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Nicomachean Ethics   


to every one- at least to every sensible man; but the terrible things
that are not beyond human strength differ in magnitude and degree, and
so too do the things that inspire confidence. Now the brave man is as
dauntless as man may be. Therefore, while he will fear even the things
that are not beyond human strength, he will face them as he ought and
as the rule directs, for honour's sake; for this is the end of virtue.
But it is possible to fear these more, or less, and again to fear
things that are not terrible as if they were. Of the faults that are
committed one consists in fearing what one should not, another in
fearing as we should not, another in fearing when we should not, and
so on; and so too with respect to the things that inspire confidence.
The man, then, who faces and who fears the right things and from the
right motive, in the right way and from the right time, and who feels
confidence under the corresponding conditions, is brave; for the brave
man feels and acts according to the merits of the case and in whatever
way the rule directs. Now the end of every activity is conformity to
the corresponding state of character. This is true, therefore, of the
brave man as well as of others. But courage is noble. Therefore the
end also is noble; for each thing is defined by its end. Therefore it
is for a noble end that the brave man endures and acts as courage
directs.
Of those who go to excess he who exceeds in fearlessness has no name
(we have said previously that many states of character have no names),
but he would be a sort of madman or insensible person if he feared
nothing, neither earthquakes nor the waves, as they say the Celts do
not; while the man who exceeds in confidence about what really is
terrible is rash. The rash man, however, is also thought to be
boastful and only a pretender to courage; at all events, as the brave
man is with regard to what is terrible, so the rash man wishes to
appear; and so he imitates him in situations where he can. Hence also
most of them are a mixture of rashness and cowardice; for, while in
these situations they display confidence, they do not hold their
ground against what is really terrible. The man who exceeds in fear is
a coward; for he fears both what he ought not and as he ought not, and
all the similar characterizations attach to him. He is lacking also in
confidence; but he is more conspicuous for his excess of fear in
painful situations. The coward, then, is a despairing sort of person;
for he fears everything. The brave man, on the other hand, has the
opposite disposition; for confidence is the mark of a hopeful
disposition. The coward, the rash man, and the brave man, then, are
concerned with the same objects but are differently disposed towards
them; for the first two exceed and fall short, while the third holds
the middle, which is the right, position; and rash men are
precipitate, and wish for dangers beforehand but draw back when they
are in them, while brave men are keen in the moment of action, but
quiet beforehand.
As we have said, then, courage is a mean with respect to things that
inspire confidence or fear, in the circumstances that have been
stated; and it chooses or endures things because it is noble to do so,
or because it is base not to do so. But to die to escape from poverty
or love or anything painful is not the mark of a brave man, but rather
of a coward; for it is softness to fly from what is troublesome, and
such a man endures death not because it is noble but to fly from evil.
8
Courage, then, is something of this sort, but the name is also applied
to five other kinds.
First comes the courage of the citizen-soldier; for this is most like
true courage. Citizen-soldiers seem to face dangers because of the
penalties imposed by the laws and the reproaches they would otherwise
incur, and because of the honours they win by such action; and
therefore those peoples seem to be bravest among whom cowards are held
in dishonour and brave men in honour. This is the kind of courage that
Homer depicts, e.g. in Diomede and in Hector:
First will Polydamas be to heap reproach on me then; and

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