1. In the few passages where this text is not followed, the reading adopted is indicated in a note.

  2. Reading τὸν αὐτὸν δὲ.

  3. To Aristotle, Politics is a much wider term than to us; it covers the whole field of human life, since man is essentially social (see the remainder of this and the following paragraph); it has to determine (1) what is the good?⁠—the question of this treatise (see the final paragraph of this section)⁠—and (2) what can law do to promote this good?⁠—the question of the sequel, which is specially called “The Politics;” cf. X 9.

  4. I.e. covers a part of the ground only: see preceding note.

  5. The expression τὰ ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολύ covers both (1) what is generally though not universally true, and (2) what is probable though not certain.

  6. “Works and Days,” 291⁠–⁠295.

  7. Cf. the opening paragraphs of VI 7 and 12, and X 7 and 8.

  8. Plato’s nephew and successor.

  9. For there is no meaning in a form which is a form of nothing, in a universal which has no particulars under it.

  10. That is, the opening of chapter 2, see J. A. Stewart Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle.

  11. πρακτική τις τοῦ λόγον ἔχοντος. Aristotle frequently uses the terms πρᾶξις, πρακτός, πρακτικός in this wide sense, covering all that man does, i.e. all that part of man’s life that is within the control of his will, or that is consciously directed to an end, including therefore speculation as well as action.

  12. For it might mean either the mere possession of the vital faculties, or their exercise.

  13. This paragraph seems to be a repetition (I would rather say a rewriting) of the previous paragraph. See note 175 on VII 3.

  14. This “best and most complete excellence or virtue” is the trained faculty for philosophic speculation, and the contemplative life is man’s highest happiness. Cf. the opening paragraph of X 7.

  15. See chapter 9 (“For, as we said, happiness requires not only perfect excellence or virtue⁠ ⁠…”).

  16. Cf. above, chapter 7 (“Undemonstrated facts⁠ ⁠…”).

  17. The “highest exercise of our faculties” is, of course, philosophic contemplation, as above, I 7 (“But the function of anything⁠ ⁠…”); cf. X 7 (“But if happiness be the exercise of virtue⁠ ⁠…”)

  18. We may forget scientific truths that we have known more easily than we lose the habit of scientific thinking or of virtuous action; cf. X 7 (“This conclusion would seem to agree⁠ ⁠…”); VI 5 (“And the rational parts of the soul or the intellectual faculties⁠ ⁠…”).

  19. ἔθος, custom; ἦθος, character; ἠθικὴ ὰρετή, moral excellence: we have no similar sequence, but the Latin mos, mores, from which “morality” comes, covers both ἔθος and ἦθος.

  20. It is with the moral virtues that this and the three following books are exclusively concerned, the discussion of the intellectual virtues being postponed to Book VI. ἀρεταί is often used in these books, without any epithet, for “moral virtues,” and perhaps is so used here.

  21. In Book VI.

  22. These two, the “boor” (ἀγροῖκος) and he who lacks sensibility (ἀναίσθητος), are afterwards distinguished: cf. II 7 (“Moderation in respect of certain pleasures⁠ ⁠…” and “With regard to pleasantness in amusement⁠ ⁠…”).

  23. Reading ἔτι. See J. A. Stewart Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle.

  24. Actions and the accompanying feelings of pleasure and pain have so grown together, that it is impossible to separate the former and judge them apart: cf. X 4 (“But whether we desire life⁠ ⁠…”).

  25. A line (or a generous emotion) is a “continuous quantity;” you can part it where you please: a rouleau of sovereigns is a “discrete quantity,” made up of definite parts, and primarily separable into them.

  26. μεσότης, the abstract name for the quality, is quite untranslatable.

  27. Or “cover more ground, but convey less truth than particular propositions,” if we read κοινότεροι with most manuscripts.

  28. In a twofold sense: my conduct cannot be virtuous except by exhibiting the particular virtues of justice, temperance, etc.; again, my conduct cannot be just except by being just in particular cases to particular persons.

  29. The Greek seems to imply that this is a generally accepted list, but Aristotle repeatedly has to coin names: cf. later on in this chapter (“Besides these, there are three kinds of moderation⁠ ⁠…”).

  30. I.e. which do not issue in act like those hitherto mentioned.

  31. Homer’s Odyssey, xii 101⁠–⁠110, and 219⁠–⁠220: Calypso should be Circe.

  32. Homer’s Iliad, iii 154⁠–⁠164.

  33. It must be remembered that “virtue” is synonymous with “praiseworthy habit;” I 13 (“Now, on this division of the faculties⁠ ⁠…”); II 9 (“So much then is plain⁠ ⁠…”).

  34. ἁπλῶς, “without qualification:” no one chooses loss of property simply, but loss of property with saving of life is what all sensible people would choose.

  35. Which shows that the acts are regarded as voluntary.

  36. οὐκ ἔστιν ἀναγκασθῆναι, “compulsion is impossible.” If the act was compulsory it was not my act, I cannot be blamed: there are some acts, says Aristotle, for which we could not forgive a man, for which, whatever the circumstances, we must blame him; therefore no circumstances can compel him, or compulsion is impossible. The argument is, in fact, “I ought not, therefore I can not (am able not to do it),”⁠—like Kant’s, “I ought, therefore I can.” But, if valid at all, it is valid universally, and the conclusion should be that the body only can be compelled, and not the will⁠—that a compulsory act is impossible.

  37. The same lost play is apparently quoted in V 9 (“I slew my mother⁠ ⁠…”).

  38. Reading οὕτω.

  39. Therefore, strictly speaking, a “compulsory act” is a contradiction in terms; the real question is, “What is an act?

  40. Therefore, since these are the motives of every act, all voluntary action involves pleasure. If we add “when successful,” this quite agrees with Aristotle’s theory of pleasure in Books VII and X.

  41. I.e. not merely “not-willed,” but done “unwillingly,” or “against the agent’s will.” Unfortunately our usage recognizes no such distinction between “not-voluntary” and “involuntary.”

  42. ἐν μεταμελείᾳ, literally “when the act involves change of mind.” This, under the circumstances, can only mean that the agent who willed the act, not seeing the true nature of it at the time, is sorry afterwards, when he comes to see what he has done.

