MORAL VIRTUE IN GENERAL
Moral Virtue Is Caused by Habit
Chapter 1 I. HE TREATS THE VIRTUES THEMSELVES. A. He studies the moral virtues. A’ He investigates the matter of the moral virtues in general. 1. HE TREATS MORAL VIRTUE IN GENERAL. a. He is looking for the cause of moral virtue. i. He shows that moral virtue is caused in us by actions. x. HE SHOWS THE CAUSE OF THE FORMATION OF VIRTUE. aa. He proposes that moral virtue originates in us from the habit of acting. — 245-247 διττῆς δὴ τῆς ἀρετῆς οὔσης, τῆς μὲν διανοητικῆς τῆς δὲ ἠθικῆς, ἡ μὲν διανοητικὴ τὸ πλεῖον ἐκ διδασκαλίας ἔχει καὶ τὴν γένεσιν καὶ τὴν αὔξησιν, διόπερ ἐμπειρίας δεῖται καὶ χρόνου, ἡ δ' ἠθικὴ ἐξ ἔθους περιγίνεται, ὅθεν καὶ τοὔνομα ἔσχηκε μικρὸν παρεκκλῖνον ἀπὸ τοῦ ἔθους. Virtue is of two kinds, intellectual and moral. The intellectual is generated and fostered for the most part by teaching, and so requires time and experience. Moral virtue however is derived from customary action (mos). Hence by a slight variation of the original term we have this name “moral.” bb. He shows that moral virtue is not in us by nature. a’ The first (reason) is this. — 248-249 ἐξ οὗ καὶ δῆλον ὅτι οὐδεμία τῶν ἠθικῶν ἀρετῶν φύσει ἡμῖν ἐγγίνεται· οὐθὲν γὰρ τῶν φύσει ὄντων ἄλλως ἐθίζεται, οἷον ὁ λίθος φύσει κάτω φερόμενος οὐκ ἂν ἐθισθείη ἄνω φέρεσθαι, οὐδ' ἂν μυριάκις αὐτὸν ἐθίζῃ τις ἄνω ῥιπτῶν, οὐδὲ τὸ πῦρ κάτω, οὐδ' ἄλλο οὐδὲν τῶν ἄλλως πεφυκότων ἄλλως ἂν ἐθισθείη. οὔτ' ἄρα φύσει οὔτε παρὰ φύσιν ἐγγίνονται αἱ ἀρεταί, ἀλλὰ πεφυκόσι μὲν ἡμῖν δέξασθαι αὐτάς, τελειουμένοις δὲ διὰ τοῦ ἔθους. From this it is clear that moral virtue is not instilled in us by nature, for nothing natural is changed by habit; thus a stone that naturally gravitates downward will never become accustomed to moving upward, not even if someone should continue to throw it into the air ten thousand times. Neither will fire become accustomed to tend downward, nor will anything else that naturally tends one way acquire the contrary custom. Therefore, the moral virtues are not in us by nature nor are they in us contrary to nature. We do have a natural aptitude to acquire them, but we are perfected in these virtues by use. b’ The second reason. — 250 ἔτι ὅσα μὲν φύσει ἡμῖν παραγίνεται, τὰς δυνάμεις τούτων πρότερον κομιζόμεθα, ὕστερον δὲ τὰς ἐνεργείας ἀποδίδομεν ὅπερ ἐπὶ τῶν αἰσθήσεων δῆλον· οὐ γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ πολλάκις ἰδεῖν ἢ πολλάκις ἀκοῦσαι τὰς αἰσθήσεις ἐλάβομεν, ἀλλ' ἀνάπαλιν ἔχοντες ἐχρησάμεθα, οὐ χρησάμενοι ἔσχομεν· τὰς δ' ἀρετὰς λαμβάνομεν ἐνεργήσαντες πρότερον, ὥσπερ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων τεχνῶν· ἃ γὰρ δεῖ μαθόντας ποιεῖν, ταῦτα ποιοῦντες μανθάνομεν, οἷον οἰκοδομοῦντες οἰκοδόμοι γίνονται καὶ κιθαρίζοντες κιθαρισταί· οὕτω δὴ καὶ τὰ μὲν δίκαια πράττοντες δίκαιοι γινόμεθα, τὰ δὲ σώφρονα σώφρονες, τὰ δ' ἀνδρεῖα ἀνδρεῖοι. Again in the things that come to us from nature, we first receive the potentialities and afterwards we put them into operation. This is obvious in the case of the senses, for we did not acquire our senses from seeing and hearing repeatedly but on the contrary we made use of the senses after we have them—we did not come into possession of them after we used them. Virtues however we acquire by previous activity as happens in different arts, for the things we must learn how to make, we learn by making. Thus men become builders by building and harpists by playing the harp. Likewise we become just by doing just actions, we become temperate by doing temperate actions, and we become courageous by doing courageous actions. cc. He explains by a sign what he had said. — 251 μαρτυρεῖ δὲ καὶ τὸ γινόμενον ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν· οἱ γὰρ νομοθέται τοὺς πολίτας ἐθίζοντες ποιοῦσιν ἀγαθούς, καὶ τὸ μὲν βούλημα παντὸς νομοθέτου τοῦτ' ἐστίν, ὅσοι δὲ μὴ εὖ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν ἁμαρτάνουσιν, καὶ διαφέρει τούτῳ πολιτεία πολιτείας ἀγαθὴ φαύλης. Our contention is verified by what is done in the state, for legislators make men good in accordance with political norms. Such is the aim of every legislator. In fact he who does not succeed in this fails in lawmaking. It is precisely in this way that a good constitution differs from a bad one. y. (HE SHOWS) WHAT THE CAUSE OF ITS DESTRUCTION IS. aa. He explains his proposition. — 252-253 ἔτι ἐκ τῶν αὐτῶν καὶ διὰ τῶν αὐτῶν καὶ γίνεται πᾶσα ἀρετὴ καὶ φθείρεται, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τέχνη· ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ κιθαρίζειν καὶ οἱ ἀγαθοὶ καὶ κακοὶ γίνονται κιθαρισταί. ἀνάλογον δὲ καὶ οἰκοδόμοι καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ πάντες· ἐκ μὲν γὰρ τοῦ εὖ οἰκοδομεῖν ἀγαθοὶ οἰκοδόμοι ἔσονται, ἐκ δὲ τοῦ κακῶς κακοί. εἰ γὰρ μὴ οὕτως εἶχεν, οὐδὲν ἂν ἔδει τοῦ διδάξοντος, ἀλλὰ πάντες ἂν ἐγίνοντο ἀγαθοὶ ἢ κακοί. οὕτω δὴ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀρετῶν ἔχει· πράττοντες γὰρ τὰ ἐν τοῖς συναλλάγμασι τοῖς πρὸς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους γινόμεθα οἳ μὲν δίκαιοι οἳ δὲ ἄδικοι, πράττοντες δὲ τὰ ἐν τοῖς δεινοῖς καὶ ἐθιζόμενοι φοβεῖσθαι ἢ θαρρεῖν οἳ μὲν ἀνδρεῖοι οἳ δὲ δειλοί. ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὰ περὶ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας ἔχει καὶ τὰ περὶ τὰς ὀργάς· οἳ μὲν γὰρ σώφρονες καὶ πρᾶοι γίνονται, οἳ δ' ἀκόλαστοι καὶ ὀργίλοι, οἳ μὲν ἐκ τοῦ οὑτωσὶ ἐν αὐτοῖς ἀναστρέφεσθαι, οἳ δὲ ἐκ τοῦ οὑτωσί. καὶ ἑνὶ δὴ λόγῳ ἐκ τῶν ὁμοίων ἐνεργειῶν αἱ ἕξεις γίνονται. Again, every virtue has both its origin and its deterioration from the same principles. A similar situation is found in any art, for it is from playing the harp that both good and bad harpists are made. Proportionately this can be said of builders and of all the rest. Men become good builders from building well, but they become poor builders by building poorly. If this were not so, there would be no need of a teacher but all would be born good or bad workmen. This is the case also with virtue. Of those who engage in transactions with their fellowmen, some become just and others unjust. Of those exposed to dangers who habitually experience fear or confidence, some become brave and some cowardly. We may say the same of men in reference to concupiscence and anger, for some become temperate and mild, others self-indulgent and irascible; some conduct themselves well in these matters, others badly. We may then universally state in one sentence: like actions produce like habits. bb. He infers a corollary. — 254 διὸ δεῖ τὰς ἐνεργείας ποιὰς ἀποδιδόναι· κατὰ γὰρ τὰς τούτων διαφορὰς ἀκολουθοῦσιν αἱ ἕξεις. οὐ μικρὸν οὖν διαφέρει τὸ οὕτως ἢ οὕτως εὐθὺς ἐκ νέων ἐθίζεσθαι, ἀλλὰ πάμπολυ, μᾶλλον δὲ τὸ πᾶν. Therefore, we must cultivate actions of the right sort because differences in actions are followed by differences in habits. It is not of small moment but it matters a great deal— more than anything else—whether one becomes promptly accustomed to good or bad habits from youth.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS Duplici autem virtute existente et cetera. Postquam philosophus determinavit ea quae sunt praeambula ad virtutem, hic incipit de virtutibus determinare. Et dividitur in partes duas. In prima determinat de ipsis virtutibus. In secunda de quibusdam, quae consequuntur ad virtutes vel concomitantur eas, in septimo libro, ibi, post haec autem dicendum aliud facientes principium et cetera. Prima autem pars dividitur in partes duas: in prima determinat de virtutibus moralibus. In secunda de intellectualibus, in sexto libro, ibi: quia autem existimus prius dicentes et cetera. Et ratio ordinis est, quia virtutes morales sunt magis notae, et per eas disponimur ad intellectuales. Prima autem pars dividitur in partes duas: in prima determinat ea quae pertinent ad virtutes morales in communi. In secunda determinat de virtutibus moralibus in speciali. Et hoc, ibi: quoniam quidem igitur medietas est et cetera. Prima autem pars dividitur in duas: in prima determinat de virtute morali in communi. In secunda determinat de quibusdam principiis moralium actuum, in tertio libro, ibi, virtute itaque et circa passiones et cetera. Prima autem pars dividitur in partes tres. In prima inquirit de causa virtutis moralis. In secunda inquirit quid sit virtus moralis, ibi: post haec autem quid est virtus et cetera. In tertia parte ostendit quomodo aliquis possit fieri virtuosus, ibi: quoniam quidem igitur est virtus moralis et cetera. Circa primum tria facit. Primo ostendit quod virtus moralis causatur in nobis ex operibus; secundo ostendit ex qualibus operibus causetur in nobis, ibi, quoniam igitur praesens negotium et cetera. In tertia parte movet quamdam dubitationem circa praedicta, ibi, quaeret autem utique aliquis et cetera. 245. After the Philosopher has treated the questions introductory to virtue, he now begins the study of the virtues. He divides the treatise into two parts. In the first part [I] he treats the virtues themselves. In the second he examines certain things that follow or accompany the virtues. He does this in the seventh book (B. 1145 a 15) at “Now, making a new start, we must say etc.” [Lect. 1; I]. The first part is subdivided into two sections. In the first [I, A] he studies the moral virtues; in the second the intellectual virtues, in the sixth book (B.1138 b 18) at “But since we previously said etc.” [Lect. 1]. The reason for this order is that the moral virtues are more known, and through them we are prepared for a study of the intellectual virtues. In the first [A, A’], which is divided into two parts, he investigates the matter of the moral virtues in general. In the second [Bk. III, Lect. 14] he examines the moral virtues specifically, at “We stated previously... is a mean etc.” (B.1115 a 7). This first is again subdivided into two parts. In the first of these [A’, 1] he treats moral virtue in general. In the second he examines certain principles of moral actions. This is in the third book [Lect. 1] beginning at “Since virtue is concerned with passions etc.” (B. 1109 b 30). This first has a threefold division. In the first part [1, a] he is looking for the cause of moral virtue. In the second [Lect. 5] he seeks to find out what moral virtue is, at “Now we must search out the definition of virtue” (B. 1105 b 20). In the third part [Lect. 11] he shows how a man may become virtuous, at “A sufficient explanation has been given etc.” (B. 1109 a 19). On the initial point he does three things. First [a, i] he shows that moral virtue is caused in us by actions. Second [Lect. 2; a, ii] he shows by what actions it may be caused in us, at “The present study etc.” (B.1103 b 27). In the third part [Lect. IV] he finds a particular problem in what was previously said, at “Someone may rightly ask etc.” Circa primum duo facit. Primo ostendit quae sit causa generationis virtutis. Secundo quae sit causa corruptionis ipsius, ibi: adhuc ex eisdem et cetera. Circa primum tria facit. Primo proponit quod virtus moralis sit in nobis ex consuetudine operum. Secundo ostendit quod non est in nobis a natura, ibi: ex quo et manifestum et cetera. Tertio manifestat quod dixerat, per signum, ibi: testatur autem et quod fit et cetera. (B.1105 a 18). In regard to the first he does two things. Initially [i, x] he shows the cause of the formation of virtue; and second [I, y] what the cause of its destruction is, at “Again, every virtue etc.”On the initial point he does three things. First [x, aa] he proposes that moral virtue originates in us from the habit of acting. Second [x, bb] that moral virtue is not in us by nature, at “From this it is clear etc?’ Third [x, cc] he explains by a sign what he had said, at “Our contention is ‘verified by what is done etc.” Dicit ergo primo quod, cum duplex sit virtus, scilicet intellectualis et moralis, intellectualis virtus secundum plurimum et generatur et augetur ex doctrina. Cuius ratio est, quia virtus intellectualis ordinatur ad cognitionem, quae quidem acquiritur nobis magis ex doctrina quam ex inventione. Plures enim sunt, qui possunt cognoscere veritatem ab aliis addiscendo quam per se inveniendo. Plura etiam unusquisque inveniens ab alio didicit quam per seipsum inveniat. Sed quia in addiscendo non proceditur in infinitum, oportet quod multa cognoscant homines inveniendo. Et quia omnis cognitio nostra ortum habet a sensu et ex multotiens sentire aliquid fit experimentum. Ideo consequens est quod intellectualis virtus indigeat experimento longi temporis. 246. He says first that virtue is of two kinds, intellectual and moral, and that the intellectual is both generated and increased for the most part by teaching. The reason is that intellectual virtue is ordered to knowledge which we acquire more readily from teaching than by discovery. More people can know the truth by learning form others than by ascertaining it themselves. Everyone indeed who finds out from others will learn more than he can discover by himself. But because we cannot proceed to in the process of learning, men must learn many truths by discovery. Besides, since all our knowledge is derived from the senses, and the senses in turn very often beget experience, it follows that intellectual virtue may need long experience. Sed moralis virtus fit ex more, idest ex consuetudine. Virtus enim moralis est in parte appetitiva. Unde importat quamdam inclinationem in aliquid appetibile. Quae quidem inclinatio vel est a natura quae inclinat in id quod est sibi conveniens, vel est ex consuetudine quae vertitur in naturam. Et inde est quod nomen virtutis moralis sumitur a consuetudine, parum inde declinans. Nam in Graeco ethos per e breve scriptum significat morem sive moralem virtutem, ythos autem scripta per y Graecum quod est quasi e longum significat consuetudinem. Sicut etiam apud nos nomen moris quandoque significat consuetudinem, quandoque autem id quod pertinet ad vitium vel virtutem. 247. But m moral virtue is derived from customary activity. Now moral virtue, found in the appetitive part, implies a certain inclination to something desirable. This inclination is nature, which tends to what is agreeable to itself, or from custom which is transformed into nature. Hence the name “moral” differing somewhat from custom is taken from it. In Greek ethos spelled with epsilon —a short “e”—means habit or moral virtue, while ithos spelled with eta —a long “e”—signifies custom. With us also, the name “moral” means custom sometimes and other times it is used in relation to vice or virtue. Deinde cum dicit: ex quo et manifestum etc., probat ex praemissis, quod virtus moralis non sit a natura, per duas rationes. Quarum prima talis est. Nihil eorum quae sunt a natura variatur propter assuetudinem; et hoc manifestat per exemplum: quia cum lapis naturaliter feratur deorsum, quantumcumque proiciatur sursum, nullo modo assuescet sursum moveri, et eadem ratio est de igne et de quolibet eorum quae naturaliter moventur. Et huius ratio est quia ea quae naturaliter agunt, aut agunt tantum aut agunt et patiuntur. Si agunt tantum, ex hoc non immutabitur in eis principium actionis et ideo, manente eadem causa, semper remanet inclinatio ad eumdem effectum. Si autem sic agant quod etiam patiantur, nisi sit talis passio quae removeat principium actionis, non tolletur inclinatio naturalis quae inerat. Si vero sit talis passio quae auferat principium actionis, iam non erit eiusdem naturae. Et sic non erit sibi naturale quod fuerat prius. Et ideo per hoc quod naturaliter aliquid agit, non immutatur circa suam actionem. Et similiter etiam si moveatur contra naturam; nisi forte sit talis motio quae naturam corrumpat; si vero naturale principium actionis maneat, semper erit eadem actio; et ideo neque in his quae sunt secundum naturam neque in his quae sunt contra naturam consuetudo aliquid facit. In his autem quae pertinent ad virtutes consuetudo aliquid facit. 248. Then [x, bb], at “From this it is clearly,” he proves from the premises that moral virtue is not produced by nature for two reasons. The first [bb, a’] is that none of the things from nature are changed by use. He illustrates this point by the example of a stone that naturally tending downwards will never become accustomed to moving upward, no matter how often it is thrown into the air. The reason is that the things which naturally operate either merely operate or they operate and are operated upon. If they merely operate, their principle of action is not changed. So long as the cause remains the same, the inclination to the same effect remains. If, however, they so operate as also to be operated upon—unless the passivity be such that it removes the principle of action—the natural tendency in them will not be destroyed. But if the passivity be such as to take away the principle of action, then it will not belong to the same nature. Thus what was previously natural will cease to be natural. When a thing operates naturally, therefore, no change is effected regarding its action. The same is also true if the operation is contrary to nature unless perhaps the motion be such that it destroys nature. But if the natural principle of the operation remains, there will always be the same action. Therefore, in the things that are according to nature and in the things that are contrary to nature habit plays no part. Cuius ratio est, quia virtus moralis pertinet ad appetitum, qui operatur secundum quod movetur a bono apprehenso. Et ideo simul cum hoc quod multoties operatur oportet quod multoties moveatur a suo obiecto. Et ex hoc consequitur quamdam inclinationem ad modum naturae, sicut etiam multae guttae cadentes lapidem cavant. Sic igitur patet quod virtutes morales neque sunt in nobis a natura neque sunt nobis contra naturam. Sed inest nobis naturalis aptitudo ad suscipiendum eas, in quantum scilicet vis appetitiva in nobis nata est obedire rationi. Perficiuntur autem in nobis per assuetudinem, inquantum scilicet ex eo quod multoties agimus secundum rationem, imprimitur forma rationis in vi appetitiva, quae quidem impressio nihil aliud est quam virtus moralis. 249. The reason for this is that moral virtue pertains to the appetite that operates according as it is moved by the good apprehended. When the appetite operates often, therefore, it must be often moved by its object. in this the appetite follows a certain tendency in accordance with the mode of nature, as many drops of water falling on a rock hollow it out. Thus it is obvious that the moral virtues are not in us by nature, nor are they in us contrary to nature. We do have a natural aptitude to acquire them inasmuch as the appetitive potency is naturally adapted to obey reason. But we are perfected in these virtues by use, for when we act repeatedly according to reason, a modification is impressed in the appetite by the power of reason. This impression is nothing else but moral virtue. Secundam rationem ponit ibi adhuc quaecumque natura quidem et cetera. Quae talis est. In omnibus illis, quae nobis insunt ex natura, prius inest nobis potentia quam operatio. Et hoc patet in sensibus. Non enim ex hoc, quod multoties vidimus vel audivimus, accepimus sensum visus et auditus. Sed e converso ex hoc, quod habuimus hos sensus, uti eis coepimus, non autem ex hoc quod eis usi sumus factum est, ut eos haberemus. Sed operando secundum virtutem accepimus virtutes, sicut etiam contingit in artibus operativis, in quibus homines faciendo addiscunt ea quae oportet eos facere postquam didicerint, sicut aedificando fiunt aedificatores et cytharizando cytharistae. Et similiter operando iusta, aut temperata, aut fortia, fiunt homines iusti, aut temperati, aut fortes. Ergo huiusmodi virtutes non sunt in nobis a natura. 250. He presents the second reason [bb, b’] at “Again in the in the things.” In all the things with which nature has endowed us, potency is previous to operation. This is obvious in the senses. We did not receive the sense of sight and hearing from seeing and hearing repeatedly. On the contrary, from the fact that we had these senses, we began to use them. It did not happen that we came into possession of the senses from the fact that we used them. But we have acquired the virtues by acting according to virtue, as happens in the operative arts in which men learn by making the things that are to be made after they have mastered the skill. In this way men become builders by building, and harpists by playing the harp. Likewise men become temperate or courageous by doing just actions or temperate actions or courageous actions. Therefore, virtues of this kind are not in us by nature. Deinde cum dicit: testatur autem etc., manifestat quod dixerat, per signum. Et dicit quod ei quod dictum est, quod operando efficimur virtuosi, attestatur hoc quod fit in civitatibus; quia legislatores assuefaciendo homines per praecepta, praemia et poenas ad opera virtutum, faciunt eos virtuosos. Et ad hoc debet fieri intentio cuiuslibet legislatoris, qui vero hoc non bene faciunt, peccant in legislatione. Et horum civilitas differt a recta civilitate secundum differentiam boni et mali. 251. Then [x, cc], at “Our contention is verified,” he makes known what he had said, by a sign. He says the statement just made that by performing actions we become virtuous is verified by what is done in the state. Legislators make men virtuous by habituating them to virtuous works by means of statutes, rewards and punishment. Such ought to be the aim of every legislator—in fact he who does not succeed in this fails in lawmaking. It is precisely in this way that a good constitution differs from a bad one. Deinde cum dicit: adhuc ex eisdem etc., ostendit quod ex operibus corrumpitur virtus. Et primo ostendit propositum. Secundo infert quoddam corollarium ex dictis, ibi, propter quod oportet, et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod eadem sunt principia ex quibus diversimode acceptis, fit et corrumpitur virtus. Et similiter est de qualibet arte. Et manifestat hoc primo in artibus, quia ex hoc quod citharizant aliqualiter homines fiunt et boni et mali cytharistae, si proportionaliter accipiatur. Et eadem ratio est de aedificatoribus et de omnibus aliis artificibus, quia ex hoc quod frequenter bene aedificant fiunt boni aedificatores, et ex male aedificando mali. Et si hoc non esset verum, non indigerent homines ad addiscendum huiusmodi artes aliquo docente qui dirigeret eorum actiones, sed omnes, qualitercumque operarentur, fierent vel boni vel mali artifices. Et sicut se habet in artibus, ita se habet in virtutibus. 252. Then [i, y], at “Again, every virtue,” he shows that virtue is produced and destroyed by identical works. First [y, aa] he explains his proposition, and second [y, bb] he infers a corollary from what has been said, at “Therefore, we must etc.” He says first that the production and the destruction of virtue have their source in the same principles taken in a different way. The same is true in any art. He shows this first from activities, because men become both good and bad harpists—understanding this proportionately—from the way they play the harp. A similar reason holds for builders and all other workmen. Men become good builders by building well repeatedly, they become poor builders by building poorly. If this were not so, men would not need to learn arts of this kind from some master workman who would direct their actions, but there would be good and bad workmen in all the arts no matter how they would be practiced. As it is in the arts, so also in the virtues. Qui enim in commutationibus quae sunt ad homines bene operantur, fiunt iusti, qui autem male, iniusti; et similiter qui operantur in periculis et assuescunt timere vel confidere, si hoc bene faciunt fiunt fortes; si autem male, timidi. Et ita est etiam de temperantia et mansuetudine circa concupiscentias et iras. Et universaliter, ut uno sermone dicatur, ex similibus operationibus fiunt similes habitus. 253. Those who act well in their dealings with their fellowmen become just, and those who act in an evil way become unjust. Likewise those faced with danger who accustom themselves to fear and confidence in the right way become courageous; in the wrong way, cowardly. This is true also of temperance and meekness in the matter of concupiscence and anger. We may then universally sum up in one sentence: like actions produce like habits. Deinde cum dicit propter quod oportet etc., concludit ex praemissis quod oportet studium adhibere quales operationes aliquis faciat; quia secundum harum differentiam sequuntur differentiae habituum. Et ideo ulterius concludit quod non parum differt, quod aliquis statim a iuventute assuescat vel bene vel male operari; sed multum differt; quin potius totum ex hoc dependet. Nam ea quae nobis a pueritia imprimuntur, firmius retinemus. 254. Then [y, bb], at “Therefore, we must,” he affirms that a person must give careful attention to the performance of such actions because differences in actions are followed by differences in habits. He concludes, therefore, it is not of small moment but it makes a great difference—indeed everything depends on it—that one becomes accustomed to perform either good or evil actions from earliest youth, for we retain longer the things impressed on us as children.
