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with persons more and less well known to him, and similarly as regards other distinctions, assigning to each class the proper degree of deference, and, other things apart, preferring to join in the pleasures of his companions and being reluctant to give pain; but being guided by the consequences, that is to say, the effects on his and his friends' credit or interest, if these outweigh the pleasure he will give by compliance. Also he will give a small amount of pain at the moment for the sake of a large amount of pleasure in the future. [9]

Such is the middle character, although it has no name. The man who always joins in the pleasures of his companions, if he sets out to be pleasant for no ulterior motive, is Obsequious; if he does so for the sake of getting something by it in the shape of money or money's worth, he is a Flatterer. He that disapproves of everything is, as we said, Surly or Quarrelsome. As the mean has no name, the extremes appear to be opposite to each other.7.

The observance of the mean1 in relation to Boastfulness has to do with almost the same things. It also is without a name; but it will be as well to discuss these unnamed excellences with the rest, since we shall the better understand the nature of the moral character if we examine its qualities one by one; and we shall also confirm our belief that the virtues are modes of observing the mean, if we notice how this holds good in every instance. Now we have treated of behavior in Society with relation to giving pleasure and pain. Let us now discuss truthfulness and falsehood similarly displayed in word and deed, and in one's personal pretensions. [2]

As generally understood then, the boaster is a man who pretends to creditable qualities that he does not possess, or possesses in a lesser degree than he makes out, [3] while conversely the self depreciator disclaims or disparages good qualities that he does possess; [4] midway between them is the straightforward sort of man who is sincere both in behavior and in speech, and admits the truth about his own qualifications without either exaggeration or understatement. [5] Each of these things may be done with or without an ulterior motive; but when a man is acting without ulterior motive, his words, actions, and conduct always represent a his true character.2 [6] Falsehood is in itself base and reprehensible, and truth noble and praiseworthy; and similarly the sincere man who stands between the two extremes is praised, and the insincere of both kinds are blamed, more especially the boaster. Let us discuss each of the two, beginning with the truthful man. [7]

We are speaking not of truthfulness in business relations, nor in matters where honesty and dishonesty are concerned

1 See note on 2.7.12.

2 This oddly contradicts the preceding words.

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