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Health-Related Quotes from Aristotle


 Towards a healthy living   Aristotle Quotes
Aristotle 384-322 B.C.
Here are 187 quotations from Aristotle related to ethics and how to live well, from his Nicomachean Ethics. Some of these may seem like noble goals even for people today. Others may make you think twice, especially if you don't consider yourself a philosopher, but are just looking for age-tested ideas on how to live a better life.
Courtesy of translator Giles Laurén, author of The Stoic's Bible from Aristotle. The Nichomean Ethics
      W.D. ROSS
  1. Every art and every inquiry and similarly every action and pursuit is thought to aim at some good, and for this reason the good has been declared to be that at which all things aim.ARIST. Nico. I.1...

  2. If there is some end in the things we do, which we desire for its own sake, clearly this must be the chief good. Knowing this will have a great influence on how we live our lives.ARIST. Nico. I.2.
  3. Politics appears to be the master art for it includes so many others and its purpose is the good of man. While it is worthy to perfect one man, it is finer and more godlike to perfect a nation.ARIST. Nico. I.2.
  4. It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of thing in so far as its nature admits.ARIST. Nico. I.3.
  5. Each man judges well the things he knows.ARIST. Nico. I.3.
  6. Men generally agree that the highest good attainable by action is happiness, and identify living well and doing well with happiness.ARIST. Nico. I.4.
  7. Aristotle Quotes
    Quotes by Aristotle
  8. There are three prominent types of life: pleasure, political and contemplative. The mass of mankind is slavish in their tastes, preferring a life suitable to beasts; they have some ground for this view since they are imitating many of those in high places. People of superior refinement identify happiness with honour, or virtue, and generally the political life.ARIST. Nico. I.5.
  1. Our duty as philosophers requires us to honour truth above our friends.ARIST. Nico. I.6.
  2. If things are good in themselves, the good will appear as something identical in them all, but the accounts of the goodness in honour, wisdom, and pleasure are diverse. The good therefore is not some common element answering to one Idea.ARIST. Nico. I.6.
  3. Even if there be one good which is universally predictable or is capable of independent existence, it could not be attained by man.ARIST. Nico. I.7.
  4. If there is an end for all we do, it will be the good achievable by action.ARIST. Nico. I.7.
  5. The self-sufficient we define as that which when isolated makes life desirable and complete, and such we think happiness to be. It cannot be exceeded and is therefore the end of action.ARIST. Nico. I.7.
  6. If we consider the function of man to be a certain kind of life, and this to be an activity of the soul implying a rational principle, and the function of a good man to be the noble performance of these, and if any action is well performed when it is performed in accordance with the appropriate principle; if this is the case, human good turns out to be activity of the soul in accordance with virtue.ARIST. Nico. I.7.
  7. We must first roughly sketch the good and later fill in the details; anyone is capable of articulating what has once been well outlined. The beginning is thought to be more than half of the whole.ARIST. Nico. I.7.
  8. Some identify Happiness with virtue, some with practical wisdom, others with a kind of philosophical wisdom, others add or exclude pleasure and yet others include prosperity. We agree with those who identify happiness with virtue, for virtue belongs with virtuous behaviour and virtue is only known by its acts.ARIST. Nico. I.8.
  9. Lovers of what is noble find pleasant the things that are by nature pleasant; since virtue is by nature pleasant, they by virtuous actions find their pleasures within themselves.ARIST. Nico. I.8.
  10. The man who does not rejoice in noble actions is not good; the good man judges well in matters of the good and the noble.ARIST. Nico. I.8.
  11. Most noble is that which is most just, best is health; Most pleasant is to win what we love. Delphic Inscription.ARIST. Nico. I.8.
  12. Is happiness to be acquired by learning, by habit, or some other form of training? It seems to come as a result of virtue and some process of learning and to be among the godlike things since its end is godlike and blessed.ARIST. Nico. I.9.
  13. All who are able, may gain virtue by study and care, for it is better to be happy by the action of nature than by chance. To entrust to chance what is most important would be defective reasoning.ARIST. Nico. I.9.
  14. Political science spends most of its pains on forming its citizens to be of good character and capable of noble acts.ARIST. Nico. I.9.
  15. Durable virtue will belong to the happy man, and he will be happy throughout his life, for he will always opt for virtuous acts and thoughts and he will bear the hazards of life with nobility and live beyond reproach.ARIST. Nico. I.10.