  43. I.e. forms a wrong judgment; cf. ἡ μοχθηρία διαψεύδεσθαι ποιεῖ περὶ τὰς πρακτικὰς ἀρχάς, VI 12 (“… vice perverts us and causes us to err about the principles of action”): not that the vicious man does not know that such a course is condemned by society, but he does not assent to society’s rules⁠—adopts other maxims contrary to them.

  44. τὸ συμφέρον, what conduces to a given end, expedient. The meaning of the term varies with the end in view: here the end in view is the supreme end, happiness: τὸ συμφέρον, then, means here the rule of conduct to which, in a given case, the agent must conform in order to realize this end. cf. II 2.

  45. In a lost play of Euripides, believing her son to have been murdered, she is about to kill her son himself as the murderer. See J. A. Stewart Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle.

  46. τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα usually is the intended result (and so ἕνεκα τίνος earlier in this chapter⁠—“that for the sake of which it is done”), but of course it is only the actual result that the agent can be ignorant of.

  47. Reason can modify action only by modifying feeling. Every action issues from a feeling or passion (πάθος), which feeling (and therefore the resultant action) is mine (the outcome of my character, and therefore imputable to me), whether it be modified by reason (deliberation, calculation) or no.

  48. Two appetites may pull two different, but not contrary ways (ἐναντιοῦται): that which not merely diverts but restrains me from satisfying an appetite must be desire of a different kind, e.g. desire to do what is right. Ἐπιθυμία is used loosely in chapter 1 for desire (ὄρεξις), here more strictly for appetite, a species of desire, purpose (προαίρεσις) being another species: cf. chapter 3 (“Since, then, a thing is said to be chosen or purposed⁠ ⁠…”).

  49. προαίρεσις, literally “choosing before.” Our “preference” exactly corresponds here, but unfortunately cannot always be employed.

  50. These are instances of “necessity;” a tree grows by “nature,” i.e. by its own natural powers.

  51. If we have to construct a geometrical figure, we first “suppose it done,” then analyze the imagined figure in order to see the conditions which it implies and which imply it, and continue the chain till we come to some thing (drawing of some lines) which we already know how to do.

  52. Cf. III 2 (“And the case is the same with the virtues⁠ ⁠…”), and 5 (“We have next to inquire what excellence or virtue is.”), and X 7 (“Again, happiness is thought to imply leisure⁠ ⁠…”). There is no real inconsistency between this and the doctrine that the end of life is life, that the good act is to be chosen for its own sake (II 4⁠—“… he must choose it, and choose it for itself⁠ ⁠…”), because it is noble (III 7⁠—“… sticks to its post because it is noble to do so⁠ ⁠…”): for the end is not outside the means; happiness or the perfect life is the complete system of those acts, and the real nature of each act is determined by its relation to this system; to choose it as a means to this end is to choose it for itself.

  53. βουλητόν. This word hovers between two senses, (1) wished for, (2) to be wished for, just as αἱρετόν hovers between (1) desired, (2) desirable. The difficulty, as here put, turns entirely upon the equivocation; but at bottom lies the fundamental question, whether there be a common human nature, such that we can say, “This kind of life is man’s real life.”

  54. Each virtuous act is desired and chosen as a means to realizing a particular virtue, and this again is desired as a part or constituent of, and so as a means to, that perfect self-realization which is happiness: cf. Chapter 3 (“It appears, then, that a man, as we have already said, originates his acts⁠ ⁠…”).

  55. My act is mine, and does not cease to be mine because I would undo it if I could; and so, further, since we made the habits whose bonds we cannot now unloose, we are responsible, not merely for the acts which made them, but also for the acts which they now produce “in spite of us:” what constrains us is ourselves.

  56. τοῦ καλοῦ ἕνεκα, the highest expression that Aristotle has for the moral motive, = καλοῦ ἕνεκα (see below starting at “But the end or motive of every manifestation⁠ ⁠…”) and δτι καλόν (see below starting at “Courage then, as we have said⁠ ⁠…”), “as a means to or as a constituent part of the noble life.”

  57. The courageous man desires the courageous act for the same reason for which he desires the virtue itself, viz. simply because it is noble: see the previous note.

  58. ἐν τούτοις, i.e. ἐν οἷς δύναται, so long as he can imitate the courageous man without being courageous.

  59. Homer’s Iliad, xxii 200.

  60. Homer’s Iliad, viii 148, 149.

  61. Homer’s Iliad, xv 348, ii 391.

  62. Outside Coronea, when the town was betrayed, in the Sacred War.

  63. The incident is narrated by Xenophon, Hellenica, iv 10.

  64. Cf. I 8 (“And, further, the life of these men is in itself pleasant⁠ ⁠…”)

  65. Cf. VII 14 “the opposite of this excessive pleasure [i.e. going without a wrong pleasure] is not pain, except to the man who sets his heart on this excessive pleasure.”

  66. I.e. the pleasures of taste and touch.

  67. Of course the English term is not so used.

  68. κόλασις, chastening; ἀκόλαστος, unchastened, incorrigible, profligate.

  69. ἄσωτος, ὰ priv. and σῶς, σώζειν.

  70. The connection is plainer in the original, because to τὰ χρήματα, “wealth,” is at once seen to be identical with to τὰ χρήσιμα, “useful things,” and connected with χρεία, “use.”

  71. Were it not for some extraneous consideration, e.g. desire to stand well with his neighbours.

  72. This is strictly a departure from the virtue; but Aristotle seems often to pass insensibly from the abstract ideal of a virtue to its imperfect embodiment in a complex character. Cf. Chapter 3.

  73. No single English word can convey the associations of the Greek τύραννος, a monarch who has seized absolute power, not necessarily one who abuses it.

  74. See J. A. Stewart Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle.

  75. I.e. in men of some age and fixed character; they often coexist in very young men, he says, but cannot possibly coexist for long.

  76. As he has already said in effect, in the section above that begins “For, as we have already said, he is liberal⁠ ⁠…”.

  77. Literally “cummin-splitter.”

  78. Reading ταὐτὰ.

  79. A worthy expenditure of £100,000 would be magnificent from its mere amount; but even £100 may be spent in a magnificent manner (by a man who can afford it), e.g. in buying a rare engraving for a public collection: cf. the sections below that begin “And on each occasion he will spend⁠ ⁠…” and “(for the greatness of the result⁠ ⁠…)”.

