magnanimous man, however, justly despises others; for he forms a true opinion (of men and things;) but the opinion of the multitude is casually formed.

The magnanimous man also neither exposes himself to small dangers, nor is a lover of danger, because there are but few things which he considers to be of great importance. But he exposes himself to great dangers, and when he is in danger, is not sparing of his life, because he does not consider life as a thing of great importance. He is likewise disposed to benefit others, but is ashamed to be benefited; for the former is the province of one who surpasses, but the latter of one who is surpassed. And the benefit which he returns exceeds what he received. For thus it will come to pass, that he who first ‘bestowed the benefit, will be his debtor, and will be benefited by him. Magnanimous men also appear to remember those whom they have benefited, but not those from whom they have derived any advantage; for he who receives, is inferior to him who confers, the benefit. But the magnanimous man wishes to excel. Hence, neither does Thetis mention the benefits she had conferred on Jupiter, nor the Lacedaemonians those which they had conferred on the Athenians, but those which they had received from them. It is likewise the property of a magnanimous man to ask nothing of any one, or scarcely to do so, but to administer readily to the wants of others. And towards those indeed who are in a dignified situation, and in prosperous circumstances, to be great (in his behaviour, but moderate towards those who are in a middle condition. For to surpass the former is difficult and venerable, but it is easy to excel the latter. And, to conduct himself with dignity among the former is not ignoble, but among the lower class of men it is arrogant, in the same manner as it would be for a man to display his strength among the infirm. It is also the property of the magnanimous man not to betake himself to things which are held in honourable estimation, or where others possess the principal place. Likewise, to be at leisure, and given to delay, except where great honour is to be obtained, or some great work is to be accomplished; and to perform a few things, indeed, but these great and celebrated. It is also necessary that he should openly hate and openly love; for to conceal love or hatred is the province of one who is afraid. It is likewise the property of the magnanimous man, to regard truth more than opinion. And also to speak and act openly; for this is the province of the man who despises others. Hence he uses the greatest freedom of speech; for this pertains to him who speaks freely. Hence, too, he is a despiser of others, and a lover of truth, unless when he speaks ironically; but his language is ironical to the vulgar. The magnanimous man, likewise, is unable to live with any other person than a friend; for it is servile. Hence all flatterers are mercenary; and all humble men are flatterers. Nor is he given to admiration; for to him nothing is great (in human affairs.) Nor is he mindful of injuries; for it is not the province of a magnanimous man to be mindful, and especially of evils; but rather to overlook them. Nor does he speak about men; for neither does he speak about himself, nor about another person. For he is not concerned, either that he himself may be praised, or that others may be blamed. Nor again, is he addicted to praise. Hence, neither does he defame any one, not even his enemies, unless in order to remove contumely from himself. And in necessary, or small affairs, he is by no means querulous and suppliant; for to be so is the province of a man who considers such affairs as of great consequence. He is likewise so disposed, as to prefer the possession of things beautiful and unattended with advantage, to such as are advantageous and useful; for this is more the province of one who is sufficient to himself. The motion, also, of the magnanimous man is slow, his voice is grave, and his diction stable. For he who is earnestly attentive to but few things is not prone to be hasty; nor is he vehemently strenuous, who considers nothing (in human affairs) as great. But acuteness of voice, and rapidity of motion, are produced from vehemence, and considering human affairs as important. Such, therefore, is the magnanimous man.

He, however, who is deficient in magnanimity, is pusillanimous; but he who exceeds, is proud and arrogant. Neither, however, do these characters appear to be bad; for they are not malevolent, but wander from the medium. For the pusillanimous man, indeed, deserving good things, deprives himself of what he deserves; and appears to have something depraved, in consequence of not thinking himself to deserve what is good. He, also, is ignorant of himself; for if he were not, he would aspire after things of which he is worthy, such things being good. Such men, however, do not appear to be stupid, but rather to be sluggish. But an opinion of this kind seems to render them worse; for every one desires what is adapted to his desert. They, likewise, withdraw themselves from beautiful actions and pursuits, as if they were unworthy of them; and in a similar manner, from external goods. But the proud and arrogant are stupid, and ignorant of themselves, and this obviously; for they endeavour to obtain honourable things, as if they deserved them, and afterwards are reprobated by others for so doing. They also study the ornament of dress, graceful deportment, and the like; and they wish that their prosperity may be apparent; and they speak of themselves, as if they were to be honoured on account of these things. Pusillanimity, however, is more opposed to magnanimity than pride and arrogance; for it more frequently occurs, and is a worse evil. Magnanimity therefore is, as we have said, conversant with great honour.