  16. No happy man can become miserable, for he will never do acts that are hateful and mean.ARIST. Nico. I.10.
  17. Should we not say that he is happy whose acts are virtuous and has adequate external goods for his lifetime?ARIST. Nico. I.10.
  18. No one praises happiness as he does justice, but rather calls it blessed, as being something more divine and better. Praise is appropriate to virtue, because as a result of virtue men tend to do noble deeds.ARIST. Nico. I.12.
  19. Since happiness is an activity of soul in harmony with virtue, we must consider virtue to see if she can help us to understand happiness. The student of politics studies virtue above all else since he wishes to make his fellow citizens good and obedient to the laws.ARIST. Nico. I.13.
  20. In speaking about a man's character we do not say that he is wise or has understanding, but that he is good tempered; we praise the wise man for his state of mind.ARIST. Nico. I.13.
  21. Virtue, is of two kinds, intellectual and moral; intellectual owes its birth and growth to teaching while moral virtue comes to us through habit. None of the moral virtues arises in us by nature for nothing in nature can change its nature; we are adapted by nature to receive them and by habit, perfect them.ARIST. Nico. II.1.
  22. By acting as we do with other men we make ourselves just or unjust. It makes no small difference whether we form habits of one kind or another from early youth; it makes, rather, all the difference.ARIST. Nico. II.1.
  23. By abstaining from pleasures we become temperate and once temperate we are more able to abstain from them. Likewise, once habituated to despise what is terrible we become courageous.ARIST. Nico. II.2.
  24. Moral excellence is concerned with pleasure and pain; because of pleasure we do bad things and for fear of pain we avoid noble ones. For this reason we ought to be trained from youth, as Plato says: to find pleasure and pain where we ought; this is the purpose of education.ARIST. Nico. II.3.
  25. There are three objects of choice and three of avoidance: the noble, the advantageous, the pleasant and their contraries, the base, the injurious, the painful, and about all of these the good man tends to go right and the bad man tends to go wrong.ARIST. Nico. II.3.
  26. It is harder to fight with pleasure than with anger, to use Heraclitus' phrase, but both art and virtue are always concerned with what is harder; even the good is better when it is harder. The concern of both virtue and political science is with pleasures and pains; the man who uses these well will be good, he who uses them badly, bad.ARIST. Nico. II.3.
  27. Men who do just and temperate acts are just and temperate.ARIST. Nico. II.4.
  28. Knowledge is not necessary for the possession of the virtues, whereas the habits which result from doing just and temperate acts count for all. By doing just acts the just man is produced, by doing temperate acts, the temperate man; without acting well no one can become good. Most people avoid good acts and take refuge in theory and think that by becoming philosophers they will become good.ARIST. Nico. II.4.
  29. If the virtues are neither passions nor facilities, all that remains is that they should be states of character.ARIST. Nico. II.5.
  30. The virtue of man will be the state of character which makes a man good and which makes him live well.ARIST. Nico. II.6.
  31. For men are good in but one way, but bad in many. Anon.ARIST. Nico. II.6. 128
  32. Virtue is a state of character concerned with choice, being determined by rational principle as determined by the moderate man of practical wisdom.ARIST. Nico. II.6.
  33. In all things the mean is praiseworthy, and the extremes neither praiseworthy nor right, but worthy of blame.ARIST. Nico. II.7.
  34. Man acts voluntarily, the impulses that move the parts of his body are in his power to do or not to do. To endure great indignities for no noble end or for a trifling one is the mark of an inferior person. As a rule, what is expected is painful, and what we are forced to do is base, whence praise and blame are bestowed on those who have been compelled or have not.ARIST. Nico. III.1.
  35. It is absurd to make external circumstances responsible and not oneself, and to make oneself responsible for noble acts and pleasant objects responsible for base ones.ARIST. Nico. III.1.
  36. Everything done by reason of ignorance is involuntary. The man who has acted in ignorance has not acted voluntarily since he did not know what he was doing. Not every wicked man is ignorant of what he ought to do and what he ought to abstain from; by such errors men become unjust and bad.ARIST. Nico. III.1.
  37. No one chooses wishful things, but only that things might be brought about by his efforts; choice relates to things that are in our power and involve a rational principle.ARIST. Nico. III.2.
  38. We deliberate about things that are in our power to do or not. We deliberate not about ends, but about means. The object of choice is one of the things in our power which is desired after deliberation.ARIST. Nico. III.3.