Virtue and Action
ii. He now inquires how (virtues are caused in us by actions). x. HE SHOWS WHAT ARE THE ACTIONS WHICH CAUSE VIRTUE IN US. aa. He shows the necessity of the present investigation. a’ He presents the necessity itself. — 255-256 ἐπεὶ οὖν ἡ παροῦσα πραγματεία οὐ θεωρίας ἕνεκά ἐστιν ὥσπερ αἱ ἄλλαι οὐ γὰρ ἵνα εἰδῶμεν τί ἐστιν ἡ ἀρετὴ σκεπτόμεθα, ἀλλ' ἵν' ἀγαθοὶ γενώμεθα, ἐπεὶ οὐδὲν ἂν ἦν ὄφελος αὐτῆς, ἀναγκαῖον ἐπισκέψασθαι τὰ περὶ τὰς πράξεις, πῶς πρακτέον αὐτάς· αὗται γάρ εἰσι κύριαι καὶ τοῦ ποιὰς γενέσθαι τὰς ἕξεις, καθάπερ εἰρήκαμεν. The present study is not pursued for the sake of contemplation like other studies. We seek the definition of virtue not in order to know but in order to become virtuous; otherwise it would have no utility. We must then thoroughly investigate what concerns actions and how they are to be performed, for actions control the formation of habits, as we have pointed out. b’ He shows what we must suppose. — 257 τὸ μὲν οὖν κατὰ τὸν ὀρθὸν λόγον πράττειν κοινὸν καὶ ὑποκείσθωῥηθήσεται δ' ὕστερον περὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ τί ἐστιν ὁ ὀρθὸς λόγος, καὶ πῶς ἔχει πρὸς τὰς ἄλλας ἀρετάς. To be in accord with right reason is a quality common to these actions and should be taken for granted. Later we will discuss the question both as to the definition of right reason and as to how right reason is related to the other virtues. bb. He treats the method of investigation. — 258-259 ἐκεῖνο δὲ προδιομολογείσθω, ὅτι πᾶς ὁ περὶ τῶν πρακτῶν λόγος τύπῳ καὶ οὐκ ἀκριβῶς ὀφείλει λέγεσθαι, ὥσπερ καὶ κατ' ἀρχὰς εἴπομεν ὅτι κατὰ τὴν ὕλην οἱ λόγοι ἀπαιτητέοι· τὰ δ' ἐν ταῖς πράξεσι καὶ τὰ συμφέροντα οὐδὲν ἑστηκὸς ἔχει, ὥσπερ οὐδὲ τὰ ὑγιεινά. τοιούτου δ' ὄντος τοῦ καθόλου λόγου, ἔτι μᾶλλον ὁ περὶ τῶν καθ' ἕκαστα λόγος οὐκ ἔχει τἀκριβές· οὔτε γὰρ ὑπὸ τέχνην οὔθ' ὑπὸ παραγγελίαν οὐδεμίαν πίπτει, δεῖ δ' αὐτοὺς ἀεὶ τοὺς πράττοντας τὰ πρὸς τὸν καιρὸν σκοπεῖν, ὥσπερ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς ἰατρικῆς ἔχει καὶ τῆς κυβερνητικῆς. ἀλλὰ καίπερ ὄντος τοιούτου τοῦ παρόντος λόγου πειρατέον βοηθεῖν. It must be presupposed that any discussion concerning actions to be performed ought to be given in a general way and not definitively. We remarked in the beginning that discussions must be pursued according to the nature of the subject matter. Now things pertaining to actions, and relevant considerations, do not have anything fixed about them any more than the things that concern health. If this be true in the general treatment, still more uncertainty will be found in the consideration of particular cases. Indeed this study does not fall under either art or tradition. But those who perform moral actions must always pay attention to what is appropriate to the occasion as is done in medicine and navigation. Although this is the situation, we ought to try to be of assistance to others in the present study. cc. He shows actions as causes of virtue. a’ He shows by what actions virtue is caused. — 260-263 πρῶτον οὖν τοῦτο θεωρητέον, ὅτι τὰ τοιαῦτα πέφυκεν ὑπ' ἐνδείας καὶ ὑπερβολῆς φθείρεσθαι, δεῖ γὰρ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀφανῶν τοῖς φανεροῖς μαρτυρίοις χρῆσθαι ὥσπερ ἐπὶ τῆς ἰσχύος καὶ τῆς ὑγιείας ὁρῶμεν· τά τε γὰρ ὑπερβάλλοντα γυμνάσια καὶ τὰ ἐλλείποντα φθείρει τὴν ἰσχύν, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὰ ποτὰ καὶ τὰ σιτία πλείω καὶ ἐλάττω γινόμενα φθείρει τὴν ὑγίειαν, τὰ δὲ σύμμετρα καὶ ποιεῖ καὶ αὔξει καὶ σώζει. οὕτως οὖν καὶ ἐπὶ σωφροσύνης καὶ ἀνδρείας ἔχει καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἀρετῶν. ὅ τε γὰρ πάντα φεύγων καὶ φοβούμενος καὶ μηδὲν ὑπομένων δειλὸς γίνεται, ὅ τε μηδὲν ὅλως φοβούμενος ἀλλὰ πρὸς πάντα βαδίζων θρασύς· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ὁ μὲν πάσης ἡδονῆς ἀπολαύων καὶ μηδεμιᾶς ἀπεχόμενος ἀκόλαστος, ὁ δὲ πᾶσαν φεύγων, ὥσπερ οἱ ἄγροικοι, ἀναίσθητός τις· φθείρεται δὴ σωφροσύνη καὶ ἡ ἀνδρεία ὑπὸ τῆς ὑπερβολῆς καὶ τῆς ἐλλείψεως, ὑπὸ δὲ τῆς μεσότητος σώζεται. We must then first consider that moral matters are of such a nature as to be destroyed by defect and excess. To prove such notions that are not readily manifest we must use obvious signs and evidence such as we have in the case of bodily strength and health. An excessive amount of exercise no less than a lack of it impairs health. Likewise eating and drinking too much or too little causes damage to health. But health is produced, increased, and preserved by eating and drinking in moderation. It is the same then with temperance and fortitude and the other virtues. The man who is afraid of everything, who runs away and will endure nothing becomes a coward. On the other hand, the man who fears absolutely nothing and wades into every danger becomes reckless. Likewise a man who tastes every pleasure and passes up none, becomes intemperate while he who seeks to avoid all pleasures like a boor becomes as it were insensible. Temperance and fortitude are destroyed by excess and defect but are preserved by the golden mean. b’ He shows that virtue already formed produces in turn like actions. — 264 ἀλλ' οὐ μόνον αἱ γενέσεις καὶ αὐξήσεις καὶ αἱ φθοραὶ ἐκ τῶν αὐτῶν καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν αὐτῶν γίνονται, ἀλλὰ καὶ αἱ ἐνέργειαι ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἔσονται· καὶ γὰρ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν φανερωτέρων οὕτως ἔχει, οἷον ἐπὶ τῆς ἰσχύος· γίνεται γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ πολλὴν τροφὴν λαμβάνειν καὶ πολλοὺς πόνους ὑπομένειν, καὶ μάλιστα ἂν δύναιτ' αὐτὰ ποιεῖν ὁ ἰσχυρός. οὕτω δ' ἔχει καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀρετῶν· ἔκ τε γὰρ τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι τῶν ἡδονῶν γινόμεθα σώφρονες, καὶ γενόμενοι μάλιστα δυνάμεθα ἀπέχεσθαι αὐτῶν· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς ἀνδρείας· ἐθιζόμενοι γὰρ καταφρονεῖν τῶν φοβερῶν καὶ ὑπομένειν αὐτὰ γινόμεθα ἀνδρεῖοι, καὶ γενόμενοι μάλιστα δυνησόμεθα ὑπομένειν τὰ φοβερά. Not only the production, increase, and destruction of virtues have identical sources and causes but the actions themselves also have the same sources and causes. We see this in the more obvious actions like bodily strength. A man becomes strong from taking abundant nourishment and from hard work. Then when he is strong, he will be more able to do these things. We find the same thing in the virtues since we become temperate by giving up pleasures, and having become temperate we can b very easily give up pleasures. The same is true of the virtue of fortitude. We become brave by accustoming ourselves to despise and endure terrors, and having become brave we are very capable of enduring terrors.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS Quoniam igitur praesens negotium et cetera. Postquam philosophus ostendit quod virtutes causantur in nobis ex operationibus, hic inquirit quomodo hoc fiat. Et circa hoc duo facit. Primo ostendit quales sint operationes ex quibus virtus causatur in nobis. Secundo ostendit quid sit signum virtutis iam generatae in nobis, ibi, signum autem oportet facere, et cetera. Circa primum tria facit. Primo ostendit necessitatem praesentis inquisitionis. Secundo determinat modum inquirendi, ibi, illud autem praeconfessum sit, et cetera. Tertio ostendit ex qualibus operationibus causantur virtutes. Circa primum duo facit. Primo ostendit necessitatem praesentis inquisitionis. Secundo ostendit quid oporteat hic supponere, ibi, secundum rectam quidem igitur et cetera. Circa primum considerandum est, quod in speculativis scientiis in quibus non quaeritur nisi cognitio veritatis, sufficit cognoscere quae sit causa talis effectus. Sed in scientiis operativis, quarum finis est operatio, oportet cognoscere qualibus motibus seu operationibus talis effectus a tali causa sequatur. 255. After the Philosopher has shown that virtues are caused in us by actions, he now inquires how this is done [ii]. On this point he does two things. First [ii, x] he shows what are the actions that cause virtue in us. Second [Lect. 3; y], at “We may understand etc.” (B.1104 b 4), he shows what is the sign of virtue already produced in us. On the initial, point he does three things. First [x, aa] he shows the necessity of the present investigation. Second [x, bb], at “It must be presupposed etc.,” he treats the method of investigation. Third [x, cc] he shows actions as causes of virtue. In regard to the first he does two things. Initially [aa, a’] he presents the necessity itself. Second [aa, b’], at “To be in accord with right reason etc.,” he shows what we must suppose here. Regarding the first we must consider that in the speculative sciences where we seek only the knowledge of the truth, it is sufficient to know what is the cause of a determined effect. But in the practical sciences whose end is action, we must know by what activities or operations a determined effect follows from a determined cause. Dicit ergo, quod praesens negotium, scilicet moralis philosophiae, non est propter contemplationem veritatis, sicut alia negotia scientiarum speculativarum, sed est propter operationem. Non enim in hac scientia scrutamur quid est virtus ad hoc solum ut sciamus huius rei veritatem; sed ad hoc, quod acquirentes virtutem, boni efficiamur. Et huius rationem assignat: quia si inquisitio huius scientiae esset ad solam scientiam veritatis, parum esset utilis. Non enim magnum quid est, nec multum pertinens ad perfectionem intellectus, quod aliquis cognoscat variabilem veritatem contingentium operabilium, circa quae est virtus. Et quia ita est, concludit, quod necesse est perscrutari circa operationes nostras, quales sint fiendae. Quia, sicut supra dictum est, operationes habent virtutem et dominium super hoc, quod in nobis generentur habitus boni vel mali. 256. He says then that the present study, moral philosophy, is not pursued for the sake of the contemplation of truth like the other studies of the speculative sciences, but for the sake of action. In this science we seek a definition of virtue not only to know its truth but to become good by acquiring virtue. The reason he assigns is that if the investigation of this science were for the knowledge of truth alone, it would have little utility. It is not of great importance nor does it contribute much to the perfection of the intellect that a man should know the changeable truth about contingent actions with which virtue is concerned. This being the case, he concludes that we must thoroughly inquire about the actions we ought to perform because, as we have already observed (248-253), actions have influence and control over the formation of good and bad habits in us. Deinde cum dicit: secundum rectam quidem igitur etc., ostendit quid oporteat in ista inquisitione supponere. Et dicit quod hoc debet supponi tamquam quiddam commune circa qualitatem operationum causantium virtutem, quod scilicet sint secundum rationem rectam. Cuius ratio est, quia bonum cuiuslibet rei est in hoc quod sua operatio sit conveniens suae formae. Propria autem forma hominis est secundum quam est animal rationale. Unde oportet quod operatio hominis sit bona ex hoc, quod est secundum rationem rectam. Perversitas enim rationis repugnat naturae rationis. Posterius autem determinabitur, scilicet in sexto libro, quid sit recta ratio, quae scilicet pertinet ad virtutes intellectuales, et qualiter se habeat ad alias virtutes, scilicet ad morales. 257. Then [aa, b’], at “To be in accord with right,” he shows it should be taken for granted that actions causing virtue possess the common quality of being in accord with right reason. This happens because the good of everything consists in the fact that its operation is suited to its form. Now the distinctive form of man is that which makes him a rational animal. Hence man’s action must be good precisely because it harmonizes with right reason, for perversity of reason is repugnant to its nature. Later in the sixth book (1109) we shall ascertain what is right reason, which belongs to the intellectual virtues, and how it pertains to the other virtues, which are the moral. Deinde cum dicit: illud autem praeconfessum sit etc., determinat modum inquirendi de talibus. Et dicit, quod illud oportet primo supponere, quod omnis sermo qui est de operabilibus, sicut est iste, debet tradi typo, idest exemplariter, vel similitudinarie, et non secundum certitudinem; sicut dictum est in prooemio totius libri. Et hoc ideo, quia sermones sunt exquirendi secundum conditionem materiae, ut ibi dictum est, videmus autem, quod ea quae sunt in operationibus moralibus et illa quae sunt ad haec utilia, scilicet bona exteriora, non habent in seipsis aliquid stans per modum necessitatis, sed omnia sunt contingentia et variabilia. Sicut etiam accidit in operationibus medicinalibus quae sunt circa sana, quia et ipsa dispositio corporis sanandi et res quae assumuntur ad sanandum, multipliciter variantur. 258. Then [x, bb], at “It must be,” he explains the method of investigating matters of this kind. We must presume, he says, that any discussion concerned like this with actions to be performed ought to be given in a general way, that is, as a precedent or as, likely, but not definitively. This was pointed out in the introduction to the whole work (24). The reason is that the discussions are to be carried on according to the nature of the subject matter, as was noted in the same place (32). We see that things pertaining to moral actions and materials useful to them, like external goods, do not have in themselves anything fixed by way of necessity, but everything is contingent and changeable. The same occurs in works relating to medicine, which are concerned with health, because the disposition of the body to be cured and the remedies used to effect a cure are changeable in many ways. Et cum sermo moralium etiam in universalibus sit incertus et variabilis, adhuc magis incertus est si quis velit ulterius descendere tradendo doctrinam de singulis in speciali. Hoc enim non cadit neque sub arte, neque sub aliqua narratione, quia casus singularium operabilium variantur infinitis modis. Unde iudicium de singulis relinquitur prudentiae uniuscuiusque, et hoc est quod subdit, quod oportet ipsos operantes per suam prudentiam intendere ad considerandum ea quae convenit agere secundum praesens tempus, consideratis omnibus particularibus circumstantiis; sicut oportet medicum facere in medicando, et gubernatorem in regimine navis. Quamvis autem hic sermo sit talis, id est in universali incertus, in particulari autem inenarrabilis, tamen attentare debemus, ut aliquod auxilium super hoc hominibus conferamus, per quod scilicet dirigantur in suis operibus. 259. The teaching on matters of morals even in their general aspects is uncertain and variable. But still more uncertainty is found when we come down to the solution of particular cases. This study does not fall under either art or tradition because the causes of individual actions are infinitely diversified. Hence judgment of particular cases is left to the prudence of each one. He who acts prudently must attentively consider the things to be done at the present time after all the particular circumstances have been taken into consideration. In this way a doctor must act in bringing about a cure and a captain in steering a ship. Although this doctrine is such as to be uncertain in its general aspects and incapable of precision in particular cases, we ought to study it so that in these matters we may be of some assistance to men in directing their actions. Deinde cum dicit: primum igitur hoc speculandum etc., ostendit quales operationes sint quae causent virtutem. Et circa hoc duo facit. Primo ostendit ex qualibus operationibus causatur virtus. Secundo ostendit, quod virtus causata similes operationes producit, ibi, sed non solum generationes, et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, hoc esse primo considerandum, quod virtutes sive operationes causantes virtutem natae sunt corrumpi ex superabundantia et defectu. Et ad hoc manifestandum oportet assumere quaedam manifestiora signa et testimonia; scilicet ea quae accidunt circa virtutes corporis, quae sunt manifestiores quam virtutes animae. 260. Then [x, cc], at “We must then first,” he shows what are the operations that may cause virtue. On this point he does two things. First [cc, a’] he shows by what actions virtue is caused. Second [cc, b’], at “Not only the production etc.,” he shows that virtue already formed produces in turn like actions. He says first we must consider before anything else that virtues or operations causing virtues are of such a nature as to be destroyed by excess and.defect. To prove this we must use certain more obvious signs and evidence, that is, the things happening in regard to the powers of the body that are more manifest than the capacities of the soul. Videmus enim quod fortitudo corporalis corrumpitur ex superabundantibus gignasiis, id est exercitiis quibusdam corporalibus (in) quibus aliqui nudi decertabant, eo quod per nimium laborem debilitatur virtus naturalis corporis; similiter etiam defectus horum exercitiorum corrumpit fortitudinem corporalem, quia ex defectu exercitii membra remanent mollia et debilia ad laborandum. Et similiter etiam est in sanitate. Nam sive aliquis sumat nimis de cibo vel potu, sive etiam minus, quam oporteat, corrumpitur sanitas. Sed si aliquis secundum debitam mensuram utatur exercitiis et cibis et potibus, fiet in eo fortitudo corporalis et sanitas et augebitur et conservabitur. 261. We see that bodily strength is impaired by immoderate games, that is, certain bodily exercises in which the contestants do battle naked, because the natural power of the body is weakened by excessive exertion. Likewise the lack of exercise destroys bodily strength because, when not exercised, the members remain flabby and incapable of work. A similar comment may be made about health. If someone takes either too much food or drink, or less than he needs, his health is impaired. But if a man uses exercise, food, and drink in moderation, he will become physically strong and his health will be improved and preserved. Et ita etiam se habet in virtutibus animae, puta fortitudine et temperantia et aliis virtutibus. Ille enim qui omnia timet et fugit et nihil sustinet terribilium, efficitur timidus. Et similiter qui nihil timet, sed ad omnia pericula praecipitanter vadit, efficitur audax. Et ita est etiam ex parte temperantiae; ille enim qui potitur qualibet voluptate, et nullam vitat, efficitur intemperatus. Qui autem omnes vitat, sicut homines agrestes absque ratione faciunt, iste efficitur insensibilis. 262. It is the same with the virtues of the soul, for instance, fortitude, temperance, and the other virtues. A person who fears everything, takes to flight, and never faces anything terrifying becomes a coward. Likewise he who fears nothing and wades into every danger thoughtlessly becomes rash. The same is true of temperance. He who tastes every pleasure and avoids none becomes intemperate. But he who avoids all pleasures as a boor does, without any reason, becomes as it were insensible. Nec tamen ex hoc accipi potest quod virginitas, quae abstinet ab omni delectatione venerea, sit vitium; tum quia per hoc non abstinet ab omnibus delectationibus, tum quia ab his delectationibus abstinet secundum rationem rectam: quemadmodum etiam non est vitiosum quod aliqui milites abstinent ab omnibus delectationibus venereis, ut liberius vacent rebus bellicis. Haec autem ideo dicta sunt quia temperantia et fortitudo corrumpitur ex superabundantia et defectu, a medietate autem salvatur; quae quidem medietas accipitur non secundum quantitatem, sed secundum rationem rectam. 263. However we are not to conclude from this that virginity, which abstains from all venereal pleasure, is a vice. The reason is that virginity does not abstain from all pleasures, and that it abstains from particular pleasures according to right reason. Similarly, it is not a vice for some soldiers to refrain from all venereal pleasure in order to devote themselves more fully to fighting. Now these things have been said because temperance and fortitude are destroyed by excess and defect but are preserved by the golden mean, which is understood not according to quantity but according to right reason. Deinde cum dicit: sed non solum generationes etc., ostendit quod virtus similes operationes producit eis ex quibus generatur. Et dicit quod ex eisdem operationibus fiunt generationes virtutum et augmentationes et corruptiones si contrario modo accipiantur, sed etiam operationes virtutum generatarum in eisdem consistunt. Et hoc patet in corporalibus quae sunt manifestiora, sicut fortitudo corporalis causatur ex hoc quod potest multum cibum sumere et multos labores sustinere, et quando factus est fortis, potest ista maxime facere, ita etiam se habet in virtutibus animae, quia ex hoc quod recedimus a voluptatibus efficimur temperati; et quando facti sumus temperati, maxime possumus recedere a voluptatibus. Et similiter se habet in virtute fortitudinis: quia per hoc quod sumus assueti contemnere et sustinere terribilia, efficimur fortes, et facti fortes maxime hoc possumus facere: sicut etiam ignis generatus ex calefactione potest maxime calefacere. 264. Then [cc, b’] at “Not only,” he shows that virtue produces actions similar to the actions that caused it. He says that the same kinds of activity cause the production and increase of virtue, and also its destruction if they are taken in a contrary way. Likewise the operations of the virtues already produced consist in these same works. This is obvious in bodily actions which are more manifest. As bodily strength is caused from the fact that a man can take abundant nourishment and can work hard, and when he has become strong he will be more able to do these things, so also it is with the virtues of the soul. From the fact that we give up pleasures, we become temperate; and when we have become temperate, we can very easily give up pleasures. It is the same with the virtue of fortitude. We become brave by accustoming ourselves to despise and endure terrors, and having become brave we are very capable of enduring terrors. So also, fire once kindled from generated heat can give off intense heat.
Signs of Virtue
Chapter 3 y. HE NOW EXPLAINS HOW WE MAY RECOGNIZE VIRTUE ALREADY PRODUCED. aa. He presents what he intends to do. — 265-267 σημεῖον δὲ δεῖ ποιεῖσθαι τῶν ἕξεων τὴν ἐπιγινομένην ἡδονὴν ἢ λύπην τοῖς ἔργοις· ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἀπεχόμενος τῶν σωματικῶν ἡδονῶν καὶ αὐτῷ τούτῳ χαίρων σώφρων, ὁ δ' ἀχθόμενος ἀκόλαστος, καὶ ὁ μὲν ὑπομένων τὰ δεινὰ καὶ χαίρων ἢ μὴ λυπούμενός γε ἀνδρεῖος, ὁ δὲ λυπούμενος δειλός. περὶ ἡδονὰς γὰρ καὶ λύπας ἐστὶν ἡ ἠθικὴ ἀρετή· We may understand pleasure or sorrow that follows activity as an indication of the habits that are present. Indeed the man who avoids bodily pleasures is temperate if he is glad about it; intemperate, if sad about it. Likewise, the man who encounters dangers is brave if he rejoices or is not sad, but cowardly if he is saddened. Moral virtue then is concerned with pleasure and sorrows. bb. He proves his proposition. a’ By reasons belonging to virtue. A. FIRST REASON. — 268 διὰ μὲν γὰρ τὴν ἡδονὴν τὰ φαῦλα πράττομεν, διὰ δὲ τὴν λύπην τῶν καλῶν ἀπεχόμεθα. We perform evil actions for the sake of pleasure and avoid good actions because of sadness. Therefore, as Plato says [Laws 653], we need some sort of training from our earliest years so that we may rejoice and be sorrowful about the right things, for proper instruction consists in this. B. SECOND REASON. — 269 διὸ δεῖ ἦχθαί πως εὐθὺς ἐκ νέων, ὡς ὁ Πλάτων φησίν, ὥστε χαίρειν τε καὶ λυπεῖσθαι οἷς δεῖ· ἡ γὰρ ὀρθὴ παιδεία αὕτη ἐστίν. Besides, if virtues are concerned with activities and passions, and pleasure and sorrow follow every act and passion, then certainly virtue will deal with pleasures and sorrows. C. THIRD REASON. — 270 ἔτι δ' εἰ αἱ ἀρεταί εἰσι περὶ πράξεις καὶ πάθη, παντὶ δὲ πάθει καὶ πάσῃ πράξει ἕπεται ἡδονὴ καὶ λύπη, καὶ διὰ τοῦτ' ἂν εἴη ἡ ἀρετὴ περὶ ἡδονὰς καὶ λύπας. Penalties inflicted because of pleasure and sorrow also prove our point, for penalties are, as it were, remedies. Remedies by their very nature work through contraries. D. FOURTH REASON. — 271-272 μηνύουσι δὲ καὶ αἱ κολάσεις γινόμεναι διὰ τούτων· ἰατρεῖαι γάρ τινές εἰσιν, αἱ δὲ ἰατρεῖαι διὰ τῶν ἐναντίων πεφύκασι γίνεσθαι. ἔτι, ὡς καὶ πρώην εἴπομεν, πᾶσα ψυχῆς ἕξις, ὑφ' οἵων πέφυκε γίνεσθαι χείρων καὶ βελτίων, πρὸς ταῦτα καὶ περὶ ταῦτα τὴν φύσιν ἔχει· δι' ἡδονὰς δὲ καὶ λύπας φαῦλοι γίνονται, τῷ διώκειν ταύτας καὶ φεύγειν, ἢ ἃς μὴ δεῖ ἢ ὅτε οὐ δεῖ ἢ ὡς οὐ δεῖ ἢ ὁσαχῶς ἄλλως ὑπὸ τοῦ λόγου διορίζεται τὰ τοιαῦτα. διὸ καὶ ὁρίζονται τὰς ἀρετὰς ἀπαθείας τινὰς καὶ ἠρεμίας· οὐκ εὖ δέ, ὅτι ἁπλῶς λέγουσιν, ἀλλ' οὐχ ὡς δεῖ καὶ ὡς οὐ δεῖ καὶ ὅτε, καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα προστίθεται. ὑπόκειται ἄρα ἡ ἀρετὴ εἶναι ἡ τοιαύτη περὶ ἡδονὰς καὶ λύπας τῶν βελτίστων πρακτική, ἡ δὲ κακία τοὐναντίον. Furthermore, as we said previously, every habit of the soul has a natural disposition to do and to be busied with those things by which it is made better and worse. Men become wicked by pursuing the pleasures and avoiding the sorrows that are wrong, or by doing this at the wrong time or in the wrong manner or in some other way that one may deviate from reason. Consequently, some define virtues as certain quiescent and emotionless dispositions. But they err in speaking absolutely and in not qualifying the passions as to manner, time, and so forth. We must suppose therefore that virtue is such that it works what is best regarding pleasures and sorrows, and vice does the contrary. b’ By reasons on the Part of the virtuous man himself. A. FIRST REASON. — 273-275 γένοιτο δ' ἂν ἡμῖν καὶ ἐκ τούτων φανερὸν ὅτι περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν. τριῶν γὰρ ὄντων τῶν εἰς τὰς αἱρέσεις καὶ τριῶν τῶν εἰς τὰς φυγάς, καλοῦ συμφέροντος ἡδέος, καὶ [τριῶν] τῶν ἐναντίων, αἰσχροῦ βλαβεροῦ λυπηροῦ, περὶ ταῦτα μὲν πάντα ὁ ἀγαθὸς κατορθωτικός ἐστιν ὁ δὲ κακὸς ἁμαρτητικός, μάλιστα δὲ περὶ τὴν ἡδονήν· κοινή τε γὰρ αὕτη τοῖς ζώοις, καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς ὑπὸ τὴν αἵρεσιν παρακολουθεῖ· καὶ γὰρ τὸ καλὸν καὶ τὸ συμφέρον ἡδὺ φαίνεται. Our contention will become evident from the following consideration. Three things fall under our choice: the good, the useful, the pleasurable; and three contrary things we avoid: the evil, the harmful, the sorrowful. In regard to all these, the virtuous man disposes himself rightly and the vicious man badly. This is especially true in the matter of pleasure that is common to animals and is found in all things obtained by choice, for the good and the useful seem also to be pleasurable. B. SECOND REASON. — 276 ἔτι δ' ἐκ νηπίου πᾶσιν ἡμῖν συντέθραπται· διὸ χαλεπὸν ἀποτρίψασθαι τοῦτο τὸ πάθος ἐγκεχρωσμένον τῷ βίῳ. Pleasure, too, has grown up with all of us from childhood. Therefore, it is difficult to curb this passion which is acquired with life itself. C. THIRD REASON. — 277 κανονίζομεν δὲ καὶ τὰς πράξεις, οἳ μὲν μᾶλλον οἳ δ' ἧττον, ἡδονῇ καὶ λύπῃ. διὰ τοῦτ' οὖν ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι περὶ ταῦτα τὴν πᾶσαν πραγματείαν· οὐ γὰρ μικρὸν εἰς τὰς πράξεις εὖ ἢ κακῶς χαίρειν καὶ λυπεῖσθαι. Some regulate their activities to a greater degree and others to a lesser degree by pleasure and sorrow. About these, then, our whole study must be concerned, for it is not a thing of small importance in human actions to take pleasure or sorrow in the right or wrong way. D. FOURTH REASON. — 278 ἔτι δὲ χαλεπώτερον ἡδονῇ μάχεσθαι ἢ θυμῷ, καθάπερ φησὶν Ἡράκλειτος, περὶ δὲ τὸ χαλεπώτερον ἀεὶ καὶ τέχνη γίνεται καὶ ἀρετή· καὶ γὰρ τὸ εὖ βέλτιον ἐν τούτῳ. ὥστε καὶ διὰ τοῦτο περὶ ἡδονὰς καὶ λύπας πᾶσα ἡ πραγματεία καὶ τῇ ἀρετῇ καὶ τῇ πολιτικῇ· ὁ μὲν γὰρ εὖ τούτοις χρώμενος ἀγαθὸς ἔσται, ὁ δὲ κακῶς κακός. As Heraclitus says, it is even more difficult to fight against pleasure than anger. Now the more difficult is always treated by art and virtue, which operate well and more efficiently in the face of difficulty. Hence the whole business of virtue and of political science is occupied with pleasures and sorrows. Assuredly he who uses these well will be virtuous, and he who uses them badly will be evil. cc. He sums up what has been said. — 279 ὅτι μὲν οὖν ἐστὶν ἡ ἀρετὴ περὶ ἡδονὰς καὶ λύπας, καὶ ὅτι ἐξ ὧν γίνεται, ὑπὸ τούτων καὶ αὔξεται καὶ φθείρεται μὴ ὡσαύτως γινομένων, καὶ ὅτι ἐξ ὧν ἐγένετο, περὶ ταῦτα καὶ ἐνεργεῖ, εἰρήσθω. It has been said that (1) virtue treats of pleasures and sorrows, (2) virtue is produced and increased by the same actions that, when done in a different way destroy virtue, (3) the same actions that produce virtue are in turn produced by virtue.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS Signum autem oportet facere et cetera. Postquam philosophus ostendit quales debeant esse operationes ex quibus causantur virtutes, hic ostendit quid sit signum virtutis iam generatae. Et circa hoc duo facit. Primo proponit quod intendit. Secundo probat propositum, ibi, propter voluptatem quidem enim et cetera. Circa primum considerandum quod, cum virtus similia operetur his operationibus ex quibus generata est, ut supra dictum est, differt executio huiusmodi operationum post virtutem et ante virtutem. Nam ante virtutem facit homo sibi quamdam violentiam ad operandum huiusmodi. Et ideo tales operationes habent aliquam tristitiam admixtam. Sed post habitum virtutis generatum, huiusmodi operationes fiunt delectabiliter. Quia habitus inest per modum cuiusdam naturae. Ex hoc autem est aliquid delectabile, quod convenit alicui secundum naturam. 265. After the Philosopher has shown what kind of activity produces virtue, he now [y] explains how we may recognize virtue already produced. On this point he does two things. First [y, aa] he presents what he intends to do; and second [y, bb], at “We perform evil actions etc.,” he proves his proposition. Regarding the first we must consider that when virtue produces actions similar to the actions that formed it, as was just noted (264), the performance of this action differs before and after virtue. Before virtue man does a kind of violence to himself in operating this way. Such actions, therefore, have some admixture of sorrow. But after the habit of virtue has been formed, these actions are done with pleasure. The explanation is that a habit exists as a sort of nature, and that is pleasurable which agrees with a thing according to nature. Dicit ergo hic esse signum habituum iam generatorum, vel bonorum vel malorum, quod accipitur ex delectatione vel tristitia, quae supervenit operationibus. Et hoc manifestat per exempla. Ille enim, qui in hoc gaudet quod recedit a voluptatibus corporalibus est temperatus, qui autem in hoc tristatur est intemperatus, quia operatur id quod est contrarium suo habitui. Et similiter ille qui sustinet pericula delectabiliter, vel ad minus sine tristitia, est fortis. Specialiter enim in actu fortitudinis sufficit non tristari, ut infra dicetur in tertio. Ille autem qui cum tristitia pericula sustinet, timidus est. Causam autem eius quod dictum est assignat ex hoc quod omnis moralis virtus est circa voluptates et tristitias. 266. He says that an indication that habits, good or bad, have already been formed is given by the pleasure or sorrow that follows the operations. He illustrates this by examples. The man who is glad that he has avoided bodily pleasures is temperate because he performs an action in keeping with the habit. Likewise, he who encounters dangers with pleasure, or at least without sorrow, is brave. Particularly in the act of fortitude it is enough not to have sorrow, as will be explained in the third book (584-585). One who faces dangers with sorrow is cowardly. He then assigns the reason for what he has said from the fact that every moral virtue is concerned with pleasures and sorrows. Quod quidem non est sic intelligendum quasi omnis virtus moralis sit circa voluptates et tristitias, sicut circa propriam materiam. Materia enim uniuscuiusque virtutis moralis est id circa quod modum rationis imponit. Sicut iustitia circa operationes quae sunt ad alterum, fortitudo circa timores et audacias, temperantia circa quasdam delectationes et tristitias; sed sicut dicetur in septimo huius, delectatio est principalis finis omnium virtutum moralium. Hoc enim requiritur in omni virtute morali, ut aliquis delectetur et tristetur in quibus oportet. Et secundum hoc, hic dicitur quod moralis virtus est circa voluptates et tristitias, quia intentio cuiuslibet virtutis moralis est ad hoc quod aliquis recte se habeat in delectando et tristando. 267. From this we must not conclude that ever moral virtue is concerned with pleasures and sorrows as its proper matter. The matter indeed of every moral virtue is that on which reason imposes a norm. Thus justice treats of dealing with others, fortitude treats of fears and aggressiveness, temperance of certain pleasures. But pleasure is the principal end of all the moral virtues, as will be said in the seventh book of the present work (1504-1515). In every moral virtue it is requisite that a person have joy and sorrow in the things he ought. In keeping with this, he says that moral virtue is concerned with pleasures and sorrows because the purpose of any moral virtue is that a man be rightly ordered in his pleasures and sorrows. Deinde cum dicit: propter voluptatem quidem enim etc., probat propositum. Et primo rationibus sumptis ex his quae pertinent ad virtutem. Secundo ex parte ipsius hominis virtuosi, ibi: fiet autem utique nobis et cetera. Circa primum ponit quatuor rationes. Quarum prima sumitur ex studio hominum tendentium in virtutem. Ostensum est enim supra quod ex eisdem contrario modo factis, virtus generatur et corrumpitur. Videmus autem quod propter voluptatem et tristitiam virtus corrumpitur. Quia propter concupiscentiam delectationum operamur mala, propter tristitiam autem quam timemus in laboribus honestatis recedimus a bonis, idest virtuosis operibus. Et ideo, sicut Plato dixit, oportet eum qui tendit ad virtutem, statim a iuventute aliqualiter manuduci (ut) et gaudeat et tristetur de quibus oportet. Haec est enim recta disciplina iuvenum ut assuescant (ut) et delectentur in bonis operibus et tristentur de malis. Et ideo instructores iuvenum cum bene faciunt applaudunt eis, cum autem male agunt increpant eos. 268. Then [y, bb], at “We perform evil actions,” he proves his proposition: first [bb, a’] by reasons taken from things belonging to virtue, and second [bb, b’], at “Our contention will etc., by reasons on the part of the virtuous man himself. He presents four reasons pertaining to the first point. The first reason [a’, a] is taken from the inclination of men intent on virtue. It was shown previously (264-265) that virtue is produced and destroyed by deeds of the same person done in a contrary way. Indeed, we see that virtue is destroyed by pleasure and sadness; we perform evil actions out of a desire for pleasure, we avoid good or virtuous works because of the sadness we fear in honest labor. Hence, as Plato said, one who is intent on virtue should have some sort of moral training from his earliest years that he may rejoice and be sorrowful about the right things. This is proper instruction for youths so that they become accustomed to take pleasure in good works and be grieved in evil works. Therefore, teachers of youth compliment those who do good deeds and reprove those who do evil. Secundam rationem ponit ibi adhuc autem si virtutes et cetera. Quae quidem sumitur ex materia virtutis moralis in hunc modum. Omnis virtus moralis est circa actus, sicut iustitia, quae est circa emptiones et venditiones et alia huiusmodi, vel circa passiones, sicut mansuetudo, quae est circa iras: et sic de aliis. Sed ad omnem passionem sequitur delectatio vel tristitia. Quia passio animae nihil est aliud quam motus appetitivae virtutis in prosecutionem boni vel in fugam mali; cum ergo pervenitur in bonum in quod appetitus tendit vel cum vitat malum, quod refugiebat, sequitur delectatio. Quando autem est e converso, sequitur tristitia. Sicut iratus quando consequitur vindictam, laetatur, et similiter timidus quando evadit pericula, quando autem e contrario se habet tristatur. Relinquitur ergo quod modo praedicto omnis virtus moralis sit circa delectationes et tristitias sicut circa quaedam finalia. 269. At “Besides, if” [a’, b] he presents the second reason based on the matter of the moral virtue in the following way. Every moral virtue deals with actions (as justice which treats of buying, selling, and other things of this kind), or with passions (as mildness which treats of anger), and so with the other virtues. But pleasure or sorrow follows every passion that is nothing else but the motion of the appetitive power in pursuit of good or in flight from evil. When the good to which the appetite tends is forthcoming, therefore, or when the evil which it flees is avoided, pleasure follows. But when the contrary happens, sorrow follows. Thus the angered man rejoices in getting revenge and likewise the cowardly man in avoiding dangers. But when the opposite is true, these persons are sorrowful. It remains, therefore, that every moral virtue regards pleasures and sorrows as having the aspect of ends. Tertiam rationem ponit ibi demonstrant autem et poenae et cetera. Et sumitur ex medicina virtutis. Sicut enim medicinae ad sanitatem restituendam sunt quaedam amarae potiones exhibitae et delectabiles subtractae, ita etiam poenae sunt quaedam medicinae ad reparandam virtutem. Quae quidem fiunt per subtractionem aliquarum delectationum vel adhibitionem aliquarum tristitiarum. Medicinae autem natae sunt fieri per contraria; sicut quando superabundat calor, medici adhibent frigida. Ergo etiam virtus moralis est circa aliquas delectationes et tristitias. 270. The third reason presented at “Penalties inflicted” [a’, c] is taken from the idea of a remedy for the soul. As a medicine used for the restoration of health is a kind of disagreeable potion from which the sweetness has been removed, so a penalty used for the restoration of virtue is a kind of medicine, for a penalty consists in taking away certain pleasures or applying certain disagreeable things. The reason for this is that a medicine is naturally to be used as a contrary thing. Thus in the case of fever doctors apply cooling remedies. Hence moral virtue also is concerned with certain pleasures and sorrows. Quartam rationem ponit ibi: adhuc autem, sicut prius et cetera. Quae sumitur ex eo quod est contrarium et corruptivum virtutis. Et dicit quod omnis habitus naturam habet ad haec et circa haec operanda a quibus fit deterior et melior, id est a quibus augetur in bonitate si sit habitus bonus, vel augetur in malitia, si sit habitus malus. Vel potest intelligi, a quibus innatus est fieri deterior vel melior, idest a quibus natus est generari vel augeri, quod est fieri meliorem, sive corrumpi vel diminui, quod est fieri deteriorem. Videmus autem quod homines fiunt pravi per corruptionem virtutis ex eo quod sequuntur voluptates et fugiunt tristitias vel quas non oportet vel quando non oportet, vel qualitercumque aliter deviet aliquis a ratione recta. 271. At “Furthermore, as [a’, d] he presents the fourth reason, which. is taken from what is contrary to and destructive of virtue. Every habit, he says, has a disposition to do and to be busied with the things by which it is made worse and better, that is, by which the goodness of a good habit and the evil of a bad habit is increased. This can be understood likewise of the things by which the habit naturally becomes worse or better, that is, by which it naturally is formed or increased (which is to be made better), or destroyed or diminished (which is to be made worse). We see that men become evil through the deterioration of virtue from the fact that they pursue the pleasures and steer clear of the sorrows which they ought not, or when they ought not, or in some other way by which one may deviate from right reason. Et ex hac occasione fuerunt moti Stoici ut dicerent quod virtutes sunt quaedam impassibilitates et quietes. Quia enim videbant quod homines fiunt mali per delectationes et tristitias, consequens esse putaverunt quod virtus in hoc consistat quod omnino transmutationes passionum cessent. Sed in hoc non bene dixerunt quod totaliter a virtuoso voluerunt excludere animae passiones. Pertinet enim ad bonum rationis, ut reguletur per eam appetitus sensitivus, cuius motus sunt passiones. Unde ad virtutem non pertinet quod excludat omnes passiones, sed solum inordinatas, quae scilicet sunt ut non oportet et quando non oportet, et quaecumque alia adduntur pertinentia ad alias circumstantias. Ex his ergo concludit supponendum esse quod circa voluptates et tristitias virtus optima operetur, malitia autem, quae est habitus virtuti contrarius, mala. 272. The Stoics took occasion of this to say that virtues are certain quiescent and passionless dispositions. The reason was that they saw men become evil through pleasures and sorrows, and consequently they though that virtue consists in the total cessation of the changes of the passions. But in this they erred wishing to exclude entirely the passions of the soul from a virtuous man. It belongs, of course, to the good of reason to regulate the sensitive appetite—and the passions are movements of this appetite. Hence it is not the business of virtue to exclude all, but only the inordinate passions, that is, those which are not as they ought to be and are not at the time the ought to be (he adds also all the other things belonging to the remaining circumstances). From this he then concludes that we must suppose that virtue should work what is best regarding pleasures and sorrows but vice, which is the habit opposed to virtue should work what is evil. Deinde cum dicit: fiet autem utique nobis etc., inducit ad propositum alias quatuor rationes sumptas ex parte hominum quibus inest virtus, et delectatio, et tristitia. Quarum prima sumitur ex communitate delectationum. Dicit quod tria sunt quae cadunt sub electione humana: scilicet bonum, idest honestum; conferens, idest utile; et delectabile. Quibus tria contrariantur: scilicet malum, idest vitium, quod opponitur honesto; nocivum, quod opponitur utili; et triste, quod opponitur delectabili. Circa omnia autem haec bonus recte se habet, malus autem homo peccat: et praecipue circa delectationem, quae est communior inter praedicta, duplici communitate. 273. Then [bb, b] at “Our contention will” he introduces to his proposition four other reasons taken on the part of men in whom virtue, pleasure, and sorrow are found. The first reason [b’, a] is derived from pleasures in general. He says that three things fall under human choice: the good or virtuous, the helpful or useful, and the pleasurable. Contrary to these are also three things: evil or vice as opposed to the virtuous, the harmful as opposed to the useful, the sorrowful as opposed to the pleasurable. In regard to all these, the virtuous man disposes himself rightly but the vicious man badly, especially in the matter of pleasure, which is more common among the things mentioned since it belongs to two of them. Primo quidem quantum ad ea quae delectantur. Delectatio enim invenitur in omnibus animalibus, quia non solum est secundum partem intellectivam sed est etiam secundum sensitivam. Sed utile et honestum pertinent ad solam partem intellectivam. Nam honestum est, quod fit secundum rationem; utile autem importat ordinationem alicuius in alterum, ordinare autem est proprium rationis. 274. First in regard to the things partaking of pleasure. Pleasure is found in all animals since it is not only in the intellectual power but also in the sensitive power. The useful and the virtuous, however, pertain to the intellectual power alone. This is so because the virtuous act is performed in, accord with reason while the useful implies an order of one to another, and “to order” is proper to reason. Alia autem communitas est ex parte ipsarum rerum; delectatio enim consequitur ad omnia quae cadunt sub electione. Honestum enim est delectabile homini secundum quod est conveniens rationi: utile autem est delectabile propter spem finis. Non autem est e converso, quod omne delectabile sit utile vel honestum, ut patet in delectabilibus secundum sensum. 275. Another common feature is on the part of the things themselves in which pleasure is gained. Pleasure, in fact, follows everything that falls under choice. Now the virtuous is pleasurable to man because it is agreeable to reason, and the useful also gives pleasure by reason of the expected benefit. But, on the other hand, not every pleasurable action is useful or virtuous, as is obvious in the pleasures of sense. Secundam rationem ponit ibi: adhuc autem ex puero et cetera. Quae sumitur ex connaturalitate delectationis. Simul enim cum omnibus hominibus nutritur a pueritia ipsa delectatio, quia puer mox natus delectatur in lacte. Et ideo difficile est, quod homo possit subiugare hanc passionem, quae comparatur vitae, in hoc scilicet quod incepit cum homine a principio vitae. Et ideo circa delectationem maxime est virtus moralis. 276. At “Pleasure, too” [b’, b] he presents the second reason, which is taken from an inherent characteristic of pleasure. Pleasure has grown up with us all alike from childhood, since a newborn child delights in his milk. Therefore, it is difficult for man to curb this passion acquired with life because it starts in man at the beginning of life. Hence moral virtue is especially concerned with pleasure. Tertiam rationem ponit ibi: regulamus autem et cetera. Quae sumitur ex humano studio. Omnes enim homines regulant operationes suas delectatione et tristitia, illis scilicet operationibus intendentes in quibus delectantur et ab illis abstinentes de quibus tristantur. Et ideo necesse est quod circa delectationem et tristitiam sit totum negotium moralis virtutis quae scilicet ordinatur ad bene operandum. Non enim parum pertinet ad operationes, quod aliquis bene vel male gaudeat vel tristetur. Quia si gaudet de bonis, bene operabitur, si autem de malis, male. 277. He assigns the third reason at “Some regulate” [b’, c]. This reason is derived from man’s inclination. All men regulate their activities by pleasure and sorrow. They are intent on activities they find pleasant and they avoid activities they find distressing. Hence the whole business of a moral virtue, which is ordered to good activity, must concern pleasure and sorrow. It is quite important to note what activities one finds pleasant or painful, whether rightly or wrongly so. The reason is that he who rejoices in good performs good actions, but he who rejoices in evil performs evil actions. Quartam rationem ponit ibi adhuc autem difficilius et cetera. Quae sumitur ex comparatione eius ad iram: quia, ut dixit Heraclitus, difficilius est pugnare contra voluptatem, quam contra iram; quum tamen pugnare contra iram videatur difficillimum propter eius impetum. Sed concupiscentia delectationis, et communior est et naturalior et magis durat. Ars autem et virtus est circa difficilius, in quo magis requiritur quod aliquis bene operetur, ad quod ordinatur ars et virtus; nam in facilibus quilibet potest bene operari. Sed bene operari in difficilibus est solum habentis virtutem et artem. Et ideo manifestum est ex praedictis, quod totum negotium virtutis et politicae, idest civilis conversationis, consistit circa delectationes et tristitias; quibus qui bene utitur, bonus erit; qui male autem utitur, erit malus. 278. He assigns the fourth reason at “As Heraclitus says” [b’, d]. This is taken from a comparison with anger. It is more difficult, as Heraclitus said, to fight against pleasure than against anger, even though it seems most difficult to fight against anger because of its vehemence. But the desire of pleasure is both more common and more natural, and besides, it lasts longer. Art and virtue however always treat of the more difficult, for anyone can operate well in the easier things. But it takes one skilled in virtue and art to operate well in difficult things. Thus it is obvious, from what has been said, that the whole business of virtue and of political science or of public affairs is concerned with pleasures and sorrows. If a man uses these well he will be virtuous, but if he uses them badly he will be evil. Deinde cum dicit: quoniam quidem igitur etc., epilogat quae dicta sunt: scilicet, quod virtus sit circa delectationes et tristitias; et quod eadem sunt ex quibus virtus generatur et augetur, et ex quibus etiam corrumpitur contrario modo factis, et quod eadem sunt ex quibus generatur virtus, et quae operatur virtus iam generata. 279. Then [y, cc], at “It has been said that,” he sums up in conclusion the points that have been made: virtue is concerned with pleasures and sorrows; virtue is produced and increased by the same actions that, when done in the opposite way, destroy virtue; the same actions producing virtue are in turn produced by virtue once formed.