  80. ἁπλῶς seems unnecessary.

  81. For that is impossible.

  82. Homer’s Iliad, i 394 f., 503 f.

  83. Reading ἔστι δὴ.

  84. Book II, chapter 9 (“But it is a hard task, we must admit⁠ ⁠…”).

  85. The things that the boaster pretends to are also the things that the ironical man disclaims.

  86. Omitting προσποιούμενοι. See Ingram Bywater’s translation, Aristotelis Ethica Nicomachea (1890).

  87. What follows explains why all these terms have a specific moral meaning.

  88. Friendliness, truthfulness, wit.

  89. Reading καὶ τῷ εἷναι. See Ingram Bywater’s translation, Aristotelis Ethica Nicomachea (1890).

  90. The continent man desires the evil which he ought not to desire, and so is not good; but he does not do it, and so is not bad: thus continence also might be called “hypothetically good”; granting the evil desire (which excludes goodness proper), the best thing is to master it.

  91. Book VII.

  92. A man may “do that which is just” without “acting justly:” cf. II 4 (“… he must also be in a certain state of mind when he does it⁠ ⁠…”), and Chapter 8 of this book.

  93. While his children are regarded as parts of him, and even his wife is not regarded as an independent person: cf. Chapter 6 below (“We cannot speak (without qualification) of injustice towards what is part of one’s self⁠ ⁠…”).

  94. Or “differently manifested:” the phrase is used in both senses.

  95. Putting comma after ἁπλῶς instead of ἕξις (Trendelenburg).

  96. This is not merely a repetition of what has been said in the second paragraph of this chapter: acts of injustice (2) are there distinguished from acts of injustice (1) by the motive (gain), here by the fact that they are referred to no other vice than injustice.

  97. Before the sixth paragraph of the first chapter in this book the two kinds of injustice were called δμώνυμα, i.e. strictly, “things that have nothing in common but the name;” here they are called συνώνυμα, “different things bearing a common name because they belong to the same genus,” as a man and an ox are both called animals: cf. Aristotle’s Categories I 1.

  98. τὰ ἐκτὸς ἀγαθά is the name which Aristotle most frequently uses, sometimes τὰ ἁπλῶς ἀγαθά, as above, Chapter 1 (“Since the unjust man, in one of the two senses of the word⁠ ⁠…”).

  99. The two characters coincide perfectly only in the perfect state: cf. Aristotle’s Politics III 4, 1276 b16 f.

  100. If this amount be equal, it must be equal to something else; if my share is fair, I must be sharing with one other person at least.

  101. A’s share and B’s.

  102. Counting all free men as equals entitled to equal shares.

  103. E.g. (a ÷ b) = (c ÷ d).

  104. Assigning or joining certain quantities of goods (c and d) to certain persons (a and b).

  105. In the way of redress, as given by the law-courts: later on (Chapter 5) he gives as an afterthought the kind of justice which ought to regulate buying and selling, etc. See note 108.

  106. The δικασταί at Athens combined the functions of judge and jury.

  107. The point to be illustrated is, that in these private transactions what one man gains is equal to what the other loses, so that the penalty that will restore the balance can be exactly measured. Of this principle (on which the possibility of justice does in fact depend) Aristotle first gives a simple geometrical illustration, and then says that the same law holds in all that man does: what is suffered by the patient (whether person, as in medicine, or thing, as in sculpture or agriculture) is the same as what is done by the agent. This paragraph occurs again in the next chapter (5⁠—“This is no less true of the other arts and professions⁠ ⁠…”): but it can hardly have come into this place by accident; we rather see the author’s thought growing as he writes. I follow Trendelenburg (who omits the passage here) in inserting before ἐποίει, but not in omitting τὸ before πάσχον.

  108. For the aim of trade is neither profit nor loss, but fair exchange, i.e. exchange (on the principle laid down in Chapter 5) which leaves the position of the parties as the state fixed it (by distributive justice, Chapter 3). But when in the private transactions of man with man this position is disturbed, i.e. whenever either unintentionally, by accident or negligence, or intentionally, by force or fraud, one has bettered his position at the expense of another, corrective justice steps in to redress the balance. I read αὐτἀ δἰ αὐτῶν and accept J. A. Stewart’s interpretation of these words (Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle), and in part Henry Jackson’s interpretation of τῶν παρὰ τὸ ἑκούσιον (Περὶ Δικαιοσύνης [Concerning Righteousness]: The Fifth Book of the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle), but cannot entirely agree with either as to the sense of the whole passage.

  109. We had before (Chapter 3 starting at “Let us say, then⁠ ⁠…”) as the rate of distributive justice: (A÷B)=(C÷D), and the distribution was expressed by the “joining” (σύζευξις) of the opposite or corresponding symbols, A and C, B and D. Here we have the same two pairs of symbols, ranged opposite to each other as before; but the exchange will be expressed by joining A to D and B to C, i.e. by “cross conjunction” or by drawing diagonal lines (ἡ κατὰ διάμετρον σύζευξις) from A to D and B to C.

  110. I.e. (as will presently appear), it must first be determined how much builder’s work is equal to a given quantity of shoemaker’s work: i.e. the price of the two wares must first be settled; that done, they simply exchange shilling’s worth for shilling’s worth (ἀντιπεπονθός); e.g. if a four-roomed cottage be valued at £100, and a pair of boots at £1, the builder must supply such a cottage in return for 100 such pairs of boots (or their equivalent).

    Fixing the price of the articles is called securing equality, because, evidently, it means fixing how much of one article shall be considered equal to a given quantity of the other. It is called securing proportionate equality, because; as we shall see, the question that has to be determined is, “in what ratio must work be exchanged in order to preserve the due ratio between the workers?”

  111. Benefit to consumer = cost to producer; e.g. if £100 be a fair price for a picture, it must fairly represent both the benefit to the purchaser and the effort expended on it by the artist. I follow Trendelenburg in inserting before ἐποίει, but not in omitting τὸ before πάσχον. Cf. note 107.

  112. The persons have to be appraised as well as their work; but, as we soon see, these are two sides of the same thing: the relative value at which persons are estimated by society is indicated by the relative value which society puts upon their services, and this is indicated by the price put upon a certain quantity of their work.