  39. Each state of character has its own ideas of the noble and the pleasant, and perhaps the good man differs from others most by seeing the truth in each class of things. In most things the error seems to arise from pleasure, what appears good when it is not.ARIST. Nico. III.4.
  40. The end being what we wish for, the means what we deliberate about and we choose our actions voluntarily. The exercise of virtues is concerned with means and therefore both virtue and vice are in our power.ARIST. Nico. III.5.
  41. We punish a man for his ignorance if he is thought to be responsible for his ignorance.ARIST. Nico. III.5.
  42. If a man does unjust things without being ignorant he is unjust voluntarily.ARIST. Nico. III.5.
  43. Death is the most terrible of all things, for it is the end, and nothing is thought to be either good or bad for the dead.ARIST. Nico. III.6.
  44. The man who fears the right things for the right motives in the right way at the right time and feels confidence is brave.ARIST. Nico. III.7.
  45. Confidence is the mark of a hopeful disposition.ARIST. Nico. III.7. The brave man is the mean between the coward and the rash man.
    ARIST. Nico.
  46. III.7. Self-indulgence is a matter for reproach because it attaches us with animals.ARIST. Nico. III.10.
  47. The temperate man is so called because he is not pained at the absence of what is pleasant. The self-indulgent man craves pleasures and is led by his appetite to choose them at the cost of everything else.ARIST. Nico. III.11.
  48. Liberality seems to be the mean as regards wealth, for the liberal man is praised for the giving and taking of wealth and especially with giving.ARIST. Nico. IV.1.
  49. Givers are called liberal; those who do not take are not praised for liberality but rather for justice; those who take are hardly praised at all. The liberal are most loved of virtuous men because they are useful.ARIST. Nico. IV.1.
  50. Liberality lies not in the multitude of the gifts but in the character of the giver.ARIST. Nico. IV.1.
  51. Those who inherited wealth are thought to be more liberal than those who made it, since men are fonder of their own productions. It is not easy for the liberal man to be rich for he cannot have more wealth if he does not take pains to have it.ARIST. Nico. IV.1.
  52. Some exceed in taking by taking anything from any source, e.g. those who ply sordid trades, pimps and money lenders. What is common in them is sordid love of gain; they put up with a bad name for the sake of gain.ARIST. Nico. IV.1.
  53. It is hard to be proud and impossible without nobility and goodness of character.ARIST. Nico. IV.3.
  54. The Spartans did not recount their services to the Athenians, but those they had received, when they asked for help to defend against a Thebian invasion in 369.ARIST. Nico. IV.3.
  55. He must be open in his hate and in his love, for to conceal one's feelings is to care less for truth than for what people think and that is the coward's part. He must speak and act openly because it is his to speak the truth.ARIST. Nico. IV.3.
  56. He must be unable to make his life revolve round another unless he be a friend; for this is slavish and all flatters are servile people lacking in self- respect. Nor is he a gossip, he will speak neither about himself or about another since he cares not to be praised nor others blamed.ARIST. Nico. IV.3.
  57. By reason of excess choleric people are quick-tempered and ready to be angry with everything on every occasion. Sulky people are hard to appease and retain their anger until revenge relieves them of it.ARIST. Nico. IV.5.
  58. We call bad-tempered those who are angry at the wrong things more often than is right, and longer, and will not be appeased until they are revenged.ARIST. Nico. IV.5.
  59. Some men are thought to be obsequious; to give pleasure they praise everything and never oppose, but think it their duty 'to give no pain to the people they meet,' while those who, on the contrary oppose everything and care not a whit about giving pain are called churlish and contentions.ARIST. Nico. IV.6.
  60. Each man speaks and acts and lives according to his character. Falsehood is mean and culpable and truth noble and worthy of praise. The man who is truthful where nothing is at stake will be still more truthful where something is at stake.ARIST. Nico. IV.7.
  61. A man who claims to be more than he is to gain reputation is not much blamed, but if he should do so for money or things that lead to money he is an ugly character.ARIST. Nico. IV.7.
  62. Mock-modest people who understate things seem more attractive in character, for they have no thought of gain but rather to avoid any parade of qualities which might bring reputation that they disclaim. Some seem boastful through moderation, like Spartan dress, for both excess and great deficiency are boastful.ARIST. Nico. IV.7.
  63. We think young people should be prone to shame because they live by feeling and commit many errors and are restrained by shame.ARIST. Nico. IV.9.
