previous next
or ought one to ransom one's own father? for it might be thought to be a man's duty to ransom his father even before himself. 2. [5] As a general rule then, as has been said, one ought to pay back a debt, but if the balance of nobility or urgency is on the side of employing the money for a gift, then one ought to decide in favor of the gift. For (b) there are occasions when it would be actually unfair to return the original service; as for instance when A has done B a service knowing him to be a good man, and B is called upon to return the service to A whom he believes to be a bad man. For even when A has lent B a loan, B is not always bound to lend A a loan in turn: A may have lent money to B, who is an honest man, expecting to get his money back, while B would have no hope of recovering from A, who is a rascal. If A is really a rascal, the return he asks for is not a fair one; and even if A is not a rascal, but people think1 he is, it would not be deemed unreasonable for B to refuse. 2. [6]

Hence, as has been frequently remarked already,2 discussions about our emotions and actions only admit of such degree of definiteness as belongs to the matters with which they deal. 2. [7]

It is quite clear therefore that all people have not the same claim upon us, and that even a father's claim is not unlimited, just as Zeus does not have all the sacrifices. Since the claims of parents and brothers, comrades and benefactors, are different, we ought to render to each that which is proper and suitable to each. This is in fact the principle on which men are observed to act. They invite their relatives to a wedding, because they are members of the family, and therefore concerned in the family's affairs; also it is thought to be specially incumbent on relations to attend funerals, for the same reason. 2. [8] It would be felt that our parents have the first claim on us for maintenance, since we owe it to them as a debt, and to support the authors of our being stands before self-preservation in moral nobility. Honor also is due to parents, as it is to the gods, though not indiscriminate honor: one does not owe to one's father the same honor as to one's mother, nor yet the honor due to a great philosopher or general, but one owes to one's father the honor appropriate to a father, and to one's mother that appropriate to her. 2. [9] Again, we should pay to all our seniors the honor due to their age, by rising when they enter, offering them a seat, and so on. Towards comrades and brothers on the other hand we should use frankness of speech, and share all our possessions with them. Kinsmen also, fellow-tribesmen, fellow-citizens, and the rest—to all we must always endeavor to render their due, comparing their several claims in respect of relationship and of virtue or utility. 2. [10] Between persons of the same kind discrimination is comparatively easy; but it is a harder matter when they are differently related to us. Nevertheless we must not shirk the task on that account, but must decide their claims as well as we are able. 3.

Another question is, whether a friendship should

1 Perhaps the text should be emended to ‘but B thinks he is.’

2 See. 1.3.4, 2.2.3.

load focus Greek (J. Bywater)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: