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Nicomachean Ethics   


naturally or without qualification; for as pleasant things differ, so
do the pleasures arising from them.
(c) Again, it is not necessary that there should be something else
better than pleasure, as some say the end is better than the process;
for leasures are not processes nor do they all involve process-they
are activities and ends; nor do they arise when we are becoming
something, but when we are exercising some faculty; and not all
pleasures have an end different from themselves, but only the
pleasures of persons who are being led to the perfecting of their
nature. This is why it is not right to say that pleasure is
perceptible process, but it should rather be called activity of the
natural state, and instead of 'perceptible' 'unimpeded'. It is thought
by some people to be process just because they think it is in the
strict sense good; for they think that activity is process, which it
is not.
(B) The view that pleasures are bad because some pleasant things are
unhealthy is like saying that healthy things are bad because some
healthy things are bad for money-making; both are bad in the respect
mentioned, but they are not bad for that reason-indeed, thinking
itself is sometimes injurious to health.
Neither practical wisdom nor any state of being is impeded by the
pleasure arising from it; it is foreign pleasures that impede, for the
pleasures arising from thinking and learning will make us think and
learn all the more.
(C) The fact that no pleasure is the product of any art arises
naturally enough; there is no art of any other activity either, but
only of the corresponding faculty; though for that matter the arts of
the perfumer and the cook are thought to be arts of pleasure.
(D) The arguments based on the grounds that the temperate man avoids
pleasure and that the man of practical wisdom pursues the painless
life, and that children and the brutes pursue pleasure, are all
refuted by the same consideration. We have pointed out in what sense
pleasures are good without qualification and in what sense some are
not good; now both the brutes and children pursue pleasures of the
latter kind (and the man of practical wisdom pursues tranquil freedom
from that kind), viz. those which imply appetite and pain, i.e. the
bodily pleasures (for it is these that are of this nature) and the
excesses of them, in respect of which the self-indulgent man is
self-indulent. This is why the temperate man avoids these pleasures;
for even he has pleasures of his own.
13
But further (E) it is agreed that pain is bad and to be avoided; for
some pain is without qualification bad, and other pain is bad because
it is in some respect an impediment to us. Now the contrary of that
which is to be avoided, qua something to be avoided and bad, is good.
Pleasure, then, is necessarily a good. For the answer of Speusippus,
that pleasure is contrary both to pain and to good, as the greater is
contrary both to the less and to the equal, is not successful; since
he would not say that pleasure is essentially just a species of evil.
And (F) if certain pleasures are bad, that does not prevent the chief
good from being some pleasure, just as the chief good may be some form
of knowledge though certain kinds of knowledge are bad. Perhaps it is
even necessary, if each disposition has unimpeded activities, that,
whether the activity (if unimpeded) of all our dispositions or that of
some one of them is happiness, this should be the thing most worthy of
our choice; and this activity is pleasure. Thus the chief good would
be some pleasure, though most pleasures might perhaps be bad without
qualification. And for this reason all men think that the happy life
is pleasant and weave pleasure into their ideal of happiness-and
reasonably too; for no activity is perfect when it is impeded, and
happiness is a perfect thing; this is why the happy man needs the
goods of the body and external goods, i.e. those of fortune, viz. in
order that he may not be impeded in these ways. Those who say that the
victim on the rack or the man who falls into great misfortunes is

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