Book IV, Chapter 4

It seems, however, that a certain virtue is conversant with honour, as we have before observed, which would appear to have a similar relation to magnanimity, that liberality has to magnificence; for both these virtues are remote from magnitude, but dispose us in such a way as is proper with respect to things moderate and small. But as in the receiving and giving of money there are a medium, excess, and defect; thus, also, in the appetition of honour, there are the more and the less than is proper, and whence it is proper, and as it is proper. For we blame the ambitious man, as aspiring after honour more than is proper, and whence it is not proper (to obtain it); and we blame the unambitious man, as not deliberately choosing to be honoured even for actions that are beautiful. Sometimes, however, we praise the ambitious man as virile, and a lover of beautiful conduct; but the unambitious man as modest and temperate, as we have before observed. But it is evident, that since the lover of a certain thing is said to be so multifariously, we do not always refer the lover of honour to the same thing; but when we praise him, it is because he desires honour more than the vulgar desire it, and when we blame him, it is because he desires it more than is proper. Since, however, the medium is anonymous, the extremes appear to contend for it as for a solitary place. But in those things in which there are excess and defect, there is also a medium. Men, also, aspire after honour more or less than is proper; and, therefore, they also aspire after it in such a way as is proper. Hence, this habit is praised, which is an anonymous medium about honour. It appears, however, with reference to ambition, to be a privation of ambition, and to be ambition with reference to a privation of ambition; and to be in a certain respect both with reference to both. This also appears to be the case in the other virtues. Here, however, the extremes are seen to be opposed to each other, because the middle is without a name.

Book IV, Chapter 5

But mildness is, indeed, a medium conversant with anger. Since, however, the virtue which conducts itself moderately with respect to anger, is anonymous, and this is, also, nearly the case with the extremes, we refer mildness to the medium, though it appears to incline rather to the deficiency in anger, which deficiency is anonymous. But the excess may be called a certain angryness. For the passion is anger; but the causes of it are many and various. He, therefore, who is angry from causes, and with persons with which it is proper to be angry, and farther still, in such a manner as is proper, and when, and as long as it is proper, is praised. Hence, he will be a mild man, since mildness is praised. For the mild man wishes to be without perturbation, and not to be led by passion; but to be angry as reason may ordain in these things, and for as long a time as it prescribes. He appears, however, rather to err in the deficiency with respect to anger; for the mild man is not given to revenge, but is rather inclined to pardon. But the deficiency, whether it be a certain lenity, or whatever it may be, is blamed. For those who are not angry from causes for which it is proper to be angry, appear to be stupid; and this is also the case with those who are not angry as it is proper, nor when it is proper, nor with those persons with whom it is proper; since they appear to be without sensation, and to be void of pain. And, also, since they are not angry, they are not inclined to revenge. For it is servile for a man to endure the insolent behaviour of others towards himself, and his own relations. Excess, however, in anger has a manifold subsistence. For it is possible to be angry with persons and from causes with which it is not proper, and also more and less, and for a longer time than is proper. All these excesses, however, are not inherent in the same person; for it is not possible that they should be. For evil destroys itself, and if it is perfect and entire is intolerable. Those, therefore, who are irascible rapidly become angry, and with things and from causes with which they ought not to be angry, and also more than is proper; but they quickly cease to be angry, which is a most excellent thing. But this happens to them because they do not restrain their anger, but return an injury as soon as they have received it. Hence their anger, on account of its celerity, is manifest; but afterwards they cease to be angry. The extremely irascible, however, are excessively rapid in their anger, and are angry with everything, and on every occasion, whence, also, they derive their appellation. But the bitterly angry, are with difficulty liberated from anger, and are angry for a long time; for they detain their anger (from bursting forth.) They cease, however, to be angry when they have taken vengeance on those that angered them; for vengeance appeases anger, producing pleasure instead of pain. But if vengeance does not take place, they are oppressed with a heavy burden; for because the manner in which they are affected is not apparent, neither does any one persuade them (to be appeased.) Time, however, is requisite for them to concoct their anger. But men of this description, are most troublesome to themselves, and to those who are especially their friends. We, likewise, call those men severe in their anger, who are angry from causes for which they ought not, and in a greater degree, and for a longer time than is proper, and who cannot be appeased without revenge or punishment. To mildness, however, we rather oppose the excess than the defect; for it is more frequent; since it is more human to revenge an injury. Severe men, also, are worse for the purpose of association. But that which we before observed, is also manifest from what we now say. For it is not easy to define how, and with what persons, and from what causes, and for how long a time, a man should be angry, and also to what extent he may be so rightly, or erroneously. For he who transgresses in a small de* gree is not blamed, whether he inclines to the more, or to the less; since we sometimes praise those that are deficient, and call them mild; and sometimes we call those who are severely angry, virile, as being men who are able to govern others. It is not, therefore, easy to explain in words, the quantity and mode of transgression which is blameable; for the judgment of this is situated in particulars, and in sense. Thus much, however, is evident, that the middle habit indeed is laudable, according to which we are angry with those persons, and from those causes that it is proper to be so, and in such a manner as is proper, and everything else of the like kind. But the excesses and defects are blameable. And these, indeed, if they deviate but a little from the medium, are blameable in a small degree; if more, in a greater degree; and if much, they are very blameable. It is evident, therefore, that the middle habit must be retained. And thus we have discussed the habits pertaining to anger.