Comparison between Virtue and Art
Chapter 4 A. He presents a problem. — 280 ἀπορήσειε δ' ἄν τις πῶς λέγομεν ὅτι δεῖ τὰ μὲν δίκαια πράττοντας δικαίους γίνεσθαι, τὰ δὲ σώφρονα σώφρονας· εἰ γὰρ πράττουσι τὰ δίκαια καὶ σώφρονα, ἤδη εἰσὶ δίκαιοι καὶ σώφρονες, ὥσπερ εἰ τὰ γραμματικὰ καὶ τὰ μουσικά, γραμματικοὶ καὶ μουσικοί. Someone may rightly ask how we can say that man must become just by doing just actions, and temperate by doing temperate actions. If people perform just and temperate works they are already just and temperate, as those who produce grammatical or musical works are already grammarians or musicians. B. He solves it. 1. FIRST BY REJECTING WHAT WAS ASSUMED ABOUT ART. — 281 ἢ οὐδ' ἐπὶ τῶν τεχνῶν οὕτως ἔχει; ἐνδέχεται γὰρ γραμματικόν τι ποιῆσαι καὶ ἀπὸ τύχης καὶ ἄλλου ὑποθεμένου. τότε οὖν ἔσται γραμματικός, ἐὰν καὶ γραμματικόν τι ποιήσῃ καὶ γραμματικῶς· τοῦτο δ' ἐστὶ τὸ κατὰ τὴν ἐν αὑτῷ γραμματικήν. But this is not true in the arts. A man may at times produce something grammatical by chance or with the help of another. He will therefore be a grammarian only if he produces a grammatical work in a grammatical way, that is, in accordance with the science of grammar that he possesses. 2. SECOND BY DISPROVING THE LIKENESS SAID TO EXIST BETWEEN VIRTUE AND ART. a. He eliminates the likeness between art and virtue. — 284 ἔτι οὐδ' ὅμοιόν ἐστιν ἐπί τε τῶν τεχνῶν καὶ τῶν ἀρετῶν· τὰ μὲν γὰρ ὑπὸ τῶν τεχνῶν γινόμενα τὸ εὖ ἔχει ἐν αὑτοῖς· ἀρκεῖ οὖν ταῦτά πως ἔχοντα γενέσθαι· τὰ δὲ κατὰ τὰς ἀρετὰς γινόμενα οὐκ ἐὰν αὐτά πως ἔχῃ, δικαίως ἢ σωφρόνως πράττεται, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐὰν ὁ πράττων πῶς ἔχων πράττῃ, πρῶτον μὲν ἐὰν εἰδώς, ἔπειτ' ἐὰν προαιρούμενος, καὶ προαιρούμενος δι' αὐτά, τὸ δὲ τρίτον ἐὰν καὶ βεβαίως καὶ ἀμετακινήτως ἔχων πράττῃ. ταῦτα δὲ πρὸς μὲν τὸ τὰς ἄλλας τέχνας ἔχειν οὐ συναριθμεῖται, πλὴν αὐτὸ τὸ εἰδέναι· πρὸς δὲ τὸ τὰς ἀρετὰς τὸ μὲν εἰδέναι οὐδὲν ἢ μικρὸν ἰσχύει, τὰ δ' ἄλλα οὐ μικρὸν ἀλλὰ τὸ πᾶν δύναται, ἅπερ ἐκ τοῦ πολλάκις πράττειν τὰ δίκαια καὶ σώφρονα περιγίνεται. Another dissimilarity between the arts and virtues is that works of art have their perfection in themselves. It is enough then that these be made with certain qualities. Yet works of virtue are not justly and temperately performed if they have certain qualities, but the agent performing them must fulfill the following conditions. (1) He must know what he is doing. (2) He must choose the virtuous works for their own sakes. (3) He must possess the disposition and operate according to it resolutely and with stability. Except for knowledge, these conditions are not required in the other arts. Mere knowledge, however,has little or no importance to he virtues but what occurs form the frequent performance of just and temperate actions is all important. b. He concludes the solution. — 285-286 τὰ μὲν οὖν πράγματα δίκαια καὶ σώφρονα λέγεται, ὅταν ᾖ τοιαῦτα οἷα ἂν ὁ δίκαιος ἢ ὁ σώφρων πράξειεν· δίκαιος δὲ καὶ σώφρων ἐστὶν οὐχ ὁ ταῦτα πράττων, ἀλλὰ καὶ [ὁ] οὕτω πράττων ὡς οἱ δίκαιοι καὶ σώφρονες πράττουσιν. Works then are called just and temperate when they are such as a just and temperate man will do. Now a just and temperate man is not one who performs these actions but who performs them as the just and temperate perform them. C. He comes to the conclusion principally intended. 1. FIRST HE BRINGS HIS PROPOSITION TO AN END. — 287 εὖ οὖν λέγεται ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ τὰ δίκαια πράττειν ὁ δίκαιος γίνεται καὶ ἐκ τοῦ τὰ σώφρονα ὁ σώφρων· ἐκ δὲ τοῦ μὴ πράττειν ταῦτα οὐδεὶς ἂν οὐδὲ μελλήσειε γίνεσθαι ἀγαθός. It has been well said, therefore, that a man becomes just by doing just actions an temperate by doing temperate actions. Anyone who does not perform these actions has not the slightest interest in becoming virtuous. 2. HE DISCREDITS A FALSE OPINION. — 288 ἀλλ' οἱ πολλοὶ ταῦτα μὲν οὐ πράττουσιν, ἐπὶ δὲ τὸν λόγον καταφεύγοντες οἴονται φιλοσοφεῖν καὶ οὕτως ἔσεσθαι σπουδαῖοι, ὅμοιόν τι ποιοῦντες τοῖς κάμνουσιν, οἳ τῶν ἰατρῶν ἀκούουσι μὲν ἐπιμελῶς, ποιοῦσι δ' οὐδὲν τῶν προσταττομένων. ὥσπερ οὖν οὐδ' ἐκεῖνοι εὖ ἕξουσι τὸ σῶμα οὕτω θεραπευόμενοι, οὐδ' οὗτοι τὴν ψυχὴν οὕτω φιλοσοφοῦντες. Many, however, fail to do good actions but, taking refuge in theory, think that by philosophizing they will become virtuous. They act like the sick who listen carefully to the doctor but do nothing he prescribes. Hence, just as those who take care of themselves in this way will never have a healthy body, so those who merely philosophize will not have a healthy soul.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS Quaeret autem utique aliquis et cetera. Postquam philosophus ostendit quod virtutes causantur ex operibus, hic movet quamdam dubitationem. Et circa hoc tria facit. Primo movet dubitationem. Secundo solvit eam, ibi, vel neque in artibus et cetera. Tertio ex determinatione quaestionis inducit conclusionem principaliter intentam, ibi, bene igitur dicitur, et cetera. Est ergo dubitatio, quam primo movet, talis: ita se habet in virtutibus sicut et in artibus: sed in artibus ita se habet, quod nullus operatur opus artis nisi habens artem; sicut nullus facit opera grammaticalia nisi grammaticus existens, neque opera musicalia nisi musicus existens; ergo etiam ita se habebit in virtutibus, quod quicumque facit opera iusta est iam iustus, et quicumque facit opera (iam) temperata est iam temperatus; non ergo videtur verum esse quod dictum est, quod homines faciendo iusta fiunt iusti, et faciendo temperata fiunt temperati. 280. After the Philosopher has shown that virtues are caused by actions, he now raises a doubt about this assertion. Regarding it he does three things. First [A] he presents a problem. Second [B], at “But this is not true etc.,” he solves it. Third [C], from the discussion of the question he comes to the conclusion principally intended, at “It has been well said, therefore, etc.” The doubt that he first raises is this. What is true of virtue is true of art. But in art it is true that no one produces a work of art except one who possesses the art, as no one produces anything grammatical unless he is a grammarian, nor anything musical unless he be a musician. It will be true in virtue, therefore, that whoever performs just works is already just and whoever performs temperate works is already temperate. Hence our previous contention (164) does not seem to be true, that men become just by doing just actions and temperate by doing temperate actions. Deinde cum dicit: vel neque in artibus etc., solvit dubitationem praedictam. Et primo interimendo id quod assumebatur de artibus. Secundo interimendo similitudinem, quae proponebatur inter virtutes et artes, ibi, adhuc autem neque simile, et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod in artibus non ita se habet sicut assumebatur, scilicet, quod quicumque facit grammaticalia iam sit grammaticus. Contingit enim quandoque quod aliquis facit opus grammaticale non per artem, sed quandoque quidem a casu, puta si aliquis idiota a casu pronunciet congruam locutionem: quandoque autem hoc contingit alio supposito, ad cuius scilicet exemplar operetur: puta si aliquis mimus repraesentet locutionem congruam, quam aliquis grammaticus profert. Sed tunc aliquis est iudicandus grammaticus, quando facit opus grammaticale et grammaticaliter, idest secundum scientiam grammaticae, quam habet. 281. Then [B, 1], at “But this is not” he solves this doubt first by rejecting what was assumed about art and second [B, 2] by disproving the likeness said to exist between virtue and art, at “Another dissimilarity etc.” He says first that it is not true in art, as was assumed, that whoever produces a grammatical work is already a grammarian. It happens sometimes that an ignoramus by chance pronounces a word correctly. Sometimes this happens with the help of another whose example is followed, for instance, a mimic imitates the correct pronunciation given by a grammarian. But a man is to be judged a grammarian only when he produces a grammatical work and in a grammatical way, that i&, in accord with the science of grammar that he possesses. Deinde cum dicit: adhuc autem neque simile etc., ponit secundam solutionem. Circa quam duo facit. Primo interimit similitudinem artium ad virtutem. Secundo concludit solutionem, ibi, res quidem igitur iustae et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod non est simile in artibus et virtutibus. Quia opera quae fiunt ab artibus habent in se ipsis id quod pertinet ad bene esse artis. Cuius ratio est quia ars est ratio recta factibilium, ut dicetur in sexto huius. Facere autem est operatio transiens in exteriorem materiam. Talis autem actio est perfectio facti. Et ideo in huiusmodi actionibus, bonum consistit in ipso facto. Et ideo ad bonum artis sufficit, quod ea quae fiunt bene se habeant. Sed virtutes sunt principia actionum, quae non transeunt in exteriorem materiam, sed manent in ipsis agentibus. Unde tales actiones sunt perfectiones agentium. Et ideo bonum harum actionum in ipsis agentibus consistit. 282. Then [B, 2], at “Another dissimilarity” he gives the second solution, in two steps. First [2, a] he eliminates the likeness between art and virtue. Second [2, b] he concludes the solution at “Works then are called just etc.” He says first that there is no similarity in art and virtue since works of art have in themselves what belongs to the perfection of the art. The explanation is that art is the right plan of making things, as will be said in the sixth book of the present work (1153, 1160, 1166). “Making” is an operation that passes to external matter, and an operation of this kind is a perfection of the thing made. Hence in such actions the good consists in the object made. It is enough for the good of art, therefore, that the things made be good. But virtues are principles of actions that do not go out into external matter but remain in the agents. Hence actions of this kind are perfections of the agents. So the good of these actions is identical with the agents themselves. Et ideo dicit, quod ad hoc quod aliqua fiant iuste vel temperate, non sufficit, quod opera quae fiunt bene se habeant; sed requiritur, quod operans debito modo operetur. In quo quidem modo tria dicit esse attendenda. Quorum primum pertinet ad intellectum sive ad rationem, ut scilicet ille qui facit opus virtutis non operetur ex ignorantia vel a casu, sed sciat quid faciat. Secundum accipitur ex parte virtutis appetitivae. In quo duo attenduntur. Quorum unum est, ut non operetur ex passione, puta cum quis facit ex timore aliquod opus virtutis, sed operetur ex electione; aliud autem est ut electio operis virtuosi non sit propter aliquid aliud, sicut cum quis operatur opus virtutis propter lucrum, vel propter inanem gloriam, sed sit propter hoc, id est propter ipsum opus virtutis, quod secundum se placet ei qui habet habitum virtutis, tamquam ei conveniens. Tertium autem accipitur secundum rationem habitus, ut scilicet aliquis firme idest constanter quantum ad seipsum, et immobiliter, id est a nullo exteriori ab hoc removeatur, quin habeat electionem virtuosam, et operetur secundum eam. 283. He says, therefore, in order that actions be justly and temperately performed, it is not enough that the things done be good but the agent must work in a proper manner. Regarding this manner, he says we must pay attention to three things. (i) The first, pertaining to the intellect or reason, is that one who performs a virtuous action should not act in ignorance or by chance but should know what he is doing. (2) The second is taken on the part of the appetitive power. Here two things are noted. One is that the action be not done out of passion, as happens when a person performs a virtuous deed because of fear. But the action i, should be done by a choice that is not made for the sake of something else, as happens when a person performs a good action for money or vainglory. The actions should be done for the sake of the virtuous work itself which, as something agreeable, is inherently pleasing to him who has the habit of virtue. (3) The third, taken from the nature of a habit, is that a person should possess a virtuous choice and operate according to it resolutely—that is, consistently on his part—and with stability so as not to be moved by any external thing. Sed ad artes non requiritur nisi primum horum, quod est scire. Potest enim aliquis esse bonus artifex, etiam si nunquam eligat operari secundum artem, vel si non perseveret in suo opere; sed scientia parvam vel nullam virtutem habet ad hoc quod homo sit virtuosus, sed totum consistit in aliis, quae quidem adveniunt homini ex frequenti operatione virtuosorum operum, quia ex hoc generatur habitus per quem aliquis eligit ea quae conveniunt illi habitui et immobiliter in eis perseverat. 284. Only the first of these, knowledge, is required in the arts. A man can be a good artist even if he never chooses to work according to art and does not persevere in his work. But knowledge has little or no importance in a person being virtuous, but his goodness consists entirely in other things that take place within him by frequent actions, and thus he becomes stable. Deinde cum dicit: res quidem igitur etc., concludit solutionem praedictae dubitationis. Et dicit, quod res quae fiunt, dicuntur iustae et temperatae quando sunt similes illis quas iustus et temperatus operatur: sed non oportet, quod quicumque haec operatur sit iustus et temperatus; sed ille qui sic ea operatur, sicut operantur iusti et temperati secundum tria praemissa, dicitur iustus et temperatus. Sic igitur homines primo operantur iusta et temperata, non eodem modo quo iusti et temperati utuntur, et ex talibus operationibus causatur habitus. 285. Then [2, b], at “Works then,” he concludes the solution of the abovementioned doubt. He states that things done are called just and temperate because they are similar to the things that a just and temperate man does. Whoever performs these actions need not necessarily be just and temperate, but he who performs them as just and temperate men perform them according to the three conditions just laid down is said to be just and temperate. Men, therefore, first perform just and temperate actions-not in the same way as the just and temperate do-and such actions in their turn produce the habit. Si quis autem quaerat quomodo hoc est possibile, cum nihil reducat se de potentia in actum? Dicendum est, quod perfectio virtutis moralis, de qua nunc loquimur, consistit in hoc, quod appetitus reguletur secundum rationem. Prima autem rationis principia sunt naturaliter nobis indita, ita in operativis sicut in speculativis. Et ideo sicut per principia praecognita facit aliquis inveniendo se scientem in actu: ita agendo secundum principia rationis practicae, facit aliquis se virtuosum in actu. 286. If it should be asked how this is possible, since nothing can move itself from potency to act, we must answer that the perfection of moral virtue, which we are treating, consists in reason’s control of the appetite. Now, the first principles of reason, no less in moral than in speculative matters, have been given by nature. Therefore, just as by means of previously known principles a man makes himself actually understand by personal effort of discovery, so also by acting according to the principles of practical reason a man makes himself actually virtuous. Deinde cum dicit: bene igitur dicitur etc., concludit conclusionem principaliter intentam. Et primo concludit propositum. Secundo arguit quorumdam errorem, ibi, sed multi haec quidem et cetera. Concludit ergo primo, quod bene supra dictum est, quod homo fit iustus ex eo quod iusta operatur et temperatus ex eo quod temperata operatur. Ex hoc autem quod non operatur, nullus nec studium apponit ad hoc quod fiat bonus. 287. Then [C], at “It has been well said, therefore,” he comes to the conclusion principally intended. First [C, 1 ] he brings his proposition to an end; and second [C, 2], at “Many, however, fail etc.,” he discredits a false opinion of certain persons. He concludes that it has been well said above (264, 280) that a man becomes just by doing just actions and temperate by doing temperate actions. But he who does not perform actions nor develop his disposition will never become virtuous. Deinde cum dicit: sed multi haec quidem etc., arguit quorumdam errorem, qui non operantur opera virtutis, sed confugiendo ad ratiocinandum de virtutibus aestimant se fieri bonos philosophando. Quos dicit esse similes infirmis, qui sollicite audiunt ea quae dicuntur sibi a medicis, sed nihil faciunt eorum quae sibi praecipiuntur. Ita enim se habet philosophia ad curationem animae, sicut medicina ad curationem corporis. Unde sicut illi qui audiunt praecepta medicorum et non faciunt, nunquam erunt bene dispositi secundum corpus, ita neque illi qui audiunt documenta moralium philosophorum et non faciunt ea, nunquam habebunt animam bene dispositam. 288. Then [C, 2], at “Many, however” he discredits the false opinion of certain persons who do not perform works of virtues but, by taking refuge in the discussion of virtues, think they can become virtuous by philosophizing. Such people, he says, are like the sick who carefully listen to what the doctor has to say but do nothing about carrying out his prescriptions. Thus philosophy is to the cure of the soul what medicine is to the cure of the body. Hence, as those who listen to the advice of doctors and disregard it will never have a well regulated body, so those who listen to the warnings of moral philosophers and do not heed them will never have a well regulated soul.
