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11. It is also the business of the political philosopher to examine the nature of Pleasure and Pain; for he is the master-craftsman, and lays down the end which is the standard whereby we pronounce things good or bad in the absolute sense. [2] Moreover this investigation is fundamental for our study, because we have established1 that Moral Virtue and Vice are concerned with pleasures and pains, and most people hold that pleasure is a necessary adjunct of Happiness, which is why the word denoting ‘supreme bliss’ is derived from the verb meaning ‘to enjoy.’2 [3]

Now (1) some people think that no pleasure is a good thing, whether essentially or accidentally. They argue that Good and Pleasure are two distinct things.

(2) Others hold that though some pleasures are good, most are bad.

(3) There is also a third view, that even if all pleasures are good, nevertheless pleasure cannot be the Supreme Good.3 [4]

(1) To prove that pleasure is not a good at all, it is argued that

(a) Every pleasure is a conscious process towards a natural state; but a process can in no case belong to the same order of things as its end; for example, the process of building cannot be a thing of the same sort as the house built.

(b) The temperate man avoids pleasures.

(c) The prudent man pursues freedom from pain, not pleasure.

(d) Pleasures are a hindrance to prudent deliberation, and the more so the more enjoyable they are; for instance, sexual pleasure: no one could think of anything while indulging in it.

(e) There is no art of pleasure; yet with every good thing there is an art which produces it.

(f) Children

1 2.3.1.

2 μακάριος from μάλα χαίρειν: cf. 5.4.9.

3 Of these three views, the first is that of Speusippus, Plato's successor as head of the Academy; the second is that of Plato's Philebus; the third, which appears at the end of the Philebus, is that of Aristotle in Book 10 below.

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