  64. Since the unjust man is grasping, he must be concerned with those goods that lead to prosperity and adversity.ARIST. Nico. V.1.I
  65. Rule will show the man. Bias.ARIST. Nico. V.1.
  66. Justice alone of the virtues is thought to be 'another's good,' because it is related to our neighbour and does what is advantageous to another.ARIST. Nico. V.1.
  67. If a man makes gain, his action is ascribed to no form of wickedness but injustice and his motive is the pleasure that arises from gain.ARIST. Nico. V.2.
  68. All men agree that a just distribution must be according to merit in some sense; they do not all specify the same sort of merit, but democrats identify if with freemen, supporters of oligarchy with wealth (or noble birth), and supporters of aristocracy with excellence.ARIST. Nico. V.3.
  69. When a distribution is made from the common funds of a partnership it will be according to the same ratio which the funds were put into the business by the partners and any violation of this kind of justice would be injustice.ARIST. Nico. V.4.
  70. In some states they call judges mediators on the assumption that if they get what is intermediate they will get what is just.ARIST. Nico. V.4.
  71. Some think that reciprocity is just, as the Pythagoreans said, who defined justice as reciprocity. People want the justice of Rhadamanthus to mean this: Should a man suffer what he did, justice would be done. Hesiod. frag. Yet in many cases reciprocity and reciprocal justice are not in accord.ARIST. Nico. V.5.
  72. In associations for exchange men are held together according to proportion and not on the basis of equal return. It is by the justice of proportionate requital that the city holds together. Men seek return either evil for evil or good for good and if they cannot do so there is no exchange and without exchange they cannot hold together.ARIST. Nico. V.5.
  73. People are different and unequal and yet must be somehow equated. This is why all things that are exchanged must be comparable and to this end money has been introduced as an intermediate for it measures all things. In truth, demand holds things together and without it there would be no exchange.ARIST. Nico. V.5.
  74. Law exists for men between whom there is injustice. Injustice is the assigning of too much good to oneself and too little evil.ARIST. Nico. V.6.
  75. When a man acts involuntarily he acts neither justly nor unjustly except incidentally. By voluntarily I mean any act in one's power done with knowledge.ARIST. Nico. V.8.
  76. Acts done from anger are not done with malice aforethought, for it is the man who enraged him that starts the mischief.ARIST. Nico. V.8.
  77. The incontinent man does things he does not think he ought to do.ARIST. Nico. V.9.
  78. When the virtuous man takes less than his share, he perhaps gets more than his share of some other good, i.e. honour. He suffers nothing contrary to his own wish, he is not unjustly treated and at most only suffers harm.ARIST. Nico. V.9.
  79. Men think that acting unjustly is in their power and therefore that being just is easy. But to act justly a certain state of character, which is not in our power, is necessary and not always easy to find.ARIST. Nico. V.9.
  80. The equitable is just, not legally just, but a correction of legal justice. This is because all law is universal, but about some things it is not possible to make a universal statement. When the law is silent the equitable settlement is just.ARIST. Nico. V.10.
  81. We ought to choose that which is intermediate, neither the excess nor the defect; what is intermediate is determined by right rule.ARIST. Nico. VI.1.
  82. The virtue of a thing relates to its proper work. What affirmation and negation are in thinking, pursuit and avoidance are in desire. Since moral virtue is a state of character concerned with choice, both good reasoning and proper desire must be present if the choice is to be good.ARIST. Nico. VI.2.
  83. Every science is thought to be capable of being taught and its object capable of being learned. Unless a man believes in a certain way and is familiar with the starting points, his knowledge will be only incidental.ARIST. Nico. VI.3.
  84. Art loves chance and chance loves art. Agathon.ARIST. Nico. VI.4. 133
  85. Practical wisdom is thought to be the mark of a man able to deliberate well about what is good and expedient to himself and conduce to the good life. Practical wisdom is a virtue and not an art.ARIST. Nico. VI.5.
  86. That which can be demonstrated scientifically is known whereas art and practical wisdom deal with that which is variable.ARIST. Nico. VI.6.
  87. Wisdom must be intuitive reason combined with scientific knowledge.ARIST. Nico. VI.7.
  88. Reasoned knowledge and initiative wisdom are the highest by nature. This is why men like Thales and Anaxagoras had philosophic and not practical wisdom. When we see them ignorant to their own advantage and we say they knew things that are remarkable, admirable, difficult, and divine, but useless, it is because it was not human good that they sought.ARIST. Nico. VI.7.
