Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

LCL 73: 70-71

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iΔιττῆς δὴ1 τῆς ἀρετῆς οὔσης, τῆς μὲν διανοητικῆς τῆς δὲ ἠθικῆς, ἡ μὲν διανοητικὴ τὸ πλεῖον ἐκ15 διδασκαλίας ἔχει καὶ τὴν γένεσιν καὶ τὴν αὔξησιν, διόπερ ἐμπειρίας δεῖται καὶ χρόνου· ἡ δ᾿ ἠθικὴ ἐξ ἔθους περιγίνεται, ὅθεν καὶ τοὔνομα ἔσχηκε 2μικρὸν παρεγκλῖνον ἀπὸ τοῦ ἔθους. ἐξ οὗ καὶ δῆλον ὅτι οὐδεμία τῶν ἠθικῶν ἀρετῶν φύσει ἡμῖν ἐγγίνεται· οὐθὲν γὰρ τῶν φύσει ὄντων ἄλλως220 ἐθίζεται, οἷον ὁ λίθος φύσει κάτω φερόμενος οὐκ ἂν ἐθισθείη ἄνω φέρεσθαι, οὐδ᾿ ἂν μυριάκις αὐτὸν ἐθίζῃ τις ἄνω ῥίπτων, οὐδὲ τὸ πῦρ κάτω, οὐδ᾿ ἄλλο οὐδὲν τῶν ἄλλως πεφυκότων ἄλλως 3ἂν ἐθισθείη. οὔτ᾿ ἄρα φύσει οὔτε παρὰ φύσιν ἐγγίνονται αἱ ἀρεταί, ἀλλὰ πεφυκόσι μὲν ἡμῖν25 δέξασθαι αὐτάς, τελειουμένοις δὲ διὰ τοῦ ἔθους. 4ἔτι ὅσα μὲν φύσει ἡμῖν παραγίνεται, τὰς δυνάμεις τούτων πρότερον κομιζόμεθα, ὕστερον δὲ τὰς ἐνεργείας ἀποδίδομεν (ὅπερ ἐπὶ τῶν αἰσθήσεων


Nicomachean Ethics, II.

Book II

iVirtue being, as we have seen, of two kinds, intellectual "Bks. II-V. The Moral Virtues. cc. i–vi; Nature of Moral Virtue. c. i. Moral Virtue a Habit of right action, formed by acting rightly. and moral, intellectual virtue is for the most part both produced and increased by instruction, and therefore requires experience and time; whereas moral or ethical virtue is the product of habit (ethos), and has indeed derived its name, with a 2slight variation of form, from that word.a And therefore it is clear that none of the moral virtues is engendered in us by nature, for no natural property can be altered by habit. For instance, it is the nature of a stone to move downwards, and it cannot be trained to move upwards, even though you should try to train it to do so by throwing it up into the air ten thousand times; nor can fire be trained to move downwards, nor can anything else that naturally behaves in one way be trained into a habit of 3behaving in another way. The virtuesb therefore are engendered in us neither by nature nor yet in violation of nature; nature gives us the capacity to receive them, and this capacity is brought to maturity by habit.

4Moreover, the faculties given us by nature are bestowed on us first in a potential form; we exhibit their actual exercise afterwards. This is clearly so

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-nicomachean_ethics.1926