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Nicomachean Ethics   


all pleasures; for the pleasures of learning and, among the sensuous
pleasures, those of smell, and also many sounds and sights, and
memories and hopes, do not presuppose pain. Of what then will these be
the coming into being? There has not been lack of anything of which
they could be the supplying anew.
In reply to those who bring forward the disgraceful pleasures one may
say that these are not pleasant; if things are pleasant to people of
vicious constitution, we must not suppose that they are also pleasant
to others than these, just as we do not reason so about the things
that are wholesome or sweet or bitter to sick people, or ascribe
whiteness to the things that seem white to those suffering from a
disease of the eye. Or one might answer thus-that the pleasures are
desirable, but not from these sources, as wealth is desirable, but not
as the reward of betrayal, and health, but not at the cost of eating
anything and everything. Or perhaps pleasures differ in kind; for
those derived from noble sources are different from those derived from
base sources, and one cannot the pleasure of the just man without
being just, nor that of the musical man without being musical, and so
on.
The fact, too, that a friend is different from a flatterer seems to
make it plain that pleasure is not a good or that pleasures are
different in kind; for the one is thought to consort with us with a
view to the good, the other with a view to our pleasure, and the one
is reproached for his conduct while the other is praised on the ground
that he consorts with us for different ends. And no one would choose
to live with the intellect of a child throughout his life, however
much he were to be pleased at the things that children are pleased at,
nor to get enjoyment by doing some most disgraceful deed, though he
were never to feel any pain in consequence. And there are many things
we should be keen about even if they brought no pleasure, e.g. seeing,
remembering, knowing, possessing the virtues. If pleasures necessarily
do accompany these, that makes no odds; we should choose these even if
no pleasure resulted. It seems to be clear, then, that neither is
pleasure the good nor is all pleasure desirable, and that some
pleasures are desirable in themselves, differing in kind or in their
sources from the others. So much for the things that are said about
pleasure and pain.
4
What pleasure is, or what kind of thing it is, will become plainer if
we take up the question aga from the beginning. Seeing seems to be at
any moment complete, for it does not lack anything which coming into
being later will complete its form; and pleasure also seems to be of
this nature. For it is a whole, and at no time can one find a pleasure
whose form will be completed if the pleasure lasts longer. For this
reason, too, it is not a movement. For every movement (e.g. that of
building) takes time and is for the sake of an end, and is complete
when it has made what it aims at. It is complete, therefore, only in
the whole time or at that final moment. In their parts and during the
time they occupy, all movements are incomplete, and are different in
kind from the whole movement and from each other. For the fitting
together of the stones is different from the fluting of the column,
and these are both different from the making of the temple; and the
making of the temple is complete (for it lacks nothing with a view to
the end proposed), but the making of the base or of the triglyph is
incomplete; for each is the making of only a part. They differ in
kind, then, and it is not possible to find at any and every time a
movement complete in form, but if at all, only in the whole time. So,
too, in the case of walking and all other movements. For if locomotion
is a movement from to there, it, too, has differences in kind-flying,
walking, leaping, and so on. And not only so, but in walking itself
there are such differences; for the whence and whither are not the
same in the whole racecourse and in a part of it, nor in one part and
in another, nor is it the same thing to traverse this line and that;
for one traverses not only a line but one which is in a place, and

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