  89. The man who is good at deliberating is the man capable of aiming with calculation at the best things attainable by action.ARIST. Nico. VI.7.
  90. While young men may become geometers and mathematicians and such like things, young men of practical wisdom cannot be found. Wisdom is concerned not only with universals, but with the particulars, which only become familiar through the experience the young man has not.ARIST. Nico. VI.8.
  91. Excellence of deliberation is not opinion. The man who deliberates badly makes mistakes while he who deliberates well does so correctly; correctness in deliberation is the truth that determines opinion. Excellent deliberation attains what is good which is the aim of the man of practical wisdomARIST. Nico. VI.9.

  92. Understanding is neither about things that are unchangeable nor about things changeable; it is about the objects of practical wisdom. Practical wisdom issues commands, its object is to do the right thing; understanding decides.
  93. PART II ARIST. Nico. VI.10.

  1. The equitable man is above all others a sympathetic judge who identifies equity with certain fact correctly.ARIST. Nico. VI.11.
  2. No one is a philosopher by nature; people have by natural judgement, understanding and intuitive reason. We ought to attend to the sayings and opinions of experienced and older people or of people of practical wisdom since experience has given them insight,ARIST. Nico. VI.11.
  3. As health produces health, so does philosophic wisdom produce happiness. Wisdom is a part of virtue that once possessed makes a man happy.ARIST. Nico. VI.12.
  4. The work of man is achieved in accordance with practical wisdom and moral virtue; virtue makes us aim at the right mark and practical wisdom makes us take the right means.ARIST. Nico. VI.12.
  5. In order to be good a man must be in a certain state when he acts and must act by choice for the sake of the acts themselves.ARIST. Nico. VI.12.
  6. Socrates was wrong in thinking that all the virtues are forms of practical wisdom and right and in thinking they all implied practical wisdom. Socrates thought the virtues were rules or rational principles, while we think they involve a rational principle.ARIST. Nico. VI.13.

  1. Three moral states are to be avoided: vice, incontinence, and brutishness. Their contraries are virtue, continence and godliness.ARIST. Nico. VII.1.
  2. Both continence and endurance are included among the good things and incontinence and softness among what is bad. The continent man will abide by the result of his calculations while the incontinent will not and therefore the incontinent man in doing what he knows to be wrong is a bad man.ARIST. Nico. VII.1.
  3. Socrates thought differently, he believed that people only act badly through ignorance.ARIST. Nico. VII.2.
  4. The man asleep, mad or drunk may have knowledge and not use it, and this is the condition of men under the influence of passions.ARIST. Nico. VII.3.
  5. The fact that men use language that flows from knowledge means nothing, even men in passion utter scientific proofs and verses of Empedocles, and those just learning a science can string together its phrases without understanding them. The language of the incontinent man is no more than the speech of actors on the stage.ARIST. Nico. VII.3.
  6. We call self-indulgent rather than incontinent the man who, with but slight appetite, pursues the excesses of pleasure and avoids moderate pains.ARIST. Nico. VII.4.
  7. Every excessive state, whether of folly, cowardice, self-indulgence, or bad temper, is either brutish or morbid. Foolish people who are by nature thoughtless and live by their senses alone are brutish.ARIST. Nico. VII.5.
  8. Aristotle We pardon people more easily for following natural desires.ARIST. Nico. VII.6.
  9. One who acts in anger acts with pain while one who commits outrage acts with pleasure.ARIST. Nico. VII.6.
  10. The incontinence concerned with appetite is more disgraceful than that concerned with anger; continence and incontinence are concerned with bodily appetites and pleasures. Some are natural and human, others are brutish and others are due to injury or disease; only the first sort are subject to temperance and self-indulgence.ARIST. Nico. VII.6.
  11. Brutishness is less evil than vice, though more alarming; the better part has not been perverted, as in man; they have no better part. It is like comparing the vice of a lifeless thing with that of the living. That badness which has no originative source of movement is always less harmful than a reasoned source. A bad man will do ten thousand times as much evil as a brute.ARIST. Nico. VII.6.
  12. The state of most people is intermediate, even if they lean towards the worse state. The man who pursues to excess things pleasant or necessary by choice, is self-indulgent. Such a man is unlikely to repent, and is therefore incurable.ARIST. Nico. VII.7.
  13. Incontinence has two sorts: impetuosity and weakness. Some men deliberate and fail owing to their emotion, others because they have not deliberated are led by their emotion. Keen and excitable people suffer especially from impetuous incontinence; the former by reason of the quickness of their passions and the latter, by the violence of their passions, do not await the argument because they are apt to follow their imagination.ARIST. Nico. VII.7.