  113. See note 114.

  114. E.g. suppose the husbandman is twice as good a man as the shoemaker, then, if the transaction is to follow the universal rule of justice and leave their relative position unaltered, in exchange for a certain quantity of husbandman’s work the shoemaker must give twice as much of his own. The price, that is, of corn and shoes must be so adjusted that, if a quarter of corn sell for 50s. and three pair of shoes sell for the same sum, the three pair of shoes must represent twice as much labour as the quarter of corn. Aristotle speaks loosely of the ratio between the shoes and the corn, etc., but as their value is ex hypothesi the same, and as the relative size, weight, and number of articles is quite accidental (e.g. we might as well measure the corn by bushels or by pounds), the ratio intended can only be the ratio between the quantities of labour. He omits to tell us that these quantities must be measured by time, but the omission is easily supplied. He omits also to tell us how the relative worth of the persons is to be measured, but he has already said all that is necessary in Chapter 3 (“This is also plainly indicated by the common phrase ‘according to merit’⁠ ⁠…”).

  115. Literally “they must be reduced to proportion,” i.e., in strictness, the four terms (two persons and two things).

  116. I.e. have his superiority counted twice over. His (e.g. the husbandman’s) superiority over the other party (the shoemaker) has been already taken into account in fixing the price of a quarter of corn as equal to three pairs of shoes: this is one advantage which is fairly his; but it would be plainly unfair if, at the time of exchange, the husbandman were to demand 50s. worth of shoes for 25s. worth of corn, on the ground that he was twice as good a man: cf. Munro, Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology, vol. ii p. 58 f. In the text I have followed Trendelenburg’s stopping, throwing the words εἰ δὲ μὴ⁠ ⁠… ἄκρον into a parenthesis.

  117. I.e. each must be valued in money, so that so many quarters of corn shall exchange for so many hogsheads of wine.

  118. The mean which justice aims at (the just thing, the due share of goods) lies between two extremes, too much and too little; so far justice is analogous to the other virtues: but whereas in other fields these two extremes are chosen by different and opposite characters (e.g. the cowardly and the foolhardy), the character that chooses too much is here the same as that which chooses too little⁠—too much for himself or his friend, too little for his enemy. (The habitual choice of too little for oneself is neglected as impossible). Cf. II 6, especially the paragraph that begins “Virtue, then, is a habit or trained faculty of choice⁠ ⁠…”.

  119. It is in the state of mind of the doer that the difference lies, not in the particular things done: cf. Chapter 8.

  120. These first two paragraphs seem to have quite a natural connection with what goes before, though the discussion is not carried on here, but in Chapter 8. Again, the discussion which begins with the words τῶς μὲν οὖν Chapter 6 (The paragraph that begins “That which is just as between master and slave⁠ ⁠…”), though it has no connection with this passage, comes naturally enough after the end of Chapter 5, τὸ ἁπλῶς δίκαιον corresponding to τὸῦ δικαίον καὶ ἀδίκου καθόλου. We have, then, two discussions, both growing out of and attached to the discussion which closes with the end of Chapter 5, but not connected with each other. If the author had revised the work, he would, no doubt, have fitted these links together; but as he omitted to do so, it is useless for us to attempt, by any rearrangement of the links, to secure the close connection which could only be effected by forging them anew.

  121. These are not two distinct kinds of justice; justice proper, he means to say, implies a state.

  122. Only the citizen in an ancient state could appeal to the law in his own person; the noncitizen could only sue through a citizen.

  123. See Chapter 1 (“This, too, is the reason why justice alone of all the virtues is thought to be another’s good⁠ ⁠…”).

  124. Which alone is properly just.

  125. τὸ ξυμφέρον, which is usually rendered “expedient,” means simply that which conduces to any desired end; as the end varies, then, so will the expedient vary: cf. note 44.

  126. E.g. the wine-merchant may buy in the cask what he sells in bottle (J. A. Stewart Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle).

  127. Cf. below, “An accidentally unjust act and an accidentally just act are equally possible⁠ ⁠…”.

  128. I.e. he willed the act not as just, but as a means of avoiding the painful consequences; the justice of it, therefore, was not part of the essence of the act to him, was not among the qualities of the act which moved him to choose it, or, in Aristotle’s language, was “accidental.”

  129. Which leads by a natural, though by him unforeseen, sequence to his neighbour’s hurt: negligence, or error of judgment.

  130. And gives a fatal termination to an act that would ordinarily be harmless: accident.

  131. Throwing the words ὁ δ’ ἐπιβουλεύσας οὐκ ἀγνοεῖ into a parenthesis. The passage is easier to construe without the parenthesis, but with a stop after ἀμφισβητοῦσιν.

  132. In strictness, of course, such acts cannot be called involuntary (ἀκούσια) at all: cf. III 1, where the conditions of an involuntary act are stated more precisely.

  133. βοῦλησιν is used perhaps for will, as there is no abstract term corresponding to ἑκών. I bracket two sentences that follow (“For no one wishes to be hurt⁠ ⁠…”), as (in spite of the ingenuity of Henry Jackson, in Περὶ Δικαιοσύνης, and J. A. Stewart, in Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle) the statement seems to me hopelessly confused.

  134. You can always do the acts if you want to do them, i.e. if you will them; but you cannot at will do them in the spirit of a just or an unjust man; for character is the result of a series of acts of will: cf. III 5 (“But our particular acts are not voluntary in the same sense as our habits⁠ ⁠…”). The contradiction between this and a passage earlier in III 5 (“Therefore virtue depends upon ourselves⁠ ⁠…”) is only apparent: we are responsible for our character, though we cannot change it at a moment’s notice.

  135. Cf. the opening three paragraphs of Chapter 8.

  136. Οὐ δίκαιον I have omitted (after Trendelenburg) as obviously wrong. We may suppose either that the original οὐ σπουδαῖον was altered into οὐ δίκαιον, or (more probably) that οὐ δίκαιον or δίκαιον was inserted by a bungling copyist.

  137. See Chapter 9.

  138. Whereas, says Aristotle, we cannot speak at all of justice or injustice to one’s self, and it is only by way of metaphor that we can apply the terms even to the relations of parts of the self⁠—not strictly, since the parte are not persons.

