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Nicomachean Ethics   


pleasures and pains- not all of them, and not so much with regard to
the pains- the mean is temperance, the excess self-indulgence. Persons
deficient with regard to the pleasures are not often found; hence such
persons also have received no name. But let us call them 'insensible'.
With regard to giving and taking of money the mean is liberality, the
excess and the defect prodigality and meanness. In these actions
people exceed and fall short in contrary ways; the prodigal exceeds in
spending and falls short in taking, while the mean man exceeds in
taking and falls short in spending. (At present we are giving a mere
outline or summary, and are satisfied with this; later these states
will be more exactly determined.) With regard to money there are also
other dispositions- a mean, magnificence (for the magnificent man
differs from the liberal man; the former deals with large sums, the
latter with small ones), an excess, tastelessness and vulgarity, and a
deficiency, niggardliness; these differ from the states opposed to
liberality, and the mode of their difference will be stated later.
With regard to honour and dishonour the mean is proper pride, the
excess is known as a sort of 'empty vanity', and the deficiency is
undue humility; and as we said liberality was related to magnificence,
differing from it by dealing with small sums, so there is a state
similarly related to proper pride, being concerned with small honours
while that is concerned with great. For it is possible to desire
honour as one ought, and more than one ought, and less, and the man
who exceeds in his desires is called ambitious, the man who falls
short unambitious, while the intermediate person has no name. The
dispositions also are nameless, except that that of the ambitious man
is called ambition. Hence the people who are at the extremes lay claim
to the middle place; and we ourselves sometimes call the intermediate
person ambitious and sometimes unambitious, and sometimes praise the
ambitious man and sometimes the unambitious. The reason of our doing
this will be stated in what follows; but now let us speak of the
remaining states according to the method which has been indicated.
With regard to anger also there is an excess, a deficiency, and a
mean. Although they can scarcely be said to have names, yet since we
call the intermediate person good-tempered let us call the mean good
temper; of the persons at the extremes let the one who exceeds be
called irascible, and his vice irascibility, and the man who falls
short an inirascible sort of person, and the deficiency
inirascibility.
There are also three other means, which have a certain likeness to one
another, but differ from one another: for they are all concerned with
intercourse in words and actions, but differ in that one is concerned
with truth in this sphere, the other two with pleasantness; and of
this one kind is exhibited in giving amusement, the other in all the
circumstances of life. We must therefore speak of these too, that we
may the better see that in all things the mean is praise-worthy, and
the extremes neither praiseworthy nor right, but worthy of blame. Now
most of these states also have no names, but we must try, as in the
other cases, to invent names ourselves so that we may be clear and
easy to follow. With regard to truth, then, the intermediate is a
truthful sort of person and the mean may be called truthfulness, while
the pretence which exaggerates is boastfulness and the person
characterized by it a boaster, and that which understates is mock
modesty and the person characterized by it mock-modest. With regard to
pleasantness in the giving of amusement the intermediate person is
ready-witted and the disposition ready wit, the excess is buffoonery
and the person characterized by it a buffoon, while the man who falls
short is a sort of boor and his state is boorishness. With regard to
the remaining kind of pleasantness, that which is exhibited in life in
general, the man who is pleasant in the right way is friendly and the
mean is friendliness, while the man who exceeds is an obsequious
person if he has no end in view, a flatterer if he is aiming at his
own advantage, and the man who falls short and is unpleasant in all
circumstances is a quarrelsome and surly sort of person.

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