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If one who censures pleasure is seen sometimes to desire it himself, his swerving towards it is thought to show that he really believes that all pleasure is desirable; for the mass of mankind cannot discriminate. [4] Hence it appears that true theories are the most valuable for conduct as well as for science; harmonizing with the facts, they carry conviction, and so encourage those who understand them to guide their lives by them.

With so much by way of introduction, let us now review the theories about pleasure that have been advanced.

2. That pleasure is the Good was held by Eudoxus, on the following grounds. He saw that all creatures, rational and irrational alike, seek to obtain it; but in every case (he argued) that which is desirable is good, and that which is most desirable is the best; therefore the fact that all creatures ‘move in the direction of’1 the same thing indicates that this thing is the Supreme Good for all (since everything finds its own particular good, just as it finds its own proper food); but that which is good for all, and which all seek to obtain, is the Good.

His arguments owed their acceptance however more to the excellence of his character than to their own merit. He had the reputation of being a man of exceptional temperance, and hence he was not suspected of upholding this view because he was a lover of pleasure, but people thought it must really be true.

[2] He also held that the goodness of pleasure was equally manifest from the converse: pain is intrinsically an object of avoidance to all,

1 As we should say, ‘gravitate towards.’ Eudoxus, an unorthodox pupil of Plato, was a astronomer, and seems to have imported physical terminology into Ethics.

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