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7. But since men often agree that both of two things are useful, but dispute which is the more so, we must next speak of the greater good and the more expedient. [2] Let one thing, then, be said to exceed another, when it is as great and something more—and to be exceeded when it is contained in the other. “Greater” and “more” always imply a relation with less; “great” and “small,” “much” and “little” with the general size of things; the “great” is that which exceeds, and that which falls short of it is “small”; and similarly “much” and “little.” [3] Since, besides, we call good that which is desirable for its own sake and not for anything else, and that which all things aim at and which they would choose if they possessed reason and practical wisdom; and that which is productive or protective of good, or on which such things follow; and since that for the sake of which anything is done is the end, and the end is that for the sake of which everything else is done, and that is good for each man which relatively to him presents all these conditions, it necessarily follows that a larger number of good things is a greater good than one or a smaller number, if the one or the smaller number is reckoned as one of them;1
for it exceeds them and that which is contained is exceeded.

[4] And if that which is greatest in one class surpass that which is greatest in another class, the first class will surpass the second; and whenever one class surpasses another, the greatest of that class will surpass the greatest of the other. For instance, if the biggest man is greater than the biggest woman, men in general will be bigger than women; and if men in general are bigger than women, the biggest man will be bigger than the biggest woman; for the superiority of classes and of the greatest things contained in them are proportionate. [5] And when this follows on that, but not that on this [then “that” is the greater good];2 for the enjoyment of that which follows is contained in that of the other. Now, things follow simultaneously, or successively, or potentially; thus, life follows simultaneously on health, but not health on life; knowledge follows subsequently on learning [but not learning on knowledge]; and simple theft potentially on sacrilege, for one who commits sacrilege will also steal. [6] And things which exceed the same thing by a greater amount [than something else] are greater, for they must also exceed the greater.3 [7] And things which produce a greater good are greater; for this we agreed was the meaning of productive of greater. And similarly, that which is produced by a greater cause; for if that which produces health is more desirable than that which produces pleasure and a greater good,
then health is a greater good than pleasure. [8] And that which is more desirable in itself is superior to that which is not; for example, strength is a greater good than the wholesome, which is not desirable for its own sake, while strength is; and, this we agreed was the meaning of a good. [9] And the end is a greater good than the means; for the latter is desirable for the sake of something else, the former for its own sake; for instance, exercise is only a means for the acquirement of a good constitution. [10] And that which has less need of one or several other things in addition is a greater good, for it is more independent (and “having less need” means needing fewer or easier additions). [11] And when one thing does not exist or cannot be brought into existence without the aid of another, but that other can, then that which needs no aid is more independent, and accordingly is seen to be a greater good.

[12] And if one thing is a first principle, and another not; if one thing is a cause and another not, for the same reason; for without cause or first principle nothing can exist or come into existence. And if there are two first principles or two causes, that which results from the greater is greater; and conversely, when there are two first principles or two causes, that which is the first cause or principle of the greater is greater. [13] It is clear then, from what has been said, that a thing may be greater in two ways; for if it is a first principle but another is not, it will appear to be greater, and if it is not a first principle [but an end], while another is; for the end is greater and not a first principle.4 Thus, Leodamas, when accusing Callistratus,5 declared that the man who had given the advice
was more guilty than the one who carried it out; for if he had not suggested it, it could not have been carried out. And conversely, when accusing Chabrias, he declared that the man who had carried out the advice was more guilty than the one who had given it; for it could not have been carried out, had there not been some one to do so, and the reason why people devised plots was that others might carry them out.

[14] And that which is scarcer is a greater good than that which is abundant, as gold than iron, although it is less useful, but the possession of it is more valuable, since it is more difficult of acquisition. From another point of view, that which is abundant is to be preferred to that which is scarce, because the use of it is greater, for “often” exceeds “seldom,”; whence the saying: “ Water is best.6

” [15] And, speaking generally, that which is more difficult is preferable to that which is easier of attainment, for it is scarcer; but from another point of view that which is easier is preferable to that which is more difficult; for its nature is as we wish. [16] And that, the contrary or the deprivation of which is greater, is the greater good.7 And virtue is greater than non-virtue, and vice than non-vice; for virtues and vices are ends, the others not. [17] And those things whose works are nobler or more disgraceful are themselves greater; and the works of those things, the vices and virtues of which are greater, will also be greater, since between causes and first principles compared with results there is the same relation as between results compared with causes and first principles. [18] Things, superiority in which is more desirable or nobler, are to be preferred; for instance, sharpness of sight is preferable to keenness of smell for sight is better than smell.
And loving one's friends more than money is nobler, whence it follows that love of friends is nobler than love of money. And, on the other hand, the better and nobler things are, the better and nobler will be their superiority; and similarly, those things, the desire for which is nobler and better, are themselves nobler and better, [19] for greater longings are directed towards greater objects. For the same reason, the better and nobler the object, the better and nobler are the desires.

