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Nicomachean Ethics   


virtue is voluntary, vice also will be none the less voluntary; for in
the case of the bad man there is equally present that which depends on
himself in his actions even if not in his end. If, then, as is
asserted, the virtues are voluntary (for we are ourselves somehow
partly responsible for our states of character, and it is by being
persons of a certain kind that we assume the end to be so and so), the
vices also will be voluntary; for the same is true of them.
With regard to the virtues in general we have stated their genus in
outline, viz. that they are means and that they are states of
character, and that they tend, and by their own nature, to the doing
of the acts by which they are produced, and that they are in our power
and voluntary, and act as the right rule prescribes. But actions and
states of character are not voluntary in the same way; for we are
masters of our actions from the beginning right to the end, if we know
the particular facts, but though we control the beginning of our
states of character the gradual progress is not obvious any more than
it is in illnesses; because it was in our power, however, to act in
this way or not in this way, therefore the states are voluntary.
Let us take up the several virtues, however, and say which they are
and what sort of things they are concerned with and how they are
concerned with them; at the same time it will become plain how many
they are. And first let us speak of courage.
6
That it is a mean with regard to feelings of fear and confidence has
already been made evident; and plainly the things we fear are terrible
things, and these are, to speak without qualification, evils; for
which reason people even define fear as expectation of evil. Now we
fear all evils, e.g. disgrace, poverty, disease, friendlessness,
death, but the brave man is not thought to be concerned with all; for
to fear some things is even right and noble, and it is base not to
fear them- e.g. disgrace; he who fears this is good and modest, and he
who does not is shameless. He is, however, by some people called
brave, by a transference of the word to a new meaning; for he has in
him something which is like the brave man, since the brave man also is
a fearless person. Poverty and disease we perhaps ought not to fear,
nor in general the things that do not proceed from vice and are not
due to a man himself. But not even the man who is fearless of these is
brave. Yet we apply the word to him also in virtue of a similarity;
for some who in the dangers of war are cowards are liberal and are
confident in face of the loss of money. Nor is a man a coward if he
fears insult to his wife and children or envy or anything of the kind;
nor brave if he is confident when he is about to be flogged. With what
sort of terrible things, then, is the brave man concerned? Surely with
the greatest; for no one is more likely than he to stand his ground
against what is awe-inspiring. Now death is the most terrible of all
things; for it is the end, and nothing is thought to be any longer
either good or bad for the dead. But the brave man would not seem to
be concerned even with death in all circumstances, e.g. at sea or in
disease. In what circumstances, then? Surely in the noblest. Now such
deaths are those in battle; for these take place in the greatest and
noblest danger. And these are correspondingly honoured in city-states
and at the courts of monarchs. Properly, then, he will be called brave
who is fearless in face of a noble death, and of all emergencies that
involve death; and the emergencies of war are in the highest degree of
this kind. Yet at sea also, and in disease, the brave man is fearless,
but not in the same way as the seaman; for he has given up hope of
safety, and is disliking the thought of death in this shape, while
they are hopeful because of their experience. At the same time, we
show courage in situations where there is the opportunity of showing
prowess or where death is noble; but in these forms of death neither
of these conditions is fulfilled.
7
What is terrible is not the same for all men; but we say there are
things terrible even beyond human strength. These, then, are terrible

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