Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

LCL 73: 374-375

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iΜετὰ δὲ ταῦτα λεκτέον, ἄλλην ποιησαμένους15 ἀρχήν, ὅτι τῶν περὶ τὰ ἤθη φευκτῶν τρία ἐστὶν εἴδη, κακία ἀκρασία θηριότης. τὰ δ᾿ ἐναντία τοῖς μὲν δυσὶ δῆλα, τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀρετὴν τὸ δ᾿ ἐγκράτειαν καλοῦμεν· πρὸς δὲ τὴν θηριότητα μάλιστ᾿ ἂν ἁρμόττοι λέγειν τὴν ὑπὲρ ἡμᾶς ἀρετήν, ἡρωϊκήν τινα καὶ θείαν, ὥσπερ Ὅμηρος περὶ20 <τοῦ>1 Ἕκτορος πεποίηκε λέγοντα2 τὸν Πρίαμον, ὅτι σφόδρα ἦν ἀγαθός,

οὐδὲ ἐῴκει ἀνδρός γε θνητοῦ πάις ἔμμεναι ἀλλὰ θεοῖο.

2ὥστ᾿ εἰ, καθάπερ φασίν, ἐξ ἀνθρώπων γίνονται θεοὶ δι᾿ ἀρετῆς ὑπερβολήν, τοιαύτη τις ἂν εἴη δῆλον ὅτι ἡ τῇ θηριώδει3 ἀντιτιθεμένη ἕξις· καὶ25 γὰρ ὥσπερ οὐδὲ θηρίου ἐστὶ κακία οὐδ᾿ ἀρετή, οὕτως οὐδὲ θεοῦ, ἀλλ᾿ ἡ μὲν τιμιώτερον ἀρετῆς, 3ἡ δ᾿ ἕτερόν τι γένος κακίας. ἐπεὶ δὲ σπάνιον καὶ τὸ θεῖον ἄνδρα εἶναι, καθάπερ οἱ Λάκωνες εἰώθασι προσαγορεύειν, ὅταν4 ἀγασθῶσι σφόδρα

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Nicomachean Ethics, VII.

Book VII

iLet us next begin a fresh part of the subject by cc. i-x. Relation of Intellect and Desire: Weakness of Will. c. i. Moral states between Virtue and Vice: Self restraint and Endurance, Lack of Self-restraint and Softness. laying down that the states of moral character to be avoided are of three kinds—Vice, Unrestraint, and Bestiality.a The opposite dispositions in the case of two of the three are obvious: one we call Virtue, the other Self-restraint. As the opposite of Bestiality it will be most suitable to speak of Superhuman Virtue, or goodness on a heroic or divine scale; just as Homerb has represented Priam as saying of Hector, on account of his surpassing valour—

nor seemed to be The son of mortal man, but of a god.

2Hence if, as men say, surpassing virtue changes men into gods, the disposition opposed to Bestiality will clearly be some quality more than human; for there is no such thing as Virtue in the case of a god, any more than there is Vice or Virtue in the case of a beast: divine goodness is something more exalted than Virtue, and bestial badness is different in kind 3from Vice. And inasmuch as it is rare for a man to be divine, in the sense in which that word is commonly used by the Lacedaemonians as a term of extreme

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-nicomachean_ethics.1926