The Definition of Virtue
Chapter 5 1. FIRST HE SHOWS WHAT VIRTUE IS. A. He determines what virtue is in general. A’ He investigates the definition of virtue. I. HE INVESTIGATES THE GENUS OF VIRTUE. a. He offers the division. — 289-290 μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα τί ἐστιν ἡ ἀρετὴ σκεπτέον. ἐπεὶ οὖν τὰ ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ γινόμενα τρία ἐστί, πάθη δυνάμεις ἕξεις, τούτων ἄν τι εἴη ἡ ἀρετή. Now we must determine the definition of virtue. Since there are three principles occurring in the soul: passions, powers, and habits, virtue will be one of these. b. He explains its parts. i. He makes known those which are passions. — 291-296 λέγω δὲ πάθη μὲν ἐπιθυμίαν ὀργὴν φόβον θάρσος φθόνον χαρὰν φιλίαν μῖσος πόθον ζῆλον ἔλεον, ὅλως οἷς ἕπεται ἡδονὴ ἢ λύπη· By passions I mean: concupiscence, anger, aggressiveness, envy, joy, love, hatred, desire, jealousy, pity, and all the movements followed by pleasure and sorrow. ii. Those which are powers. — 297 δυνάμεις δὲ καθ' ἃς παθητικοὶ τούτων λεγόμεθα, οἷον καθ' ἃς δυνατοὶ ὀργισθῆναι ἢ λυπηθῆναι ἢ ἐλεῆσαι· I call those principles powers in respect of which we are said to be capable of experiencing passions, for example, of becoming angry or being sad or having pity. iii. Those which are habits. — 298 ἕξεις δὲ καθ' ἃς πρὸς τὰ πάθη ἔχομεν εὖ ἢ κακῶς, οἷον πρὸς τὸ ὀργισθῆναι, εἰ μὲν σφοδρῶς ἢ ἀνειμένως, κακῶς ἔχομεν, εἰ δὲ μέσως, εὖ· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ πρὸς τἆλλα. I call those principles habits in respect of which we are well or badly disposed towards the passions. Thus we are badly disposed in becoming angry in a violent or feeble way, but we are well disposed in doing so with moderation. The same applies to all habits and passions. c. He argues from the accepted definition. i. He shows that virtues are not passions... he assigns four reasons. w. THE FIRST (REASON). — 299 πάθη μὲν οὖν οὐκ εἰσὶν οὔθ' αἱ ἀρεταὶ οὔθ' αἱ κακίαι, ὅτι οὐ λεγόμεθα κατὰ τὰ πάθη σπουδαῖοι ἢ φαῦλοι, κατὰ δὲ τὰς ἀρετὰς καὶ τὰς κακίας λεγόμεθα, Neither virtues nor vices, therefore, are passions because: (1) We are not called good or evil by reason of the passions but by reason of virtue or vice. x. THE SECOND REASON. — 300 καὶ ὅτι κατὰ μὲν τὰ πάθη οὔτ' ἐπαινούμεθα οὔτε ψεγόμεθα οὐ γὰρ ἐπαινεῖται ὁ φοβούμενος οὐδὲ ὁ ὀργιζόμενος, οὐδὲ ψέγεται ὁ ἁπλῶς ὀργιζόμενος ἀλλ' ὁ πῶς, κατὰ δὲ τὰς ἀρετὰς καὶ τὰς κακίας ἐπαινούμεθα ἢ ψεγόμεθα. (2) We are neither praised nor reproached for the passions. Now a man is not praised or blamed for being afraid or angry simply but in a particular way. We are, though, praised or blamed for virtues or vices. y. THE THIRD REASON. — 301 ἔτι ὀργιζόμεθα μὲν καὶ φοβούμεθα ἀπροαιρέτως, αἱ δ' ἀρεταὶ προαιρέσεις τινὲς ἢ οὐκ ἄνευ προαιρέσεως. (3) We become angry and are afraid without willing it, but the virtues are certain choices or at least not without choice. z. THE FOURTH REASON. — 302 πρὸς δὲ τούτοις κατὰ μὲν τὰ πάθη κινεῖσθαι λεγόμεθα, κατὰ δὲ τὰς ἀρετὰς καὶ τὰς κακίας οὐ κινεῖσθαι ἀλλὰ διακεῖσθαί πως. (4) We are said to be moved by the passions. However we are not moved but disposed in a certain way by the virtues and vices. ii. He shows that (virtues) are not powers (for two reasons). x. THE FIRST. — 303 διὰ ταῦτα δὲ οὐδὲ δυνάμεις εἰσίν· οὔτε γὰρ ἀγαθοὶ λεγόμεθα τῷ δύνασθαι πάσχειν ἁπλῶς οὔτε κακοί, οὔτ' ἐπαινούμεθα οὔτε ψεγόμεθα· ἔτι δυνατοὶ μέν ἐσμεν φύσει, ἀγαθοὶ δὲ ἢ κακοὶ οὐ γινόμεθα φύσει· εἴπομεν δὲ περὶ τούτου πρότερον. For this reason also the virtues are not powers, for we are not called good or evil, we are not praised or blamed because we are simply capable of being affected by the passions. y. THE SECOND. — 304 εἰ οὖν μήτε πάθη εἰσὶν αἱ ἀρεταὶ μήτε δυνάμεις, λείπεται ἕξεις αὐτὰς εἶναι. Furthermore, the powers are in us by nature, but we are not good or evil by nature, as we said above. iii. He concludes (virtues) are habits. — 305 ὅ τι μὲν οὖν ἐστὶ τῷ γένει ἡ ἀρετή, εἴρηται. If then virtues are neither passions nor powers, it remains that they are habits. We say, therefore, that habit is the genus of virtue.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS Post haec autem quid est virtus et cetera. Postquam philosophus determinavit de causa virtutis, hic incipit inquirere quid sit virtus. Et dividitur in partes duas. In prima ostendit quid sit virtus. In secunda determinat de oppositione virtutis ad vitium, ibi, tribus autem dispositionibus et cetera. Prima autem pars dividitur in partes duas. In prima determinat quid est virtus in generali. In secunda manifestat definitionem assignatam in singulis virtutibus, ibi, oportet autem non solum universaliter dici et cetera. Prima autem dividitur in partes duas. In prima investigat definitionem virtutis. In secunda concludit definitionem, ibi, est ergo virtus habitus et cetera. Circa primum duo facit. Primo investigat genus virtutis. Secundo differentiam eius, ibi, oportet autem non solum et cetera. Investigat autem genus virtutis per viam divisionis. Unde circa primum tria facit. Primo proponit divisionem. Secundo exponit membra eius, ibi, dico autem passiones etc.; tertio ex divisione posita argumentatur, ibi: passiones quidem igitur et cetera. 289. After the Philosopher has treated the cause of virtue, he now begins to investigate the definition of virtue. He divides the investigation into two parts. In the first [I] he shows what virtue is, and in the second [Lect. 10] he ascertains the opposition of virtue to vice at “There are three etc.” (B. 1108 b 11). The first part is treated under two headings. In the first [I, A] he determines what virtue is in general. In the second [Lect. 8] he applies the adopted definition to particular virtues, at “We must speak of virtue not only under its universal aspect” (B.1107 a 28). This first section is also twofold, and in the first of these [A, A’] he investigates the definition of virtue. In the second [Lect. 7; 1] he concludes the definition, at “Virtue then is a habit etc.” (B. 1107). On the first point he first [A’, 1] investigates the genus of virtue and second [Lect. 6] its specific difference, at “We must consider not only etc.” (B. 1106 a 16). He investigates the genus by parts. Hence, regarding the first he does three things. First [1, a] he offers the division. Second [1, b], at “By passions I mean etc.,” he explains its parts. Third [1, c], at “Neither virtues nor vices,” he argues from the accepted definition. Dicit ergo primo, quod ad perscrutandum quid est virtus, oportet assumere, quod tria sunt in anima, scilicet passiones, potentiae et habitus, quorum alterum necesse est esse virtutem. Dixit enim supra, quod virtus est principium quorundam operum animae. Nihil autem est in anima, quod sit operationis principium, nisi aliquod horum trium. Videtur enim homo aliquando agere ex passione, puta ex ira. Quandoque vero ex habitu, sicut ille qui operatur ex arte. Quandoque vero ex nuda potentia, sicut quando homo primo incipit operari. Ex quo patet quod sub hac divisione, non comprehenduntur absolute omnia quae sunt in anima; quia essentia animae nihil horum est neque etiam operatio intelligibilis; sed solum hic tanguntur illa quae sunt principia alicuius actionis. 290. He says first that to establish the definition of virtue we have to take for granted three principles in ‘the soul: passions, powers, and habits. Virtue must come under one of these, for he just said (282) that virtue is a principle of certain operations of the soul. Now no principle of operation is found in the soul outside these three. Sometimes a man seems to act from passion, for example, anger; sometimes from habit, as when he works by art; sometimes from mere potentiality, as when he begins a new activity. It is obvious that not absolutely everything in the soul is included under this division—the essence of the soul and the operation of the intellect do not belong here—but only the things that are principles of some operation are considered. Deinde cum dicit: dico autem passiones etc., manifestat membra praemissae divisionis. Et primo manifestat quae sint passiones; secundo quae sint potentiae, ibi: potentias autem etc.; tertio qui sint habitus, ibi, habitus autem secundum quos et cetera. Circa primum considerandum est, quod secundum vegetabilem animam non dicuntur passiones animae, eo quod vires huius partis animae non sunt passivae, sed activae. Vires autem apprehensivae et appetitivae sunt passivae tam in parte sensitiva quam in parte intellectiva, praeter intellectum agentem. Et quamvis sentire et intelligere sit pati quoddam, non tamen dicuntur passiones animae secundum apprehensionem sensus vel intellectus, sed solum secundum appetitum. Quia operatio potentiae apprehensivae est secundum quod res apprehensa est in apprehendente per modum apprehendentis. Et sic res apprehensa quodammodo trahitur ad apprehendentem; operatio autem potentiae appetitivae est secundum quod appetens inclinatur ad appetibile. Et quia de ratione patientis est quod trahatur ad agentem et non e converso, inde est quod operationes potentiarum apprehensivarum, non dicuntur proprie passiones, sed solum operationes potentiarum appetitivarum. 291. Then [1, b]; at “By passions I mean,” he indicates the members of the division just mentioned. First [b, i] he makes known those that are passions; second [b, ii], those that are powers, at “I call those principles powers etc.”; third [b, iii], those that are habits, at “I call those principles habits etc.” Regarding the first we must consider that passions are not attributed to the vegetative soul because the powers of this part of the soul are not passive, as they are in both the sensitive part and the intellective part, but active. The perceptive and appetitive powers, except the active intellect, are passive. Although feeling and understanding are in a way passions (i.e., they “suffer” change, passions are properly denominated not because of the apprehension of sense or intellect but only because of the appetite. The reason is that the operation of the perceptive power takes place according as the thing perceived is in the knower according to the state of the knower. Now the object perceived is, so to speak, drawn to the knower. But the operation of the appetitive power takes place according as the one desiring is inclined to the thing desired. Because it is characteristic of the recipient (patientis) that he be drawn by the agent, and not the converse, it follows that only the operations of the appetitive powers, but not the operations of the perceptive powers, are called passions. Inter quas etiam operatio appetitus intellectivi non proprie dicitur passio, tum quia non est secundum transmutationem organi corporalis, quae requiritur ad rationem passionis proprie dictae, tum etiam quia secundum operationem appetitus intellectivi qui est voluntas, homo non agitur tamquam patiens, sed potius seipsum agit tamquam dominus sui actus existens. Relinquitur ergo quod passiones proprie dicantur operationes appetitus sensitivi, quae sunt secundum transmutationem organi corporalis, et quibus homo quodammodo ducitur. 292. Even among the appetitive powers the operation of the intellective appetite is not properly called passion. It does not take place with a change of a bodily organ, which is necessary to the nature of a passion properly speaking. Also in the operation of the intellective appetite, which is the will, man is not the passive recipient, but rather he directs himself as the master of his action. It remains, therefore, that operations of the sensitive appetite, which are accompanied by a change of a bodily organ and which in a way draw man, should be called passions in a strict sense. Appetitus autem sensitivus dividitur in duas vires: scilicet in concupiscibilem, quae respicit absolute bonum sensibile, quod scilicet est delectabile secundum sensum, et malum ei contrarium, et irascibilem, quae respicit bonum sub ratione cuiusdam altitudinis; sicut victoria dicitur esse quoddam bonum, quamvis non sit cum delectatione sensus. Sic igitur quaecumque passiones respiciunt bonum vel malum absolute, sunt in concupiscibili. Quae quidem respectu boni sunt tres, scilicet amor, qui importat quandam connaturalitatem appetitus ad bonum amatum, et desiderium, quod importat motum appetitus in bonum amatum. Et delectatio, quae importat quietem appetitus in bono amato; quibus tria opponuntur in ordine ad malum, scilicet: odium amori; aversio sive fuga desiderio; et tristitia delectationi. Illae vero passiones quae respiciunt bonum vel malum sub ratione cuiusdam ardui, pertinent ad irascibilem: sicut timor et audacia respectu mali; spes et desperatio respectu boni et quintum est ira quae est passio composita, unde nec contrarium habet. 293. The sensitive appetite is divided into two powers: (1) the concupiscible, which concerns sensible good absolutely (this is pleasurable to sense) and evil contrary to it; (2) the irascible, which concerns good under the aspect of a certain eminence. For example, victory is said to be a kind of good, although it is not accompanied by pleasure of sense. Whatever passions concern good or evil absolutely, therefore, are found in the concupiscible appetite. Certain of these-three in number-regard the good: love (which implies a certain connaturality of the appetite with the good loved), desire (which implies a movement of the appetite towards the good loved), and delight (which implies a repose of the appetite in the good loved). Opposed to these in respect to evil are: hatred to love, aversion or flight to desire, sadness to delight. But those passions that concern good or evil under the aspect of difficulty belong to the irascible, as fear and boldness in regard to evil, hope and despair in regard to good. A fifth is anger, which is a composite passion and so has no opposite. Et ideo enumerando passiones, dicit quod passiones sunt concupiscentia, quam nominavimus desiderium, et ira et timor et audacia, et invidia quae continetur sub tristitia, et gaudium quod continetur sub delectatione (est enim delectatio non corporalis, sed in interiori apprehensione consistens), et amicitia et odium, et desiderium. Quod differt a concupiscentia: eo quod concupiscentia est delectationis corporalis, desiderium autem cuiuscumque alterius delectabilis. 294. In enumerating the passions, therefore, he says they are: concupiscence (which we call desire), anger, fear, boldness, envy (which is contained under sadness), and joy (which is contained under pleasure) for this is a non-corporeal pleasure that consists in an interior perception of the good, and likewise a love, hatred, and desire of the same interior kind. Desire differs from concupiscence in that concupiscence pertains to bodily pleasure while desire concerns every pleasure without distinction. Addit autem zelum et misericordiam quae sunt species tristitiae. Nam misericordia est tristitia de malis alienis, zelus autem est tristitia de hoc quod homo deficit ab his quae alii habent. 295. He adds jealousy and pity, which are species of sadness. Pity is sadness at another’s misfortune, and jealousy is sadness because one lacks what others have. Addit autem quod universaliter ad omnia praedicta sequitur delectatio et tristitia; quia omnia alia important motus quosdam in bonum et malum, ex quorum superventu causatur delectatio vel tristitia. Unde omnes aliae passiones terminantur ad delectationem vel tristitiam. 296. He also adds that pleasure and sorrow universally follow the abovementioned passions, because all others imply certain movements to good and evil, and these movements are accompanied by pleasure or sorrow. Hence all other passions are terminated at pleasure and sorrow. Deinde cum dicit: potentias autem secundum quas etc., manifestat quae sint potentiae, non quidem in generali, sed circa materiam moralem secundum differentiam ad passiones. Dicit enim quod potentiae dicuntur secundum quas dicimur passibiles praedictarum passionum, idest potentes pati passiones praedictas, puta potentia irascibilis est secundum quam possumus irasci. Potentia autem concupiscibilis est secundum quam possumus tristari vel misereri. 297. Then [b, ii], at “I call those principles powers,” he identifies the powers not in general but those pertaining to moral study precisely as they differ from the passions. He affirms that powers are said to exist according as we are considered capable of experiencing these passions, that is, the powers are said to “suffer” or to receive these passions. Thus the irascible power exists according as we are capable of becoming angry and the concupiscible power according as we are capable of becoming sad or showing pity. Deinde cum dicit: habitus autem secundum quos etc., manifestat qui sint habitus: et hoc etiam non in generali, sed in materia morali per comparationem ad passiones. Et dicit quod habitus dicuntur secundum quos nos habemus ad passiones bene vel male. Habitus enim est dispositio quaedam determinans potentiam per comparationem ad aliquid. Quae quidem determinatio, si sit secundum quod convenit naturae rei, erit habitus bonus disponens ad hoc quod aliquid fiat bene, alioquin erit habitus malus, et secundum ipsum aliquid fiet male. Et exemplificat quod secundum aliquem habitum habemus nos ad hoc ut irascamur vel male, si hoc fiat vehementer vel remisse, idest secundum superabundantiam aut defectum, vel bene si hoc fiat medio modo. 298. Then [b, iii], at “I call those principles habits,” he identifies the habits. Likewise this is not done in general but in regard to those pertaining to moral study by comparison with the passions. Habits, he states, are said to exist according as we consistently use the passions well or badly. Now a habit is a disposition determining a power in reference to something. When the determination is made conformable to the nature of the thing, there will be a good habit which disposes that a thing be done well, Otherwise there will be a bad habit according to which a thing will be done badly. He illustrates what we do according to habit, how we may be angry either wrongly-when this is done in a violent or weak manner, that is, according to excess or defector well if done with moderation. Deinde cum dicit: passiones quidem igitur etc., argumentatur ex divisione praemissa. Et primo ostendit quod virtutes non sunt passiones. Secundo, quod non sunt potentiae, ibi: propter haec autem neque potentiae et cetera. Tertio concludit quod sunt habitus, ibi, si igitur neque passiones et cetera. Circa primum ponit quatuor rationes. Quarum prima talis est: secundum virtutes dicimur boni, et secundum malitias oppositas dicimur mali. Sed secundum passiones absolute consideratas non dicimur boni vel mali. Ergo passiones neque sunt virtutes neque malitiae. 299. Then [1, c], at “Therefore neither virtues,” he argues from the division previously given, First [c, i] he shows that virtues are not passions. Second [c, ii], at “For this reason also etc.,” he shows that they are not powers. Third [c, iii], at “If then virtues etc.,” he concludes they are habits. For the first statement he assigns four reasons. The first is this [i, w]. We are called good according to virtues and evil according to the opposite vices. But we are not called good or evil according to passions taken absolutely. Passions, therefore, are neither virtues nor vices. Secundam rationem ponit ibi et quoniam secundum passiones quidem et cetera. Quae accipitur ex laude et vituperio, quae sunt testimonia quaedam bonitatis vel malitiae. Dicit ergo quod secundum virtutes laudamur, secundum autem malitias oppositas vituperamur. Sed secundum passiones absolute consideratas neque laudamur neque vituperamur. Non enim aliquis laudatur neque vituperatur ex hoc quod absolute timet vel irascitur, sed solum ex hoc quod aliqualiter timet vel irascitur, idest secundum rationem vel praeter rationem. Et idem est intelligendum in aliis passionibus animae. Ergo passiones animae neque sunt virtutes neque malitiae. 300. He presents the second reason at “We are neither” [i, x]. It is taken from praise and reproach, which are kinds of attestation of goodness and evil. He says that we are praised for virtues and reproached for the opposite vices. But we are neither praised nor reproached for the passions taken absolutely. A man is not praised or blamed because he is simply afraid or angry but only because he is afraid or angry in a particular way, that is, according to reason or contrary to reason. The same must be understood of the other passions of the soul. The passions of the soul, therefore, are neither virtues nor vices. Tertiam rationem ponit ibi adhuc irascimur quidem et timemus et cetera. Quae sumitur ex modo agendi secundum virtutem. Virtutes enim vel sunt electiones, vel non sine electione; potest enim virtus dici ipse actus virtutis. Et sic si accipiamus principales actus virtutum qui sunt interiores, virtus est electio. Si autem exteriores, virtus non est sine electione, quia exteriores actus virtutum ab interiori electione procedunt; si autem accipiatur virtus pro ipso habitu virtutis, sic etiam virtus non est sine electione, sicut causa non est sine proprio effectu. Passiones autem adveniunt nobis sine electione, quia interdum praeveniunt deliberationem rationis quae ad electionem requiritur. Et hoc est quod dicit, quod irascimur et timemus non sponte, id est non ex arbitrio rationis. Ergo passiones non sunt virtutes. 301. At “We become angry” [i, y] he presents the third reason, which is taken from a virtuous manner of acting. Virtues are either choices or not without choice, for the very act of virtue can be called virtue. If we consider the principal acts of virtues, which are interior, virtue is choice; but if we consider the exterior acts, virtue is not without choice because the exterior acts of virtue proceed from interior choice. If virtue be taken as the very habit of virtue, even in this sense it does not lack choice, as a cause is not without its proper effect. The passions, however, come to us without choice because they precede the deliberations of the reason necessary for choice. This is what he means saying that we are angry and are afraid without willing it, that is, not by choice of the reason. The passions, therefore, are not virtues. Quartam rationem ponit ibi adhuc autem secundum passiones quidem moveri et cetera. Quae sumitur secundum ipsam essentiam virtutis. Passiones enim sunt motus quidam secundum quos moveri dicimur. Virtutes autem et malitiae sunt quaedam qualitates secundum quas non dicimur moveri, sed aliqualiter, idest bene vel male disponi ad hoc quod moveamur. Ergo passiones non sunt virtutes neque malitiae. 302. He presents the fourth reason at “We are said” [i, z]. This is taken from the very nature of virtue. The passions are movements according to which we are said to be moved. The virtues and vices are qualities according to which we are said not to be moved but to be disposed in some way, whether well or badly that our movement may ensue. The passions, therefore, are neither virtues nor vices. Deinde cum dicit propter haec autem neque potentiae sunt etc., ostendit, quod virtutes non sunt potentiae, duabus rationibus. Quarum prima sumitur secundum rationem boni et mali: sicut etiam et supra probavit de passionibus. Et est ratio talis: nullus dicitur bonus vel malus neque laudatur neque vituperatur ex hoc, quod potest pati secundum aliquam passionem, puta ex hoc quod potest irasci vel timere. Sed secundum virtutes et malitias dicimur boni vel mali, laudamur vel vituperamur; ergo virtutes et malitiae non sunt potentiae. 303. Then [c, ii], at “For this reason,” he shows that virtues are not powers for two reasons. The first of these [ii, x] is taken from the nature of good and evil, as has just been proved (299-300) about the passions. The reason is this. No one is called good or evil, no one is praised or reproached, because he is capable of being affected by some passion-for instance, that he is capable of becoming angry or being afraid. But we are called good or evil and are praised or reproached because of virtues and vices. Virtues and vices, therefore, are not powers. Secundam rationem ponit ibi et adhuc potentes sumus et cetera. Quae sumitur ex causa. Et est talis. Potentiae insunt nobis a natura, quia sunt naturales proprietates animae. Sed virtutes et malitiae secundum quas dicimur boni vel mali, non sunt nobis a natura, ut supra probatum est. Ergo virtutes et malitiae non sunt potentiae. 304. He gives the second reason at “Furthermore, the powers” [ii, y]. It is taken on the part of the cause and is this. Powers are in us by nature because they are natural characteristics of the soul. But virtues and vices by which we are called good or evil are not in us by nature, as was proved above (248-251). Virtues and vices, therefore, are not powers. Deinde cum dicit: si igitur neque passiones sunt virtutes, etc., concludit propositum, quia scilicet si virtutes non sunt passiones neque potentiae, relinquitur quod sint habitus, secundum divisionem praemissam. Et sic concludit, quod manifestum est, quid sit virtus, secundum suum genus, quia scilicet est in genere habitus. 305. Then [c, iii], at “If then,” he concludes his proposition. If virtues are neither passions nor, powers, it remains that they are habits according to the previously given division. Thus he concludes that virtue with regard to its generic definition obviously is a habit.
Virtue, a Kind of Habit
Chapter 6 I. HE PRESENTS HIS PROPOSITION. — 306 δεῖ δὲ μὴ μόνον οὕτως εἰπεῖν, ὅτι ἕξις, ἀλλὰ καὶ ποία τις. We must consider not only that virtue is a habit but also what kind of habit. II. HE MAKES KNOWN THE PROPOSITION. A. He manifests a certain common quality of virtue. — 307-308 ῥητέον οὖν ὅτι πᾶσα ἀρετή, οὗ ἂν ᾖ ἀρετή, αὐτό τε εὖ ἔχον ἀποτελεῖ καὶ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ εὖ ἀποδίδωσιν, οἷον ἡ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ ἀρετὴ τόν τε ὀφθαλμὸν σπουδαῖον ποιεῖ καὶ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ· τῇ γὰρ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ ἀρετῇ εὖ ὁρῶμεν. ὁμοίως ἡ τοῦ ἵππου ἀρετὴ ἵππον τε σπουδαῖον ποιεῖ καὶ ἀγαθὸν δραμεῖν καὶ ἐνεγκεῖν τὸν ἐπιβάτην καὶ μεῖναι τοὺς πολεμίους. εἰ δὴ τοῦτ' ἐπὶ πάντων οὕτως ἔχει, καὶ ἡ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἀρετὴ εἴη ἂν ἡ ἕξις ἀφ' ἧς ἀγαθὸς ἄνθρωπος γίνεται καὶ ἀφ' ἧς εὖ τὸ ἑαυτοῦ ἔργον ἀποδώσει. We must explain, therefore, that virtue perfects everything of which it, is the virtue, rendering both the possessor good and his work good. Thus the virtue or power of the eye makes good both the eye and its operation, for it is by the power of the eye that we see well. Likewise the virtue or excellence of a horse makes the horse good and also makes him good for running, riding and awaiting the enemy. If this be true in all other things, then human virtue will be a habit making man good and rendering his work good. B. From this quality he explains its specific difference. A’ First according to the property of the operations. — 309 πῶς δὲ τοῦτ' ἔσται, ἤδη μὲν εἰρήκαμεν, How this takes place has already been described, B’ Second according to the nature of virtue. 1. HE INTRODUCES CERTAIN PRELIMINARIES. a. He proposes the things necessary to elucidate the proposition. — 310 ἔτι δὲ καὶ ὧδ' ἔσται φανερόν, ἐὰν θεωρήσωμεν ποία τίς ἐστιν ἡ φύσις αὐτῆς. ἐν παντὶ δὴ συνεχεῖ καὶ διαιρετῷ ἔστι λαβεῖν τὸ μὲν πλεῖον τὸ δ' ἔλαττον τὸ δ' ἴσον, καὶ ταῦτα ἢ κατ' αὐτὸ τὸ πρᾶγμα ἢ πρὸς ἡμᾶς· τὸ δ' ἴσον μέσον τι ὑπερβολῆς καὶ ἐλλείψεως. But it will become still clearer if we study the nature of virtue. In all continuous and divisible matter, we can take the more, the less, and the equal amount. These are understood either in regard to the thing or in regard to us. But the equal is a mean between excess and defect. b. He clarifies what he has said. i. First by means of reason. — 311 λέγω δὲ τοῦ μὲν πράγματος μέσον τὸ ἴσον ἀπέχον ἀφ' ἑκατέρου τῶν ἄκρων, ὅπερ ἐστὶν ἓν καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ πᾶσιν, πρὸς ἡμᾶς δὲ ὃ μήτε πλεονάζει μήτε ἐλλείπει· τοῦτο δ' οὐχ ἕν, οὐδὲ ταὐτὸν πᾶσιν. By the mean on the part of the thing, I understand that which is equally distant from both extremes and which is one and the same for everybody. By the mean in regard to us, I understand that which is neither in excess nor in defect. This, however, is not one and the same for everybody. ii. By way of example. x. FIRST REGARDING THE OBJECTIVE MEAN. — 312 οἷον εἰ τὰ δέκα πολλὰ τὰ δὲ δύο ὀλίγα, τὰ ἓξ μέσα λαμβάνουσι κατὰ τὸ πρᾶγμα· ἴσῳ γὰρ ὑπερέχει τε καὶ ὑπερέχεται· τοῦτο δὲ μέσον ἐστὶ κατὰ τὴν ἀριθμητικὴν ἀναλογίαν. For example, if ten be taken as many and two as few, then six will be the mean on part of the thing because six both exceeds and is exceeded by an equal amount. This mean is according to arithmetic proportion. y. HE GIVES EXAMPLES OF THE MEAN... IN COMPARISON WITH US. — 313-314 τὸ δὲ πρὸς ἡμᾶς οὐχ οὕτω ληπτέον· οὐ γὰρ εἴ τῳ δέκα μναῖ φαγεῖν πολὺ δύο δὲ ὀλίγον, ὁ ἀλείπτης ἓξ μνᾶς προστάξει· ἔστι γὰρ ἴσως καὶ τοῦτο πολὺ τῷ ληψομένῳ ἢ ὀλίγον· Μίλωνι μὲν γὰρ ὀλίγον, τῷ δὲ ἀρχομένῳ τῶν γυμνασίων πολύ. ὁμοίως ἐπὶ δρόμου καὶ πάλης. οὕτω δὴ πᾶς ἐπιστήμων τὴν ὑπερβολὴν μὲν καὶ τὴν ἔλλειψιν φεύγει, τὸ δὲ μέσον ζητεῖ καὶ τοῦθ' αἱρεῖται, μέσον δὲ οὐ τὸ τοῦ πράγματος ἀλλὰ τὸ πρὸς ἡμᾶς. But the mean in regard to us is not to be taken in this way. A trainer will not order six pounds of food for someone simply because eating ten pounds is a great deal and eating two pounds is a small amount. This may be much or little for the person eating. For Milo it would certainly be little, but it would be much for a champion in gymnastics; and the same holds true in running and wrestling. Thus everyone who is wise avoids excess and wants to find the mean, not on the part of the thing but in regard to us. 2. HE CONCLUDES HIS PROPOSITION. — 315-316 εἰ δὴ πᾶσα ἐπιστήμη οὕτω τὸ ἔργον εὖ ἐπιτελεῖ, πρὸς τὸ μέσον βλέπουσα καὶ εἰς τοῦτο ἄγουσα τὰ ἔργα ὅθεν εἰώθασιν ἐπιλέγειν τοῖς εὖ ἔχουσιν ἔργοις ὅτι οὔτ' ἀφελεῖν ἔστιν οὔτε προσθεῖναι, ὡς τῆς μὲν ὑπερβολῆς καὶ τῆς ἐλλείψεως φθειρούσης τὸ εὖ, τῆς δὲ μεσότητος σῳζούσης, οἱ δ' ἀγαθοὶ τεχνῖται, ὡς λέγομεν, πρὸς τοῦτο βλέποντες ἐργάζονται· ἡ δ' ἀρετὴ πάσης τέχνης ἀκριβεστέρα καὶ ἀμείνων ἐστὶν ὥσπερ καὶ ἡ φύσις, τοῦ μέσου ἂν εἴη στοχαστική. Every practical science then perfects its work by keeping in view the mean and executing the work according to the mean. Hence it is customary to tell a man who has done a good piece of work that nothing is to be added or taken away, meaning that excess and defect disfigure a work but the mean preserves it. As we have said, good workmen work with an eye on the mean. But virtue like nature is more certain and better than art. Virtue then will aim at the mean. 3. HE EXPLAINS AN INFERENCE. — 317-318 λέγω δὲ τὴν ἠθικήν· αὕτη γάρ ἐστι περὶ πάθη καὶ πράξεις, ἐν δὲ τούτοις ἔστιν ὑπερβολὴ καὶ ἔλλειψις καὶ τὸ μέσον. οἷον καὶ φοβηθῆναι καὶ θαρρῆσαι καὶ ἐπιθυμῆσαι καὶ ὀργισθῆναι καὶ ἐλεῆσαι καὶ ὅλως ἡσθῆναι καὶ λυπηθῆναι ἔστι καὶ μᾶλλον καὶ ἧττον, καὶ ἀμφότερα οὐκ εὖ· τὸ δ' ὅτε δεῖ καὶ ἐφ' οἷς καὶ πρὸς οὓς καὶ οὗ ἕνεκα καὶ ὡς δεῖ, μέσον τε καὶ ἄριστον, ὅπερ ἐστὶ τῆς ἀρετῆς. ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ περὶ τὰς πράξεις ἔστιν ὑπερβολὴ καὶ ἔλλειψις καὶ τὸ μέσον. ἡ δ' ἀρετὴ περὶ πάθη καὶ πράξεις ἐστίν, ἐν οἷς ἡ μὲν ὑπερβολὴ ἁμαρτάνεται καὶ ἡ ἔλλειψις [ψέγεται], τὸ δὲ μέσον ἐπαινεῖται καὶ κατορθοῦται· ταῦτα δ' ἄμφω τῆς ἀρετῆς. μεσότης τις ἄρα ἐστὶν ἡ ἀρετή, στοχαστική γε οὖσα τοῦ μέσου. I am speaking of moral virtue, for it treats of passions and operations in which we find excess, defect, and the mean. Thus aggressiveness, fear, concupiscence, aversion, anger, pity, and, in general, pleasure and sorrow take place with excess and defect. Both of these are evil; but to experience these passions at the right time, for the right objects, toward the right persons, with the right motive, and in the right way is the mean and the highest good of virtue. Similarly, excess, defect, and the mean are to be found in actions. Now moral virtue is concerned with passions and operations in which excess is vicious, defect is reproachable, and the mean receives praise and shows the right path. These two (praise and righteousness) pertain to virtue. Moral virtue, therefore, is a kind of middle course and aims at the mean.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS Oportet autem non solum sic dicere quoniam habitus, sed et qualis quidam et cetera. Postquam philosophus ostendit quid sit genus virtutis, hic inquirit quae sit propria differentia eius. Et primo proponit quod intendit. Et dicit, quod ad hoc quod sciatur quid est virtus, oportet non solum dicere quod sit habitus, per quod innotescit genus eius, sed etiam qualis habitus sit, per quod manifestatur differentia ipsius. 306. After the Philosopher has explained, the genus of virtue, he now begins an inquiry into the specific difference of virtue. First [I] he presents his proposition. He says that in order to know what virtue is we must consider not only that it is a habit—thus the genus is understood, but what kind of habit—thus the specific difference is indicated. Secundo ibi: dicendum igitur quoniam virtus omnis etc., manifestat propositum. Et circa hoc duo facit. Primo manifestat in communi quamdam conditionem virtutis. Secundo ex illa conditione virtutis manifestat propriam differentiam eius, ibi, qualiter autem hoc erit et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod omnis virtus subiectum cuius est facit bene se habere et opus eius reddit bene se habens, sicut virtus oculi est per quam et oculus est bonus, et per quam bene videmus, quod est proprium opus oculi. Similiter etiam virtus equi est, quae facit equum bonum, et per quam equus bene operatur opus suum, quod est velociter currere, et suaviter ferre ascensorem, et audacter expectare bellatores. 307. Second [II], at “We must explain, therefore,” he makes known the proposition. On this point he does two things. First [II, A] he manifests a certain common quality of virtue. Second [II, B], from this quality of virtue he explains its specific difference, at “How this etc.” He says first that every virtue makes its possessor good and his work good. Thus the virtue or power of the eye makes the eye good and gives us good sight, which is the proper function of the eye. Likewise the virtue or excellence of a horse makes a horse good and makes it perform well, that is, run fast, ride easily, and fearlessly await the enemy. Et huius ratio est, quia virtus alicuius rei attenditur secundum ultimum id quod potest, puta in eo, quod potest ferre centum libras, virtus eius determinatur non ex hoc quod fert quinquaginta, sed ex hoc quod fert centum, ut dicitur in I de caelo; ultimum autem ad quod potentia alicuius rei se extendit, est bonum opus. Et ideo ad virtutem cuiuslibet rei pertinet, quod reddat bonum opus. Et quia perfecta operatio non procedit nisi a perfecto agente, consequens est, quod secundum virtutem propriam unaquaeque res et bona sit, et bene operetur. Et si hoc est verum in omnibus aliis, ut per exempla iam patuit, sequitur quod virtus hominis erit habitus quidam, ut supra habitum est, ex quo homo fit bonus, formaliter loquendo, sicut albedine fit aliquid album, et per quem aliquis bene operatur. 