[20] And when the sciences are nobler and more dignified, the nobler and more dignified are their subjects; for as is the science, so is the truth which is its object, and each science prescribes that which properly belongs to it; and, by analogy, the nobler and more dignified the objects of a science, the nobler and more dignified is the science itself, for the same reasons. [21] And that which men of practical wisdom, either all, or more, or the best of them, would judge, or have judged, to be a greater good, must necessarily be such, either absolutely or in so far as they have judged as men of practical wisdom. The same may be said in regard to everything else; for the nature, quantity, and quality of things are such as would be defined by science and practical wisdom. But our statement only applies to goods; for we defined that as good which everything, if possessed of practical wisdom, would choose; hence it is evident that that is a greater good to which practical wisdom assigns the superiority. [22] So also are those things which better men
possess, either absolutely, or in so far as they are better; for instance courage is better than strength. And what the better man would choose, either absolutely or in so far as he is better; thus, it is better to suffer wrong than to commit it, for that is what the juster man would choose. [23] And that which is more agreeable rather than that which is less so; for all things pursue pleasure and desire it for its own sake; and it is by these conditions that the good and the end have been defined. And that is more agreeable which is less subject to pain and is agreeable for a longer time. [24] And that which is nobler than that which is less noble; for the noble is that which is either agreeable or desirable in itself. [25] And all things which we have a greater desire to be instrumental in procuring for ourselves or for our friends are greater goods, and those as to which our desire is least are greater evils. [26] And things that last longer are preferable to those that are of shorter duration, and those that are safer to those that are less so; for time increases the use of the first and the wish that of the second; for whenever we wish, we can make greater use of things that are safe.

[27] And things in all cases follow the relations between coordinates and similar inflections; for instance, if “courageously” is nobler than and preferable to “temperately,” then “courage” is preferable to “temperance,” and it is better to be “courageous” than “temperate.” [28] And that which is chosen by all is better than that which is not; and that which the majority choose than that which the minority choose;
for, as we have said, the good is that which all desire, and consequently a good is greater, the more it is desired. The same applies to goods which are recognized as greater by opponents or enemies, by judges, or by those whom they select; for in the one case it would be, so to say, the verdict of all mankind, in the other that of those who are acknowledged authorities and experts. [29] And sometimes a good is greater in which all participate, for it is a disgrace not to participate in it; sometimes when none or only a few participate in it, for it is scarcer. [30] And things which are more praiseworthy, since they are nobler. And in the same way things which are more highly honored,8 for honor is a sort of measure of worth; and conversely those things are greater evils, the punishment for which is greater. [31] And those things which are greater than what is acknowledged, or appears, to be great, are greater. And the same whole when divided into parts appears greater, for there appears to be superiority in a greater number of things.9 Whence the poet says that Meleager was persuaded to rise up and fight by the recital of10 “ All the ills that befall those whose city is taken; the people perish, and fire utterly destroys the city, and strangers carry off the children.

Combination and building up, as employed by Epicharmus,11 produce the same effect as division, and for the same reason; for combination is an exhibition of great superiority and appears to be the origin and cause of great things. [32] And since that which is harder to obtain and scarcer is greater,
it follows that special occasions, ages, places, times, and powers, produce great effects; for if a man does things beyond his powers, beyond his age, and beyond what his equals could do, if they are done in such a manner, in such a place, and at such a time, they will possess importance in actions that are noble, good, or just, or the opposite. Hence the epigram12 on the Olympian victor: “ Formerly, with a rough basket13 on my shoulders, I used to carry fish from Argos to Tegea.

” And Iphicrates lauded himself, saying, “Look what I started from!” [33] And that which is natural is a greater good than that which is acquired, because it is harder. Whence the poet says: “ Self-taught am I.14

” [34] And that which is the greatest part of that which is great is more to be desired; as Pericles said in his Funeral Oration, that the removal of the youth from the city was like the year being robbed of its spring.15 [35] And those things which are available in greater need, as in old age and illness, are greater goods. And of two things that which is nearer the end proposed is preferable. And that which is useful for the individual is preferable to that which is useful absolutely;16 that which is possible to that which is impossible; for it is the possible that is useful to us, not the impossible. And those things which are at the end of life; for things near the end are more like ends.

