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‘And all these (ταῦτα is explained by γάρ, ‘nämlich’, κ.τ.λ.) belong to the same kind of character (or disposition), and their opposites to the opposite temper; that is to say, it is the same sort of man that takes a malicious pleasure in mischief and that is given to envy; for whenever the acquisition or possession of anything (by another) is painful to a man (envy), he must needs feel pleasure at the privation or destruction of the same (ἐπιχαιρεκακία)’.

στέρησις, Categ. 10, is one of the four kinds of opposites, relative opposites, contraries (as black and white), state and privation (ἕξις, στέρησις), affirmation and negation. στέρησις is defined ib. 12 a 26 seq. It is the absence or want of a state which is natural and usual to that in which the state resides, as sight to the eye: τυφλὸν οὐ τὸ μὴ ἔχον ὄψιν, άλλὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ὅτε πέφυκεν ἔχειν. A man's blindness is a στέρησις, because with him sight is natural: the term is not applicable to animals born without eyes, ἐκ γενετῆς οὐκ ὄψιν ἔχοντα: these cannot properly be said to be deprived of sight, which they never had. στέρησις therefore in the present passage implies a loss of some good which had been previously gained or possessed, and is distinguished from φθορά, as privation or loss from ruin or destruction. Victorius understands φθορᾷ of destruction, decay, as opposed to γενέσει which is implied in γιγνομένῳ; a man may be deprived of or lose a possession, that which grows may decay and come to nothing, ‘Interitus manifesto generationi alicuius rei contrarius est.’ I cannot think this interpretation as appropriate as the other: γίγνεσθαι, to come to the possession of something, to gain or acquire it, is properly opposed to ὑπάρχειν, to have it already in possession, long-standing and settled.

‘And therefore all these feelings (νέμεσις, φθόνος, ἐπιχαιρεκακία) are obstructive of pity, but different (in other respects) for the reasons already stated; so that they are all alike serviceable for making things appear not pitiable’.

The introduction of these episodical remarks, §§ 3—5, upon the connexion and distinctions of the three πάθη above mentioned, otherwise not easy to explain, may possibly be accounted for, as I have already suggested, by referring them to the statements of Eth. Nic. II 7, 1108 b 4, which Ar. now sees must be retracted. There they are reduced to the law of the mean by making νέμεσις the mean state of the pleasure and pain felt at our neighbour's good or ill fortune; of which φθόνος is the excess, the pain being felt at all good fortune deserved or undeserved, and ἐπιχαιρεκακία the defect ‘because the feeling falls so short of pain that it is actually pleasure’. The words of § 5, καὶ ἔστι τοῦ ἤθους... γὰρ αὐτὸς ἐστὶν ἐπιχαιρέκακος καὶ φθονερός, κ.τ.λ. are, whether they are intended for it or not, a correction of the blunder made in the Ethics. It is plain enough, as we are here told in the Rhetoric, that the two πάθη in question are but two different phases of the same ἦθος or mental disposition: the same man who feels pain at his neighbour's good fortune will feel pleasure at his misfortunes, and the two cannot be opposed as extremes. Again, the description of ἐπιχαιρεκακία as a defect of νέμεσις and opposite of φθόνος cannot be sustained: the objects of the two feelings are different: envy is directed against the good fortune of another, the malicious pleasure of the other is excited by his ill fortune. See also Grant's note on the above passage of the Ethics.

After this digression we return to the analysis of νέμεσις.

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