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our actions; and since, further, the expedient is good, we must first grasp the elementary notions of good and expedient in general.  Let us assume good to be whatever is desirable for its own sake, or for the sake of which we choose something else; that which is the aim of all things, or of all things that possess sensation or reason; or would be, if they could acquire the latter. Whatever reason might assign to each and whatever reason does assign to each in individual cases, that is good for each; and that whose presence makes a man fit and also independent; and independence in general; and that which produces or preserves such things, or on which such things follow, or all that is likely to prevent or destroy their opposites.  Now things follow in two ways—simultaneously or subsequently; for instance, knowledge is subsequent to learning, but life is simultaneous with health. Things which produce act in three ways; thus, healthiness produces health; and so does food; and exercise as a rule.  This being laid down, it necessarily follows that the acquisition of good things and the loss of evil things are both good; for it follows simultaneously on the latter that we are rid of that which is bad, and subsequently on the former that we obtain possession of that which is good.  The same applies to the acquisition of a greater in place of a less good, and a less in place of a greater evil;
for in proportion as the greater exceeds the less, there is an acquisition of the one and a loss of the other.  The virtues also must be a good thing; for those who possess them are in a sound condition, and they are also productive of good things and practical. However, we must speak separately concerning each—what it is, and of what kind.  Pleasure also must be a good; for all living creatures naturally desire it. Hence it follows that both agreeable and beautiful things must be good; for the former produce pleasure, while among beautiful things some are pleasant and others are desirable in themselves.  To enumerate them one by one, the following things must necessarily be good. Happiness, since it is desirable in itself and self-sufficient, and to obtain it we choose a number of things.  Justice, courage, self-control, magnanimity, magnificence, and all other similar states of mind, for they are virtues of the soul.  Health, beauty, and the like, for they are virtues of the body and produce many advantages; for instance, health is productive of pleasure and of life, wherefore it is thought to be best of all, because it is the cause of two things which the majority of men prize most highly.  Wealth, since it is the excellence of acquisition1 and productive of many things.
 A friend and friendship, since a friend is desirable in himself and produces many advantages.  Honor and good repute, since they are agreeable and produce many advantages, and are generally accompanied by the possession of those things for which men are honored.  Eloquence and capacity for action; for all such faculties are productive of many advantages.  Further, natural cleverness, good memory, readiness to learn, quick-wittedness, and all similar qualities; for these faculties are productive of advantages. The same applies to all the sciences, arts, and even life, for even though no other good should result from it,  it is desirable in itself. Lastly, justice, since it is expedient in general for the common weal.  These are nearly all the things generally recognized as good;  in the case of doubtful goods, the arguments in their favor are drawn from the following. That is good the opposite of which is evil,  or the opposite of which is advantageous to our enemies; for instance, if it is specially advantageous to our enemies that we should be cowards, it is clear that courage is specially advantageous to the citizens.  And, speaking generally, the opposite of what our enemies desire or of that in which they rejoice, appears to be advantageous; wherefore it was well said: “ Of a truth Priam would exult.2
” This is not always the case, but only as a general rule, for there is nothing to prevent one and the same thing being sometimes advantageous to two opposite parties; hence it is said that misfortune brings men together, when a common danger threatens them.
 That which is not in excess3 is good, whereas that which is greater than it should be, is bad.  And that which has cost much labor and expense, for it at once is seen to be an apparent good, and such a thing is regarded as an end, and an end of many efforts; now, an end is a good. Wherefore it was said: “ And they would [leave Argive Helen for Priam and the Trojans] to boast of,4
” and, “ It is disgraceful to tarry long,5
” and the proverb, “[to break] the pitcher at the door.”6  And that which many aim at and which is seen to be competed for by many; for that which all aim at was recognized as a good, and the majority may almost stand for “all.”  And that which is the object of praise, for no one praises that which is not good. And that which is praised by enemies; for if even those who are injured by it acknowledge its goodness, this amounts to a universal recognition of it; for it is because of its goodness being evident that they acknowledge it, just as those whom their enemies praise are worthless.7 Wherefore the Corinthians imagined themselves insulted by Simonides, when he wrote, “ Ilium does not blame the Corinthians.8
”  And that which one of the practically wise or good, man or woman, has chosen before others, as Athene chose Odysseus, Theseus Helen, the goddesses Alexander Paris, and Homer Achilles.  And, generally speaking, all that is deliberately chosen is good.
Now, men deliberately choose to do the things just mentioned, and those which are harmful to their enemies, and advantageous to their friends, and things which are possible.  The last are of two kinds: things which might happen,9 and things which easily happen; by the latter are meant things that happen without labor or in a short time, for difficulty is defined by labor or length of time. And anything that happens as men wish is good; and what they wish is either what is not evil at all or is less an evil than a good, which will be the case for instance, whenever the penalty attached to it is unnoticed or light.  And things that are peculiar to them, or which no one else possesses,10 or which are out of the common; for thus the honor is greater. And things which are appropriate to them; such are all things befitting them in respect of birth and power. And things which they think they lack, however unimportant; for none the less they deliberately choose to acquire them.  And things which are easy of accomplishment, for being easy they are possible; such things are those in which all, or most men, or those who are equals or inferiors have been successful. And things whereby they will gratify friends or incur the hatred of enemies. And all things that those whom they admire deliberately choose to do. And those things in regard to which they are clever naturally or by experience; for they hope to be more easily successful in them. And things which no worthless man would approve, for that makes them the more commendable. And things which they happen to desire, for such things seem not only agreeable, but also better.  Lastly, and above all, each man thinks those things good which are the object of his special desire,
as victory of the man who desires victory, honor of the ambitious man, money of the avaricious, and so in other instances. These then are the materials from which we must draw our arguments in reference to good and the expedient.
1 The excellence of anything is proportionate to its success in the performance of its proper function. The function of acquisition is to get something valuable, such as money, and its “excellence” may be judges by the amount of wealth obtained.
3 Reading ὅ. The ordinary reading οὗ is taken to mean “that which does not permit excess,” that which is midway between two extremes, the mean. Another suggested rendering is, “that of which one cannot have too much.”
5 Hom. Il. 2.298. Spoken by Odysseus. While sympathizing with the desire of the army to leave, he points out that it would be “disgraceful after waiting so long” to return unsuccessful, and exhorts them to hold out.
6 Proverbial for “lost labor.” Cf. French “faire naufrage au port,” and the English “there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip.”
7 Meaning that they cannot have done their duty against their enemies, who would then have blamed them. Another suggested reading is οὓς οἱ φίλοι ψέγουσι καὶ οὓς οἱ ἐχθροὶ μὴ ψέγουσι （“those whom their friends blame and whom their enemies do not blame.”）
8 In the Iliad Glaucus, a Corinthian, is described as an ally of the Trojans. Simonides meant to praise, but the Corinthians were suspicious and thought his words were meant satirically, in accordance with the view just expressed by Aristotle. The Simonides referred to is Simonides of Ceos （Frag. 50, P.L.G. 3, where the line is differently given）. Aristotle is evidently quoting from memory, as he often does, although not always accurately.
10 “Or which no one else has done” （Jebb）.
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