Book IV, Chapter 6

In the associations, however, of men with each other, and in the communication of words and deeds, some persons appear to be placid and obsequious, who praise everything with a view to the pleasure (of those with whom they associate, and are not their opponents in any thing, in consequence of fancying that they ought not, by any means, to offend them. Others, on the contrary, are adverse to their associates in everything, and are not at all concerned about whom they may offend; and these are called morose and litigious. That the abovementioned habits, therefore, are blameable, is not immanifest; and, also, that the medium between these is laudable, according to which a man admits what he ought, and as he ought, and is in a similar manner indignant. No name, however, is given to this medium; but it seems especially to resemble friendship. For he who subsists according to this middle habit, is such a one as we wish a worthy friend to be, if he also assumes, in conjunction with it, a love resembling filial love. But it differs from friendship, because it is without passion and a love resembling filial love, towards those upon whom it is exercised. For it does not admit everything in such a manner as is fit, in consequence of loving or hating, but from a habit of approving or reprehending properly. For he who possesses this habit, will be similarly affable to those whom he does not, and to those whom he does know, to his associates, and to those with whom he does not associate, except that to each of these his affability will be appropriate. For it is not fit similarly to pay attention, or give pain, to familiars and strangers. We have, therefore, universally shown, that he will conduct himself in his associations in such a manner as is proper; but referring his actions to the beautiful in conduct and the useful, his aim will be neither to give pain to, nor delight others, by obsequiousness. For this virtue appears to be conversant with the pains and pleasures which take place in associations. But when the possessor of this virtue cannot delight his associates worthily, or without injuring them, he is indignant, and deliberately chooses to give them pain, (rather than to injure them by obsequiousness.) He, also, will not permit another person to be obsequious to him in those things which are attended with no small disgrace, or injury, and the contrary to which produces but little pain; but he will rather be indignant. He will, likewise, associate differently with those who are in a dignified situation, and any casual persons, and with those who are more or less known to him. In a similar manner, also, in other differences, he will attribute to every one what it is fit for each person to receive. And he will, indeed, choose to give delight to others, as a thing of itself eligible, but will cautiously avoid giving them pain. And with respect to events, if they are greater, he will follow them; I mean, he will follow the beautiful in conduct and the advantageous; and for the sake of great pleasure afterwards, he will give pain in a small degree. Such, therefore, is the middle character, but he is without a name. With respect, however, to those who delight others, he who aims at pleasing, and nothing else, may be called accommodating; but he who does this in order that he may derive some pecuniary advantage, or such things as are procured through money, is a flatterer. And he who is indignant with everything, we have already said, is morose and litigious. The extremes, however, appear to be opposed to each other, because the medium is anonymous.

