Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

LCL 73: 188-189

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iΛέγωμεν δ᾿ ἑξῆς περὶ ἐλευθεριότητος. δοκεῖ δὴ1 εἶναι2 περὶ χρήματα μεσότης· ἐπαινεῖται γὰρ ὁ ἐλευθέριος οὐκ ἐν τοῖς πολεμικοῖς, οὐδ᾿ ἐν οἷς ὁ σώφρων, οὐδ᾿ αὖ ἐν ταῖς κρίσεσιν, ἀλλὰ περὶ25 δόσιν χρημάτων καὶ λῆψιν· μᾶλλον δ᾿ ἐν τῇ δόσει. χρήματα δὲ λέγομεν πάντα ὅσων ἡ ἀξία νομίσματι 2μετρεῖται. ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἡ ἀσωτία καὶ ἡ ἀνελευθερία περὶ χρήματα ὑπερβολαὶ καὶ ἐλλείψεις· 3καὶ τὴν μὲν ἀνελευθερίαν προσάπτομεν ἀεὶ τοῖς μᾶλλον ἢ δεῖ περὶ χρήματα σπουδάζουσι, τὴν δ᾿30 4ἀσωτίαν ἐπιφέρομεν ἐνίοτε συμπλέκοντες· τοὺς γὰρ ἀκρατεῖς καὶ εἰς ἀκολασίαν δαπανηροὺς ἀσώτους καλοῦμεν· διὸ καὶ φαυλότατοι δοκοῦσιν 5εἶναι, πολλὰς γὰρ ἅμα κακίας ἔχουσιν. οὐ δὲ3 οἰκείως προσαγορεύονται· βούλεται γὰρ ἄσωτος εἶναι ὁ ἕν τι κακὸν ἔχων, τὸ φθείρειν τὴν οὐσίαν·1120 a ἄσωτος γὰρ ὁ δι᾿ αὑτὸν ἀπολλύμενος, δοκεῖ δ᾿ ἀπώλειά τις αὑτοῦ εἶναι καὶ ἡ τῆς οὐσίας φθορά, ὡς τοῦ ζῆν διὰ τούτων ὄντος. οὕτω δὴ τὴν ἀσωτίαν

  • 1δὴ Bywater: δὲ.
  • 2εἶναι ἡ Kb.
  • 3δὲ Γ: δὴ.
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Nicomachean Ethics, IV.

Book IV

iNext let us speak of Liberality. This virtue seems Bk. IV. The Moral Virtues ctd.: Liberality. to be the observance of the mean in relation to wealth: we praise a man as liberal not in war, nor in matters in which we praise him as temperate, nor in judicial decisions, but in relation to giving and gettinga wealth, and especially in giving; wealth meaning all those things whose value is measured by money.

2Prodigality and Meannessb on the other hand are both of them modes of excess and of deficiency 3in relation to wealth. Meanness is always applied to those who care more than is proper about wealth, but Prodigality is sometimes used with a wider connotation, 4since we call the unrestrained and those who squander money on debauchery prodigal; and therefore prodigality is thought to be extremely 5wicked, because it is a combination of vices. But this is not the proper application of the word: really it denotes the possessor of one particular vice, that of wasting one’s substance; for he who is ruined by his own agency is a hopeless case indeed,c and to waste one’s substance seems to be in a way to ruin oneself, inasmuch as wealth is the means of life. This then is the sense in which the term Prodigality is here understood.

  • aThe word λαμβάνειν, the antithesis of ‘give,’ varies in meaning with the context between ‘get,’ ‘receive’ and ‘take.’
  • bSee note on ii. vii. 4.
  • cἄσωτος, ‘prodigal,’ means literally ‘not saved,’ ‘in desperate case.’
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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-nicomachean_ethics.1926