  14. The self-indulgent man is not apt to repent and stands by his choice, while the incontinent man is likely to repent, therefore the self-indulgent man is incurable and the incontinent man curable.ARIST. Nico. VII.8.
  15. Incontinence is not vice for it is contrary to choice while vice flows from choice.ARIST. Nico. VII.8.
  16. People who are strong-headed are the opinionated, the ignorant, and the boorish. The opinionated are influenced by pleasure and pain; they delight in the victory they gain if they are not persuaded to change and pained if their opinions are dismissed.ARIST. Nico. VII.9.
  17. A man of practical wisdom has both knowledge and ability to act; the incontinent man has knowledge but lacks the ability to act.ARIST. Nico. VII.9.
  18. The incontinent man is like the city that passes the right decrees and has good laws, but makes no use of them. The wicked man is like a city that uses its laws, but has wicked laws to use.ARIST. Nico. VII.10.
  19. I say that habit's but long practice, friend, And this becomes men's nature in the end. Evenus.ARIST. Nico. VII.10.
  20. There are pleasures that involve no pain or appetite, such as contemplation. 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.ARIST. Nico. VII.12.
  21. The self-indulgent man exceeds himself in the bodily pleasures, whereas the temperate man avoids them and finds his pleasures elsewhere.ARIST. Nico. VII. 12.
  22. 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 so that he may not be impeded. Those who say that the victim on the rack, or the man who falls into great misfortune is happy if he is good, are talking nonsense. Because we need fortune as well as other things, some people think good fortune is the same thing as happiness. It is not, even good fortune in excess is an impediment and its limit is fixed by happiness.ARIST. Nico. VII.13.
  23. We consider bodily pleasures first because we most often steer our course on their account and because all men share them; because they are familiar men think there are no others. The life of the good man will not be more pleasant than that of others if his activities are not more pleasant.ARIST. Nico. VII.13.
  24. Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.ARIST. Nico. VIII.1.
  25. Friendship seems to hold states together as lawmakers care for it more than justice; unanimity seems to be something like friendship, and this they aim at most of all, and expel faction as their worst enemy. The truest form of justice is thought to be a friendly quality.ARIST. Nico. VIII.1.
  26. Those who love each other for their utility do not love each other for themselves but in virtue of some good which they hope to get from each other. Those who love for the sake of utility or pleasure love for the sake of what is good for themselves.ARIST. Nico. VIII.3.
  27. The useful is not permanent and is always changing. When the motive for friendship dies so does the friendship. Older people pursue the useful rather than the pleasant and sometimes they do not even find each other pleasant and need little companionship except for utility; they are pleasant to each other only in so far as they rouse in each other hopes for something good to come. The friendships of young people seem to aim at pleasures whose nature changes; this is why they are quick to make and quick to cease friendships. Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good and alike in virtue, for these like each other for their goodness and are good themselves. Such friendships require time and familiarity.ARIST. Nico. VIII.3.
  28. For the sake of pleasure or utility even bad men may be friends of each other, or good men of bad, but for their own sake only good men can become friends. Bad men do not delight in each other unless some advantages come of the relation.ARIST. Nico. VIII.4.
  29. Neither old people nor sour people seem to make friends easily, for there is little that is pleasant in them.ARIST. Nico. VIII.5.
  30. One cannot be a friend to many people in the same sense of having friendship of the perfect type with them. One must acquire some experience of the other person and become familiar with him, and that is hard. Friendship based on utility is for the commercially minded. The good man is at the same time pleasant and useful; such a man does not become the friend of one who surpasses him in station unless he is surpassed also in virtue.ARIST. Nico. VIII. 6.
  31. There is another form of friendship that involves inequalities such as between father and son and elder and younger.ARIST. Nico. VIII.7.
  32. Most people, owing to ambition, wish to be loved rather than to love, and this is why men love flattery. Most people enjoy being honoured by those in positions of authority because they hope to use them in the future.ARIST. Nico. VIII.8.
  33. In every community there is a form of justice and friendship. Men address as friends their fellow-voyagers and fellow-soldiers and so too those associated with them in many other forms of community.ARIST. Nico. VIII.9.