Book IV, Chapter 7

The medium of arrogance, also, is nearly conversant with the same things; but this medium, likewise, is anonymous. It will not, however, be foreign from the purpose to discuss such-like habits; for by discussing each particular we shall know more of what pertains to manners, and shall be persuaded that the virtues are media, when we understand what takes place in all of them. With respect, therefore, to the associations of men with each other, we have already spoken concerning those who associate with a view to pleasure and pain. But let us now consider those who are men of veracity or falsehood, alike in words and deeds, and dissimulation. The arrogant man, therefore, appears to be one who pretends to things of a splendid nature which he does not possess, or to such as are more splendid than he possesses. The dissembler, on the contrary, denies what he possesses, or makes it to be less than it is. But the middle character, forming a just opinion of himself, is a man of veracity in his life, and in his words, acknowledging that he possesses what he does possess, and neither more nor less. Each of these, however, may be done for the sake of something, or for the sake of nothing. But such as a man is, such also will be his words and actions, and such also will be his life, unless he acts for the sake of something. Of itself, however, falsehood is bad and blameable; but truth is beautiful and laudable. Hence, the man of veracity, indeed, being a middle character, is laudable; but of the two characters who want veracity, both indeed are blameable; but the arrogant man more than the other. We s shall, however, speak concerning each of these, and in the first place concerning the man of overacity. For we do not speak of the man who has veracity in compacts, and in things which pertain to injustice or justice; for this will belong to another virtue; but we speak of him who, though nothing of this kind should occur, is a man of veracity both in words and in his life, because he is such from habit. But such a one will appear to be a worthy man. For he who is a lover of truth, and who speaks the truth in things in which it is of no consequence whether he does or not, will in a still greater degree speak the truth in things in which it is of consequence. For he will avoid what is false as base, and which also he will of itself avoid; but such a man is worthy of praise. He will, however, (if it should be requisite to deviate from the medium) rather incline to what is less than the truth; for this appears to be more elegant, because excesses are troublesome and invidious. But he who pretends that he possesses things of greater consequence than he really does, and this for the sake of nothing else, resembles indeed the depraved man; for otherwise he would not be delighted with falsehood; yet he seems to be rather a vain than a bad man. If, however, he does this for the sake of something, such as glory or honour, he is not very blameable, as the arrogant man is; but if he does it for the sake of money, or of things which pertain to money, he is more base. But the arrogant man is not characterized by capacity or power, but by deliberate choice; for he is arrogant according to habit, and because he is such a character. Thus also with respect to the man who is without veracity; one delights in falsehood itself, but another delights in it in consequence of aspiring after glory or gain. Those, therefore, who are arrogant for the sake of glory, pretend to the possession of those things for which men are praised, or proclaimed to be happy; but those who are arrogant for the sake of gain, pretend to be those characters with which others are delighted, and of which the non-possession may be latent; such as to be a physician, or a prophet, or a wise man. On this account, most men pretend and arrogate to themselves things of this kind; for they possess the above-mentioned qualities. Dissemblers, or the ironical, however, who speak less than the truth, appear indeed to be more elegant in their manners; for they do not seem to speak for the sake of gain, but in consequence of avoiding fastidiousness. But these persons especially deny that they possess things of an illustrious nature; as also Socrates did. Those, however, who pretend that they do not possess small things, and which are obvious, are called crafty or delicate deceivers, and are very contemptible men. Sometimes, also, this species of dissimulation: appears to be arrogance; such, for instance, as the garments of the Lacedaemonians. For excess and very great deficiency, alike pertain to arrogance. But those who moderately use irony, and are ironical in things which are not very much known and obvious, appear to be elegant men. The arrogant man, however, seems to be opposed to the man of veracity; for he is a worse character.

