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[1227b] [1] So from these things also it is clear that goodness and badness have to do with pleasures and pains; for they occur in connection with the objects of purposive choice, and this has to do with good and bad and what appears to be good and bad, and pleasure and pain are by nature things of that kind.

It therefore follows that since moral goodness is itself a middle state and is entirely concerned with pleasures and pains, and badness consists in excess and defect and is concerned with the same things as goodness, moral goodness or virtue is a state of purposively choosing the mean in relation to ourselves in all those pleasant and painful things in regard to which according as a person feels pleasure or pain he is described as having some particular moral quality1(for a person is not said to have a particular moral character merely for being fond of sweets or savories).

These things having been settled, let us say whether goodness makes the purposive choice correct and the End right in the sense of making the agent choose for the sake of the proper End, or whether (as some hold) it makes the rational principle right. But what does this is self-control—for that saves the rational principle from being corrupted; and goodness and self-control are different. But we must speak about this later, since all who do hold that goodness makes the rational principle right think so on the ground that that is the nature of self-control and self-control is a praiseworthy thing. Having raised this preliminary question let us continue. [20] It is possible to have one's aim right but to be entirely wrong in one's means to the end aimed at; and it is possible for the aim to have been wrongly chosen but the means conducing to it to be right; and for neither to be right. But does goodness decide the aim2 or the means to it? Well, our position is that it decides the aim, because this is not a matter of logical inference or rational principle, but in fact this must be assumed as a starting-point. For a doctor does not consider whether his patient ought to be healthy or not, but whether he ought to take walking exercise or not, and the gymnastic trainer does not consider whether his pupil ought to be in good condition or not, but whether he ought to go in for wrestling or not; and similarly no other science either deliberates about its End. For as in the theoretic sciences the assumptions are first principles, so in the productive sciences the End is a starting-point and assumption: since it is required that so-and-so is to be in good health, if that is to be secured it is necessary for such-and-such a thing to be provided—just as in mathematics, if the angles of a triangle are together equal to two right angles, such and such a consequence necessarily follows. Therefore the End is the starting-point of the process of thought, but the conclusion of the process of thought is the starting-point of action. If, then, of all rightness either rational principle or goodness is the cause, if rational principle is not the cause of the rightness of the End, then the End (though not the means to the End) will be right owing to goodness. But the End is the object for which one acts; for every purposive choice is a choice of something and for some object. The End is therefore the object for which the thing chosen is the mean, of which End goodness is the cause3 by its act of choice—though the choice is not of the End but of the means adopted for the sake of the End. Therefore though it belongs to another faculty to hit on the things that must be done for the sake of the End,

1 The connection of pleasure and pain with virtue is here clearer than in Nic. Eth., and forms part of the definition (Stocks).

2 Or, altering the text, 'makes the aim right.'

3 Virtue by choosing the right means to achieve the End causes the End to be realized.

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