  34. There are three kinds of constitution: monarchy, aristocracy, and that based on property, timocratic. The best is monarchy, the worst timocracy. Monarchy deviates to tyranny; the king looks to his people's interest; the tyrant looks to his own. Aristocracy passes over to oligarchy by the badness of its rulers who distribute contrary to equity what belongs to the city; most of the good things go to themselves and office always to the same people, paying most regard to wealth; thus the rulers are few and are bad men instead of the most worthy. Timocracy passes over to democracy since both are ruled by the majority.ARIST. Nico. VIII.10.
  35. In democracies there is more friendship than under the other forms of governance since the citizens are equal and have much in common.ARIST. Nico. VIII.11.
  36. Complaints and reproaches arise chiefly in friendships of utility as is to be expected. Friends by virtue are anxious to do well by each other and avoid conflict.ARIST. Nico. VIII.13.
  37. Most men wish for what is noble and choose what is advantageous. It is noble to do well by others, but receiving benefits is advantageous. We should consider our benefactor and the terms on which he is acting so that we might accept the benefit on those terms, or else decline it.ARIST. Nico. VIII.13.
  38. It is disputable whether we ought to measure a service by its utility to the receiver and make the return with that in view, or by the benevolence of the giver. Those who receive say they have received what meant little to the giver and what they might have got from others; while the givers on the contrary say it was the biggest thing they had and what could not have been got from others. If the friendship is one of utility, surely the advantage to the receiver is the measure.ARIST. Nico. VIII.13.
  39. Differences arise also in friendships based on superiority; for each expects to get more out of them, but when this happens the friendship is dissolved. Not only does the better man think he should get more, since more should be assigned to a good man, but the more useful similarly expects this. They think, as in a commercial friendship, those who put in more should get more. What is the use of being the friend of a good man or a powerful man, if one is to get nothing out of it?ARIST. Nico. VIII.14.
  40. It seems that each party is justified in his claim and each should get more out of the friendship than the other, but not more of the same thing. To the superior, more honour and to the inferior more gain, for honour is the prize of virtue, while gain is the assistance required by inferiority.ARIST. Nico. VIII. 14.
  41. In civil arrangements likewise: the man who contributes nothing to the common stock is not honoured, for what belongs to the public is given to the man who benefits the public and honour lies in the hands the public. It is not possible to get wealth from the common stock and at the same time honour.ARIST. Nico. VIII.14.
  42. The man who is benefited in wealth or virtue must give honour in return, and repay what he can; friendship asks a man to do what he can and not what is proportional.ARIST. Nico. VIII.14.
  43. In the friendship of lovers, sometimes the lover claims his excess of love is not returned, while often the beloved complains that the lover who formerly promised everything now performs nothing. Such incidents occur when the lover loves for pleasure while the beloved loves for utility, and they do not each possess the qualities expected of them.ARIST. Nico. IX.1.
  44. Friendships are transient when they involve transient qualities. The love of character endures because it is self-dependant.ARIST. Nico. IX.1.
  45. Each looks to what he wants and it is for that that he will give what he has.ARIST. Nico. IX.1.
  46. Whenever Protagoras taught anything, he bade the learner assess the value of the knowledge and accepted the amount so fixed.ARIST. Nico. IX.1.
  47. Those who are paid first and then do none of the promised things naturally find themselves complained about, for they did not do what they agreed to. The sophists are perhaps compelled to do this because no one would give them money for the things they know.ARIST. Nico. IX.1.
  48. It seems one should make a return to those with whom one has studied philosophy, for their worth cannot be measured against money and they can get no honour with which to balance their services, but still it is perhaps enough to give them what one can.ARIST. Nico. IX.1.
  49. The law holds that it is more just that the person to whom one has given should fix the terms. Should not the receiver assess a thing not at what it seems to be worth when he has it, but at what he assessed it at before he had it?ARIST. Nico. IX.1.
  50. We must return benefits rather than oblige friends and pay back loans rather than loan to a friend.ARIST. Nico. IX.2.
  51. Discussions about feelings and actions have just as much definiteness as their subject matter.ARIST. Nico. IX.2.
  52. Should a friendship be broken off when our friend has changed? There is nothing strange in breaking off a friendship based on utility when one party has lost his attributes. When a man deceives himself into thinking he is loved for his qualities, and the other person thought nothing of the kind, he must blame himself. If a friend is turning wicked and yet is capable of being reformed, one should come to his assistance as this is more characteristic of friendship. We ought to oblige friends before strangers and to our friends we ought to make allowance.ARIST. Nico. IX.3.