  139. I 13 (“Now, on this division of the faculties⁠ ⁠…”).

  140. This paragraph really forms quite a fresh opening, independent of the first three paragraphs of this chapter; and it is one among many signs of the incomplete state in which this part of the treatise was left, that these two openings of Book VI were never fused together. The scheme of the treatise, as unfolded in Book I (cf. especially I 7⁠—“There remains then the life whereby he acts⁠ ⁠…”⁠—and 13⁠—“Now, on this division of the faculties⁠ ⁠…”), gives the intellectual virtues an independent place alongside of, or rather above, the moral virtues; now that the latter have been disposed of it naturally remains to consider the former: this is the natural transition which we have in this paragraph. But besides this the dependence of the moral virtues upon the intellectual virtues makes an examination of the latter absolutely necessary to the completion of the theory of the former; thus we get the transition of those first three paragraphs.

  141. νοῦς: the word is used here in its widest sense.

  142. νοῦς⁠—used now in a narrower special sense which will presently be explained.

  143. Though, as we see later, induction can elicit them from experience only because they are already latent in that experience.

  144. We may know truths of science, but unless we know these in their necessary connection, we have not scientific knowledge.

  145. The conception of the end is at once a cause or source of action and a principle of knowledge; ἀρχή covers both.

  146. For it implies a determination of the will which is more permanent in its nature than a merely intellectual habit. And further, when once acquired it must be constantly strengthened by exercise, as occasions for action can never be wanting.

  147. Art, which is one of the five enumerated above, is here omitted, either in sheer carelessness, or perhaps because it is subordinate to prudence: cf. Chapter 5 (“Moreover, art⁠ ⁠…”).

  148. Of course we do not use “wisdom” in this sense.

  149. πρακτὸν ὡς τὸ ἔσχατον, i.e. as the last link in the chain of causes leading to the proposed end⁠—last in the order of deliberation, but first in the order of events: cf. III 3 (“… that which is last in the analysis coming first in the order of construction.”).

  150. Varying as the good varies; cf. Chapter 7 above (“Now, as the terms wholesome and good⁠ ⁠…”), and I 3 (“Now the things that are noble and just⁠ ⁠…”).

  151. Here in the looser sense, below (in the following paragraph) in the stricter sense, which is the technical meaning of the term in Aristotle: cf. the opening paragraphs of Chapter 7.

  152. He does not mean that the principles of mathematics are not derived from experience, but only that they are derived from the primitive experience which every boy has, being in fact (as we should say) the framework on which the simplest knowledge of an external world is built.

  153. Chapter 2.

  154. The perception “that the ultimate fact is a triangle” (which is the more obvious translation of these words), whether this means “that three lines is the least number that will enclose a space,” or “that the possibility of a triangle is a fact that cannot be demonstrated,” is in either case not the perception of a particular fact; but it is the perception of a particular fact that is needed if the illustration is to be relevant.

  155. The intuitive reason (νοῦς) is here opposed to prudence (φρόνησις), but presently (Chapter 11) is found to be included in it; reason (νοῦς) was similarly in Chapter 6 opposed to wisdom (σοφία), but in Chapter 7 found to be included in it.

  156. This, however, is not done here, perhaps because it has been already done at length in III 3.

  157. Omitting ἰδεῖν.

  158. E.g. this act should be done simply because it is just; I may decide to do it for reputation, or for pleasure’s sake, or thinking it to be an act of generosity.

  159. All particular facts (τὰ καθ’ ἕκαστον) are ultimate (ἔσχατα), i.e. undemonstrable; but not all ultimate facts (ἔσχατα) are particular facts⁠—as presently appears.

  160. Literally in both directions, i.e. not the last only, but the first also.

  161. See the opening paragraphs of Chapter 8.

  162. This αἴσθησις may be called νοῦς, which is the faculty of universals, because the universal (the general conception of human good) is elicited from these particular judgments.

  163. Throughout this chapter we are concerned with the practical intellect alone. He has already stated in Chapter 6 that the intuitive reason is the basis of the speculative intellect; here he says that it is also the basis of the practical intellect. We have to distinguish here three different employments of the practical faculty:

    1. (If we invert the order), undemonstrated assertion, viz. that under the circumstances this is the right thing to do (as in this section): here the judgment is altogether intuitive; i.e. no grounds are given.

    2. Demonstration (improperly so called, more properly calculation) that this is the right thing to do; e.g. this act is to be done because it is just: here the intuitive reason supplies the minor premise of the practical syllogism (this act is just), and also (indirectly) the major (whatever is just is good), i.e. it supplies the data⁠—the several particular intuitions from which the general proposition is elicited: ἐν ταῖς πρακτικαῖς sc. ἀποδείξεσι (practical calculations) earlier in this chapter: cf. τῶν ἀποδείξεων in this section, and οἱ συλλογισμοὶ τῶν πρακτῶν, Chapter 12.

    3. Deduction or demonstration (also improperly so called) of general truths in morals and politics: κατὰ τὰς ἀποδείξεις, earlier in this chapter: here also the data from which deduction starts can only be apprehended by intuitive perception or reason: cf. I 4 (“But we must not omit to notice the distinction⁠ ⁠…”), I 7 (“… as in the case of the starting-points or principles of a science”). The difference between (2) and (3) is plainly shown above, in Chapter 8 (“Of this faculty in its application⁠ ⁠…”), where πολιτική in the wider sense (= νομοθετική) which deals with laws, is distinguished from πολιτική in the narrower sense which has to do with decrees: cf. also I 2 (“Since then it makes use of the other practical sciences⁠ ⁠…”), and X 9 (“It would be best, then, that the regulation of these matters⁠ ⁠…”).

  164. I.e. in the sense in which a healthy state of the body (ὑγίεια as a ἕξις in Aristotle’s language) produces healthy performance of the bodily functions (ὑγίεια as an ἐνέργεια).

  165. The other three are sense, reason, desire (αἴσθησις, νοῦς, ὄρεξις): cf. Chapter 2. The excellences or best states of the desires have already been described as the moral virtues. Wisdom and prudence are the excellences of the reason or intellect (νοῦς in its widest meaning). Sense (αἴσθησις) does not need separate treatment, as it is here regarded as merely subsidiary to reason and desire; for human life is (1) speculative, (2) practical, and no independent place is allowed to the artistic life. The fourth part therefore alone remains.

