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[1220a] [1] and the reasoning faculty is a principle controlling not reasoning but appetite and passions; therefore he must necessarily possess those parts. And just as a good constitution consists of the separate excellences of the parts of the body, so also the goodness of the spirit, as being an End, is composed of the separate virtues.

And goodness has two forms, moral virtue and intellectual excellence; for we praise not only the just but also the intelligent and the wise. For we assumed1 that what is praiseworthy is either goodness or its work, and these are not activities but possess activities. And since the intellectual excellences involve reason, these forms of goodness belong to the rational part, which as having reason is in command of the spirit; whereas the moral virtues belong to the part that is irrational but by nature capable of following the rational—for in stating a man's moral qualities we do not say that he is wise or clever but that he is gentle or rash.

After this we must first consider Moral Goodness—its essence and the nature of its divisions (for that is the subject now arrived at), and the means by which it is produced. Our method of inquiry then must be that employed by all people in other matters when they have something in hand to start with—we must endeavor by means of statements that are true but not clearly expressed to arrive at a result that is both true and clear. For our present state is as if we knew that health is the best disposition of the body and that Coriscus2 is the darkest man in the market-place; [20] for that is not to know what health is and who Coriscus is, but nevertheless to be in that state is a help towards knowing each of these things.— Then let it first be taken as granted that the best disposition is produced by the best means, and that the best actions in each department of conduct result from the excellences belonging to each department—for example, it is the best exercises and food that produce a good condition of body, and a good condition of body enables men to do the best work; further, that every disposition is both produced and destroyed by the same things applied in a certain manner, for example health by food and exercises and climate; these points are clear from induction. Therefore goodness too is the sort of disposition that is created by the best movements in the spirit and is also the source of the production of the spirit's best actions and emotions; and it is in one way produced and in another way destroyed by the same things, and its employment of the things that cause both its increase and its destruction is directed towards the things towards which it creates the best disposition. And this is indicated by the fact that both goodness and badness have to do with things pleasant and painful; for punishments, which are medicines, and which as is the case with other cures3 operate by means of opposites, operate by means of pleasures and pains.

It is clear, therefore, that Moral Goodness has to do with pleasures and pains. And since moral character is,

1 Cf. Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1218a 37ff., Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1219b 8ff., 15ff.

2 Cf. Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1240b 25 n.

3 e.g. fever, which is caused by heat, is cured by cold (the contrary doctrine to homoeopathy, similia similibus curantur).

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
    • Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, 1.1218a
    • Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, 2.1219b
    • Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, 7.1240b
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