19 March, 2000

Author: George Irbe

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TI- Terence Irwin, Hackett Publishing Co. 1985
DR - David Ross, Oxford University Press 1980
JT - J.A.K. Thomson, Penguin Books 1955


Text Remarks
[DR] In general, choice seems to relate to the things that are in our own power. By choosing what is good or bad we are men of a certain character, which we are not by holding certain opinions. Our character is determined by our choices, not by our opinions.
[DR] The object of choice being one of the things in our own power which is desired after deliberation, choice will be deliberate desire of things in our own power; for when we have reached a judgment as a result of deliberation, we desire in accordance with our deliberation. We decide what to choose after deliberating and the choice then is our desire.
[JT] The man of good character judges every situation rightly; i.e. in every situation what appears to him is the truth. What makes the man of good character stand out furthest is the fact that he sees the truth in every kind of situation: he is a sort of standard and yardstick of what is fine and pleasant. The man of good character grasps the truth of every situation. His opinion is valued, he is regarded as a fine and pleasant individual.
[DR] The end being what we wish for, the means what we deliberate about and choose, actions concerning means must be according to choice and voluntary. Now the exercise of virtues is concerned with means. Therefore virtue also is in our own power, and so too vice. Now if it is in our power to do noble or base acts, and likewise in our power not to do them, and this was what being good or bad meant, then it is in our power to be virtuous or vicious. No one is involuntarily happy, but wickedness is voluntary. We are good or bad by choice.
[DR] We punish those who are ignorant of anything in the laws that they ought to know and that is not difficult, and so too in the case of anything else that they are thought to be ignorant of through carelessness; we assume that it is in their power not to be ignorant, since they have the power of taking care. They are themselves by their slack lives responsible for becoming men of this kind, and men are themselves responsible for being unjust or self-indulgent. It is irrational to suppose that a man who acts unjustly does not wish to be unjust or a man who acts self-indulgently to be self-indulgent. Ignorance and carelessness is not forgiven to those who should know better. Evil and unjust acts are perpetrated deliberately.
[DR] To the unjust and the self-indulgent men it was open at the beginning not to become men of this kind, and so they are unjust and self-indulgent voluntarily; but now that they have become so it is not possible for them not to be so. But not only are the vices of the soul voluntary, but those of the body also for some men, whom we accordingly blame. The bad man becomes bad by choice and then finds it impossible to shed the bad habits.
[DR] With regard to the virtues in general we have stated their genus in outline, viz. that they are means and that they are states of character, and that they tend, and by their own nature, to the doing of acts by which they are produced, and that they are in our power and voluntary, and act as the right rule prescribes. The substance and function of the virtues.
[TI] Whoever stands firm against the right things and fears the right things, for the right end, in the right way, at the right time, and is correspondingly confident, is the brave person; for the brave person's actions and feelings reflect what something is worth and what reason prescribes. Characteristics of the brave person.
[JT] This is true of the courageous man. His courage is a noble thing, so its end is of the same kind, because the nature of any given thing is determined by its end. Thus it is for a right and noble motive that the courageous man faces the dangers and performs the actions appropriate to his courage. The brave man is also noble.
[DR] Courage is a mean with respect to things that inspire confidence or fear; and it chooses or endures things because it is noble to do so, or because it is base not to do so. Courage
[DR] Self-indulgence would seem to be justly a matter of reproach, because it attaches to us not as men but as animals. To delight in such things, then, and to love them above all others, is brutish. Self-indulgence is brutish.
[DR] The appetite for food is natural, since everyone who is without it craves for food and drink, and sometimes for both, and love also. Natural desires of the body
[JT] With regard to particular pleasures many people go wrong in many ways. Some of those who are called 'lovers' of this or that go wrong in enjoying the wrong objects, others in enjoying things with abnormal intensity, or in the wrong way; and the licentious display excess in every form. They enjoy some things that it is wrong to enjoy, because they are odious; and where it is right to enjoy something, they enjoy it more than is right, or more than is normal. Enjoying the right things to excess is wrong. So is also the enjoyment of the wrong things.
[DR] The temperate man neither enjoys the things that the self-indulgent man enjoys most -- but rather dislikes them -- nor in general the things that he should not, nor anything of this sort to excess, nor does he feel pain or craving when they are absent, or does so only to a moderate degree, and not more than he should, nor when he should not, and so on; but the things that, being pleasant, make for health or good condition, he will desire moderately and as he should, and also other pleasant things if they are not hindrances to these ends, or contrary to what is noble, or beyond his means. The characteristics of the temperate person.
[TI] Hence the temperate person's appetitive part must agree with reason; for both his appetitive part and his reason aim at what is fine, and the temperate person's appetites are for the right things, in the right ways, at the right times, which is just what reason also prescribes. In the temperate man reason guides appetites
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