308. The reason is that the virtue or power of a thing is judged by the best it can do. For example, the power of one who can carry a hundred pounds is determined by his actual carrying of this weight, as is said in the first book De Coelo (Ch. II, 281 a 8; St. Th. Lect. 25, 249) and not by the fact that he carries fifty pounds. Now the utmost or best to which the power of anything extends is called its excellent performance. It belongs to the virtue of every thing, therefore, to render an excellent performance. Because a perfect operation proceeds only from a perfect agent, it follows that everything is both good and operates well according to its own virtue. If this be true in all other things—and such was already apparent from our examples—human virtue must be a kind of habit, as was mentioned above (305). From this habit man becomes good formally speaking (as one becomes white by whiteness) and operates well. Deinde cum dicit: qualiter autem hoc erit, iam diximus, secundum praemissam conditionem virtutis inquirit differentiam propriam virtutis. Et hoc tripliciter. Primo quidem secundum proprietatem operationum. Secundo secundum naturam virtutis, ibi, adhuc autem et hoc erit manifestum, et cetera. Tertio secundum propriam rationem boni vel mali, ibi, adhuc peccare quidem, et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod qualiter homo fiat bonus, et qualiter bene operetur, iam supra dictum est. Dictum est enim supra, quod per operationes, quae sunt in medio, efficimur boni secundum unamquamque virtutem. Et effecti boni operamur similes operationes. Relinquitur ergo, si virtus est, quae facit hominem bonum et bene operantem, quod sit in medio. 309. Then [II, B], at “How this,” he investigates the specific difference of virtue according to the quality of virtue previously indicated. He does this under three headings: first [B, A’] according to the property of the operations; second [B, B’], according to the nature of virtue, At “but it will become still clearer etc.”; third [Lect. 7; C’] according to the special character of good or evil, at “Moreover, there are many etc.” (B.1106 b 29). He says first that the way in which a man may become good and do good has been treated already (257). It was noted also (260-264) that we are made good in every virtue by operations according to the mean. Then having become good we perform good actions. It remains, therefore, that if virtue makes a man good and his work good, it will consist in the mean. Deinde cum dicit: adhuc autem et hoc erit manifestum etc., probat idem per naturam virtutis. Et circa hoc tria facit. Primo praemittit quaedam quae sunt necessaria ad propositum ostendendum. Secundo concludit propositum, ibi, si utique omnis scientia, et cetera. Tertio manifestat conclusionem, ibi: dico autem moralem, et cetera. Circa primum duo facit. Primo proponit ea quae sunt necessaria ad propositum ostendendum. Secundo manifestat quod dixerat, ibi, dico utique, et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod adhuc magis manifestum erit qualiter efficiamur boni et bene operantes, si consideremus qualis sit natura virtutis. Ad cuius evidentiam oportet praeaccipere, quod tria quaedam, idest plus et minus et aequale, contingit accipere tam in quantitatibus continuis quam etiam in quolibet alio divisibili, sive dividantur secundum numerum, sicut omnia discreta, sive per accidens, puta per intensionem et remissionem qualitatis in subiecto. Haec autem tria ita se habent, quod aequale est medium inter plus, quod pertinet ad superabundantiam, et minus, quod pertinet ad defectum. Et hoc quidem potest dupliciter accipi. Uno modo secundum absolutam quantitatem rei. Alio modo secundum proportionem eius ad nos. 310. Then [B, B’], at “but it will become etc.,” he proves the same by the nature of virtue. Regarding this he does three things. First [B’, 1] he introduces certain preliminaries necessary to explain his proposition. Second [B’, 2], he concludes his proposition at “Every practical science then etc.” Third [B’, 3], he explains an inference at “I am speaking of moral virtue etc.” On the first point he does two things. First [1, a] he proposes the things necessary to elucidate the proposition. Second [1, b] he clarifies what he has said, at “By the mean on the part etc.” He says first that the manner in which we become good and perform good acts will be clearer still if we consider the nature of virtue. For an understanding of this, we must take for granted beforehand that virtue treats three things: the more, the less, and the equal. Virtue treats these both in continuous, contingent matters, and even in any other divisible matter, whether it be numerically divided as all discrete things, or whether it be divided incidentally—for example, by intensity and indistinctness of a quality in a subject. These three are so arranged that the equal holds a middle place between the more, which pertains to excess, and the less, which pertains to defect. This can be understood in two ways: one according to absolute quantity in some thing and the other in relation to us. Deinde cum dicit: dico utique rei quidem medium etc., manifestat quod dixerat de differentia secundum rem et quoad nos. Et primo per rationem. Secundo per exempla, ibi: puta si decem et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod medium secundum rem est, quod aequaliter distat ab utroque extremorum. Et quia consideratur secundum absolutam quantitatem rei, est idem quoad omnes. Sed medium quoad nos est quod neque superabundat neque deficit a debita proportione ad nos. Et propter hoc, istud medium non est idem quoad omnes. Sicut si accipiamus in calceo medium quoad nos quod neque excedit mensuram pedis, neque deficit. Et quia non omnes habent eamdem quantitatem pedis, ideo hoc medium non est idem quoad omnes. 311. Then [1, b], at “By the mean on the part of the thing,” he clarifies what he said about the difference on the part of the thing (objective) and in regard to us (relative): first [b, i] by means of reason, and second [b, ii] by way of example at “For example, if etc.” He says first that the objective mean is the point equidistant from both extremes. It is the same for all because it is understood according to the absolute quantity of the thing. But the mean is relative in regard to us inasmuch as it neither exceeds nor falls short of a proportion suitable to us. Hence this mean is not the same for all. If we apply the relative mean to a shoe, it will not be more than the length of the foot nor less. It will not be the same for all because not all have the same size foot. Deinde cum dicit: puta si decem multa etc., manifestat quod dixerat per exempla. Et primo de medio rei, quod aequaliter distat ab extremis: sicut sex media accipiuntur inter decem quae sunt multa, et duo quae sunt pauca: quia aequaliter sex exceduntur a decem, et excedunt duo, scilicet in quatuor. Medium autem, quod sic accipitur in numeris secundum aequidistantiam a duobus extremis, dicitur esse secundum arithmeticam proportionem, quae considerat ipsam numeri quantitatem. Medium autem, quod accipitur secundum aequalitatem proportionis dicitur esse secundum geometricam proportionem, ut infra patebit in quinto. 312. Then [b, ii], at “For example, if,” he clarifies what he has said, by way of example: first [ii, x] regarding the objective mean which is equally distant from the extremes. Thus six is the mean between ten (which is the more) and two (which is the less) because six is less than ten and more than two by the same amount, four. The mean, which is taken in numbers from the equal distance between two extremes, is said to be according to arithmetic proportion which considers numerical quantity. But the mean, which is taken from the equality of proportion in regard to us, is said to be according to the geometric proportion as will be made clear afterwards in the fifth book (944, 949, 950, 972). Secundo ibi: quod autem ad nos etc., exemplificat de medio quoad nos. Et dicit quod medium quod accipitur in comparatione ad nos, non est ita sumendum, scilicet secundum aequidistantiam ab extremis. Et hoc satis apparet in exemplo prius proposito de calceo: non enim si calceus cuius longitudo est viginti digitorum, superabundans est, ille autem, qui est quatuor est diminutus, propter hoc oportet, quod ille qui est duodecim digitorum, medio modo se habeat: sed forte erit abundans in comparatione ad pedem alicuius, et deficiens in comparatione ad pedem alterius. Et hoc etiam ipse exemplificat in cibis. Non enim, si comedere decem minas, idest decem mensuras est multum, et comedere duas est paucum, propter hoc magister, qui debet ordinare de cibo alicuius praecipiet ei quod comedat sex, quia hoc etiam est multum in comparatione ad unum, vel paucum in comparatione ad alterum. 313. Second [ii, y], at “But the mean in regard to us,” he gives examples of the mean. He says that the mean, which is understood in comparison with us, is not to be taken according to equal distance between extremes. This is sufficiently clear in the previous example of the shoe. If a shoe twenty fingers’ breadth is long and a shoe four fingers’ breadth is short it does not necessarily follow that one twelve fingers’ breadth will be the right fit. Perhaps it will be large compared to the foot of one person and small compared to the foot of another. He also exemplifies this mean in food. If eating ten pounds or ten portions is much and eating two pounds is little, a trainer—whose duty it is to make out someone’s diet—should not for this reason prescribe six pounds, since even this is much for one person and little for another. Esset enim paucum ad quemdam qui vocabatur Milo, de quo Solinus narrat, quod comedebat unum bovem in die. Sed hoc esset multum dominatori gignasiorum, id est ei qui debeat vincere in ludis gignasticis in quibus homines nudi luctabantur, et oportebat eos modicum cibum sumere, ut essent agiliores. Et simile est etiam de his qui currunt in stadio et de his qui ludunt in palaestra, quae erat quidam locus exercitatorius apud Graecos. Et ita etiam est secundum omnem operativam scientiam quod sciens fugit superabundantiam et defectum et desiderat et inquirit id quod est medium, non quidem secundum rem, sed in comparatione ad nos. 314. This would indeed be little for a man called Milo who, according to Solinus, ate a whole beef in a day. But it would be much for a champion in gymnastics, for one who has to excel in sports—in which men used to contend naked—and must eat lightly to be in better condition. The same is true of those who run at the stadium and of those who take up wrestling—a sport engaged in by the Greeks for exercise. So it is also in every operative science. The wise man avoids excess and defect, and wants to find the mean not objectively but relative to us. Deinde cum dicit: si utique omnis scientia sic opus etc., ex praemissis argumentatur in hunc modum. Omnis scientia operativa bene perficit opus suum, ex hoc quod secundum intentionem respicit ad medium et secundum executionem opera sua perducit ad medium. Et huius signum accipi potest ex hoc quod homines quando aliquod opus bene se habet, consueverunt dicere quod nihil est addendum neque minuendum; dantes per hoc intelligere quod superabundantia et defectus corrumpit bonitatem operis, quae salvatur in medietate. Unde et boni artifices, sicut dictum est, operantur respicientes ad medium. Sed virtus est certior omni arte, et etiam melior, sicut et natura. Virtus enim moralis agit inclinando determinate ad unum sicut et natura. Nam consuetudo in naturam vertitur. Operatio autem artis est secundum rationem, quae se habet ad diversa; unde certius operatur virtus quam ars, sicut et natura. 315. Then [B’, 2], at “Every practical science,” he argues from the premises in this way. Every operative science perfects its work in this: that in planning it aims for the mean, and in execution it carries out its work in accord with the mean. Indications of this can be had from the fact that men are in the habit of saying, when a work is well done, that not a thing is to be added nor taken away. Thus they give us to understand that excess and defect spoil a work which is preserved by the mean. Hence good workmen, as has been pointed out (313-314), work with an eye on the mean. But virtue like nature is more certain and even better than any art. Moral virtue operates by inclining in a determined way to one thing as nature does. Indeed custom becomes nature. But art, which operates according to reason, is indifferent to various objects. Hence like nature it is more certain than art. Similiter etiam virtus est melior quam ars; quia per artem est homo potens facere bonum opus; non tamen ex arte est ei quod faciat bonum opus: potest enim pravum opus agere; quia ars non inclinat ad bonum usum artis; sicut grammaticus potest incongrue loqui; sed per virtutem fit aliquis non solum potens bene operari, sed etiam bene operans: quia virtus inclinat ad bonam operationem, sicut et natura, ars autem facit solam cognitionem bonae operationis. Unde relinquitur a minori, quod virtus quae est melior arte, sit coniectatrix medii. 316. Likewise virtue is better than art because by art a man is capable of doing a good work, but art does not cause him to do the good work. He can do a bad work because art does not incline to the good use of art; a grammarian for example can speak incorrectly. But by virtue a man not only is capable of operating but actually performs the action because virtue like nature inclines to a good operation. Art alone gives only the knowledge of the operation. Consequently even for this secondary reason virtue, which is better than art, aims at the mean. Deinde cum dicit: dico autem moralem etc., exponit conclusionem inductam. Et dicit quod hoc quod dictum est, debet intelligi de virtute morali, quae est circa passiones et operationes in quibus est accipere superabundantiam et defectum et medium. Et exemplificat primo in passionibus. Dicit enim quod contingit timere et audere et concupiscere et averti, id est fugere aliquid, et irasci et misereri, et universaliter delectari et tristari magis et minus quam oportet. Quorum utrumque non bene fit. Sed si aliquis timeat et audeat et sic de aliis quando oportet et in quibus oportet et ad quos oportet et cuius gratia oportet et eo modo quo oportet, hoc erit medium in passionibus et in hoc consistit optimum virtutis. Et similiter etiam circa operationes est superabundantia et defectus et medium. Virtus autem moralis est circa passiones et operationes sicut circa materiam propriam; ita quod in eis superabundantia est vitiosa et defectus vituperabilis, sed medium laudatur et recte se habet. Haec autem duo ad virtutem pertinent: scilicet rectitudo, quae opponitur perversitati vitiosae et laus quae opponitur vituperio, quae consequuntur ex primis duobus. 317. Then [ B’, 3], at “I am speaking,” he explains a further conclusion. He affirms that what has been said (256-263) ought to be understood of moral virtue that concerns passions and operations to which belong excess, defect and mean. He gives an example first from the passions saying that fear, aggressiveness, concupiscence, aversion (which is a fleeing from something), anger, pity, and any Pleasure and sorrow may happen in greater and less degree than they ought. Both the excess and the defect are evil. But if a man should fear and dare (so of the other passions) what he ought, in the things he ought, in regard to the persons he ought, for the motive he ought, and in the way he ought, this will be a mean for the passions. It will be also the highest good of virtue. Similarly excess, defect, and mean are found in actions. Moral virtue treats of passions and actions as its proper matter so that in them excess is vicious and defect worthy of reproach, but the mean receives praise and shows the right path. These two pertain to virtue: righteousness (which is opposed to vicious perverseness) and praise (which is opposed to reproach). This and vicious perverseness follow from the first two (excess and defect). Et sic concludit quod virtus moralis, et in se considerata est quaedam medietas, et est etiam medii coniectatrix, in quantum scilicet respicit ad medium et medium operatur. 318. Thus he concludes that moral virtue considered in itself is a kind of middle course and is an indicator of the mean inasmuch as it aims at the mean and accomplishes it.
Conclusion of the Definition
Chapter 6 C’ The philosopher now adds a third (reason) based upon the nature of good and evil. — 319-321 ἔτι τὸ μὲν ἁμαρτάνειν πολλαχῶς ἔστιν τὸ γὰρ κακὸν τοῦ ἀπείρου, ὡς οἱ Πυθαγόρειοι εἴκαζον, τὸ δ' ἀγαθὸν τοῦ πεπερασμένου, τὸ δὲ κατορθοῦν μοναχῶς διὸ καὶ τὸ μὲν ῥᾴδιον τὸ δὲ χαλεπόν, ῥᾴδιον μὲν τὸ ἀποτυχεῖν τοῦ σκοποῦ, χαλεπὸν δὲ τὸ ἐπιτυχεῖν· καὶ διὰ ταῦτ' οὖν τῆς μὲν κακίας ἡ ὑπερβολὴ καὶ ἡ ἔλλειψις, τῆς δ' ἀρετῆς ἡ μεσότης· ἐσιλοὶ μὲν γὰρ ἁπλῶς, παντοδαπῶς δὲ κακοί. Moreover, there are many ways of sinning (for evil partakes of the unlimited in the opinion of the Pythagoreans, and good partakes of the limited). However, there is only one way of doing what is right. It is easy to sin, therefore, but difficult to do what is right. It is easy indeed to miss a bull’s eye but difficult to hit it. For this reason then defect and excess pertain to vice but the mean to virtue. Men are good in but one way but evil in many ways. D’ He infers the definition of virtue from the premises. 1. HE PRESENTS THE DEFINITION. — 322-323 ἔστιν ἄρα ἡ ἀρετὴ ἕξις προαιρετική, ἐν μεσότητι οὖσα τῇ πρὸς ἡμᾶς, ὡρισμένῃ λόγῳ καὶ ᾧ ἂν ὁ φρόνιμος ὁρίσειεν. Virtue then is a habit that chooses the mean in regard to us, as that mean is determined by reason and understood by a wise man. 2. HE EXPLAINS IT. a. First he shows between what things there is a mean. — 324 μεσότης δὲ δύο κακιῶν, τῆς μὲν καθ' ὑπερβολὴν τῆς δὲ κατ' ἔλλειψιν· Virtue is a mean between two vices: of that which is according to excess and of that which is according to defect. b. Second in reference to what thing this mean may be considered. — 325 καὶ ἔτι τῷ τὰς μὲν ἐλλείπειν τὰς δ' ὑπερβάλλειν τοῦ δέοντος ἔν τε τοῖς πάθεσι καὶ ἐν ταῖς πράξεσι, τὴν δ' ἀρετὴν τὸ μέσον καὶ εὑρίσκειν καὶ αἱρεῖσθαι. In regard to this mean, some vices fall short but others exceed what is right both in the passions and in actions. Virtue, however, discovers and chooses the mean. c. Third he deduces a corollary. — 326-327 διὸ κατὰ μὲν τὴν οὐσίαν καὶ τὸν λόγον τὸν τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι λέγοντα μεσότης ἐστὶν ἡ ἀρετή, κατὰ δὲ τὸ ἄριστον καὶ τὸ εὖ ἀκρότης. For this reason, virtue according to its essence and definition is a mean. But it is also an extreme as having the nature of what is best and right. 3. HE REJECTS AN ERROR. a. He explains this first from reason. — 328-329 οὐ πᾶσα δ' ἐπιδέχεται πρᾶξις οὐδὲ πᾶν πάθος τὴν μεσότητα· ἔνια γὰρ εὐθὺς ὠνόμασται συνειλημμένα μετὰ τῆς φαυλότητος, οἷον ἐπιχαιρεκακία ἀναισχυντία φθόνος, καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν πράξεων μοιχεία κλοπὴ ἀνδροφονία· πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα λέγεται τῷ αὐτὰ φαῦλα εἶναι, ἀλλ' οὐχ αἱ ὑπερβολαὶ αὐτῶν οὐδ' αἱ ἐλλείψεις. οὐκ ἔστιν οὖν οὐδέποτε περὶ αὐτὰ κατορθοῦν, ἀλλ' ἀεὶ ἁμαρτάνειν· οὐδ' ἔστι τὸ εὖ ἢ μὴ εὖ περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐν τῷ ἣν δεῖ καὶ ὅτε καὶ ὡς μοιχεύειν, ἀλλ' ἁπλῶς τὸ ποιεῖν ὁτιοῦν τούτων ἁμαρτάνειν ἐστίν. Not every action or passion of the soul admits a mean. Certain ones imply vice by their very name: passions such as ill-will, shamelessness, envy and actions such as adultery, theft, murder. All these and their ilk are said to be evil in themselves and not only in their excess or defect. Neither do we have the option of acting well or badly in an action like adultery, as though it could be considered proper in itself, or done in a fitting manner, or at a right time, or in due circumstances, but to do any of them is sinful without any qualification. b. He gives some examples by way of proof in the matter of vice. — 330 ὅμοιον οὖν τὸ ἀξιοῦν καὶ περὶ τὸ ἀδικεῖν καὶ δειλαίνειν καὶ ἀκολασταίνειν εἶναι μεσότητα καὶ ὑπερβολὴν καὶ ἔλλειψιν· ἔσται γὰρ οὕτω γε ὑπερβολῆς καὶ ἐλλείψεως μεσότης καὶ ὑπερβολῆς ὑπερβολὴ καὶ ἔλλειψις ἐλλείψεως. To seek a mean in these matters would be like assigning a mean to excess and defect in unjust, or in cowardly or lustful actions. Thus there would be a mean of an excess and of a defect, and an excess of an excess and a defect of a defect. c. He explains the same thing by example in the matter of virtue. — 331-332 ὥσπερ δὲ σωφροσύνης καὶ ἀνδρείας οὐκ ἔστιν ὑπερβολὴ καὶ ἔλλειψις διὰ τὸ τὸ μέσον εἶναί πως ἄκρον, οὕτως οὐδ' ἐκείνων μεσότης οὐδ' ὑπερβολὴ καὶ ἔλλειψις, ἀλλ' ὡς ἂν πράττηται ἁμαρτάνεται· ὅλως γὰρ οὔθ' ὑπερβολῆς καὶ ἐλλείψεως μεσότης ἔστιν, οὔτε μεσότητος ὑπερβολὴ καὶ ἔλλειψις. An excess and defect are not found in temperance and fortitude because a mean is in no way an extreme, so excess or defect cannot be the mean of vice but what is done is vicious. As a consequence there cannot be a mean in any excess or defect, nor can there be excess or defect in any mean.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS Adhuc peccare quidem multis modis et cetera. Praemissis duabus rationibus, hic ponit philosophus tertiam, quae sumitur ex ratione boni et mali. Et dicit, quod multipliciter contingit peccare; quia malum quod includitur in ratione peccati, (secundum Pictagoricos) pertinet ad infinitum; et quia bonum secundum eos pertinet ad finitum: per oppositum est intelligendum quod recte agere contingit solum uno modo. 319. After giving the two previous reasons, the Philosopher now [C’] adds a third based upon the nature of good and evil. Accepting the Pythagorean view, he says that there are many ways of sinning because evil, which is included in the nature of sin, partakes of the unlimited, but good partakes of the limited. We must understand then, on the contrary, that there is only one way of doing what is right. Huius autem ratio accipi potest ex eo quod Dionysius dicit in libro de divinis nominibus, quod bonum contingit ex una et integra causa, malum autem ex singularibus defectibus; sicut patet in bono et malo corporali. Turpitudo enim, quae est malum corporalis formae, contingit quodcumque membrorum indecenter se habeat; sed pulcritudo non contingit, nisi omnia membra sint bene proportionata et colorata. Et similiter aegritudo, quae est malum complexionis corporalis, provenit ex singulari deordinatione cuiuscumque humoris, sed sanitas esse non (potest) nisi ex debita proportione omnium humorum. Et similiter peccatum in actione humana contingit quaecumque circumstantiarum inordinate se habeat qualitercumque, vel secundum superabundantiam vel secundum defectum. Sed rectitudo eius esse non potest nisi omnibus circumstantiis debito modo ordinatis. Et ideo sicut sanitas vel pulchritudo contingit uno modo, aegritudo autem vel turpitudo multis, immo infinitis modis; ita etiam rectitudo operationis uno solo modo contingit; peccatum autem in actione contingit infinitis modis. Et inde est quod peccare est facile, quia multipliciter hoc contingit. Sed recte agere est difficile, quia non contingit nisi uno modo. 320. The reason for this can be found in the statement of Dionysius in the book De Divinis Nominibus, that good results from a united and complete cause but evil from any single defect, as is evident in physical goodness and badness. Ugliness, which is a defect of physical beauty, results from any member being unsightly. But beauty arises only when all the members are well proportioned and of a healthy hue. Likewise sickness, a defect in the constitution of the body, happens from a single disorder of any humor. But health is dependent on the proper proportion of all the humors. Likewise sin is committed in human action from any circumstance being inordinate in any way either by excess or defect. But goodness will be present only when all the circumstances are rightly ordered. As health or beauty comes about in a single way but sickness and ugliness in many, even in an unlimited number of ways, so also moral goodness results in only one way but the act of sin takes place in countless ways. Hence it is easy to sin because sin can happen in a variety of modes, but it is difficult to do what is right because rectitude happens only in one way. Et ponit exemplum, quia facile est divertere a contactu signi, id est puncti sive in centro circuli, sive in quacumque alia superficie determinate signati, quia hoc contingit infinitis modis. Sed tangere signum est difficile, quia contingit uno solo modo. Manifestum est autem quod superabundantia et defectus multipliciter contingunt, sed medietas uno modo; unde manifestum fit quod superabundantia et defectus pertinent ad malitiam, medietas autem ad virtutem, quia boni sunt aliqui simpliciter, idest uno modo; sed mali sunt multifarie, id est multipliciter, ut dictum est. 321. He gives as an example that it is easy to miss the center of the target, because a miss can happen in numerous ways. But to hit the center spot is difficult because a hit happens in only one way. Now it is obvious that excess and defect take place in various ways but the mean in a single way. Hence excess and defect manifestly pertain to vice but the mean to virtue because men are good simply, that is, in one way, but evil at sundry times, i.e., in many ways as has just been stated (320). Deinde cum dicit: est ergo virtus habitus etc., concludit ex praemissis definitionem virtutis. Et primo ponit ipsam definitionem. Secundo manifestat eam, ibi, medietas autem duarum et cetera. Tertio excludit errorem, ibi, non autem suscipit omnis et cetera. In diffinitione autem virtutis quatuor ponit. Quorum primum est genus quod tangit cum dicit quod virtus est habitus, ut supra ostensum est. Secundum est actus virtutis moralis. Oportet enim habitum definiri per actum. Et hoc tangit cum dicit electivus, idest secundum electionem operans. Principale enim virtutis est electio, ut infra dicetur. Et quia oportet actum determinari per obiectum, ideo tertio ponit obiectum sive terminum actionis, in hoc quod dicit existens in medietate quae ad nos; ostensum est enim supra, quod virtus inquirit et operatur medium non rei, sed quoad nos. Dictum est autem supra quod virtus moralis est in appetitu, qui participat rationem. Et ideo oportuit quartam particulam apponi, quae tangit causam bonitatis in virtute, cum dicit determinata ratione. Non enim inquirere medium est bonum, nisi inquantum est secundum rationem determinatum. Verum quia contingit rationem esse et rectam et erroneam, oportet virtutem secundum rationem rectam operari, ut supra suppositum est. 322. Then [D’], at “Virtue then is,” he infers the definition of virtue from the premises. First [D’, 1] he presents the definition, and second [D’, 2] he explains it, at “Virtue is a mean between two etc.” Third [D’, 3] he rejects an error, at “Not every action etc.” In the definition of virtue he treats four points. The first of these is the genus, which he touches on when he says that virtue is a habit (305). The second is the act of the moral virtue, for the habit must be defined by the act. This he mentions by the word “chooses,” that is, acts according to choice, for the principal act of virtue is choice—he will discuss this later (432). Since the act must be determined by the object he refers then, third, to the object or the term of the action when he says “the mean in regard to us.” It was shown above (314) that virtue seeks out and uses the mean not of the thing but in regard to us. Similarly it has been said (257) that moral virtue is in the appetite, which participates in reason. He had to add, therefore, a fourth notion, which refers to the cause of goodness in virtue, by the words determined by reason.” It is good to seek the mean only insofar as, it is determined by reason, but because reason can be right or erring, we must perform virtue according to right reason, as was ascertained previously (257). Et ad hoc explicandum subdit, et ut utique sapiens determinabit, scilicet medium. Sapiens autem hic dicitur non ille qui est sapiens simpliciter, quasi cognoscens altissimam causam totius universi; sed prudens qui est sapiens rerum humanarum, ut infra in sexto dicetur. Nam et in arte aedificatoria determinatur quid bonum sit fieri secundum iudicium sapientis in arte illa. Et idem est in omnibus aliis artibus. 323. To explain this he adds “as understood by a wise man.” “Wise” here does not refer to one who is wise simply, knowing the ultimate causes of the whole universe, but rather to one who is prudent, that is, wise in human affairs, but this he will discuss in the sixth book (1163). Certainly the making of what is good in the art of building is determined by the judgment of one wise in that art, and the same is true in all the other arts. Deinde cum dicit: medietas autem duarum etc., manifestat praemissam definitionem quantum ad hoc quod dixit virtutem in medietate consistere. Et circa hoc tria facit. Primo ostendit quorum sit medietas. Secundo respectu cuius attendatur ista mediatio, ibi: et adhuc et cetera. Tertio concludit quoddam corollarium, ibi, propter quod secundum substantiam et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod virtus ipsa est quaedam medietas inter duas malitias, id est inter duos habitus vitiosos: eius scilicet qui est secundum superabundantiam et eius qui est secundum defectum. Sicut liberalitas est medietas inter prodigalitatem quae vergit in superabundantiam, et illiberalitatem quae vergit in defectum. 324. Then [D’, 2], at “Virtue is a mean,” he explains the previously given definition in regard to his saying that virtue consists in the mean. On this point he does three things. First [2, a] he shows between what things there is a mean and, second [2, b], in reference to what thing- this mean may be considered, at “In regard to this etc.” Third [2, c] he deduces a corollary at “For this reason virtue etc.” He says first that virtue itself is a kind of middle course between two vices and between two vicious habits: one by way of excess and the other by way of defect. Thus liberality is the middle course between extravagance tending toward excess and miserliness tending toward avarice. Deinde cum dicit: et adhuc etc., ostendit respectu cuius attendatur superabundantia et defectus et medium. Et dicit adhuc esse considerandum quod quaedam malitiae per comparationem ad aliquid deficiunt, aliae vero superabundant tam in passionibus quam in operationibus ab eo scilicet quod oportet a quo quaedam deficiunt et quaedam superabundant. Sed virtus, inquantum servat id quod oportet, dicitur medium et invenire per rationem et eligere per voluntatem. Et sic patet quod virtus et ipsa est medietas et iterum medium operatur. Medietas quidem est inter duos habitus, sed medium operatur in actionibus et passionibus. 325. Then [2, b], at “In regard to this,” he shows in reference to what norm we are to judge excess, defect, and mean. He says we must further consider that some vices fall short of but others exceed, both in the passions and in actions, what is right. In regard to this some are deficient and others are in excess. But virtue, precisely as it observes what it ought, is said to discover the mean by reason and to choose it by the will. Thus it is evident that virtue itself is a middle course and, on the other hand, it employs the mean. It is indeed the middle course between two habits, but it uses the mean in actions and passions. Deinde cum dicit propter quod secundum substantiam, infert quoddam corollarium ex dictis; scilicet quod virtus secundum suam substantiam et secundum rationem definitivam est medietas. Sed inquantum habet rationem optimi in tali genere et bene operantis sive disponentis, est extremitas. Ad cuius evidentiam considerandum est quod sicut dictum est, tota bonitas virtutis moralis dependet ex rectitudine rationis. Unde bonum convenit virtuti morali, secundum quod sequitur rationem rectam; malum autem convenit utrique vitio, tam superabundanti quam deficienti, in quantum recedit a ratione recta. Et ideo secundum rationem bonitatis et malitiae ambo vitia sunt in uno extremo; scilicet in malo, quod attenditur secundum recessum a ratione. Virtus autem est in altero extremo, scilicet in bono, quod attenditur secundum sequelam rationis. 326. Then [2, c], at “For this reason,” he draws a further conclusion from his remarks: that virtue in its essence and definition is a mean. But precisely as it possesses the character of the best and as it acts or guides well in a determined genus it is an extreme. For an understanding of this, we must consider (as has been pointed out in 322), that the entire goodness of moral virtue depends on the rectitude of the reason. Hence good is in harmony with moral virtue according as it follows right reason, but evil has a reference to each vice, viz.: excess and defect inasmuch as both depart from right reason. Therefore, according to the nature of goodness and evil both vices are in one extreme that is, in evil which is thus shown to be a deviation from reason. Virtue however is in the other extreme, that is, in good which is characterized as a following of reason. Non tamen ex hoc virtus et opposita vitia consequuntur speciem quam definitio significat, quia ratio recta se habet ad appetitum rectum, sicut motivum et regula extrinseca. Appetitus autem perversus per vitium non intendit a ratione recta deficere; sed praeter intentionem hoc ei accidit, per se autem intendit id in quo superabundat vel deficit. Quod autem est praeter intentionem est per accidens: id autem quod est extrinsecum et per accidens non constituit speciem, sed species habitus sumitur secundum obiectum in quod per se tendit. Secundum obiecta autem medium competit virtuti, extrema autem vitiis. Et ideo philosophus dixit quod secundum rationem boni, virtus est in extremo, sed secundum substantialem speciem est in medio. 327. By reason of this, virtue and the contrary vices do not follow the species indicated by the definition, because right reason is the motive and the extrinsic norm for the right appetite. But an evil appetite does not intend by vice to deviate from right reason—this is contrary to its intention—for it directly intends that object in which excess or defect is present. What is contrary to its intention is incidental. Now the incidental and the extrinsic do not constitute a species but the species of a habit is taken from the object to which the habit tends. But according to objects the mean belongs to virtue, and the extremes to vices. He says, therefore, that according to the nature of good, virtue lies in the extreme but according to the essential species, in the mean. Deinde cum dicit: non autem suscipit etc., excludit quemdam errorem. Posset enim aliquis credere, quia in operationibus et passionibus virtus tenet medium, vitia autem tenent extrema, quod hoc contingeret in omnibus operationibus et passionibus. Sed ipse hoc excludit dicens quod non omnis operatio vel passio animae suscipit medietatem, quae scilicet ad virtutem pertineat. 