Book IV, Chapter 8

Since, however, there is a certain relaxation in life, and rest from labour, and since this remission is accompanied with jesting; it appears that here also there is a certain elegant method of conversation, in which such things are said as are proper, and are delivered in a proper manner; and similarly with respect to hearing what it is proper to hear, and hearing it in such a way as is fit. But there is a difference in speaking to some persons rather than to others, and in hearing some things rather than •others. It is evident, however, that in these things also there is an excess and deficiency with respect to the medium. Those, therefore, who exceed in the ridiculous, appear to be scurrilous and troublesome; for they entirely affect the ridiculous, and aim more at exciting laughter, than at speaking in a becoming manner, and not giving pain to the object of their ridicule. But those who do not say themselves any thing ridiculous, and are indignant with those who do, appear to be rustic and rigorous. Those, however, who jest elegantly, are called facetious and versatile, as being of a flexible genius; for of manners there appear to be such-like motions… But as a judgment is formed of bodies from motions, so like wise of manners. Since, however, there is a redundancy of the ridiculous, and most men delight in jests and cavilling more than is proper; the scurrilous also are called versatile, as being polite and pleasant men. But that they differ, and in no small degree, is evident from what has been said.

To the middle habit, also, dexterity is appropriate. But it is the province of a dexterous man to say and hear such things, as are adapted to a worthy and liberal man; for there are certain things which it becomes such a one to say and hear in jest. And the jesting of a liberal differs from that of a servile man, and again, the jesting of an erudite differs from that of an inerudite man. But the truth of this may be seen, both from ancient and modern comedies; for in the former, the ridiculous consisted in obscenity; but in the latter, the suspicion of obscenity rather excited laughter. These things, however, differ in no small degree with respect to the decorous and elegant. Whether, therefore, is he who ridicules well to be defined by this, that he says what it becomes a liberal man to say?, or by this, that he does not pain, or that he delights the hearer? Or shall we say that a thing of this kind is indefinite? For a different thing is odious and pleasing to a different person. He will also hear things of this kind, (viz. things which are adapted to a worthy and liberal man;) for such othings as a man endures to hear, such also he appears to do. He will not, therefore, do (or say) everything; for cavilling is a certain invective. Legislators, however, forbid certain invectives; and perhaps it would be proper that they should also forbid cavilling. The elegant and liberal man, therefore, will so conduct himself, as if he were a law to himself. Hence, the middle character is a man of this description, whether he is to be denominated dexterous or versatile. But the scurrilous man is vanquished by the ridiculous, and neither spares himself, nor others, if he can excite laughter. He likewise says such things, as the elegant man would never say; and some things that he says, the elegant man would not even endure to hear. The rustic man, however, is useless with respect to such conversations; for contributing nothing, he is indignant with all of them. But relaxation and jesting appear to be necessary to the life of man. There are, therefore, the above-mentioned three media in life; but all of them are conversant with the communion of certain words and actions. They differ, however, because one of them is conversant with truth, but the others are conversant with the delectable… But of the media which pertain to pleasure, one indeed is conversant with jests, but the other with the associations which belong to the rest of life.

Book IV, Chapter 9

With respect to shame, it is not fit to speak of it as of a certain virtue; for it resembles passion more than habit. It is defined, therefore, to be a certain dread of infamy; and, similar to fear, it is exercised about dreadful things. “For those who are under the influence of shame become red, or blush; but those who have the fear of death upon them are pale. Hence both these appear to be in a certain respect corporeal; which seems rather to belong to passion than to habit. This passion, however, is not adapted to every age, but to youth. For we think it requisite that young persons should be bashful, because they commit many errors in consequence of living from passion, but are restrained from the commission of them by shame. And we praise indeed bashful young men; but no one praises a bashful old man. For we think that he ought not to do any thing for which he should be ashamed; for neither does shame pertain to a worthy man, since it is produced by bad conduct; for the things which cause shame are not to be done. But it makes no difference, whether some things are in reality base, but others only base according to opinion; for neither of these are to be done; so that shame is not to be admitted. A thing of this kind also, viz. to do something base, is the province of a bad man. But for a man to be so disposed, as to be ashamed if he should do any thing that is base, and to fancy himself on this account to be a worthy character, is absurd. For shame pertains to voluntary actions; but a worthy man never voluntarily acts basely. Shame, however, from hypothesis, may seem to be good; for if a worthy man should act basely,” he would be ashamed. But this does not pertain to the virtues; nor if impudence is a bad thing, and not to be ashamed when acting basely, will it be at all a more worthy thing, to be ashamed when performing base deeds? Neither is continence a virtue, but a certain mixt thing. This, however, we shall discuss hereafter. But let us now speak concerning justice.

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