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Nicomachean Ethics   


of in vain. The man who thinks himself worthy of worthy of less than
he is really worthy of is unduly humble, whether his deserts be great
or moderate, or his deserts be small but his claims yet smaller. And
the man whose deserts are great would seem most unduly humble; for
what would he have done if they had been less? The proud man, then, is
an extreme in respect of the greatness of his claims, but a mean in
respect of the rightness of them; for he claims what is accordance
with his merits, while the others go to excess or fall short.
If, then, he deserves and claims great things, and above all the great
things, he will be concerned with one thing in particular. Desert is
relative to external goods; and the greatest of these, we should say,
is that which we render to the gods, and which people of position most
aim at, and which is the prize appointed for the noblest deeds; and
this is honour; that is surely the greatest of external goods. Honours
and dishonours, therefore, are the objects with respect to which the
proud man is as he should be. And even apart from argument it is with
honour that proud men appear to be concerned; for it is honour that
they chiefly claim, but in accordance with their deserts. The unduly
humble man falls short both in comparison with his own merits and in
comparison with the proud man's claims. The vain man goes to excess in
comparison with his own merits, but does not exceed the proud man's
claims.
Now the proud man, since he deserves most, must be good in the highest
degree; for the better man always deserves more, and the best man
most. Therefore the truly proud man must be good. And greatness in
every virtue would seem to be characteristic of a proud man. And it
would be most unbecoming for a proud man to fly from danger, swinging
his arms by his sides, or to wrong another; for to what end should he
do disgraceful acts, he to whom nothing is great? If we consider him
point by point we shall see the utter absurdity of a proud man who is
not good. Nor, again, would he be worthy of honour if he were bad; for
honour is the prize of virtue, and it is to the good that it is
rendered. Pride, then, seems to be a sort of crown of the virtues; for
it makes them greater, and it is not found without them. Therefore it
is hard to be truly proud; for it is impossible without nobility and
goodness of character. It is chiefly with honours and dishonours,
then, that the proud man is concerned; and at honours that are great
and conferred by good men he will be moderately Pleased, thinking that
he is coming by his own or even less than his own; for there can be no
honour that is worthy of perfect virtue, yet he will at any rate
accept it since they have nothing greater to bestow on him; but honour
from casual people and on trifling grounds he will utterly despise,
since it is not this that he deserves, and dishonour too, since in his
case it cannot be just. In the first place, then, as has been said,
the proud man is concerned with honours; yet he will also bear himself
with moderation towards wealth and power and all good or evil fortune,
whatever may befall him, and will be neither over-joyed by good
fortune nor over-pained by evil. For not even towards honour does he
bear himself as if it were a very great thing. Power and wealth are
desirable for the sake of honour (at least those who have them wish to
get honour by means of them); and for him to whom even honour is a
little thing the others must be so too. Hence proud men are thought to
be disdainful.
The goods of fortune also are thought to contribute towards pride. For
men who are well-born are thought worthy of honour, and so are those
who enjoy power or wealth; for they are in a superior position, and
everything that has a superiority in something good is held in greater
honour. Hence even such things make men prouder; for they are honoured
by some for having them; but in truth the good man alone is to be
honoured; he, however, who has both advantages is thought the more
worthy of honour. But those who without virtue have such goods are
neither justified in making great claims nor entitled to the name of
'proud'; for these things imply perfect virtue. Disdainful and
insolent, however, even those who have such goods become. For without

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