  166. Reading τοὺς πανούργους.

  167. As φρόνησις, prudence.

  168. μετὰ λόγον: the agent must not only be guided by reason, but by his own reason, not another’s.

  169. σεῖος is a dialectical variety for θεῖος, godlike.

  170. (1) Some men are born brutal; (2) others are made so; (3) others make themselves so.

  171. Chapter 5.

  172. Reading αὐτὸν.

  173. This is the sophistical paradox alluded to.

  174. Of these objections, as well as of the opinions which called them forth, it is to be expected that some should prove groundless, and that others should be established and taken up into the answer.

  175. This section seems to me not an alternative to the first paragraph of this chapter; but a correction of it, or rather a remark to the effect that the whole passage (both the first paragraph and the discussion introduced by it) ought to be rewritten, and an indication of the way in which this should be done. Of considerable portions of the Nicomachean Ethics we may safely say that the author could not have regarded them as finished in the form in which we have them. It is possible that the author made a rough draft of the whole work, or of the several parts of it, which he kept by him and worked upon⁠—working some parts up to completion; sometimes rewriting a passage without striking out the original version, or even indicating which was to be retained (e.g. the theory of pleasure); more frequently adding an afterthought which required the rewriting of a whole passage, without rewriting it (e.g., to take one instance out of many in Book V, τὸ ἀντιπεπονθός is an afterthought which strictly requires that the whole book should be rewritten); sometimes (as here) making a note of the way in which a passage should be rewritten. Suppose, if need be, that the work, left in this incomplete state, was edited and perhaps further worked upon by a later hand, and we have enough, I think, to account for the facts.

  176. Alluding to the Heraclitean doctrine of the union of opposites, which Aristotle rather unfairly interprets as a denial of the law of contradiction. Cf. Metaphysics iii 7, 1012a 24.

  177. I.e. not effective, οὐκ ἐνεργεῖ: further in this chapter (the paragraph beginning “Now, when you have on the one side⁠ ⁠…”) ἐνεργεῖ is used again of the minor which when joined to the major is effective.

  178. Action in spite of knowledge presents no difficulty (1) if that knowledge be not present at the time of action, as above (“But we use the word know⁠ ⁠…”), or (2) if, though the major (or majors) be known and present, the minor (or one of the minors) be unknown or absent, as above (“Again, since these reasonings involve two kinds of premises⁠ ⁠…”). But (3) other cases remain which can only be explained by a further distinction introduced in this paragraph; i.e. a man who has knowledge may at times be in a state in which his knowledge, though present, has lost its reality⁠—in which, though he may repeat the old maxims, they mean no more to him than to one who talks in his sleep. This paragraph, I venture to think, is (like the second one in this chapter) not a repetition or an alternative version, but an afterthought, which requires the rewriting of the whole passage.

  179. φυσικῶς, by arguments based upon the special nature of the subject-matter, opposed to λογικῶς, by arguments of a general nature; accordingly, in what follows both the elements of reason and desire are taken into account.

  180. In a practical syllogism.

  181. Notice that ἡδὺ here corresponds to γεύεσθαι δεῖ above.

  182. The minor premise, “this is sweet,” obviously is not “opposed to right reason;” but is not the major premise? In one of the two forms in which it here appears, viz. “all sweet things are pleasant,” it certainly is not so opposed; it merely states a fact of experience which the continent or temperate man assents to as much as the incontinent. In its other form, however, “all sweet things are to be tasted,” the judgment is “opposed to right reason;” but it is so because desire for an object condemned by reason has been added; and thus it may be said that it is not the opinion, but the desire, which is opposed to right reason. It is a defect in the exposition here that the difference between these two forms of the major premise is not more expressly noticed.

  183. Of the syllogism which would forbid him to taste.

  184. Reading full stop after Ἐμπεοκλέους and comma after δρον.

  185. Or the perception of the particular fact. After all Socrates is right: the incontinent man does not really know; the fact does not come home to him in its true significance: he says it is bad, but says it as an actor might, without feeling it; what he realizes is that it is pleasant.

  186. As a man may be greedy (ἁπλῶς), or greedy for a particular kind of food.

  187. Called also ἁπλῶς ἀγαθά, “good in themselves,” as in V 1 (“… not all good things, but those with which good and illfortune are concerned⁠ ⁠…”), (cf. V 2⁠—“… such things as honour, wealth, security⁠ ⁠…”), and ἐκτὸς ἀγαθά, “external goods,” as in I 8 (“… good things have been divided into three classes, external goods on the one hand⁠ ⁠…”).

  188. As we do not know the facts to which Aristotle alludes we can only conjecture his meaning. It may be that the man in question had certain physical peculiarities, so that though he “passed for a man” he was not quite a man in the common meaning of the name. So Locke asks (An Essay Concerning Human Understanding iv 4, 13), “is a changeling a man or a beast?”

  189. As in an earlier section of this chapter (“Of the sources of pleasure, some are necessary, and others⁠ ⁠…”) only two classes are given, it is probable that these words are an interpolation, and that these paragraphs (which pave the way for the next chapter) were intended to replace that explanation. The intermediate class just above (“… others are intermediate between the two⁠ ⁠…”) is the “necessary” of that previous section.

  190. I.e. here “by disease:” φύσις bears three different senses in the space of a few lines⁠—(1) in the first paragraph of this chapter, beginning, “natural” = in accordance with the true nature of the thing, the thing as it ought to be; (2) also in that paragraph, end, “natural” = what a man is born with, as opposed to subsequent modifications of this; (3) in this paragraph “natural” includes what my body does by powers in it over which I have no control, e.g. modifications of my nature produced by disease.

  191. Because incontinence is a human weakness; these acts are brutal or morbid.

  192. Homer’s Iliad, xiv 214, 217.

  193. E.g. cruelty in the heat of battle rouses less indignation than ill-treatment of women afterwards. For a similar reason profligacy was said (III 12) to be worse than cowardice.