328. Then [D’ 3], at “Not every action,” he rejects an erroneous view. Because virtue can occupy the middle course and vice the extremes in actions and in passions, someone might think that this would happen in all actions and passions. But he rejects this by saying that not every action or passion of the soul admits a mean in the context of virtue. Et hoc manifestat, ibi, quaedam enim et cetera. Et primo per rationem: quia quaedam tam passiones quam actiones in ipso suo nomine implicant malitiam, sicut in passionibus gaudium de malo et inverecundia et invidia. In operationibus autem adulterium, furtum, homicidium. Omnia enim ista et similia, secundum se sunt mala; et non solum superabundantia ipsorum vel defectus; unde circa haec non contingit aliquem recte se habere qualitercumque haec operetur, sed semper haec faciens peccat. Et ad hoc exponendum subdit, quod bene vel non bene non contingit in talibus ex eo quod aliquis faciat aliquod horum, puta adulterium, sicut oportet vel quando oportet, ut sic fiat bene, male autem quando secundum quod non oportet. Sed simpliciter, qualitercumque aliquod horum fiat, est peccatum. In se enim quodlibet horum importat aliquid repugnans ad id quod oportet. 329. He explains this first from reason [3, a], at “Certain ones etc.” Certain actions and passions by their very name imply vice: passions such as ill-will, shamelessness, envy and actions such as adultery, theft, murder. All of these and their like are evil in themselves and not only in their excess or defect. Hence in such things a person cannot be virtuous no matter how he acts, but he always sins in doing them. In explaining this he adds that right or wrong in actions like adultery does not arise from the fact that a person does the act as he ought or when he ought, so that then the act becomes good, but on the other hand evil when not done as it ought. Without qualification sin is present whenever any of these is present, for each of them implies an act opposed to what is right. Secundo ibi: simile igitur etc., manifestat idem per exempla in vitiis. Et dicit quod quia ista secundum se malitiam important, simile est quaerere in istis medium et extrema, sicut si aliquis attribueret medietatem superabundantiam et defectum circa hoc quod est iniusta facere et timidum et incontinentem esse: quod quidem esset inconveniens. Cum enim ista importent superabundantiam et defectum, sequeretur quod superabundantiae et defectus esset medietas, quod est oppositio in adiecto, et quod superabundantiae esset superabundantia et defectionis esset defectus quaerendus, quod in infinitum abiret. 330. Second [3, b], he gives some examples by way of proof in the matter of vice, at “To seek a mean.” He says that because such things imply evil in themselves, seeking a mean and extremes in them is like attributing a mean to excess and defect, whether it be in acting unjustly, or cowardly or lewdly—this would certainly be unfitting. Since these actions imply excess and defect, it follows that excess and defect would be a mean (which is a contradiction) and that we would have to find the excess of the excess and the defect of the defect, which could go on forever. Tertio ibi: quemadmodum autem temperantiae etc., manifestat idem per simile in virtutibus. Manifestum est enim quod quia temperantia et fortitudo de se important medium, non est in eis accipere superabundantiam et defectum, quasi aliquis sit superabundanter vel deficienter temperatus aut fortis. Medium enim non potest esse extremum. Et similiter, quia illa de se important extrema, non potest esse illorum medietas neque superabundantia et defectus. Sed qualitercumque operatum est unumquodque eorum vitiosum est. 331. Third [3, c], he explains the same thing by example in the matter of virtue at “An excess.” Because temperance and fortitude imply a mean of themselves, they do not admit excess and defect in the sense that a man can be temperate or courageous in an excessive or defective manner. Likewise the mean of those things, which of themselves imply extremes, cannot be excess and defect. But no matter how any one of them is done, it is vicious. Ultimo autem concludit quod nullius superabundantiae vel defectus potest esse medietas, neque medietatis superabundantia aut defectus. 332. Last he concludes that there cannot be a mean of any excess or defect, nor can there be an excess or defect of any mean.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS Oportet autem non solum et cetera. Postquam philosophus ostendit quid est virtus in generali, hic manifestat definitionem positam in speciali per singulas virtutes. Et circa hoc duo facit. Primo ostendit hoc esse necessarium. Secundo prosequitur intentum, ibi, circa timores quidem igitur et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod oportet non solum dici universaliter quid est virtus, sed etiam adaptare in speciali ad singula. Et rationem huius assignat; quia in sermonibus qui sunt circa operationes, universales sunt magis inanes, et particulares sunt magis veri. Et huius rationem assignat, eo quod operationes sunt circa singularia. Et ita opportunum est quod sermones universales qui sunt de operabilibus concordant cum particularibus. 333. After the Philosopher has explained what virtue is in a general way, he now applies the definition in a special way to each virtue. On this point he does two things. First [I] he shows the necessity of this procedure. Second [II] he carries out his proposal at “In actions concerned with fear etc.” He says first that we must speak of the essence of virtue not only in its universal aspect but the general doctrine must be applied to each case in a special way. The reason he gives is that in discussions concerned with actions, universals are not of much utility and particulars are more accurate because actions pertain to singulars. Fittingly then discussions about actions should be in harmony with particulars. Si ergo dicantur sermones operationum solum in universali, erunt inanes, tum quia non consequuntur finem suum qui est directio particularium operationum, tum etiam quia non possunt universales sermones in talibus sumi, qui non deficiant in aliquo particularium, propter varietatem materiae, ut supra dictum est. Sed particulares sermones sunt et efficaciores utpote apti ad dirigendum operationes; et sunt etiam veriores, quia accipiuntur secundum id in quo universales sermones verificantur. Et ideo illud quod dictum est in universali de virtute, sumendum est ex descriptione circa singulas virtutes. 334. If then our study be about actions considered only universally, it will be futile both because it does not accomplish its purpose, which is the direction of individual actions, and because a study from a universal viewpoint-where deficiencies in particulars may not occur-cannot be made in these things by reason of the changeableness of the matter, as was said before (32-36). But the study of particulars is more effective, being suitable to control actions, and also more accurate because particulars are understood to the extent that the universal is verified in them. What was said (289-332), therefore, about virtue in general must have been based upon the explanation of individual virtues. Deinde cum dicit: circa timores quidem etc., exequitur intentum; ostendens per singula quod medium est bonum et laudabile, extremum autem malum et vituperabile. Et primo ostendit hoc in virtutibus; secundo in passionibus, ibi, sunt autem et in passionibus et cetera. Circa primum considerandum est, quod virtutes dupliciter aliqui distinxerunt. Quidam enim attenderunt distinctionem earum secundum quosdam generales modos virtutum, qui quidem sunt quatuor. Nam radix virtutis consistit in ipsa rectitudine rationis secundum quam oportet actiones et passiones dirigere. Aliter tamen sunt dirigibiles actiones, quam passiones. Nam actiones quantum est de se non habent aliquam resistentiam ad rationem, sicut emptio et venditio et alia huiusmodi. Et ideo circa eas non requiritur nisi quod ratio quamdam aequalitatem rectitudinis statuat. Sed passiones important inclinationem quandam quae potest resistere et repugnare rationi dupliciter. 335. Then [II], at “In actions concerned with,” he carries out his proposal, showing by particular cases that the mean is good and praiseworthy but the extreme is evil and blameworthy. He shows this first in the virtues [II, A]; and second [Lect. 9; B], in the passions at “Also in the passions etc.” (B. 1108 a 31). Regarding the first point we must consider that virtues have been distinguished in two ways. Some observe the distinction of virtues according to certain general modes which are four in number. The root of virtue consists in the rectitude of reason according to which we must direct our actions and passions. Actions however are to be directed in a way different from the passions, for actions in themselves do not resist reason, as buying, selling, and so forth. Consequently, for such things reason need only establish a certain equality of rectitude. But the passions indicate a kind of inclination that can be contrary to reason in a twofold way. Uno modo ex eo quod rationem trahit ad aliud; sicut patet de omnibus passionibus, quae pertinent ad prosecutionem appetitus; sicut concupiscentia, spes, ira, et alia huiusmodi. Et circa has passiones oportet quod ratio rectitudinem statuat reprimendo et refrenando eas. Alio modo ex eo quod passio retrahit ab eo quod est secundum rationem; ut patet in omnibus passionibus quae important fugam appetitus, sicut timor, odium et similia. Et in huiusmodi passionibus oportet quod ratio rectitudinem statuat, firmando animum in eo quod est secundum rationem. Et secundum haec quatuor nominantur virtutes quae a quibusdam principales dicuntur. Nam ad prudentiam pertinet ipsa rectitudo rationis. Ad iustitiam vero aequalitas in operationibus constituta. Ad fortitudinem autem firmitas animi, ad temperantiam vero refrenatio vel repressio passionum, sicut ipsa nomina sonant. 336. In one way it draws reason to something else, as is evident in all passions that deal with following the appetite—for example, concupiscence, hope, anger, and others of this kind. For these passions reason must establish a rectitude in suppressing and restraining them. In another way passion shrinks from what is according to reason, as in all passions that denote flight of the appetite—for example, fear, hatred, and the like. In passions of this kind reason must establish a rectitude by stabilizing the soul in what is conformable to reason. According to this we designate four virtues, which some men call principal. Rectitude of reason itself pertains to prudence, equality established in operations to justice, constancy of soul to fortitude, and moderation of the passions—as the words indicate—to temperance. Quidam igitur istas virtutes generaliter acceperunt putantes omnem cognitionem veritatis ad prudentiam pertinere, omnem aequalitatem actionum ad iustitiam, omnem firmitatem animi ad fortitudinem, omnem refrenationem vel repressionem ad temperantiam. Et sic locuti sunt de his virtutibus Tullius et Seneca et alii quidam. Unde posuerunt has virtutes esse quasi generales, et dixerunt omnes virtutes esse earum species. 337. Some, therefore, have understood these virtues in a general way, thinking that all knowledge of truth belongs to prudence, the equality of all actions to justice, all constancy of soul to fortitude, and all curbing and moderation of the passions to temperance. Cicero, Seneca, and others spoke of these virtues in this way. They considered such to be general virtues and called all other virtues species of these. Sed ista virtutum distinctio non videtur esse conveniens. Primo quidem, quia praedicta quatuor sunt talia, sine quibus nulla virtus esse potest, unde per haec non possunt species virtutum diversificari. Secundo quia species virtutum et vitiorum non accipiuntur ex parte rationis, sed ex parte obiecti, ut supra dictum est. 338. But this distinction does not seem to be appropriate. First because the above-mentioned virtues are of such a nature that without them there can be no virtue. Hence the species of virtue cannot be differentiated by this. Second, virtues and vices are not specified by reason but by their object (322). Et ideo convenientius Aristoteles virtutes distinxit secundum obiecta sive secundum materias. Et secundum hoc praedictae virtutes quatuor, non dicuntur principales quia sint generales sed quia species earum accipiuntur secundum quaedam principalia; sicut prudentia, est non circa omnem cognitionem veri, sed specialiter circa actum rationis qui est praecipere, iustitia autem est non circa omnem aequalitatem actionum, sed solum in actionibus quae sunt ad alterum in quibus melius est aequalitatem constituere; et similiter fortitudo est non circa quamlibet firmitatem, sed solum in timoribus periculorum mortis, temperantia autem est non circa quamlibet refrenationem, sed solum in concupiscentiis delectationis tactus. Aliae vero virtutes sunt circa quaedam secundaria, et ideo possunt reduci ad praedictas, non sicut species ad genera, sed sicut secundariae ad principales. 339. Aristotle then distinguishes virtues more fittingly according to their objects or matter. Thus the previously mentioned four virtues are not called principal because they are general but because their species are taken according to certain important notions, as prudence is not concerned with all knowledge of the truth but especially with the act of reason that is command. Justice is not concerned with equality of all actions but only of those referring to another, where the better thing is the establishment of equality. Fortitude is not concerned with every kind of constancy but only that which arises at the fear of the danger of death. Temperance is not concerned with all restraint but only with that of the desires and pleasures of touch. The other virtues, however, are as it were secondary. They can be reduced, therefore, to the previously mentioned virtues not as species to general but as secondary to principal virtues. His igitur praesuppositis sciendum est, quod de iustitia et prudentia hic philosophus non agit, sed infra in quinto et sexto. Agit autem de temperantia et fortitudine, et quibusdam aliis secundariis virtutibus. Quae omnes sunt circa aliquas passiones. Sed omnes passiones animae respiciunt aliquod obiectum: quod quidem pertinet vel ad ipsam hominis corporalem vitam, vel ad exteriora bona, vel ad humanos actus. Primo ergo facit mentionem de virtutibus quae sunt circa passiones, quarum obiecta pertinent ad corporalem vitam. Secundo de illis quae pertinent ad exteriora bona, ibi, circa dationem autem pecuniarum etc.; tertio de illis, quae respiciunt exteriores actus, ibi, sunt autem et aliae tres et cetera. Circa primum duo facit. Primo loquitur de fortitudine, quae respicit pericula interimentia vitam. Secundo de temperantia, quae respicit ea quae sunt utilia ad conservandam vitam, scilicet cibos, quibus conservatur vita in individuo, et venerea quibus conservatur in specie, ibi: circa delectationes autem et cetera. 340. Since then these things have been taken for granted, we must know that the Philosopher does not treat justice and prudence here but later on in the fifth book (885-1108) and the sixth book (1161-1173). He does treat here, however, temperance, fortitude, and certain other secondary virtues, all of which are concerned with some of the passions. But all passions regard some object that pertains either to the bodily life of man or external goods or human acts. Therefore, he first [A, A’] mentions the virtues touching on the passions, the objects of which pertain to bodily life. Second [A, B’] he mentions those pertaining to external goods at “In respect to the giving and receiving of money etc.”; and third [Lect. 9; C’] those regarding exterior acts at “There are three other means etc.” (B. 1108 a 9). On the first point he does two things. First [A’, 1] he speaks of fortitude, which regards dangers destructive of life. Second [A, 2] he speaks of temperance, which regards things useful for the preservation of life, such as food by which life is preserved in the individual and sex by which life is preserved in the species, at “With regard to pleasures and pains etc.” Dicit ergo primo, quod fortitudo est medietas circa timores et audacias, inquantum scilicet respiciunt pericula mortis. Sed eorum qui superabundant, ille qui superabundat in hoc quod est esse intimidum, qui etiam deficit in timendo, est innominatus, quia raro hoc accidit. Et multa similiter sunt innominata, propter hoc, quod homines ea non adverterunt communiter ut sic ipsis nomina imponerent. Ille vero qui superabundat in audendo, vocatur audax. Et differt ab intimido. Nam ille dicitur secundum defectum timoris, audax autem secundum excessum audaciae. Ille vero qui superabundat in timendo, et deficit in audendo, vocatur timidus. 341. He says first that fortitude is a mean concerned with fear and daring precisely as they regard the danger of death. But of those sinning by excess, the state of the man who is excessive in being fearless and also deficient in fearing is not given any special name because this rarely happens. Likewise many things are without a name because men do not advert to them ordinarily so that they would give them a name. But he who is extreme in daring is called rash. Such a one differs from the fearless man who is so-called from the lack of fear, but the rash man is so-called from an excess of daring. He who fears excessively and lacks daring is called a coward. Deinde cum dicit: circa delectationes autem etc., introducit de temperantia. Et dicit quod temperantia inducit de temperantia. Et dicit quod temperantia est medietas, non circa omnes delectationes et tristitias, sed circa eas quae sunt tactus pertinentes ad cibos et venerea. Minus autem est circa tristitias quam circa delectationes, nam huiusmodi tristitiae, causantur ex sola absentia delectationum. Superabundantia autem in talibus vocatur intemperantia. Sed defectus non multum fit, propter hoc quod omnes naturaliter appetunt delectationem. Et inde est quod iste defectus est innominatus. Sed ipse imponit nomen; et vocat tales insensibiles, eo quod huiusmodi delectationes sensu percipiuntur. Et ideo ille, qui refugit has delectationes praeter rationem rectam, convenienter vocatur insensibilis. 342. Then [A’, 2], at “With regard to pleasures,” he discusses temperance. He says that temperance is a mean not for all pleasures and pains but for those of touch, pertaining to food and sex. It is less concerned with pains than with pleasures, for pains of this kind are caused only from the absence of pleasures. Excess in such things is called intemperance, but the defect does not often occur because everyone naturally desires pleasure. Hence this defect is unnamed. He himself, however, invents a name and calls insensible those who do not feel pleasures of this kind. One who, contrary to right reason, avoids such pleasures is appropriately called insensible. Deinde cum dicit: circa dationem autem etc., introducit de virtutibus quae respiciunt exteriora. Et primo de his quae sunt circa concupiscentias exteriorum bonorum. Secundo de virtute quae respicit exteriora mala, ibi, est autem et circa iram et cetera. Exteriora autem bona sunt divitiae et honores. Primo igitur introducit de virtutibus quae respiciunt divitias. Secundo de his quae respiciunt honores, ibi: circa honorem autem et cetera. Circa primum duo facit. Primo introducit de liberalitate, quae est circa mediocres divitias. Secundo de magnificentia, quae est circa magnas, ibi, circa pecunias autem et cetera. Dicit ergo primo quod liberalitas est medietas circa dationem et acceptionem pecuniarum. Sed prodigalitas et illiberalitas se habent secundum superabundantiam et defectum, contrario modo. Nam prodigus superabundat in datione et deficit in acceptione. Illiberalis autem e contrario superabundat in acceptione et deficit in datione. Haec autem hic dicuntur typo, idest exemplariter, et in capitulo, idest summarie; sed postea et de his et de aliis determinabitur certius. 343. Then [A, B’], at “In respect to the giving,” he introduces the virtues that, regard external things. First [B’, 1] he treats those virtues concerned with the desire of external goods and second [Lect. 9; B’, 2] those that regard external evils, at “With respect to anger etc.” (B. 1108 a 3). External goods are riches and honors. First [1, a] then he presents the virtues regulating riches; second [Lect. 9; b] those referring to honors at “The mean in regard to honor etc.” (B. 1107 b 23)Regarding the first he does two things. First [a, i] he treats liberality, which is concerned with moderate riches; then [a, ii] magnificence, which is concerned with great riches, at “Having to do with the use of money etc.” He says first that liberality is a mean between the giving and receiving of money. But extravagance and stinginess constitute, in an opposite way, excess and defect. The spendthrift overdoes the giving and falls short in the acquisition, but the miser on the contrary is excessive in acquiring and deficient in giving. These matters are here discussed in outline or as conforming to a pattern, and as falling under headings or summarily. Later (528-594; 595-648; 658-706) he will treat more accurately both these and other matters. Deinde cum dicit: circa pecunias autem etc., introducit de magnificentia. Et dicit quod praeter praedictas dispositiones, scilicet liberalitatem et opposita vitia, sunt etiam quaedam aliae circa pecunias, circa quas etiam magnificentia est medietas quaedam. Sed differt magnificus a liberali, in hoc quod magnificus est circa magna, sed liberalis est etiam circa parva. Sed superabundantia respectu magnificentiae vocatur apyrocalia ab a, quod est sine, et pyros quod est experientia, et calos, quod est bonum, quasi sine experientia boni; quia scilicet multa expendentes non curant qualiter bene expendant: vocatur etiam haec superabundantia banausia, a banos, quod est fornax, quia scilicet ad modum fornacis omnia consumunt. Sed defectus vocatur parvificentia. Et hae etiam extremitates differunt ab his quae contrariantur liberalitati. Quomodo autem differant, dicetur posterius in quarto. 344. Then [a, ii], at “Having to do with the use of money,” he introduces magnificence. He says that besides the above-mentioned habits, liberality and the opposed vices, there are also other virtues concerned with money, for which even magnificence is a kind of mean. The princely or munificent person, as engaged in expending great sums, differs from the generous person who gives small amounts. Excess in respect to magnificence is called apyrocalia: a meaning “without,” pyros meaning “practice,” kalos meaning “good,” that is, without the practice of what is good. Thus those who spend a great deal care little about how they bestow their goods. This excess is also called banausia from banos meaning “furnace” because, like a furnace, the squanderer consumes everything. The defect however is called meanness. These extremes in fact differ from those that are opposed to liberality, but the way they differ will be treated subsequently in the fourth book (707-734).
Virtues Dealing with Honors
Chapter 7 b. He now treats those (virtues) dealing with honors. i. He deals with the virtue referring to great honors. — 345 περὶ δὲ τιμὴν καὶ ἀτιμίαν μεσότης μὲν μεγαλοψυχία, ὑπερβολὴ δὲ χαυνότης τις λεγομένη, ἔλλειψις δὲ μικροψυχία· The mean in regard to honor and dishonor is magnanimity. But the excess is chapnotes (i.e., presumption); and the defect, smallness of soul. ii. (He deals) with the virtue referring to ordinary honors. — 346-348 ὡς δ' ἐλέγομεν ἔχειν πρὸς τὴν μεγαλοπρέπειαν τὴν ἐλευθεριότητα, τῷ περὶ μικρὰ διαφέρουσαν, οὕτως ἔχει τις καὶ πρὸς τὴν μεγαλοψυχίαν, περὶ τιμὴν οὖσαν μεγάλην, αὐτὴ περὶ μικρὰν οὖσα· ἔστι γὰρ ὡς δεῖ ὀρέγεσθαι τιμῆς καὶ μᾶλλον ἢ δεῖ καὶ ἧττον, λέγεται δ' ὁ μὲν ὑπερβάλλων ταῖς ὀρέξεσι φιλότιμος, ὁ δ' ἐλλείπων ἀφιλότιμος, ὁ δὲ μέσος ἀνώνυμος. ἀνώνυμοι δὲ καὶ αἱ διαθέσεις, πλὴν ἡ τοῦ φιλοτίμου φιλοτιμία. ὅθεν ἐπιδικάζονται οἱ ἄκροι τῆς μέσης χώρας· καὶ ἡμεῖς δὲ ἔστι μὲν ὅτε τὸν μέσον φιλότιμον καλοῦμεν ἔστι δ' ὅτε ἀφιλότιμον, καὶ ἔστι μὲν ὅτε ἐπαινοῦμεν τὸν φιλότιμον ἔστι δ' ὅτε τὸν ἀφιλότιμον. διὰ τίνα δ' αἰτίαν τοῦτο ποιοῦμεν, ἐν τοῖς ἑξῆς ῥηθήσεται· νῦν δὲ περὶ τῶν λοιπῶν λέγωμεν κατὰ τὸν ὑφηγημένον τρόπον. As we pointed out, liberality that bestows small amounts differs from magnificence. So also there is a virtue concerned with ordinary honors that differs from magnanimity whose province is great honors. A man can desire ordinary honors in the right way, more than he ought, and less than he ought. If he is excessive in the desire of honors, he is called ambitious; if deficient, he is said to be unambitious. But he who strikes a mean has no special name. Likewise the habits are without names except for ambition, which we call the excessive love of honors. Hence persons who are in the extremes argue about the location of the mean. Even we sometimes call the man possessing the mean ambitious, and sometimes we call him unambitious. Why we do this will be explained afterwards, but for the present we should refer to the remaining states in the way indicated. 2. HE PROPOSES THE VIRTUE CONCERNING EXTERNAL EVILS. — 349 ἔστι δὲ καὶ περὶ τὴν ὀργὴν ὑπερβολὴ καὶ ἔλλειψις καὶ μεσότης, σχεδὸν δὲ ἀνωνύμων ὄντων αὐτῶν τὸν μέσον πρᾶον λέγοντες τὴν μεσότητα πραότητα καλέσωμεν· τῶν δ' ἄκρων ὁ μὲν ὑπερβάλλων ὀργίλος ἔστω, ἡ δὲ κακία ὀργιλότης, ὁ δ' ἐλλείπων ἀόργητός τις, ἡ δ' ἔλλειψις ἀοργησία. With respect to anger we find an excess, a defect, and a mean. Although these are for the most part without names, we call the man following the mean “mild” and the mean “mildness.” In regard to the extremes, he who is excessive is called irascible and his vice irascibility. But he who is deficient is said to be apathetic and to have the defect of apathy. C’ He proposes the virtues which concern human actions. 1. HE SHOWS THEIR VARIETY. — 350-351 εἰσὶ δὲ καὶ ἄλλαι τρεῖς μεσότητες, ἔχουσαι μέν τινα ὁμοιότητα πρὸς ἀλλήλας, διαφέρουσαι δ' ἀλλήλων· πᾶσαι μὲν γάρ εἰσι περὶ λόγων καὶ πράξεων κοινωνίαν, διαφέρουσι δὲ ὅτι ἣ μέν ἐστι περὶ τἀληθὲς τὸ ἐν αὐτοῖς, αἳ δὲ περὶ τὸ ἡδύ· τούτου δὲ τὸ μὲν ἐν παιδιᾷ τὸ δ' ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς κατὰ τὸν βίον. ῥητέον οὖν καὶ περὶ τούτων, ἵνα μᾶλλον κατίδωμεν ὅτι ἐν πᾶσιν ἡ μεσότης ἐπαινετόν, τὰ δ' ἄκρα οὔτ' ἐπαινετὰ οὔτ' ὀρθὰ ἀλλὰ ψεκτά. εἰσὶ μὲν οὖν καὶ τούτων τὰ πλείω ἀνώνυμα, πειρατέον δ', ὥσπερ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων, αὐτοὺς ὀνοματοποιεῖν σαφηνείας ἕνεκα καὶ τοῦ εὐπαρακολουθήτου. There are three other means which are alike in one respect and different in another. They are all concerned with communicating what we say and do, but they differ because one of them refers to the truth, and the others to the pleasantness found in this communication. One of these latter concerns pleasantness in the things said and done in jest, the others regard the things that belong to the usual manner of living. We must speak of these things so that we may better understand that the mean is always praiseworthy but that the extremes are neither right nor to be praised but rather to be condemned. Many of these also are without special names, but as we have done with the others, we shall try to invent names for them for the sake of the clarity and the good that results. 2. HE GIVES EXAMPLES OF THESE. a. First of that which concerns truth. — 352 περὶ μὲν οὖν τὸ ἀληθὲς ὁ μὲν μέσος ἀληθής τις καὶ ἡ μεσότης ἀλήθεια λεγέσθω, ἡ δὲ προσποίησις ἡ μὲν ἐπὶ τὸ μεῖζον ἀλαζονεία καὶ ὁ ἔχων αὐτὴν ἀλαζών, ἡ δ' ἐπὶ τὸ ἔλαττον εἰρωνεία καὶ εἴρων ὁ ἔχων. In regard to truth the mean is possessed by the man who is truthful and is called truthfulness. But pretension, which is the excess, is called boasting, and the pretender is known as a braggart. The defect, however, may be named dissimulation or irony and the pretender a dissembler. b. He gives an example of the virtue concerned with amusement. — 353 περὶ δὲ τὸ ἡδὺ τὸ μὲν ἐν παιδιᾷ ὁ μὲν μέσος εὐτράπελος καὶ ἡ διάθεσις εὐτραπελία, ἡ δ' ὑπερβολὴ βωμολοχία καὶ ὁ ἔχων αὐτὴν βωμολόχος, ὁ δ' ἐλλείπων ἄγροικός τις καὶ ἡ ἕξις ἀγροικία·περὶ δὲ τὸ λοιπὸν ἡδὺ τὸ ἐν τῷ βίῳ ὁ μὲν ὡς δεῖ ἡδὺς ὢν φίλος καὶ ἡ μεσότης φιλία, ὁ δ' ὑπερβάλλων, εἰ μὲν οὐδενὸς ἕνεκα, ἄρεσκος, εἰ δ' ὠφελείας τῆς αὑτοῦ, κόλαξ, ὁ δ' ἐλλείπων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν ἀηδὴς δύσερίς τις καὶ δύσκολος. In respect to pleasantness concerned with amusement, the man who observes the mean is called witty and the disposition itself wit. But the excess is designated as buffoonery and the person who is excessive a buffoon. If one falls short in this matter he is said to he boorish and to have the quality of boorishness. c. He exemplifies the third of these virtues. — 354 #960;ερὶ δὲ τὸ λοιπὸν ἡδὺ τὸ ἐν τῷ βίῳ ὁ μὲν ὡς δεῖ ἡδὺς ὢν φίλος καὶ ἡ μεσότης φιλία, ὁ δ' ὑπερβάλλων, εἰ μὲν οὐδενὸς ἕνεκα, ἄρεσκος, εἰ δ' ὠφελείας τῆς αὑτοῦ, κόλαξ, ὁ δ' ἐλλείπων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν ἀηδὴς δύσερίς τις καὶ δύσκολος. In the remaining kind of pleasantness, that is, in life generally, the man who is pleasant as he should be is called affable, and the mean he attains is affability. But he who carries this too far merely for the sake of pleasing is called obsequious. If however he acts for his own utility he is called a flatterer. One who falls short in this matter and is always difficult is termed contentious and perverse. B. He gives an example of certain laudable passions. a. First of modesty. — 355 εἰσὶ δὲ καὶ ἐν τοῖς παθήμασι καὶ περὶ τὰ πάθη μεσότητες· ἡ γὰρ αἰδὼς ἀρετὴ μὲν οὐκ ἔστιν, ἐπαινεῖται δὲ καὶ ὁ αἰδήμων. καὶ γὰρ ἐν τούτοις ὃ μὲν λέγεται μέσος, ὃ δ' ὑπερβάλλων, ὡς ὁ καταπλὴξ ὁ πάντα αἰδούμενος· ὁ δ' ἐλλείπων ἢ μηδὲν ὅλως ἀναίσχυντος, ὁ δὲ μέσος αἰδήμων. Also in the passions and the things regarding the passions a mean exists. Modesty, for example, is not a virtue, but it is praised as is the modest person, or in this question a mean is attainable. The person who exceeds the mean and is embarrassed at everything is bashful. But one who falls short, that is, blushes at nothing, is shameless, while the person who strikes a happy mean is called modest. 355 b. Second he discusses... nemesis. — 356-357 νέμεσις δὲ μεσότης φθόνου καὶ ἐπιχαιρεκακίας, εἰσὶ δὲ περὶ λύπην καὶ ἡδονὴν τὰς ἐπὶ τοῖς συμβαίνουσι τοῖς πέλας γινομένας· ὁ μὲν γὰρ νεμεσητικὸς λυπεῖται ἐπὶ τοῖς ἀναξίως εὖ πράττουσιν, ὁ δὲ φθονερὸς ὑπερβάλλων τοῦτον ἐπὶ πᾶσι λυπεῖται, ὁ δ' ἐπιχαιρέκακος τοσοῦτον ἐλλείπει τοῦ λυπεῖσθαι ὥστε καὶ χαίρειν. ἀλλὰ περὶ μὲν τούτων καὶ ἄλλοθι καιρὸς ἔσται· περὶ δὲ δικαιοσύνης, ἐπεὶ οὐχ ἁπλῶς λέγεται, μετὰ ταῦτα διελόμενοι περὶ ἑκατέρας ἐροῦμεν πῶς μεσότητές εἰσιν· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ περὶ τῶν λογικῶν ἀρετῶν. Righteous indignation may be assigned as the mean between envy and epicacotharchia or rejoicing in evil. These are concerned with pleasure and sorrow over what happens to our neighbors. The righteously indignant person is saddened at the unmerited prosperity of the wicked. But the envious person goes far beyond this and eats his heart out over the success of everyone. The man called epicacotharchos is so deficient in sadness that he actually rejoices. However, there will be time to treat of these matters elsewhere. Because justice is understood in various ways, we shall later treat its parts showing how the mean is constituted in them. Likewise we shall discuss the intellectual virtues.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS Circa honorem autem et cetera. Positis virtutibus quae respiciunt divitias, hic ponit virtutes quae respiciunt honores. Et primo ponit virtutem quae respicit magnos honores. Secundo virtutem quae respicit mediocres, ibi, sicut autem dicimus et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod magnanimitas est medietas circa honorem et inhonorationem. Superabundantia autem in prosequendo ea quae pertinent ad magnum honorem, est quaedam dispositio, quae dicitur chaumotes, ex eo quod ardet in his quae pertinent ad appetitum honoris. Nam cauma incendium dicitur, sed, quia capnos in Graeco idem est quod fumus, potest etiam si sic scribatur chapnotes dici, quasi fumositas. Consuevimus enim eos qui nimis anhelant ad ascendendum ad aliqua alta vel magna, vocare ventosos vel fumosos. Sed defectio opposita magnanimitati vocatur pusillanimitas. 345. Having completed the virtues that concern riches, he now [b] treats those dealing with honors. First [b, i] he deals with the virtue referring to great honors, and second [b, ii] with the virtue referring to ordinary honors, at “As we pointed out etc.” He says first that magnanimity is the mean between honor and dishonor. But the excess in following after the things belonging to great honors is a certain disposition that is called chaumotes because it blazes forth in things pertaining to the desire of honor. In Greek cauma is fire, and capnos means smoke. If the word be written chapnotes it can be translated “exhalation” or presumption. We are accustomed to say that they who breathe with great difficulty on climbing high altitudes are wheezing or puffing. But the defect opposed to magnanimity is faintheartedness. Deinde cum dicit: sicut autem dicimus etc., ponit aliam virtutem, quae est circa mediocres honores. Et dicit quod sicut dictum est quod liberalitas differt a magnificentia in eo quod liberalitas est circa parva, cum magnificentia sit circa magna, ita etiam ad magnanimitatem, quae est circa magnum honorem, se habet quaedam virtus, quae est circa honorem qui existit parvus. Et quod circa hoc oporteat esse aliquam virtutem in medio existentem, manifestat per hoc quod subdit, quod contingit etiam mediocrem honorem appetere sicut oportet, quod pertinet ad medium virtutis; et magis quam oportet, quod pertinet ad superabundantiam; et minus quam oportet, quod pertinet ad defectum. Ille autem qui superabundat in desiderio honoris, vocatur philotimus, id est amator honoris; ille autem qui deficit in appetitu honoris vocatur aphilotimus, idest sine amore honoris. Ille autem qui medio modo se habet est innominatus. 346. Then [b, ii ], at “As we pointed out,” he proposes another virtue referring to ordinary honors. He says, as has been indicated (344), that liberality differs from magnificence because liberality bestows small amounts while magnificence bestows great sums. So too there is a virtue concerned with ordinary honors which differs from magnanimity which is concerned with great honors. That in this question there should be some virtue consisting in a mean is made clear by his adding that ordinary honors are desired as they ought (this belongs to the mean of virtue), more than they ought (this belongs to excess), and less than they ought (this belongs to the defect). He who excessively desires honor is ambitious or a lover of honor. He who is deficient in the desire of honor is unambitious or without the desire of honor. But he who strikes a happy mean has no special name. Et similiter etiam dispositiones, id est habitus vitiorum et virtutis mediae, sunt innominatae. Possumus tamen nomina fingere, vocantes dispositionem qua quis est philotimus, philotimiam; et similiter dispositio qua quis dicitur aphilotimus potest dici aphilotimia. Sed quia medium non est nominatum, ideo illi qui sunt in extremo contendunt de media regione, dum scilicet uterque se dicit esse in medio: et loquitur ad similitudinem duarum civitatum, inter quas solet esse contentio de mediis finibus, quando non est certus limes praefixus, dum utraque dicit territorium medium ad se pertinere. Sed quia hoc fere commune est in omnibus vitiis, quod uterque extremorum reputat se esse in medio et virtuosum in altero extremo, sicut timidus reputat fortem audacem, quem audax reputat timidum; consequenter ponit quod est proprium in hac materia: quia non solum vitiosi ascribunt sibi ipsis nomen virtutis, sed etiam virtuosi, propter hoc quod medium virtutis est innominatum, utuntur nomine vitii, quasi nomine virtutis. 