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Nicomachean Ethics   


temperate nor self-indulgent. Nor, again, are those who are concerned
with the other pleasures that are not bodily; for those who are fond
of hearing and telling stories and who spend their days on anything
that turns up are called gossips, but not self-indulgent, nor are
those who are pained at the loss of money or of friends.
Temperance must be concerned with bodily pleasures, but not all even
of these; for those who delight in objects of vision, such as colours
and shapes and painting, are called neither temperate nor
self-indulgent; yet it would seem possible to delight even in these
either as one should or to excess or to a deficient degree.
And so too is it with objects of hearing; no one calls those who
delight extravagantly in music or acting self-indulgent, nor those who
do so as they ought temperate.
Nor do we apply these names to those who delight in odour, unless it
be incidentally; we do not call those self-indulgent who delight in
the odour of apples or roses or incense, but rather those who delight
in the odour of unguents or of dainty dishes; for self-indulgent
people delight in these because these remind them of the objects of
their appetite. And one may see even other people, when they are
hungry, delighting in the smell of food; but to delight in this kind
of thing is the mark of the self-indulgent man; for these are objects
of appetite to him.
Nor is there in animals other than man any pleasure connected with
these senses, except incidentally. For dogs do not delight in the
scent of hares, but in the eating of them, but the scent told them the
hares were there; nor does the lion delight in the lowing of the ox,
but in eating it; but he perceived by the lowing that it was near, and
therefore appears to delight in the lowing; and similarly he does not
delight because he sees 'a stag or a wild goat', but because he is
going to make a meal of it. Temperance and self-indulgence, however,
are concerned with the kind of pleasures that the other animals share
in, which therefore appear slavish and brutish; these are touch and
taste. But even of taste they appear to make little or no use; for the
business of taste is the discriminating of flavours, which is done by
winetasters and people who season dishes; but they hardly take
pleasure in making these discriminations, or at least self-indulgent
people do not, but in the actual enjoyment, which in all cases comes
through touch, both in the case of food and in that of drink and in
that of sexual intercourse. This is why a certain gourmand prayed that
his throat might become longer than a crane's, implying that it was
the contact that he took pleasure in. Thus the sense with which
self-indulgence is connected is the most widely shared of the senses;
and self-indulgence would seem to be justly a matter of reproach,
because it attaches to us not as men but as animals. To delight in
such things, then, and to love them above all others, is brutish. For
even of the pleasures of touch the most liberal have been eliminated,
e.g. those produced in the gymnasium by rubbing and by the consequent
heat; for the contact characteristic of the self-indulgent man does
not affect the whole body but only certain parts.
11
Of the appetites some seem to be common, others to be peculiar to
individuals and acquired; e.g. the appetite for food is natural, since
every one who is without it craves for food or drink, and sometimes
for both, and for love also (as Homer says) if he is young and lusty;
but not every one craves for this or that kind of nourishment or love,
nor for the same things. Hence such craving appears to be our very
own. Yet it has of course something natural about it; for different
things are pleasant to different kinds of people, and some things are
more pleasant to every one than chance objects. Now in the natural
appetites few go wrong, and only in one direction, that of excess; for
to eat or drink whatever offers itself till one is surfeited is to
exceed the natural amount, since natural appetite is the replenishment
of one's deficiency. Hence these people are called belly-gods, this
implying that they fill their belly beyond what is right. It is people

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