  194. This comparison is rendered superfluous by the preceding one (which probably was meant to be substituted for it), and is not very apt as it stands. We should rather expect πρὸς τὸ ἄδικον: the sense would then be, “injustice is morally worse than an unjust act which does not proceed from an unjust character, but the latter may be a worse evil;” e.g. humanity has suffered more by well-meaning persecutors than by the greatest villains. Cf. V 11 (“… to be unjustly treated is less bad, but there is nothing to prevent its being accidentally the greater evil⁠ ⁠…”).

  195. Dropping the second or substituting εἰ for it. If we take it thus, the distinction may be illustrated by the distinction which opinion in England draws between opium smoking and tobacco smoking. Opium smoking is commonly regarded by us as a ὑπερβολή, as a pleasure that in any degree is beyond the pale of legitimate pleasures; a man who is too much given to tobacco-smoking is regarded as pursuing καθ’ ὑπερβολάς (in excess) a pleasure which in moderation is legitimate. If we adopt Ingram Bywater’s conjecture ἦ ὑπερβολαί the sense will be, “he who pursues excessive pleasures as such, that is of deliberate purpose.”

  196. Cf. Chapter 2, starting with “Again, he who pursues and does what is pleasant from conviction.⁠ ⁠…”

  197. The incontinent man, when the fit is over and the better part of him reasserts itself (cf. “… the best part of our nature⁠ ⁠… still survives” further on in this Chapter), recognizes the badness of his act; but the vicious man, though he is aware that his acts are called bad, dissents from the judgments of society (cf. Chapter 9 “the profligate⁠ ⁠… pursue[s] bodily pleasures⁠ ⁠… on principle”), and so may be said not to know: cf. III 1 (“… the person compelled contributing nothing thereto”).

  198. The weak (ἀσθενεῖς) are worse than the hasty (προπετεῖς): cf. the previous chapter (“There are two kinds of incontinence, the hasty and the weak.”)

  199. I.e. the definitions; not the axioms, since in Aristotle’s language a ὑπόθεσις, strictly speaking, involves the assumption of the existence of a corresponding object.

  200. Cf. Chapter 2 (the two paragraphs starting from “Again, if continence makes a man apt⁠ ⁠…”).

  201. Literally, thinking that he ought (οἰόμενος δεῖν); i.e. adopting them as his end.

  202. Cf. VI 12 (“There is a faculty which we call cleverness⁠ ⁠…”).

  203. Though they do what is unjust or wrong. It must be remembered that above (V 1 starting at “We found that the lawbreaker is unjust⁠ ⁠…” and continuing through the end of the chapter) it was laid down that all vicious action, when viewed in relation to others, is unjust (in the wider sense of the term).

  204. Cf. Chapter 14 (“These are the pleasures derived from things⁠ ⁠…”). I have frequently in this chapter rendered ἕξις by faculty, in order to express the opposition to ἐνέργεια, activity or exercise of faculty; but no single word is satisfactory.

  205. The argument in full would be thus: pleasure is good; but good is exercise of faculty (ἐνέργεια), and this is a process or transition (γένεσις); ∴ pleasure is a transition. But according to Aristotle the highest ἐνέργεια involves no transition or motion at all (cf. Chapter 14⁠—“… God always enjoys one simple pleasure⁠ ⁠…”), and in every true ἐνέργεια, even when a transition is involved, the end is attained at every moment. Cf. Metaphysics ix 6 1048b.

  206. The argument is, “Pleasure is good because it is the opposite of pain, which is evil.” “No,” says Speusippus; “it is neither pleasure nor pain, but the neutral state, which is opposite to both, that is good.” “No,” replies Aristotle, “for then pleasure will be bad.”

  207. Virtuous faculties and activities (II 6⁠—“… because the mean or moderate amount is, in a sense, an extreme⁠ ⁠…”) do not admit of excess, because by their very nature they are right and occupy the mean; too much of them would be a contradiction in terms.

  208. Pain generally (ὅλως) is bad, to be avoided.

    Objection: The pain of foregoing certain excessive pleasures is not to be avoided.

    Answer: The opposite of these excessive pleasures, i.e. the foregoing them, is not painful to the virtuous man, but only to him who sets his heart upon them, i.e. to a vicious or incontinent man.

  209. As these words disturb the order of the argument, I have, following Gottfried Ramsauer (Aristotelis Ethica Nicomachea), put them in brackets; but I see no sufficient reason for regarding them as spurious.

  210. Cf. Chapter 12 (“In the second place⁠ ⁠…”).

    I am sick and take medicine, hungry and take food (which seems to be here included under medicine); but neither the drug nor the food can of themselves cure me and restore the balance of my system⁠—they must be assimilated (or the body is not like a jar that can be filled merely by pouring water from another jar), i.e. part of my system must remain in its normal state and operate in its normal manner. But this operation, this ἐνέργεια τῆς κατὰ φύσιν ἕξεως, is pleasure (by the definition given in Chapter 12: “… pleasure⁠ ⁠… is an activity⁠ ⁠…”), and in ignorance of the process we transfer the pleasure to the medicine and call it pleasant. The weakness of this account is that it overlooks the fact that, though the medicine cannot itself cure without the operation of τῆς κατὰ φύσιν ἕξεως, yet on the other hand this ἕξις, this faculty, cannot operate in this manner without this stimulus; so that there seems to be no reason why the medicine, as setting up an ἐνέργεια τῆς κατὰ φύσιν ἕξεως, should not itself be called φύσει ἡδύ. But the whole passage rests on the assumption that there can be activity without stimulus, i.e. without want⁠—an assumption which has become inconceivable to us.

  211. Cf. X 7 (“But a life which realized this idea would be something more than human⁠ ⁠…”).

  212. τῶν δικαίων τὸ μάλιστα sc. τὸ ἐπιεικές: cf. V 10 (“What is just⁠ ⁠… and what is equitable are generically the same, and both are good, though what is equitable is better”) and VI 11 (“… equitable is a common term that is applicable to all that is good in our dealings with others.”).

  213. Cf. Plato’s Republic, 834.

  214. Literally, “Crow to crow.”

  215. Literally, “say that all who thus resemble one another are to one another like potters,” alluding to the saying of Hesiod⁠—

    Καὶ κεραμεὺς κεραμεῖ κοτέει καὶ τέκτονι⁠—

    “Potter quarrels with potter, and carpenter with carpenter.”