347. Likewise the dispositions, i.e., the habits of vice or of the mean-virtue are unnamed. However, we can invent names: calling the habit by which a person excessively loves honor, ambition; and the habit by which a person is deficient in the love of honor, “unambitiousness.” But because the mean has not been named, the persons who are in the extremes argue about the location of the mean. Both maintain that they possess the mean. He explains this by drawing a comparison with two states that are in the habit of bickering over their common border when the boundary has not been fixed. Both claim the intervening territory as their own. But this is fairly common to all the vices for each of the extremes to think they possess the mean and that the virtuous are in the other extreme, e.g., the coward considers the brave man reckless; the reckless man says the brave man is a coward. Hence Aristotle states what is proper to this matter, that not only do the vicious appropriate the name of virtue to themselves, but even the virtuous use the name of the vice as if it were a virtue because the mean has not been named. Et hoc est quod subdit quod etiam nos rationabiliter loquentes quandoque illum qui est in medio vocamus philotimum et quandoque vocamus eum aphilotimum. Quandoque enim laudamus hominem ex eo quod est philotimus. Consuevimus enim dicere, aliquem laudantes, quod est homo curans de honore suo et sic ipsum virtuosum vocamus philotimum. Quandoque autem laudamus aphilotimum, sicut cum in laudem alicuius dicimus quod non curat de honoribus hominum sed de veritate. Et sic aphilotimum vocamus virtuosum. Quare autem hoc accidat, dicetur in sequentibus, scilicet in quarto. Sed nunc oportet nos prosequi de reliquis medietatibus secundum praedictum modum, scilicet exemplariter. 348. This is what he refers to when he adds that even we (speaking correctly too) sometimes call a man who possesses the mean ambitious, and other times unambitious. Also at times we praise a person because he is ambitious. We are accustomed to say in commending a person that he is solicitous about his honor, and thus we call the man who loves honor, virtuous. On the other hand we sometimes praise an unambitious man, saying in his praise that he does not care about the esteem of men, but about the truth. So we call the unambitious man virtuous. Why we do this will be explained afterwards in the fourth book (794-795)But for the present we should continue with the remaining mediums in the way designated, that is, as conforming to a pattern. Deinde cum dicit: est autem circa iram etc., ponit virtutem quae respicit exteriora mala ex quibus homo provocatur ad iram. Et dicit quod circa iram est superabundantia, defectus et medium. Et quamvis omnia ista sint ut plurimum innominata, medium tamen consuevimus nominare mansuetum et medietatem mansuetudinem. Illum autem qui superabundat in hoc vocamus iracundum, et dispositionem eius iracundiam. Illum autem qui deficit vocamus inirascibilem et defectum inirascibilitatem. 349. Then , at “With respect to anger,” he proposes the virtue concerning external evils by which man is provoked to anger. He says that in regard to anger there is an excess, a defect, and a mean. Although all these for the most part are without names, we are accustomed to call the man following the mean mild, and the mean itself mildness. But he who is excessive in this passion we call irascible and we say he has the quality of irascibility. Ile man however who is deficient we call apathetic and say he has the defect of apathy. Deinde cum dicit: sunt autem et aliae tres etc., ponit virtutes, quae respiciunt humanos actus. Et primo ostendit earum distinctionem. Secundo exemplificat de ipsis, ibi circa verum quidem igitur et cetera. Dicit ergo primo quod sunt tres aliae medietates quae quantum ad aliquid conveniunt et quantum ad aliquid differunt. Conveniunt quidem quantum ad hoc quod omnes sunt circa verba et opera quibus homines adinvicem communicant. Differunt autem quantum ad hoc quod una earum est circa veritatem talium verborum et factorum. Aliae autem circa delectationem ipsorum, ita tamen quod una earum respicit delectationem eorum quae dicuntur vel fiunt ludo, alia vero in his quae pertinent ad communem vitam, scilicet in seriosis. 350. Then [C’], at “There are,” he proposes the virtues that concern human actions. First [C’, 1] he shows their variety, and second [C’, 2] he gives examples of these at “In regard to truth etc.” He says first that three means are alike in one respect and different in another. They are alike in that all refer to words and deeds in which men communicate among themselves. They are different in that one of them refers to the truth of such words and deeds. The others, however, refer to pleasantness in these words and deeds, so that one of them regards pleasantness in the things that are said or done in jest, the others regard what belongs to the usual manner of living, i.e., serious matters. De his etiam dicendum est, ut magis appareat quod in omnibus medietas est laudabilis, extrema autem non sunt laudabilia, sed vituperabilia. Plura autem horum sunt innominata. Sed sicut in aliis fecimus, tentabimus ponere nomina, ut fiat manifestum quod dicitur et propter bonum quod inde consequitur. Quia finis huius scientiae non est manifestatio veritatis, sed bonum operis. 351. We must speak of these things so it will become more apparent that the mean is always praiseworthy and the extremes are not to be praised but rather condemned. Many of these are without special names, but, as we have done with the others, we shall try to invent names to clarify what is said for the sake of the good that will ensue. The reason is that the purpose of this science is not the manifestation of truth but virtuous activity. Deinde cum dicit: circa verum quidem igitur etc., exemplificat de praemissis virtutibus. Et primo de ea quae est circa verum. Et dicit quod circa verum medius est ille, qui dicitur verus, et medietas dicitur veritas. Sed fictio falsi quae est in plus, quando scilicet aliquis fingit maiora de se quam sint, vocatur iactantia et talis fictor vocatur iactator. Sed fictio quae est ad minus, scilicet quando aliquis fingit de se quaedam vilia, vocatur yronia, quasi irrisio, et talis fictor vocatur yron, id est irrisor. 352. Then [C, 2], at “In regard to truth,” he gives examples of these virtues and first [2, a] of that which concerns truth. He says that in regard to truth the mean is had by the man who is called truthful, and the mean itself is called truthfulness. But pretension, which is the excess (when a person pretends greater things about himself than are true), is called boasting, and the pretender is called a braggart. But dissembling, which is the defect (when a person makes pretense of certain contemptible things about himself), is called dissimulation or irony. Such a pretender is called a dissembler. Secundo ibi: circa delectabile autem etc., exemplificat de virtute quae est circa ludos. Et dicit quod circa delectationem quae est in ludis, ille qui medium tenet vocatur eutrapelus, quasi bene se vertens ad omnia; et dispositio vocatur eutrapelia. Ille autem qui superabundat, vocatur bomolochus a bomos quod est altare, et lochos, quod est raptor; et dicitur ad similitudinem milvi, qui semper volabat circa aras idolorum in quibus animalia immolabantur ut aliquid raperet; et similiter ille qui excedit in ludo, semper insistit ad hoc quod rapiat verbum vel factum alicuius, ut in ludum convertat. Dispositio autem vocatur bomolochia. Ille autem qui deficit, vocatur agroicus, idest agrestis, et dispositio vocatur agroichia. 353. Second [2, b], at “In respect to,” he gives an example of the virtue concerned with amusement. He says, regarding pleasantness in amusement, that the man who observes the mean is called witty (eutrapelos) giving as it were a pleasant turn to every incident. The disposition itself is called wit (eutrapelia). But the man who is guilty of excess is called a buffoon or bomolochus, from bomo meaning “altar” and lochos meaning “plundering.” He is said to be like the bird of prey which always flew near the sacrificial altars to snatch some food. In a similar way the man who is excessive in amusement always insists on snatching a word or action of someone to give it a comic turn. The disposition however is called buffoonery. But the man who is deficient is said to be boorish and to have the quality of boorishness. Tertio ibi: circa reliquum autem etc., exemplificat de tertia dictarum virtutum. Et dicit quod circa reliquum delectabile quod est in vita quantum ad ea quae seriose aguntur, medius vocatur amicus, non ab affectu amandi, sed a decenti conversatione; quem nos possumus affabilem dicere. Et ipsa medietas vocatur amicitia vel affabilitas. Ille autem qui superabundat in hoc, si non faciat hoc nisi causa delectandi, vocatur placidus; si autem faciat hoc propter aliquam propriam utilitatem, puta propter lucrum, vocatur blanditor vel adulator. Qui autem in hoc deficit, et non veretur contristare eos cum quibus vivit, vocatur litigiosus et dyscolus. 354. Third [2, C], at “In the remaining,” he exemplifies the third of these virtues saying that in the remaining pleasantness, which is in life, touching on our serious actions, the mean is struck by the friendly person-not so designated from the effect of friendship but from amicable conversation. Such a one we term affable. The mean itself is called friendliness or affability. But one who overdoes this merely for the purpose of pleasing is called obsequious. If he acts for his own utility, for example, his profit, he is called a sycophant or a flatterer. One who falls short in this matter and does not fear to sadden those he lives with is called contentious and perverse. Deinde cum dicit: sunt autem et in passionibus etc., ponit exemplum de quibusdam passionibus laudabilibus. Et primo de verecundia. Et dicit quod etiam in passionibus et in his quae passionibus adiunguntur sunt quaedam medietates. Verecundia enim non est virtus, ut in IV ostendetur, sed tamen verecundus laudatur, eo quod in talibus est medium accipere. Ille autem qui superabundat, ut de omnibus verecundetur, vocatur cataplex, id est stupidus. Ille autem qui deficit, vel nihil verecundatur vocatur inverecundus. 355. Then [B], at “Also in the passions,” he gives an example of certain laudable passions-first [B, a], of modesty. He says that a mean is found even in the passions and their phases, modesty, for instance, is not a virtue, as will be explained in the fourth book (867-882). The modest person is praised because a mean can be taken in such matters. One who goes to excess so that he blushes at everything is called cataplex, a bashful person. But he who falls short, blushing at nothing is called shameless, while he who strikes the mean is called modest. Secundo ibi: Nemesis autem etc., agit de alia passione, quae vocatur Nemesis, idest reprehensio, quae est medietas invidiae et epicacocharchiae; charchos enim dicitur gaudium, cacos malum, epi super, ac si dicatur: gaudium de malo. Sunt autem hae dispositiones circa delectationem et tristitiam de his quae eveniunt proximis. Nemesiticus enim, idest reprehensor, tristatur, si aliqui mali prosperantur in sua malitia: invidus autem superabundat ut tristetur de omnibus, qui prosperantur, sive bonis sive malis. Sed ille qui dicitur epicacocharchos in tantum deficit a tristando ut etiam gaudeat de malis qui in sua malitia prosperantur. Sed de his alibi dicetur, scilicet in secundo rhetoricae. 356. Second [B, b], at “Righteous indignation,” he discusses another passion called nemesis or righteous indignation, which is a mean between envy and epicacotharchia (tharcus meaning “rejoicing,” kakos meaning “evil,” epi meaning “over”) or rejoicing in evil. These are dispositions concerned with pleasure and sorrow over what happens to our neighbors. The righteously indignant person or the fair critic is saddened at the prosperity of the wicked. But the envious person goes to excess in grieving over all—both good and bad—who prosper. The person however called epicotharchos is so deficient in sadness that he actually rejoices over the wicked who are successful in their wickedness. But these topics are treated elsewhere, in the second book of the Rhetoric (Ch. 10). Ultimo autem (concludit) quod, quia iustitia habet diversas species, in quibus non similiter accipitur medium, de iustitia post dicetur in quinto, et qualiter partes eius sint in medio: et similiter postea dicetur in sexto de virtutibus rationalibus, idest intellectualibus. 357. Last, because justice has. various parts in which the mean is differently understood, justice will be treated in the fifth book (885-1108) together with the manner in which the parts consist in the mean. Likewise, the rational or intellectual virtues will be discussed later in the sixth book (1109-1291).
Opposition Among the Virtues and Vices
Chapter 8 1. HE SHOWS THERE IS A TWOFOLD OPPOSITION AMONG THESE HABITS. a. He states his proposal. — 358 τριῶν δὴ διαθέσεων οὐσῶν, δύο μὲν κακιῶν, τῆς μὲν καθ' ὑπερβολὴν τῆς δὲ κατ' ἔλλειψιν, μιᾶς δ' ἀρετῆς τῆς μεσότητος, πᾶσαι πάσαις ἀντίκεινταί πως· There are three dispositions, of which two are vices: one by excess, the other by defect. The third is virtue and consists in the mean. Everyone of these is opposed in some way to every other one because not only are the extremes opposed to one another and to the mean, but the mean is opposed to the extremes. b. He proves the proposition. — 359-361 αἱ μὲν γὰρ ἄκραι καὶ τῇ μέσῃ καὶ ἀλλήλαις ἐναντίαι εἰσίν, ἡ δὲ μέση ταῖς ἄκραις· ὥσπερ γὰρ τὸ ἴσον πρὸς μὲν τὸ ἔλαττον μεῖζον πρὸς δὲ τὸ μεῖζον ἔλαττον, οὕτως αἱ μέσαι ἕξεις πρὸς μὲν τὰς ἐλλείψεις ὑπερβάλλουσι πρὸς δὲ τὰς ὑπερβολὰς ἐλλείπουσιν ἔν τε τοῖς πάθεσι καὶ ταῖς πράξεσιν. ὁ γὰρ ἀνδρεῖος πρὸς μὲν τὸν δειλὸν θρασὺς φαίνεται, πρὸς δὲ τὸν θρασὺν δειλός· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ὁ σώφρων πρὸς μὲν τὸν ἀναίσθητον ἀκόλαστος, πρὸς δὲ τὸν ἀκόλαστον ἀναίσθητος, ὁ δ' ἐλευθέριος πρὸς μὲν τὸν ἀνελεύθερον ἄσωτος, πρὸς δὲ τὸν ἄσωτον ἀνελεύθερος. As the average is greater compared to the less and less compared to the greater, so mean habits are in excess compared to the defect and in defect compared to excess. This is true both in the passions and in actions. The brave man seems reckless compared to the coward, and cowardly compared to the reckless. Likewise the moderate man seems self-indulgent compared to the insensible man, and insensible compared to the self-indulgent. Also the generous person is a spendthrift in comparison with the miser but a miser in comparison with the spendthrift. c. He deduces a corollary. — 362 διὸ καὶ ἀπωθοῦνται τὸν μέσον οἱ ἄκροι ἑκάτερος πρὸς ἑκάτερον, καὶ καλοῦσι τὸν ἀνδρεῖον ὁ μὲν δειλὸς θρασὺν ὁ δὲ θρασὺς δειλόν, καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἀνάλογον. For this reason the extremes tend to throw the mean toward one another. The coward calls the brave man reckless, and the reckless man calls him a coward. A similar tendency is found in other extremes. 2. HE SHOWS THAT THE OPPOSITION AMONG THE VICES THEMSELVES IS THE GREATER. a. First reason. — 363 οὕτω δ' ἀντικειμένων ἀλλήλοις τούτων, πλείστη ἐναντιότης ἐστὶ τοῖς ἄκροις πρὸς ἄλληλα ἢ πρὸς τὸ μέσον· πορρωτέρω γὰρ ταῦτα ἀφέστηκεν ἀλλήλων ἢ τοῦ μέσου, ὥσπερ τὸ μέγα τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ τὸ μικρὸν τοῦ μεγάλου ἢ ἄμφω τοῦ ἴσου. These things are mutually opposed in such a way that there is a greater opposition of the extremes among themselves than to the mean. The reason is that the extremes are more removed from one another than from the mean, as great is more removed from small and small from great than either from the average. b. He states the second reason. — 364 ἔτι πρὸς μὲν τὸ μέσον ἐνίοις ἄκροις ὁμοιότης τις φαίνεται, ὡς τῇ θρασύτητι πρὸς τὴν ἀνδρείαν καὶ τῇ ἀσωτίᾳ πρὸς τὴν ἐλευθεριότητα· τοῖς δὲ ἄκροις πρὸς ἄλληλα πλείστη ἀνομοιότης· τὰ δὲ πλεῖστον ἀπέχοντα ἀπ' ἀλλήλων ἐναντία ὁρίζονται, ὥστε καὶ μᾶλλον ἐναντία τὰ πλεῖον ἀπέχοντα. Moreover there seems to be a similarity between some extremes and the mean, for example, between rashness and fortitude, between extravagance and generosity. But between the extremes themselves a complete dissimilarity exists. Now the things that are farthest removed from one another are said to be contraries. Therefore the things most removed from one another are more contrary. 3. HE SHOWS HOW ONE OF THE EXTREMES IS MORE OPPOSED TO VIRTUE THAN THE OTHER. a. He states his proposal. — 365 πρὸς δὲ τὸ μέσον ἀντίκειται μᾶλλον ἐφ' ὧν μὲν ἡ ἔλλειψις ἐφ' ὧν δὲ ἡ ὑπερβολή, οἷον ἀνδρείᾳ μὲν οὐχ ἡ θρασύτης ὑπερβολὴ οὖσα, ἀλλ' ἡ δειλία ἔλλειψις οὖσα, τῇ δὲ σωφροσύνῃ οὐχ ἡ ἀναισθησία ἔνδεια οὖσα, ἀλλ' ἡ ἀκολασία ὑπερβολὴ οὖσα. In some cases it is the defect that is more opposed to the mean but in other cases it is the excess. Thus it is not rashness but cowardice, the defect, that is more opposed to fortitude. On the contrary, however, it is not insensibility (the defect) but self-indulgence (the excess) that is more opposed to temperance. b. He assigns the reasons. i. One is taken from the thing itself. — 366-367 διὰ δύο δ' αἰτίας τοῦτο συμβαίνει, μίαν μὲν τὴν ἐξ αὐτοῦ τοῦ πράγματος· τῷ γὰρ ἐγγύτερον εἶναι καὶ ὁμοιότερον τὸ ἕτερον ἄκρον τῷ μέσῳ, οὐ τοῦτο ἀλλὰ τοὐναντίον ἀντιτίθεμεν μᾶλλον· οἷον ἐπεὶ ὁμοιότερον εἶναι δοκεῖ τῇ ἀνδρείᾳ ἡ θρασύτης καὶ ἐγγύτερον, ἀνομοιότερον δ' ἡ δειλία, ταύτην μᾶλλον ἀντιτίθεμεν· τὰ γὰρ ἀπέχοντα πλεῖον τοῦ μέσου ἐναντιώτερα δοκεῖ εἶναι. μία μὲν οὖν αἰτία αὕτη, ἐξ αὐτοῦ τοῦ πράγματος· This happens for two reasons, one of which is drawn from the very thing itself. It is not the extreme that is nearer and more like the mean but its contrary that is more opposed to the mean. Thus, since rashness seems nearer and more like fortitude, it is cowardice having less likeness that is more opposed to fortitude. Things that are more removed from the mean seem to be more opposed to it. This first reason then comes from the thing itself. ii. He assigns another reason. — 368 ἑτέρα δὲ ἐξ ἡμῶν αὐτῶν· πρὸς ἃ γὰρ αὐτοὶ μᾶλλον πεφύκαμέν πως, ταῦτα μᾶλλον ἐναντία τῷ μέσῳ φαίνεται. οἷον αὐτοὶ μᾶλλον πεφύκαμεν πρὸς τὰς ἡδονάς, διὸ εὐκαταφορώτεροί ἐσμεν πρὸς ἀκολασίαν ἢ πρὸς κοσμιότητα. ταῦτ' οὖν μᾶλλον ἐναντία λέγομεν, πρὸς ἃ ἡ ἐπίδοσις μᾶλλον γίνεται· καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἡ ἀκολασία ὑπερβολὴ οὖσα ἐναντιωτέρα ἐστὶ τῇ σωφροσύνῃ. But the other reason arises on our part. Those vices which are somewhat innate in us seem in a way to be more opposed to the mean. For example, we more naturally follow pleasure and so we are more easily moved to self-indulgence than to temperance. Therefore, we say that the vices that more readily increase are more opposed to virtue. For this reason self-indulgence (which is an excess) is more opposed to temperance.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS Tribus autem dispositionibus existentibus et cetera. Postquam philosophus ostendit in communi quid est virtus et diffinitionem communem applicavit ad speciales virtutes, hic determinat de oppositione virtutum et vitiorum. Et circa hoc tria facit. Primo ostendit in his esse duplicem contrarietatem: unam quidem vitiorum adinvicem, aliam autem vitiorum ad virtutem. Secundo ostendit quod maior est contrarietas vitiorum ad invicem quam ad virtutem, ibi: sic autem oppositis adinvicem et cetera. Tertio ostendit quomodo unum vitiorum magis opponitur virtuti quam reliquum, ibi, ad medium autem et cetera. Circa primum tria facit. Primo proponit quod intendit. Secundo probat propositum, ibi quemadmodum enim aequale et cetera. Tertio infert quoddam corollarium ex dictis, ibi: propter quod et proiciunt et cetera. Dicit ergo primo quod, cum sint tres dispositiones quarum duae sunt vitiosae, una scilicet secundum superabundantiam, alia vero secundum defectum; una vero est secundum virtutem, quae est in medio; quaelibet harum aliqualiter opponitur cuilibet; quia extremae dispositiones et adinvicem sunt contrariae, et etiam eis contrariatur media dispositio. 358. After the Philosopher has shown in general what virtue is, and has applied the definition to particular virtues, he treats the opposition f virtues and vices. Regarding this question he does three things. First  he shows that there is a twofold opposition among these habits: one, of the vices among themselves, the other, of the vices to the virtue. Then  he shows that the opposition among the vices themselves is the greater, at “These things are mutually opposed etc.” Last  he shows how one of the extremes is more opposed to virtue than the other, at “In some cases etc.” On the first point he does three things. First [1, a] he states his proposal. Second [1, b] he proves the proposition, at “As the average etc.” Third [1, c] he deduces a corollary from what has been said, at “For this reason the extremes tend to throw etc.” He says first that there are three dispositions of which two are vices: one by excess and the other by defect. The third is according to virtue which consists in a mean. Everyone of these is opposed in some way to every other one, because not only are the extremes opposed to one another but also the mean to the extremes. Deinde cum dicit quemadmodum enim aequale etc., probat quod dixerat. Non fuit autem necesse probare, quod duo vitia, quae se habent secundum superabundantiam et defectum, sint contraria, eo quod maxime distant; sed hoc videbatur esse dubium quod dictum est virtutem contrariari vitiis: quia cum virtus sit in medio vitiorum, non distat maxime ab utroque eorum, cum tamen contrarietas sit maxima distantia, ut dicitur in X metaphysicae, et ideo hoc specialiter hic philosophus ostendit, quod virtus contrarietur utrique vitiorum. 359. Then [1, b], at “As the average” he proves what he had said. It was unnecessary to prove that two vices, which are compared to one another as excess and defect, are opposed since they are far removed from one another. But it will seem doubtful that virtue is opposed to vices, as was just said (358). Since virtue holds a middle place between the vices, virtue is not very far removed from either of them, while opposition is farthest apart, as stated in the tenth book of the Metaphysics (Ch. 4, 1055, a 4-32; St. Th. Lect. 5, 2023-2035). Therefore, the Philosopher here makes a special point that virtue is opposed to both extremes. Circa quod considerandum est, quod cum medium participet aliqualiter utrumque extremum, inquantum participat unum eorum contrariatur alteri, sicut aequale quod est medium inter magnum et parvum, est quidem in comparatione ad magnum parvum, et in comparatione ad parvum est magnum. Et ideo aequale et magno opponitur secundum rationem parvi, et parvo secundum rationem magni. Et propter hoc est motus a contrario in medium, sicut et in contrarium, ut dicitur in quinto physicorum. 360. On this subject we must consider that the mean partakes to some extent of both extremes. Precisely as it partakes of one of them it is contrary to the other, as the average—a mean between the great and small—is small compared to the great and great compared to the small. Therefore, the average is opposed both to the great by reason of the small and to the small by reason of the great. Because of this there is a motion of the contrary against the mean as against a contrary, as is explained in the fifth book of the Physics (Ch. 1, 224 b 30-35; St. Th. Lect. 1, 476). Sic igitur medii habitus, constituti tam in passionibus quam in operationibus, se habent ut superabundantes ad eum qui est in defectu et se habent ut deficientes ad eum qui superabundat. Sicut fortis in comparatione ad timidum est audax, in comparatione autem ad audacem est timidus. Et similiter temperatus in comparatione ad insensibilem est intemperatus, in comparatione ad intemperatum est insensibilis. Ita etiam est et de liberali, qui est prodigus in comparatione ad illiberalem, illiberalis autem in comparatione ad prodigum. Et sic patet, quod virtus contrariatur utrique extremorum. 361. Therefore, the habits of the mean both in regard to passions and actions appear excessive to one who is in defect and deficient to one who is in excess. Thus a brave man compared to a coward is reckless, but compared to a reckless man, a brave man is a coward. Likewise a moderate man compared to an insensible man is self-indulgent, but compared to the self-indulgent the moderate man is insensible. The same may be said of the generous man who is a spendthrift in comparison with the miser, but a miser in comparison with the spendthrift. It is evident then that virtue is opposed to the extremes. Deinde cum dicit propter quod et proiciunt etc., infert quoddam corollarium ex dictis. Quia enim habitus medius se habet in comparatione ad unum extremum secundum rationem alterius, inde est quod extremi proiiciunt medium alter ad alterum: idest uterque in extremitate existens aestimat medium, quasi alterum extremum sibi oppositum. Sicut timidus fortem vocat audacem, et audax vocat eum timidum. Quod etiam signum est eius quod dictum est; scilicet quod virtus contrarietur utrique extremorum. 362. Then [1, c], at “For this reason,” he deduces a corollary from what was said. Because the mean habit is constituted by comparison of one extreme with the nature of the other, the extremes tend to throw the mean toward one another. In other words, both extremes consider the mean as it were an extreme opposed to them. Thus the coward calls the brave man reckless and the reckless man calls him a coward. This is an indication of what we just stated (359, 361), that virtue is opposed to both extremes. Deinde cum dicit: sic autem oppositis etc., ostendit quod maior est contrarietas vitiorum adinvicem, quam ad virtutem: et hoc duabus rationibus. Quarum prima est quia, quanto magis aliqua a se distant, tanto magis sunt contraria, quia contrarietas est quaedam distantia. Magis autem distant extrema ab invicem quam a medio: sicut magnum et parvum magis distant abinvicem quam ab aequali, quod est medium inter ea. Ergo vitia magis opponuntur adinvicem, quam ad virtutem. Est autem hic considerandum quod loquitur hic de oppositione virtutis ad vitia, non secundum rationem boni et mali, quia secundum hoc ambo vitia continerentur sub uno extremo; sed loquitur prout virtus secundum propriam speciem est in medio duorum vitiorum. 363. Then , at “These things are mutually opposed,” he shows there is greater opposition of the vices among themselves than to virtue for two reasons. The first reason [2, a] is that the more removed things are from one another, the mom opposed they are because opposition is a kind of distance. But the extremes are more removed from one another than from the mean, as great and small are more removed from one another than from the average, which is a mean between them, Therefore, vices are more opposed to one another than to virtue. We must consider that Aristotle speaks here about the opposition of virtue to vices, not according to good and evil—in this way both vices come under one extreme—but according as virtue by reason of its own species is a mean between two vices. Secundam rationem ponit ibi adhuc ad medium quidem et cetera. Quae talis est. Virtutis ad unum extremorum est aliqua similitudo: sicut inter fortitudinem et audaciam, et inter prodigalitatem et liberalitatem. Sed inter duo vitia extrema, est omnimoda dissimilitudo; ergo maxime contrariantur ad invicem, quia contrarietas est. 364. He states the second reason [2, b] at “Moreover there seems.” It is this. There is some similarity between virtue and one extreme, for instance, between fortitude and rashness, between generosity and prodigality. But there is complete dissimilarity between the two extremes or vices. Therefore, they are opposed to one another in the greatest degree because their opposition denotes the greatest distance, as was indicated (359). Deinde cum dicit: ad medium autem etc., ostendit quod virtuti unum extremorum magis contrariatur quam aliud. Et circa hoc duo facit. Primo proponit quod intendit. Secundo rationem assignat, ibi: propter duas autem causas et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod in quibusdam magis contrariatur medio virtutis vitium quod est in defectu, in quibusdam autem magis vitium quod est in excessu. Sicut fortitudini non maxime contrariatur audacia, quae pertinet ad superabundantiam, sed timiditas quae pertinet ad defectum. E contrario autem temperantiae non maxime contrariatur insensibilitas ad quam pertinet indigentia et defectus, sed intemperantia ad quam pertinet superabundantia. 365. Then , at “In some cases,” he shows that one extreme is more opposed to virtue than the other. On this point he does two things. First [3, a] he states his proposal. Second [3, b] he assigns the reasons at “This happens for two reasons.” He says first that in some cases it is the defect that is more opposed to the mean of the virtue, but in other cases it is the excess. Thus not rashness, which certainly pertains to the excess, but cowardice, which pertains to the defect, is most opposed to fortitude. On the contrary, however, it is not insensibility (to which lack and defect belong) but self-indulgence (to which excess pertains) that is most opposed to temperance. Deinde cum dicit propter duas autem causas etc., assignat duas rationes eius quod dixerat. Quarum una sumitur ex parte ipsius rei, idest ex ipsa natura virtutum et vitiorum. Dictum est enim supra quod est quaedam similitudo alterius extremi ad medium virtutis. Et ex hoc ipso quod unum extremorum est propinquius et similius medio virtutis quam aliud, sequitur quod non ipsum, quod est similius, sit magis contrarium virtuti, sed illud quod ei opponitur. Sicut si audacia est similior fortitudini et proximior, sequitur quod timiditas sit dissimilior, et per consequens magis contraria, quia illa quae sunt magis distantia a medio videntur ei esse magis contraria. Horum autem rationem oportet accipere ab ipsa natura passionum. 366. Then [3, b], at “This happens for two reasons,” he assigns two reasons for what he said. One [b, i] is taken from the thing itself, that is, from the very nature of the virtues and vices. It was just stated (364) that one extreme has a similarity to the mean of virtue. From the very fact that one extreme is nearer and more like the mean of virtue than the other, it follows that not the one more similar to the mean but the one contrary to it is more opposed to the virtue. Thus if rashness is nearer and more like fortitude, it follows that cowardice is more unlike and consequently more opposed to fortitude. The reason is that the habits more removed from the mean seem to be more opposed to it. But the explanation of these things must be taken from the nature of the passions. Contingit enim hoc quod hic dicitur in virtutibus moralibus quae sunt circa passiones, ad quas pertinet conservare bonum rationis contra motus passionum. Passio autem dupliciter corrumpere potest bonum rationis. Uno modo vehementia sui motus, impellendo ad plus faciendum quod ratio dictat, quod praecipue contingit in concupiscentiis delectationum et aliis passionibus quae pertinent ad prosecutionem appetitus. Unde virtus, quae est circa huiusmodi passiones, maxime intendit passiones tales reprimere. Et propter hoc, vitium quod est in defectu magis ei assimilatur; et quod est in superabundantia magis ei contrariatur, sicut patet de temperantia. Quaedam vero passiones corrumpunt bonum rationis retrahendo in minus ab eo quod est secundum rationem, sicut patet de timore et de aliis passionibus ad fugam pertinentibus. Unde virtus, quae est circa huiusmodi passiones, maxime intendit firmare animum in bono rationis contra defectum. Et propter hoc, vitium, quod est in defectu magis ei contrariatur, sicut patet circa fortitudinem. 367. What Aristotle says here touches on the moral virtues concerned with the passions. To these virtues it belongs to preserve the good of reason against the movement of the passions. Now passion can destroy the good of reason in two ways. First, its vehemence can incite to greater activity than reason prescribes, especially in the desire of pleasure and in the other passions pertaining to the following of the appetite. Hence the virtue, which touches the passions of this kind, aims principally at restraining these passions. For this reason the vice referring to the defect is more like the virtue, and the vice referring to the excess is more opposed to it, as is evident in temperance. But other passions destroy the good by withdrawing to something less than what is according to reason, as is evident in the case of fear and other passions having to do with flight. Hence the virtue concerned with such passions strives as much as possible to strengthen man against defect in the good of reason. On this account the vice of defect is more opposed to the virtue. Aliam autem rationem assignat ex parte nostra. Cum enim ad virtutem pertineat repellere vitia, intentio virtutis est ad illa vitia potius repellenda ad quae maiorem etiam inclinationem habemus. Et ideo illa vitia ad quae sumus qualitercumque magis nati, ipsa sunt magis contraria virtuti. Sicut magis sumus nati ad prosequendum delectationes quam ad fugiendum eas, propter hoc facillime movemur ad intemperantiam, quae importat excessum delectationum. Sic igitur illa vitia magis dicimus esse contraria virtuti, quae magis nata sunt crescere in nobis, propter hoc quod naturaliter inclinamur ad ipsa. Et ideo intemperantia, ad quam pertinet superabundantia delectationum, magis est contraria temperantiae quam insensibilitas, ut dictum est. 368. Then [b, ii], at “But the other,” he assigns another reason on our part. Since virtue ought to restrain vices, the aim of virtue is to curb more effectively those vices to which we have a stronger inclination. For this reason those vices, which are in any way somewhat innate in us, are more opposed to virtue. As from birth we more readily follow pleasures than flee from them, we are very early moved to self-indulgence which implies an excess of pleasure. Therefore, we say that those vices, which rather naturally tend to increase in us because we are by nature inclined to them, are more opposed to virtue. For this reason self-indulgence, to which excess of pleasure pertains, is more opposed to temperance than insensibility is, as has been observed (365).
