Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

LCL 73: 576-577

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iΜετὰ δὲ ταῦτα περὶ ἡδονῆς ἴσως ἕπεται διελθεῖν. μάλιστα γὰρ δοκεῖ συνῳκειῶσθαι τῷ γένει20 ἡμῶν· διὸ παιδεύουσι τοὺς νέους οἰακίζοντες ἡδονῇ καὶ λύπῃ. δοκεῖ δὲ καὶ πρὸς τὴν τοῦ ἤθους ἀρετὴν μέγιστον εἶναι τὸ χαίρειν οἷς δεῖ καὶ μισεῖν ἃ δεῖ· διατείνει γὰρ ταῦτα διὰ παντὸς τοῦ βίου, ῥοπὴν ἔχοντα καὶ δύναμιν πρὸς ἀρετήν τε καὶ τὸν εὐδαίμονα βίον· τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἡδέα προαιροῦνται,25 2τὰ δὲ λυπηρὰ φεύγουσιν. ὑπὲρ δὴ1 τῶν τοιούτων ἥκιστ᾿ ἂν δόξειε παρετέον εἶναι, ἄλλως τε καὶ πολλὴν ἐχόντων ἀμφισβήτησιν. οἱ μὲν γὰρ τἀγαθὸν ἡδονὴν λέγουσιν, οἱ δ᾿ ἐξ ἐναντίας κομιδῇ φαῦλον, οἱ μὲν ἴσως πεπεισμένοι οὕτω καὶ ἔχειν, οἱ δὲ οἰόμενοι βέλτιον εἶναι πρὸς τὸν30 βίον ἡμῶν ἀποφαίνειν τὴν ἡδονὴν τῶν φαύλων, καὶ εἰ μὴ ἐστίν· ῥέπειν γὰρ τοὺς πολλοὺς πρὸς αὐτὴν καὶ δουλεύειν ταῖς ἡδοναῖς, διὸ δεῖν εἰς τοὐναντίον ἄγειν· ἐλθεῖν γὰρ ἂν οὕτως ἐπὶ τὸ 3μέσον. μή ποτε δὲ οὐ καλῶς τοῦτο λέγεται. οἱ γὰρ περὶ τῶν ἐν τοῖς πάθεσι καὶ ταῖς πράξεσι35 λόγοι ἧττόν εἰσι πιστοὶ τῶν ἔργων· ὅταν οὖν

  • 1δὴ Mb: δὲ.

Nicomachean Ethics, X.

Book X

iOur next business after this is doubtless to discuss cc. i-v. Pleasure (cf. vii. xi. ff.) c. i. Ethical importance of Pleasure. Pleasure. For pleasure is thought to be especially congenial to mankind; and this is why pleasure and pain are employed in the education of the young, of Pleasure, as means whereby to steer their course. Moreover, to like and to dislike the right things is thought to be a most important element in the formation of a virtuous character. For pleasure and pain extend throughout the whole of life, and are of great moment and influence for virtue and happiness; since men choose what is pleasant and avoid what is painful.

2It would therefore seem by no means proper to Current opinions: (I) Pleasure the Supreme Good; (II) Pleasure not good at all (dangerous if maintained merely for edification). omit so important a subject, especially as there is much difference of opinion about it. Some people maintain that pleasure is the Good. Others on the contrary say that it is altogether bad: some of them perhaps from a conviction that it is really so, but others because they think it to be in the interests of morality to make out that pleasure is bad, even if it is not, since most men (they argue) have a bias towards it, and are the slaves of their pleasures, so that they have to be driven in the opposite direction in order to arrive at the due mean.

3Possibly however this view is mistaken. In matters of emotion and of action, words are less convincing than deeds; when therefore our theories

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-nicomachean_ethics.1926