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the ambitious in his desire for honor, the irascible owing to anger, one who is eager to conquer in his desire for victory, the rancorous in his desire for vengeance; the foolish man from having mistaken ideas of right and wrong, the shameless from his contempt for the opinion of others. Similarly, each of the rest of mankind is unjust in regard to his special weakness.  This will be perfectly clear, partly from what has already been said about the virtues, and partly from what will be said about the emotions. It remains to state the motives and character of those who do wrong and of those who suffer from it.  First, then, let us decide what those who set about doing wrong long for or avoid; for it is evident that the accuser must examine the number and nature of the motives which are to be found in his opponent; the defendant, which of them are not to be found in him.  Now, all human actions are either the result of man's efforts or not. Of the latter some are due to chance, others to necessity. Of those due to necessity, some are to be attributed to compulsion, others to nature, so that the things which men do not do of themselves are all the result of chance, nature, or compulsion. As for those which they do of themselves and of which they are the cause,
some are the result of habit, others of longing, and of the latter some are due to rational, others to irrational longing.  Now wish is a [rational] longing for good, for no one wishes for anything unless he thinks it is good; irrational longings are anger and desire. Thus all the actions of men must necessarily be referred to seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reason, anger, and desire.  But it is superfluous to establish further distinctions of men's acts based upon age, moral habits, or anything else. For if the young happen to be3 irascible, or passionately desire anything, it is not because of their youth that they act accordingly, but because of anger and desire. Nor is it because of wealth or poverty; but the poor happen to desire wealth because of their lack of it, and the rich desire unnecessary pleasures because they are able to procure them. Yet in their case too it will not be wealth or poverty, but desire, that will be the mainspring of their action. Similarly, the just and the unjust, and all the others who are said to act in accordance with their moral habits, will act from the same causes, either from reason or emotion, but some from good characters and emotions, and others from the opposite.  Not but that it does happen
that such and such moral habits are followed by such and such consequences; for it may be that from the outset the fact of being temperate produces in the temperate man good opinions and desires in the matter of pleasant things, in the intemperate man the contrary.  Therefore we must leave these distinctions on one side, but we must examine what are the usual consequences of certain conditions. For, if a man is fair or dark, tall or short, there is no rule that any such consequences should follow, but if he is young or old, just or unjust, it does make a difference. In a word, it will be necessary to take account of all the circumstances that make men's characters different; for instance, if a man fancies himself rich or poor, fortunate or unfortunate, it will make a difference. We will, however, discuss this later4; let us now speak of what remains to be said here.  Things which are the result of chance are all those of which the cause is indefinite, those which happen without any end in view, and that neither always, nor generally, nor regularly. The definition of chance will make this clear.  Things which are the result of nature are all those of which the cause is in themselves and regular;
for they turn out always, or generally, in the same way. As for those which happen contrary to nature there is no need to investigate minutely whether their occurrence is due to a certain force of nature or some other cause  （it would seem, however, that such cases also are due to chance）. Those things are the result of compulsion which are done by the agents themselves in opposition to their desire or calculation.  Things are the result of habit, when they are done because they have often been done.  Things are the result of calculation which are done because, of the goods already mentioned, they appear to be expedient either as an end or means to an end, provided they are done by reason of their being expedient; for even the intemperate do certain things that are expedient, for the sake, not of expediency, but of pleasure. Passion and anger are the causes of acts of revenge.  But there is a difference between revenge and punishment; the latter is inflicted in the interest of the sufferer, the former in the interest of him who inflicts it, that he may obtain satisfaction.  We will define anger when we come to speak of the emotions.5 Desire is the cause of things being done that are apparently pleasant. The things which are familiar and to which we have become accustomed are among pleasant things; for men do with pleasure many things which are not naturally pleasant, when they have become accustomed to them. In short, all things that men do of themselves either are, or seem,
good or pleasant; and since men do voluntarily what they do of themselves, and involuntarily what they do not, it follows that all that men do voluntarily will be either that which is or seems good, or that which is or seems pleasant. For I reckon among good things the removal of that which is evil or seems evil, or the exchange of a greater evil for a less, because these two things are in a way desirable; in like manner, I reckon among pleasant things the removal of that which is or appears painful, and the exchange of a greater pain for a less. We must therefore make ourselves acquainted with the number and quality of expedient and pleasant things.  We have already spoken of the expedient when discussing deliberative rhetoric6; let us now speak of the pleasant. And we must regard our definitions as sufficient in each case, provided they are neither obscure nor too precise.
1 προαίρεσις （premeditation, deliberate or moral choice） is always voluntary, but all voluntary action is not premeditated; we sometimes act on the spur of the moment. Choice is a voluntary act, the result of deliberate counsel, including the use of reason and knowledge. In Aristot. Nic. Eth. 11 Aristotle defines προαίρεσις as “a deliberate appetition of （longing for, ὄρεξις） things in our power,” as to which we should necessarily be well-informed.
3 In the cases of the young, the poor, and the rich, their youth etc. are only “accidents,” accidental not real causes. Aristotle defines τὸ συμβεβηκός （Aristot. Met. 4.30） as “that which is inherent in something, and may be predicated of it as true, but neither necessarily, nor in most cases; for instance, if a man, when digging a hole for a plant, finds a treasure.” The color of a man's eyes is an “inseparable” accident, the fact that a man is a lawyer is a “separabIe” accident.
4 Book 2.12-18.
5 Book 2.2.
6 Cf. Book 1.6 above.
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