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‘And they exceed the due measure in self-love, this again (as well as illiberality and cowardice) being a kind of little-mindedness’ (which is characteristic of them, supra § 5). The connexion of μικροψυχία and φιλαυτία [a word used in late Greek only] seems to be this: Little-mindedness (Eth. N. IV 9, init.) is the undervaluing of oneself, and one's own advantages. This narrows and cramps the mind, which is consequently incapable of lofty aims and aspirations. A form of this is selfishness, or self-love, which is thus described, Eth. N IX 8, sub init. ὡς ἐν αἰσχρῷ φιλαύτους ἀποκαλοῦσιν, δοκεῖ τε μὲν φαῦλος ἑαυτοῦ χάριν πάντα πράττειν, καὶ ὅσῳ ἂν μοχθηρότερος , τοσούτῳ μᾶλλον: ἐγκαλοῦσι δὴ αὐτῷ ὅτι οὐθὲν ἀφ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ (“away from himself”, without reference to himself, and his own interests) πράττει. But when all a man's aims and desires are centred in himself, they must of course be very mean and confined as compared with the lofty aspirations of the μεγαλόψυχος, or even of the average man, and the wide sphere in which they range; and therefore self-love when excessive is one form in which narrow-mindedness shews itself.

‘Their rule in life is profit, not honour, more than it ought to be, which arises from their selfishness: for profit, self-interest, is a man's own good, whereas honour (or the right) is good absolutely’. Orelli quotes this, and ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ κέρδος, in illustration of Horace's quaerit et inventis miser abstinet et timet uti, A. P. 170. On the distinction of αὐτῷ the individual, and ἁπλῶς the general notion or the absolute, see note on τὸ αὐτῷ ἁπλῶς, I 7. 35.

On τὸ καλόν in its two aspects, see I 7. 24, and I 9. 3, and notes. We are here presented with the two opposing views of good, the ideal and practical. The ideal form represents good as the fair and right, the aim and end of our hopes and aspirations, and the rule of life, in the shape (it may be) of honour or glory (la Gloire), or some immaterial, high and noble object, apart from all considerations of self, and one's own interest. The practical view of good regards it as something useful and serviceable for the uses and purposes of life, and for one's own interest and advancement; it is τὸ χρήσιμον and τὸ ξυμφέρον, the useful and profitable. Socrates in Xenophon's Memorabilia argues in favour of this view of ‘good’.

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