Neither of these two classes of character is to be conceived
as identical with Virtue and Vice, nor yet as different in kind from them.1.
Our proper course with this subject as with others will be to present the various views
about it, and then, after first reviewing the difficulties they involve, finally to
establish if possible all or, if not all, the greater part and the most important of the
opinions generally held with respect to these states of mind; since if the discrepancies
can be solved, and a residuum of current opinion left standing, the true view will have
been sufficiently established.1
Now the following opinions are held: （a） that Self-restraint and
Endurance are good and praiseworthy dispositions, Unrestraint and Softness bad and
blameworthy; （b） that the self-restrained man is the man who abides by
the results of his calculations, the unrestrained, one who readily abandons the conclusion
he has reached; （c） that the unrestrained man does things that he knows
to be evil, under the influence of passion, whereas the self-restrained man, knowing that
his desires are evil, refuses to follow them on principle; （d） that the
temperate man is always self-restrained and enduring; but that the converse is invariably
the case some deny, although others affirm it: the latter identify the unrestrained with
the profligate and the profligate with the unrestrained promiscuously, the former
distinguish between them.1.
（e） Sometimes it is said that the prudent man cannot be unrestrained,
sometimes that some prudent and clever men are unrestrained. （f）Again,
men are spoken of as unrestrained in anger, and in
the pursuit of honor and of gain. These then are the opinions advanced.2.
The difficulties that may be raised are the following. （c） How can a
man fail in self-restraint when believing correctly that what he does is wrong? Some
people say that he cannot do so when he knows the act to be wrong; since, as
Socrates held, it would be strange if, when a man
possessed Knowledge, some other thing should overpower it, and ‘drag it about
like a slave.’2
Socrates used to combat the view3
implying that there is no such thing as Unrestraint, since no one, he held, acts contrary
to what is best, believing what he does to be bad, but only through ignorance. 2.
Now this theory is manifestly at
variance with plain facts; and we ought to investigate the state of mind in question more
closely. If failure of self-restraint is caused by ignorance, we must examine what sort of
ignorance it is. For it is clear that the man who fails in self-restraint does not think
the action right before he comes under the influence of passion.—2.
But some thinkers accept the
doctrine in a modified form. They allow that nothing is more powerful than knowledge, but
they do not allow that no one acts contrary to what he opines to be the better course; and
they therefore maintain that the unrestrained man when he succumbs to the temptations of
pleasure possesses not Knowledge but only Opinion. 2.
And yet if it is really Opinion and not
Knowledge—not a strong belief