The Ways of Becoming Virtuous
Chapter 9 1. FIRST HE SHOWS THAT IT IS DIFFICULT FOR MAN TO BECOME VIRTUOUS. a. He reviews what has been said. — 369 ὅτι μὲν οὖν ἐστὶν ἡ ἀρετὴ ἡ ἠθικὴ μεσότης, καὶ πῶς, καὶ ὅτι μεσότης δύο κακιῶν, τῆς μὲν καθ' ὑπερβολὴν τῆς δὲ κατ' ἔλλειψιν, καὶ ὅτι τοιαύτη ἐστὶ διὰ τὸ στοχαστικὴ τοῦ μέσου εἶναι τοῦ ἐν τοῖς πάθεσι καὶ ἐν ταῖς πράξεσιν, ἱκανῶς εἴρηται. A sufficient explanation has been given to show that moral virtue is a mean, how it is a mean, that it is a mean between two vices—one by excess and the other by defect—and that it aims at the mean both in the passions and operations. b. He concludes from the premises. — 370 διὸ καὶ ἔργον ἐστὶ σπουδαῖον εἶναι. ἐν ἑκάστῳ γὰρ τὸ μέσον λαβεῖν ἔργον, οἷον κύκλου τὸ μέσον οὐ παντὸς ἀλλὰ τοῦ εἰδότος· οὕτω δὲ καὶ τὸ μὲν ὀργισθῆναι παντὸς καὶ ῥᾴδιον, καὶ τὸ δοῦναι ἀργύριον καὶ δαπανῆσαι· τὸ δ' ᾧ καὶ ὅσον καὶ ὅτε καὶ οὗ ἕνεκα καὶ ὥς, οὐκέτι παντὸς οὐδὲ ῥᾴδιον· διόπερ τὸ εὖ καὶ σπάνιον καὶ ἐπαινετὸν καὶ καλόν. It is not easy to be virtuous because in every case it is difficult to discover the mean. Thus, not every one can locate the center of a circle—it takes a person who knows. Likewise it is easy for anyone to become angry, or to hand out money and waste it. But not everyone (for it is not easy) can give to the right person, the right amount, at the right time, for the right purpose, in the right manner. All this pertains to virtuous giving, which is rare, praiseworthy, and good. 2. HE SHOWS HOW MAN MAY ATTAIN THIS. a. He shows how a person can discover the mean... he gives three admonitions. i. One of these is taken from the nature of the thing. — 371-373 διὸ δεῖ τὸν στοχαζόμενον τοῦ μέσου πρῶτον μὲν ἀποχωρεῖν τοῦ μᾶλλον ἐναντίου, καθάπερ καὶ ἡ Καλυψὼ παραινεῖ
- τούτου μὲν καπνοῦ καὶ κύματος ἐκτὸς ἔεργε
τῶν γὰρ ἄκρων τὸ μέν ἐστιν ἁμαρτωλότερον τὸ δ' ἧττον· ἐπεὶ οὖν τοῦ μέσου τυχεῖν ἄκρως χαλεπόν, κατὰ τὸν δεύτερον, φασί, πλοῦν τὰ ἐλάχιστα ληπτέον τῶν κακῶν· τοῦτο δ' ἔσται μάλιστα τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον ὃν λέγομεν.
For this reason he who aims at the mean must first avoid the extreme which is more opposed to the mean. (Circe used to give this warning: keep your ship beyond spray and rolling billow. [ Odyssey xii, 219]) One of the extremes indeed is a greater sin and the other a lesser sin. Therefore, since it is exceedingly difficult to reach the mean, we must choose the lesser of the evils, as they say in navigation. This will be done best in the way we are going to point out. ii. He gives the second admonition. — 374-376 σκοπεῖν δὲ δεῖ πρὸς ἃ καὶ αὐτοὶ εὐκατάφοροί ἐσμεν· ἄλλοι γὰρ πρὸς ἄλλα πεφύκαμεν· τοῦτο δ' ἔσται γνώριμον ἐκ τῆς ἡδονῆς καὶ τῆς λύπης τῆς γινομένης περὶ ἡμᾶς. εἰς τοὐναντίον δ' ἑαυτοὺς ἀφέλκειν δεῖ· πολὺ γὰρ ἀπάγοντες τοῦ ἁμαρτάνειν εἰς τὸ μέσον ἥξομεν, ὅπερ οἱ τὰ διεστραμμένα τῶν ξύλων ὀρθοῦντες ποιοῦσιν. We must take into account the things to which we are easily inclined. Some of us are more prone by nature to one thing than another. Our natural inclination will be made known from the pleasure or sorrow we experience. We must then draw ourselves to the opposite, for by leading ourselves far away from sin we shall arrive at the mean. A similar thing is done by nurserymen who straighten crooked saplings. iii. He lays down the third admonition. — 377-378 ἐν παντὶ δὲ μάλιστα φυλακτέον τὸ ἡδὺ καὶ τὴν ἡδονήν· οὐ γὰρ ἀδέκαστοι κρίνομεν αὐτήν. ὅπερ οὖν οἱ δημογέροντες ἔπαθον πρὸς τὴν Ἑλένην, τοῦτο δεῖ παθεῖν καὶ ἡμᾶς πρὸς τὴν ἡδονήν, καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τὴν ἐκείνων ἐπιλέγειν φωνήν· οὕτω γὰρ αὐτὴν ἀποπεμπόμενοι ἧττον ἁμαρτησόμεθα. ταῦτ' οὖν ποιοῦντες, ὡς ἐν κεφαλαίῳ εἰπεῖν, μάλιστα δυνησόμεθα τοῦ μέσου τυγχάνειν. Everyone ought to be on guard especially against the pleasurable thing and pleasure, for we cannot judge them without being unduly influenced by them. What the elders of the people felt toward Helen, we ought to feel toward pleasure, and in all that concerns pleasure repeat their words [ Iliad iii, 156-160]. Rejecting pleasure in this way we will fall into sin less frequently. Those who do as we have suggested under this heading will be quite able to acquire the mean. b. He treats the discovery of the mean. i. He indicates the difficulty of this. — 379 χαλεπὸν δ' ἴσως τοῦτο, καὶ μάλιστ' ἐν τοῖς καθ' ἕκαστον· οὐ γὰρ ῥᾴδιον διορίσαι καὶ πῶς καὶ τίσι καὶ ἐπὶ ποίοις καὶ πόσον χρόνον ὀργιστέον· καὶ γὰρ ἡμεῖς ὁτὲ μὲν τοὺς ἐλλείποντας ἐπαινοῦμεν καὶ πράους φαμέν, ὁτὲ δὲ τοὺς χαλεπαίνοντας ἀνδρώδεις ἀποκαλοῦντες. This is perhaps difficult in individual cases. It is not easy to determine in what manner we should be angry, in regard to what persons we should be angry, in what type of things we should be angry, and for how long a time we should be angry. Sometimes we praise those who are deficient in becoming angry and call them mild; sometimes we praise the irascible and call them manly. ii. He shows what suffices to determine the mean. — 380 ἀλλ' ὁ μὲν μικρὸν τοῦ εὖ παρεκβαίνων οὐ ψέγεται, οὔτ' ἐπὶ τὸ μᾶλλον οὔτ' ἐπὶ τὸ ἧττον, ὁ δὲ πλέον· οὗτος γὰρ οὐ λανθάνει. One who deviates a little from what is virtuous is not censured whether it be in excess or defect. But one who deviates much is blameworthy, for his deviation is not hidden. iii. He answers a latent question. — 381 ὁ δὲ μέχρι τίνος καὶ ἐπὶ πόσον ψεκτὸς οὐ ῥᾴδιον τῷ λόγῳ ἀφορίσαι· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἄλλο οὐδὲν τῶν αἰσθητῶν· τὰ δὲ τοιαῦτα ἐν τοῖς καθ' ἕκαστα, καὶ ἐν τῇ αἰσθήσει ἡ κρίσις. τὸ μὲν ἄρα τοσοῦτο δηλοῖ ὅτι ἡ μέση ἕξις ἐν πᾶσιν ἐπαινετή, ἀποκλίνειν δὲ δεῖ ὁτὲ μὲν ἐπὶ τὴν ὑπερβολὴν ὁτὲ δ' ἐπὶ τὴν ἔλλειψιν· οὕτω γὰρ ῥᾷστα τοῦ μέσου καὶ τοῦ εὖ τευξόμεθα. It cannot easily be determined, in so many words, at what point and how much a person is censurable. Neither is any other thing perceived by the senses determined in this way, for these are particular things and judgment of them is in the sensitive part of the soul. This much, then, shows that the mean habit is praiseworthy in all instances. However, sometimes we must incline towards excess and sometimes towards defect. Thus we shall easily reach the mean and what is virtuous.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS Quoniam quidem igitur et cetera. Postquam philosophus determinavit de virtute quid sit, hic ostendit quomodo aliquis possit virtutem acquirere: quia, sicut supra dictum est, finis huius doctrinae non est cognitio veritatis, sed ut boni efficiamur. Circa hoc autem duo facit. Primo ostendit quod difficile est hominem fieri virtuosum. Secundo ostendit qualiter ad hoc possit perveniri, ibi, propter quod oportet coniectantem medium et cetera. Circa primum duo facit. Primo resumit ea quae dicta sunt. Et dicit quod sufficienter supra dictum est quod virtus moralis est medietas et qualiter sit medietas, quia scilicet non secundum rem, sed quoad nos: et quorum sit medietas: quia scilicet est medietas duarum malitiarum, quarum una se habet secundum superabundantiam, alia vero secundum defectum. Dictum est etiam quare virtus sit medietas; quia scilicet est coniectatrix medii, inquirendo scilicet et eligendo medium tam in passionibus quam in actionibus. 369. After the Philosopher has treated the nature of virtue, he shows here how a person can acquire virtue. He does this because, as was indicated before (351), the purpose of this teaching is not that men may know the truth but that they may become good. On this point he does two things. First [1 ] he shows that it is difficult for man to become virtuous. Second  he shows how man may attain this, at “For this reason he who aims etc.” The first notion calls for a twofold procedure. First [i, a] he reviews what has been said. It has been sufficiently explained before (310, 316), he states, that moral virtue is a mean, how it is a mean (not objectively but relative to us), and between what things it is the mean, i.e., between two vices— one by excess, the other by defect. It has also been explained (317-318) why virtue is a middle course, namely because it aims at the mean; virtue searches out and chooses the mean both in the passions and actions. Secundo ibi: ideo et difficile est etc., concludit ex praeostensis, quod difficile est esse studiosum, idest virtuosum. Quia in omnibus hoc videmus quod accipere medium est difficile, declinare autem a medio est facile, sicut accipere medium in circulo non est cuiuslibet, sed scientis, scilicet geometrae, declinare autem a centro quilibet potest; ita etiam irasci qualitercumque quilibet potest et de facili, et similiter dare pecuniam et consumere eam, sed quod aliquis det cui oportet dare et quantum oportet et quando oportet et cuius gratia oportet et qualiter oportet, per quod intelligitur bene dare, non est cuiuslibet, nec est facile, sed propter suam difficultatem est rarum et est laudabile et virtuosum, inquantum est secundum rationem. 370. Second [1, b], at “It is not easy,” he concludes from the premises that it is difficult to be good or virtuous because we see that in every case it is difficult to discover the mean but easy to deviate from the mean. Thus, not everyone—only an informed person who is a geometrician—can find the center of a circle. On the other hand, anyone can easily deviate from the center. Likewise, anyone can hand out money and waste it. But not everyone (for it is not easy) can give to the right person, the right amount, at the right time, for the right purpose, in the right manner-all of which belongs to virtuous giving. Indeed, because of the difficulty it is a rare and difficult thing, but praiseworthy and virtuous precisely as conforming to reason. Deinde cum dicit propter quod oportet etc., ostendit modos quibus aliquis potest pertingere ad hoc quod fiat virtuosus. Et circa hoc duo facit: primo docet qualiter aliquis possit ad medium inventum pervenire. Secundo agit de ipsa inventione medii, ibi, difficile autem forsitan et cetera. Circa primum ponit tria documenta. Quorum primum sumitur ex ipsa natura rei. Et dicit quod, quia fieri virtuosum et accipere medium est difficile. Propter hoc oportet eum qui coniectat medium, qui scilicet intendit ad medium pervenire, principaliter ad hoc intendere, ut recedat ab extremo quod magis contrariatur virtuti. Sicut si aliquis vult pervenire ad medium fortitudinis, debet principale studium adhibere ad hoc quod recedat a timiditate, quae magis opponitur fortitudini, quam audacia, ut dictum est. 371. Then , at “For this reason,” he shows the ways in which a person may become virtuous. On this point he does two things. First [2, a] he shows how a person can discover the mean. Second (2, b] he treats the discovery of the mean at “This is perhaps difficult etc.” In regard to the first he gives three admonitions. One of these [a, i]. is taken from the nature of the thing. He states that it is difficult to become virtuous and to discover the mean. Therefore, one who aims at the mean (i.e., he who intends to attain the mean) must strive principally to avoid the extreme more opposed to the virtue. Thus if someone wishes to arrive at the mean of fortitude he ought to direct his principal efforts to avoiding cowardice, which is more opposed to fortitude than rashness is, as has been explained (365). Et ponit exemplum cuiusdam nautae vel poetae qui admonebat navigantes ut principaliter caverent maxima maris pericula quae sunt undae subvertentes navem et fumositates nebularum impedientes aspectum nautarum. Et hoc est quod dicit: extra fumum et undam custodi navem, quasi dicat: ita navem custodias ut sic praetereas fumositates et undas. 372. He gives an example of a certain Circe who used to warn sailors to beware chiefly of the greatest dangers from the sea, which are waves sinking the ship and mist obscuring the vision of the sailors. This was the warning: “Clear of the smoke take care and clear of the rollers to keep her,” as if to say: so guard your ship that you may escape spray and waves. Et rationem praedicti documenti assignat dicens quod unum extremorum vitiorum, illud scilicet quod est magis contrarium virtuti, est maius peccatum; illud autem extremum quod est virtuti similius est minus peccatum. Et ideo, quia valde difficile est contingere medium virtutis, ideo debet homo niti ut saltem maiora pericula vitet, quae scilicet sunt magis virtuti contraria, sicut navigantes dicunt quod post primam navigationem in qua homo nihil periculi sustinet, secunda navigatio est, ut homo sumat minima periculorum. Et simile accidit circa vitam humanam eo modo quo dictum est, ut scilicet homo principaliter vitet vitia quae maxime contrariantur virtuti. 373. He gives the reason for this admonition, saying that one of the extremes—that which is more opposed to the virtue—is a greater sin; but that the extreme, which is less opposed to the virtue, is a lesser sin. Therefore, since it is exceedingly difficult to reach the mean of virtue, a man ought to try to avoid at least the greater dangers that are more opposed to virtue. Thus sailors say that after the best voyage on which a man is exposed to no dangers, the next best is to choose the least of the dangers. A similar thing happens to a man’s life in the way that was explained (371), that he may chiefly avoid the vices that are opposed to virtue. Secundum documentum ponit ibi tendere autem oportet et cetera. Et sumitur ex parte nostra; quantum scilicet ad ea quae sunt propria unicuique. Et dicit quod oportet eum qui vult fieri virtuosus attendere quid sit illud ad quod magis appetitus eius natus est moveri: diversi enim ad diversa naturaliter magis inclinantur. Ad quid autem naturaliter unusquisque inclinetur, cognoscere potest ex delectatione et tristitia quae circa ipsum fit; quia unicuique est delectabile id quod est sibi conveniens secundum naturam. 374. He gives the second admonition [a, ii] at “We must take into account.” It is understood on our part, as far as concerns the things proper to each of us. One who wishes to be virtuous, he says, must take into account that to which his appetite is naturally inclined. Different people are by nature more inclined to one thing than another. Each one can know what he is naturally inclined to from the pleasure and sorrow he experiences, because what is agreeable to each according to his nature is pleasurable. Unde si aliquis in aliqua actione vel passione multum delectetur, signum est quod naturaliter inclinetur in illud. Homines autem vehementer tendunt ad ea ad quae naturaliter inclinantur. Et ideo de facili circa hoc homo transcendit medium. Et propter hoc oportet quod in contrarium nos attrahamus quantum possumus. Quia quando damus studium ad hoc quod multum recedamus a peccato, ad quod proni sumus, sic tandem vix perveniemus ad medium. Et ponit similitudinem de illis qui dirigunt ligna distorta; qui dum volunt ea dirigere, torquent in aliam partem et sic tandem reducuntur ad medium. 375. Hence, if someone takes pleasure in a particular action or passion, this is a sign that he is naturally inclined to it. But men vehemently tend to the things to which they are naturally inclined, and so, easily exceed the n in this matter. We, therefore, must draw ourselves as, much as possible to the opposite. The reason is that when we make an effort to recede from sin, to which we are prone, we will finally with difficulty arrive at the mean. He makes a comparison with nurserymen who straighten crooked saplings. These men wishing to make trees straight force them the opposite way and so bring them to the mean, an upright position. Et est considerandum quod haec via acquirendi virtutes est efficacissima; ut, scilicet homo nitatur ad contrarium eius ad quod inclinatur vel ex natura vel ex consuetudine; via tamen quam Stoici posuerunt, est facilior, ut scilicet homo paulatim recedat ab his in quae inclinatur, ut Tullius narrat in libro de Tusculanis quaestionibus. Via etiam quam hic Aristoteles ponit, competit his qui vehementer desiderant recedere a vitiis et ad virtutem pervenire. Sed via Stoicorum magis competit his qui habent debilem et tepidam voluntatem. 376. Here we must consider that this way of acquiring virtues is most effective: that a man should strive for the opposite of that to which he is inclined either by nature or habit. However, the way advocated by the Stoics is easier: that a man little by little withdraw from those things to which he is inclined, as Cicero relates in his work Questiones Tusculanae (Bk. IV, C. 31-35, n. 65-76). The way that Aristotle lays down is suitable for those who strongly desire to withdraw from vice and to attain virtue. But the way of the Stoics is more appropriate to those who have weak and halfhearted wills. Tertium modum ponit ibi in omni autem maxime et cetera. Et hoc etiam documentum sumitur ex parte nostra, non quidem secundum id quod est proprium unicuique, ut dictum est de secundo documento; sed secundum id quod est commune omnibus. Omnes enim naturaliter inclinantur ad delectationes. Et ideo dicit quod universaliter maxime debent tendentes in virtutem cavere sibi a delectabilibus et delectationibus. Propter hoc enim quod homo maxime inclinatur in delectationem, delectabilia apprehensa de facili movent appetitum. Et ideo dicit quod non de facili possumus diiudicare delectationem, immorando scilicet circa considerationem eius, quin appetitus accipiat eam, prosiliendo scilicet in concupiscentiam eius. Et ideo illud quod seniores plebis Troianae patiebantur ad Helenam, iudicantes scilicet eam esse abiciendam, hoc oportet nos pati ad delectationem, et in omnibus respectu delectationis dicere vocem illorum, ut scilicet, abiiciamus a nobis corporales delectationes. Et sic abiicientes delectationem minus peccabimus, quia concupiscentia delectationum ducit homines in plurima peccata. 377. He lays down the third admonition [a, iii] at “Everyone.” This is also understood on our part, not in the sense that it is proper to every individual, as has been said (374-376) of the second admonition, but precisely as it is common to all. All are naturally inclined to pleasure. Therefore, he says that everyone without exception who aims at virtue ought to be on his guard especially against pleasures. Because men are very inclined to pleasure, pleasurable objects apprehended easily move their appetite. Hence, he notes that we cannot easily judge pleasure by dwelling on its consideration without the appetite accepting it and bursting forth in desire for it. What the Trojan elders felt toward Helen when they decided that she must depart, we ought to feel toward pleasure; in all that concerns pleasure we ought to reecho their words in order that we may reject bodily pleasures. Rejecting pleasures in this way, we will fall into sin less frequently since the desire of pleasure leads men to many sins. Concludit ergo quod facientes ea quae in capitulo, id est summarie, dicta sunt, maxime poterunt adipisci medium virtutis. 378. He concludes then that those who do what has been suggested under this heading, i.e., summarily, will be quite able to acquire the mean of virtue. Deinde cum dicit: difficile autem forsitan etc., ostendit qualiter sit determinandum medium virtutis. Et circa hoc tria facit. Primo ostendit huius difficultatem; secundo ostendit quid sufficiat ad medii determinationem, ibi: sed qui quidem parum et cetera. Tertio respondet tacitae quaestioni, ibi, hic autem usquequo et cetera. Dicit ergo primo, quod hoc, scilicet invenire medium, est difficile et maxime considerando singulas circumstantias in singularibus operabilium. Quia non est facile determinare qualiter aliquid sit faciendum et respectu quorum et in qualibus rebus et quantum tempus sit determinandum. Et huius difficultatis signum ostendit; quia illos qui deficiunt, puta in irascendo, quandoque laudamus et dicimus mansuetos. Et quandoque laudamus illos qui magis aggravant puniendo vel resistendo, et vocamus illos viriles. 379. Then [2, b], at “This is perhaps difficult,” he shows how the mean of virtue must be determined. On this point he does three things. First [b, i] he indicates the difficulty of this. Next [b, ii] he shows what suffices to determine the mean, at “One who deviates a little etc.” Last [b, iii] he answers a latent question at “It cannot be determined etc.” He says first that it is difficult to discover the mean especially when we consider the particular circumstances in individual actions. The reason is that it is not easy to determine how a thing is to be done and in regard to what persons, and in what type of things, and how long a time one should be angry. He gives a sign of this difficulty: that those, who are deficient in getting angry for instance, are sometimes praised by us and called mild, while those who are rather irascible in inflicting punishment or making resistance are sometimes praised by us and called manly. Deinde cum dicit: sed qui quidem etc., ostendit quid sufficiat ad medium virtutis. Et dicit, quod ille qui parum transgreditur ab eo quod bene fit secundum medium virtutis non vituperatur, neque si declinet ad maius neque si declinet ad minus, quia modicus recessus a medio virtutis latet propter difficultatem medii. Sed ille qui multum recedit, vituperatur, quia non latet. 380. Then [b, ii], at “One who.” he indicates what suffices for the mean of virtue. He says that one who deviates a little from what is done well according to virtue is not censured, whether he inclines to excess or defect. The reason is that a slight departure from the mean of virtue is hidden on account of the difficulty with the mean. But one who deviates greatly is censured because the deviation is not hidden. Deinde cum dicit: hic autem usque quo etc., respondet cuidam tacitae quaestioni. Posset enim aliquis quaerere, quantus recessus a medio vituperatur et quantus non. Sed ipse respondens dicit quod non potest de facili determinari aliquo sermone usque ad quantum terminum, et quantum aliquis recedens a medio vituperetur. Sicut nec aliquid aliud sensibilium, quae magis sensu discernuntur quam ratione determinari possunt. Huiusmodi autem quae ad operationes virtutum pertinent, in singularibus consistunt. Et propter hoc eorum iudicium consistit in sensu, etsi non in exteriori, saltem in interiori, per quem aliquis bene aestimat de singularibus, ad quem pertinet iudicium prudentiae, ut infra dicetur in VI. Sed hoc tantum hic sufficit, ut ostendatur quod medius habitus in omnibus est laudabilis, sed quandoque oportet declinare ad superabundantiam, quandoque autem ad defectum; vel propter ipsam naturam virtutis, vel propter inclinationem nostram, ut ex supradictis patet. Et per hunc modum facile adipiscemur medium secundum quod aliquid bene fit. Et in hoc terminatur secundus liber. 381. Then [b, iii], at “It cannot easily,” he answers a latent question. Someone could ask how much departure from the mean should be censured and how much should not. He himself answers that it cannot easily be determined, in so many words, at what point and how much a person departing from the mean should be blamed. Likewise no other sensible thing, which is judged rather by sense than reason, can easily be determined. Things of this kind, belonging to the operations of the virtues, are individual cases. For this reason judgment about them exists in the sensitive part of the soul, even if not in the external, at least in the internal sense by which a person judges well about singulars, and to which belongs the judgment of prudence, as will be said in the sixth book (1215, 1249). But this much suffices here to show that the mean habit in all cases is rather praiseworthy. However, sometimes we must incline toward excess and sometimes toward defect either on account of the nature of virtue or on account of our inclination, as is clear from what was explained above (369-378). Thus the mean according to which a thing is done well will be easily discovered. So ends the second book.
Explanation of the Definition in Detail
Chapter 7 I. HE SHOWS THE NECESSITY OF THIS PROCEDURE. — 333-334 δεῖ δὲ τοῦτο μὴ μόνον καθόλου λέγεσθαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς καθ' ἕκαστα ἐφαρμόττειν. ἐν γὰρ τοῖς περὶ τὰς πράξεις λόγοις οἱ μὲν καθόλου κοινότεροί εἰσιν, οἱ δ' ἐπὶ μέρους ἀληθινώτεροι· περὶ γὰρ τὰ καθ' ἕκαστα αἱ πράξεις, δέον δ' ἐπὶ τούτων συμφωνεῖν. ληπτέον οὖν ταῦτα ἐκ τῆς διαγραφῆς. We must speak of virtue not only under its universal aspect but we must apply the doctrine to individual cases. In discussions which treat of actions, universals are not of much utility and particulars are more accurate, for actions are concerned with singulars. It is fitting then that discussions be in harmony with particulars. Therefore our teaching must be based on the explanation of individual virtues. II. HE CARRIES OUT HIS PROPOSAL. A. He shows (by particular cases that the mean is good... but the extreme is evil) first in the virtues. A’ Virtues which pertain to bodily life. 1. FIRST HE SPEAKS OF FORTITUDE. — 335-341 περὶ μὲν οὖν φόβους καὶ θάρρη ἀνδρεία μεσότης· τῶν δ' ὑπερβαλλόντων ὁ μὲν τῇ ἀφοβίᾳ ἀνώνυμος πολλὰ δ' ἐστὶν ἀνώνυμα, ὁ δ' ἐν τῷ θαρρεῖν ὑπερβάλλων θρασύς, ὁ δ' ἐν τῷ μὲν φοβεῖσθαι ὑπερβάλλων τῷ δὲ θαρρεῖν ἐλλείπων δειλός. In actions concerned with fear and daring, the mean is fortitude. Here an excess in fearlessness lacks an applicable name (many things indeed are unnamed). But the man who is extreme in daring is called foolhardy, while the man who fears excessively and lacks daring is a coward. 2. SECOND HE SPEAKS OF TEMPERANCE. — 342 περὶ ἡδονὰς δὲ καὶ λύπασοὐ πάσας, ἧττον δὲ καὶ περὶ τὰς λύπασμεσότης μὲν σωφροσύνη, ὑπερβολὴ δὲ ἀκολασία. ἐλλείποντες δὲ περὶ τὰς ἡδονὰς οὐ πάνυ γίνονται· διόπερ οὐδ' ὀνόματος τετυχήκασιν οὐδ' οἱ τοιοῦτοι, ἔστωσαν δὲ ἀναίσθητοι. With regard to pleasures and pains—but not all of them—the mean is temperance (which is less concerned with pains). Excess in these things is called intemperance, but the defect does not often occur. Hence persons lacking a sense of pleasure are unnamed, although they may be called insensible. B’ (Virtues) which pertain to external goods. 1. HE TREATS THOSE VIRTUES... CONCERNED WITH THE DESIRE OF EXTERNAL GOODS. a. First... he presents the virtues regulating riches. i. First he treats liberality. — 343 περὶ δὲ δόσιν χρημάτων καὶ λῆψιν μεσότης μὲν ἐλευθεριότης, ὑπερβολὴ δὲ καὶ ἔλλειψις ἀσωτία καὶ ἀνελευθερία. ἐναντίως δ' ἐν αὐταῖς ὑπερβάλλουσι καὶ ἐλλείπουσιν· ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἄσωτος ἐν μὲν προέσει ὑπερβάλλει ἐν δὲ λήψει ἐλλείπει, ὁ δ' ἀνελεύθερος ἐν μὲν λήψει ὑπερβάλλει ἐν δὲ προέσει ἐλλείπει. νῦν μὲν οὖν τύπῳ καὶ ἐπὶ κεφαλαίου λέγομεν, ἀρκούμενοι αὐτῷ τούτῳ· ὕστερον δὲ ἀκριβέστερον περὶ αὐτῶν διορισθήσεται. In respect to the giving and receiving of money, the mean is liberality. The excess and defect are found in extravagance and stinginess, which in opposite ways do too much and too little. The spendthrift overdoes the giving and falls short in the acquisition, but the miser on the contrary is excessive in acquiring and deficient in giving. For the present we are content to discuss these matters in outline and as contained under headings, later we shall treat them more in detail. ii. Then (he treats) magnificence. — 344 περὶ δὲ χρήματα καὶ ἄλλαι διαθέσεις εἰσί, μεσότης μὲν μεγαλοπρέπεια ὁ γὰρ μεγαλοπρεπὴς διαφέρει ἐλευθερίου· ὃ μὲν γὰρ περὶ μεγάλα, ὃ δὲ περὶ μικρά, ὑπερβολὴ δὲ ἀπειροκαλία καὶ βαναυσία, ἔλλειψις δὲ μικροπρέπεια· διαφέρουσι δ' αὗται τῶν περὶ τὴν ἐλευθεριότητα, πῇ δὲ διαφέρουσιν, ὕστερον ῥηθήσεται. Having to do with the use of money are other habits, the mean of which is magnificence. The magnificent or princely person, as concerned with bestowing great sums, differs from the liberal person who gives small amounts. Excess in magnificence is called apyrocalia (vulgar display) and banausia, but the defect, meanness. These extremes differ from the extremes opposed to liberality, the manner however of the difference will be treated later.