[36] And real things are preferable to those that have reference to public opinion, the latter being defined as those which a man would not choose if they were likely to remain unnoticed by others. It would seem then that it is better to receive than to confer a benefit; for one would choose the former even if it should pass unnoticed, whereas one would not choose to confer a benefit, if it were likely to remain unknown. [37] Those things also are to be preferred, which men would rather possess in reality than in appearance, because they are nearer the truth; wherefore it is commonly said that justice is a thing of little importance, because people prefer to appear just than to be just; and this is not the case, for instance, in regard to health. [38] The same may be said of things that serve several ends; for instance, those that assist us to live, to live well, to enjoy life, and to do noble actions; wherefore health and wealth seem to be the greatest goods, for they include all these advantages. [39] And that which is more free from pain and accompanied by pleasure is a greater good; for there is more than one good, since pleasure and freedom from pain combined are both goods. And of two goods the greater is that which, added to one and the same, makes the whole greater. [40] And those things, the presence of which does not escape notice, are preferable to those which pass unnoticed, because they appear more real; whence being wealthy would appear to be a greater good than the appearance of it.17 [41] And that which is held most dear, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by other things, is a greater good. Wherefore he who puts out the eye of a one-eyed man and he who puts out one eye of another who has two, does not do equal injury;18 for in the former case, a man has been deprived of that which he held most dear.

1 The one, the smaller number, and the greater number must be of the same species. Thus, 5 pounds is a greater good than 2 pounds; but 5 farthings is not a greater good than 2 pounds, since the smaller number is not reckoned in with the greater Buckley.

2 If B (life) follows on, is the consequent of A (health), but A is not the consequent of B, then A is a greater good than B.

3 Eight is greater than 2 by 6, which itself is greater than 2.

4 A thing may be of greater importance in two ways: (a) that which is a first principle is superior to that which is not; (b) that which is not a first principle, but an end, is superior to that which is a first principle; for the end is superior to the means. In the illustration that follows: (a) the first principle (suggesting the plot) is said to be of more importance (worse) than the end or result (carrying out the plot); (b) on the other hand, this end is said to be worse than the first principle, since the end is superior to the means. Thus the question of the amount of guilt can be argued both ways.

5 Oropus, a frontier-town of Boeotia and Attica, had been occupied by the Thebans (366 B.C.). Callistratus suggested an arrangement which was agreed to and carried out by Chabrias—that the town should remain in Theban possession for the time being. Negotiations proved unsuccessful and the Thebans refused to leave, whereupon Chabrias and Callistratus were brought to trial. Leodamas was an Athenian orator, pupil of Isocrates, and pro-Theban in his political views.

6 Pind. O. 1.1.

7 e.g. it is worse to be blind than deaf; therefore sight is better than hearing (Schrader).

8 “Things of which the prices are greater, price being a sort of worth” (Jebb).

9 Or, “superiority over a greater number of things.”

10 After πεῖσαι all the MSS. except A Paris have λέγουσαν. If this is retained, it must refer to Meleager's wife Cleopatra, who “persuaded him . . . by quoting.” As the text stands, the literal rendering is: “the poet says that (the recital of the three verses) persuaded.” The passage is from Hom. Il. 9.592-594 (slightly different).

11 Epicharmus (c. 550-460 B.C.) writer of comedies and Pythagorean philosopher, was born at Megara in Sicily (according to others, in the island of Cos). His comedies, written in the Doric dialect, and without a chorus, were either mythological or comedies of manners, as extant titles show. Plato speaks of him as “the prince of comedy” and Horace states definitely that he was imitated by Plautus.

12 Simonides, Frag. 163 (P.L.G. 3.).

13 Or, the yoke to which the basket, like our milk-pails long ago, was attached.

14 Hom. Od. 22.347. The words are those of the minstrel Phemius, who was forced to sing to the suitors of Penelope.

15 Not in the oration in Thuc. 2.35.

16 Or, reading καὶ ἁπλῶς: “that which is useful both to the individual and absolutely is a greater good” (than that which is only useful in one way), but this necessitates a considerable ellipse.

17 It is difficult to see the connection here. Munro's suggestion, τῷ δοκεῖν for τοῦ δοκεῖν, adopted by Roemer, would mean “by the show of it,” that is, by its attracting notice.

18 Or, “is not punished equally.”

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