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Nicomachean Ethics   


incidentally a greater evil. But theory cares nothing for this; it
calls pleurisy a more serious mischief than a stumble; yet the latter
may become incidentally the more serious, if the fall due to it leads
to your being taken prisoner or put to death the enemy.)
Metaphorically and in virtue of a certain resemblance there is a
justice, not indeed between a man and himself, but between certain
parts of him; yet not every kind of justice but that of master and
servant or that of husband and wife. For these are the ratios in which
the part of the soul that has a rational principle stands to the
irrational part; and it is with a view to these parts that people also
think a man can be unjust to himself, viz. because these parts are
liable to suffer something contrary to their respective desires; there
is therefore thought to be a mutual justice between them as between
ruler and ruled.
Let this be taken as our account of justice and the other, i.e. the
other moral, virtues.
Nicomachean Ethics
By Aristotle
Written 350 B.C.E 1
Since we have previously said that one ought to choose that which is
intermediate, not the excess nor the defect, and that the intermediate
is determined by the dictates of the right rule, let us discuss the
nature of these dictates. In all the states of character we have
mentioned, as in all other matters, there is a mark to which the man
who has the rule looks, and heightens or relaxes his activity
accordingly, and there is a standard which determines the mean states
which we say are intermediate between excess and defect, being in
accordance with the right rule. But such a statement, though true, is
by no means clear; for not only here but in all other pursuits which
are objects of knowledge it is indeed true to say that we must not
exert ourselves nor relax our efforts too much nor too little, but to
an intermediate extent and as the right rule dictates; but if a man
had only this knowledge he would be none the wiser e.g. we should not
know what sort of medicines to apply to our body if some one were to
say 'all those which the medical art prescribes, and which agree with
the practice of one who possesses the art'. Hence it is necessary with
regard to the states of the soul also not only that this true
statement should be made, but also that it should be determined what
is the right rule and what is the standard that fixes it.
We divided the virtues of the soul and a said that some are virtues of
character and others of intellect. Now we have discussed in detail the
moral virtues; with regard to the others let us express our view as
follows, beginning with some remarks about the soul. We said before
that there are two parts of the soul-that which grasps a rule or
rational principle, and the irrational; let us now draw a similar
distinction within the part which grasps a rational principle. And let
it be assumed that there are two parts which grasp a rational
principle-one by which we contemplate the kind of things whose
originative causes are invariable, and one by which we contemplate
variable things; for where objects differ in kind the part of the soul
answering to each of the two is different in kind, since it is in
virtue of a certain likeness and kinship with their objects that they
have the knowledge they have. Let one of these parts be called the
scientific and the other the calculative; for to deliberate and to
calculate are the same thing, but no one deliberates about the
invariable. Therefore the calculative is one part of the faculty which
grasps a rational principle. We must, then, learn what is the best
state of each of these two parts; for this is the virtue of each.
2
The virtue of a thing is relative to its proper work. Now there are
three things in the soul which control action and truth-sensation,
reason, desire.
Of these sensation originates no action; this is plain from the fact
that the lower animals have sensation but no share in action.

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