  216. See Gottfried Ramsauer, Aristotelis Ethica Nicomachea.

  217. A family of importance in a Greek state was usually connected by ties of hospitality with other families in other states: persons so connected were not φίλοι, not strictly friends, since they lived apart; but ξένοι, for which there is no English equivalent.

  218. To a Greek, of course, this does not necessarily imply living under the same roof, as it does to us with our very different conditions of life.

  219. Reading πολλοὺς.

  220. The words ἂν μὴ καὶ τῇ ἀρετῇ ὑπερέχηται literally mean “unless he also be surpassed in virtue.” Who is “he”? Not the former, for σπουδαῖος, the ideally good man, cannot be surpassed in virtue; therefore the latter⁠—the great man, the tyrant, king or prince. The whole passage displays a decided animus against princes (perhaps, as Adolf Stahr suggests in his Aristotelia, a reminiscence of experiences in the Macedonian court).

  221. The general rule of justice is that what different people receive is different, being proportionate to their respective merits (τὸ κατ’ ὰξίαν or ἰσότης λόγων: cf. V 3, 5, and again in 5); in exceptional cases, when the merits of the persons are the same, what they receive is equal (τὸ κατ’ becomes τὸ κατὰ ποσὸν ἴσον). But friendship in the primary sense is friendship between equals, so that the general rule here is that both give and take equal amounts of love, etc.; in the exceptional case of inequality between the persons, the amounts must be proportionate.

  222. It is the institution of the state which gives a permanent significance to these amusements of a day.

  223. As the ἄρχων βασιλεύς at Athens.

  224. Literally “more evident,” sc. than that kingly rule is the best.

  225. Scarcely consistent with “… the case of princes⁠ ⁠… those who are greatly inferior do not claim their friendship⁠ ⁠…” in Chapter 7; but cf. “… another kind of friendship, in which the persons are unequal, as that⁠ ⁠… of a ruler of any kind for a subject.” earlier in that chapter.

  226. We pay taxes to the king, and tend our parents in their old age; but, as this is no adequate repayment of what they have done for us, we owe them honour besides.

  227. For he desires the good of his friend.

  228. In the papers of October 8, 1880, a suit is reported in which A tries in vain to recover from B certain goods given during courtship⁠—according to B as presents, according to A ἐπὶ ῥητοῖς, viz. on condition of marriage, which condition had not been fulfilled.

  229. Reading ὃ ὡμολόγησεν.

  230. Where the two friends have different motives.

  231. Viz. the pleasure of anticipation.

  232. μισθὸς δ’ ἀνδρὶ φίλῳ εἰρημένος ἄρκιος ἔστω. —⁠Hesiod

  233. Omitting ἐκεῖνο τὸ γενόμενον, after Ingram Bywater, Journal of Philology, vol. xvii, p. 71.

  234. φαῦλος here as elsewhere includes all who are not good, the incontinent as well as the vicious.

  235. Epicharmus was a Sicilian dramatist.

  236. Reading Ἐνεργείᾳ δ’ ὁ ποιήσας τὸ ἔργον ἐστί πως.

  237. ἐγκρατής, continent, in whom the true masters the false self; ἀκρατής, incontinent, in whom the true self is mastered.

  238. Reading δή. See J. A. Stewart, Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle, p. 386.

  239. (1) They are good, (2) they belong to him.

  240. Cf. the last words of this book.

  241. Cf. note 217.

  242. See a few lines on, at the end of the next paragraph.

  243. ἐσθλῶν μὲν γὰρ ἄπ’ ἐσθλὰ μαθήσεαι. —⁠Theognis

  244. τὸ αἱρετόν covers, as no English word can, the transition from desired to desirable.

  245. The neutral state, neither pleasure nor pain, which they hold to be good.

  246. Adopting Leonhard von Spengel’s conjecture, κενούμενος for τεμνόμενος.

  247. Physics, Book iii f.: cf. especially viii 8, 264 b, 27, quoted by Gottfried Ramsauer, who founds on it an ingenious emendation of this passage.

  248. As already remarked, there is no one English word which includes these various senses of ἕξις, (1) habit of body, (2) moral habit or character, (3) intellectual habit or trained faculty.

  249. At other periods of life the various organs of the body may perform their functions completely, but in youth this is accompanied by an inexpressible charm which all other ages lack. The only analogy between pleasure and the doctor is that both “complete the activity” from outside: medicines alter the functions; pleasure, like beauty, does not alter them, but is an added perfection.

  250. Sight and touch are classed together on the one hand, and hearing, smell, and taste on the other, because, while the announcements of all the senses are, in the first instance, of secondary qualities (colours, sounds, etc.), it is mainly from the announcements of sight and touch that we advance to the knowledge of the mathematical properties or primary qualities (number, figure, motion, etc.).

  251. τὰ σπουδαῖα. It is impossible to convey in a translation the play upon the words σπουδή and σπουδαῖος: σπουδή is earnestness; σπουδαῖος usually = good: here, however, σπουδαῖος carries both senses, earnest or serious, and good.

  252. ἡ κατὰ τὴν ἐνέργεια, the contemplation of absolute truth.

  253. The search for this truth.

  254. I.e. our nature as moral agents, as compounds of reason and desire.

  255. I.e. the principles of morals cannot be proved, but are accepted without proof by the man whose desires are properly trained. Cf. I 4 (“… nothing but a good moral training can qualify a man to study what is noble and just⁠ ⁠…”).

  256. Reading ὰνδρείου ὑπομένοντος⁠ ⁠… κινδυνεύοντος after Ingram Bywater, Contributions to the Textual Criticism of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, p. 69.

  257. Before theory or instruction can be any use. Cf. I 4 (“… nothing but a good moral training can qualify a man to study what is noble and just⁠ ⁠…”).

  258. Cf. the opening paragraphs of VI 8.

  259. Homer’s Odyssey, ix 114.

  260. Transposing καὶ δρᾶν αὐτὸ δύνασθαι as suggested by Ingram Bywater: cf. I 2 (“For though this good is the same for the individual and the state⁠ ⁠…”).

  261. The work to which this conclusion forms a preface is the Politics of Aristotle, still extant, but in an incomplete state.