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Nicomachean Ethics   


that he does not think himself worthy of good things, and seems also
not to know himself; else he would have desired the things he was
worthy of, since these were good. Yet such people are not thought to
be fools, but rather unduly retiring. Such a reputation, however,
seems actually to make them worse; for each class of people aims at
what corresponds to its worth, and these people stand back even from
noble actions and undertakings, deeming themselves unworthy, and from
external goods no less. Vain people, on the other hand, are fools and
ignorant of themselves, and that manifestly; for, not being worthy of
them, they attempt honourable undertakings, and then are found out;
and tetadorn themselves with clothing and outward show and such
things, and wish their strokes of good fortune to be made public, and
speak about them as if they would be honoured for them. But undue
humility is more opposed to pride than vanity is; for it is both
commoner and worse.
Pride, then, is concerned with honour on the grand scale, as has been
said.
4
There seems to be in the sphere of honour also, as was said in our
first remarks on the subject, a virtue which would appear to be
related to pride as liberality is to magnificence. For neither of
these has anything to do with the grand scale, but both dispose us as
is right with regard to middling and unimportant objects; as in
getting and giving of wealth there is a mean and an excess and defect,
so too honour may be desired more than is right, or less, or from the
right sources and in the right way. We blame both the ambitious man as
am at honour more than is right and from wrong sources, and the
unambitious man as not willing to be honoured even for noble reasons.
But sometimes we praise the ambitious man as being manly and a lover
of what is noble, and the unambitious man as being moderate and
self-controlled, as we said in our first treatment of the subject.
Evidently, since 'fond of such and such an object' has more than one
meaning, we do not assign the term 'ambition' or 'love of honour'
always to the same thing, but when we praise the quality we think of
the man who loves honour more than most people, and when we blame it
we think of him who loves it more than is right. The mean being
without a name, the extremes seem to dispute for its place as though
that were vacant by default. But where there is excess and defect,
there is also an intermediate; now men desire honour both more than
they should and less; therefore it is possible also to do so as one
should; at all events this is the state of character that is praised,
being an unnamed mean in respect of honour. Relatively to ambition it
seems to be unambitiousness, and relatively to unambitiousness it
seems to be ambition, while relatively to both severally it seems in a
sense to be both together. This appears to be true of the other
virtues also. But in this case the extremes seem to be contradictories
because the mean has not received a name.
5
Good temper is a mean with respect to anger; the middle state being
unnamed, and the extremes almost without a name as well, we place good
temper in the middle position, though it inclines towards the
deficiency, which is without a name. The excess might called a sort of
'irascibility'. For the passion is anger, while its causes are many
and diverse.
The man who is angry at the right things and with the right people,
and, further, as he ought, when he ought, and as long as he ought, is
praised. This will be the good-tempered man, then, since good temper
is praised. For the good-tempered man tends to be unperturbed and not
to be led by passion, but to be angry in the manner, at the things,
and for the length of time, that the rule dictates; but he is thought
to err rather in the direction of deficiency; for the good-tempered
man is not revengeful, but rather tends to make allowances.
The deficiency, whether it is a sort of 'inirascibility' or whatever
it is, is blamed. For those who are not angry at the things they

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