  53. Friendly relations with one's neighbours and the marks which define friendship proceed from a man's relations with himself. We define a friend as one who does what is good for the sake of his friend; one who wishes his friend to prosper for his own sake; one who is a familiar; one who has the same tastes; one who shares another's grief and joy.ARIST. Nico. IX.4.
  54. Virtue and the good man seem to be the measure of all things. The memories of his past are delightful and his hopes for the future are good. His mind is well stored with subjects for contemplation. He grieves and rejoices with himself for his sentiments are unchanging and he has nothing to repent of. Incontinent people choose, instead of things they think good, things that are pleasant but harmful. Wicked people seek for people with whom to spend their days and escape from themselves, for they remember many a grievous deed and anticipate others when they are alone and only forget themselves when they are with others. Bad men are laden with repentance.
  55. The bad man is not amicably disposed, even to himself, because there is nothing in him to love.ARIST. Nico. IX.4.
  56. We may feel goodwill towards those who are not our friends.ARIST. Nico. IX.5.
  57. A city is said to be unanimous when men have the same opinion about where their interest lies and choose the same action in common. Bad men cannot be unanimous any more than they can be friends, since they each aim at getting more than their share of advantages; In labour and public service they fall short of their share, and each wishing advantage for himself criticizes his neighbour and stands in his way. If people do not watch closely the common weal is soon destroyed. The result is a state of faction, all wiling to compel another, but unwilling themselves to do what is just.ARIST. Nico. IX.6.
  58. It is human nature to be forgetful and to be more anxious to be treated well than to treat others well. Creditors have no friendly feeling towards their debtors and only a wish them well so they might repay what is owing. Every man likes his handiwork better than it would love him if it were to come alive. This is what benefactors feel towards their good deeds and how they are viewed in return. All men love more what they have won by labour; to be well treated seems to involve no labour, while to treat others well is a laborious task.ARIST. Nico. IX.7.
  59. We criticize men for self-love, and yet, paradoxically, the good man is best able to love himself. If all were to strive for noble actions it would be best for the commonweal that everyone would secure for himself the goods that are greatest.ARIST. Nico. IX.8.
  60. When we assign all good things to the good man, should we not include friends who are the greatest external good? It is better to spend one's days with friends than with strangers.ARIST. Nico. IX.9.
  61. Happiness is found in the good man's actions. A good man delights in virtuous acts as a musician delights in good music. A certain training in virtue arises from the company of the good.ARIST. Nico. IX.9.
  62. As to friends of utility and pleasure, there need be none beyond what is enough. As to true friends, they should be no more than could spend all their days together.ARIST. Nico. IX.10.
  63. Great friendship can only be felt towards a few people. We find many who are comradely, while famous friendships are between but two people.ARIST. Nico. IX.10.
  64. People with too many friends are said to be obsequious. It is possible to be a friend to many in a non-obsequious way, but a truly good friend who values character and virtue can have but a few.ARIST. Nico. IX.10.
  65. People of a manly nature guard against making their friends grieve for them. We ought to summon our friends to share our good fortunes, but summon them in our bad fortunes with hesitation. Enough is my misfortune. Proverb.
  66. It is fitting to go unasked and readily to the aid of those in adversity and especially to those who are in need and have not demanded aid. When friends are prosperous we should join in their activities, but be tardy in coming forward as objects of their kindness.ARIST. Nico. IX.10.
  67. Friendship is a partnership, and as a man is to himself, so he is to his friend.ARIST. Nico. IX.10.
  68. The friendship of evil men turns out an evil thing while the friendship of good men is good; for from each other they take the mould of the characteristics they approve. Noble deeds from noble men. Theognis.ARIST. Nico. IX.10.
  69. As most people are not good at drawing distinctions, true arguments seem most useful, not only to attain knowledge, but in living life also.ARIST. Nico. X. 1.
  70. Eudoxus thought pleasure was a good because he saw all things, both rational and irrational aiming at it, and because in all things that which is the object of choice is what is excellent, and that which is most the object of choice the greatest good. The fact that all things move towards the same object indicated that this was for all things the chief good (for each thing, he argued, finds its own good, as it finds its own nourishment); and that which is good for all things and at which all aim was the good. His arguments were credited more because of the excellence of his character than for their own sake; he was thought to be remarkably self-controlled, and therefore it was thought that he was not speaking as a friend of pleasure, but that the facts really were so. He believed that the same conclusion followed no less from a study of the contrary of pleasure; pain is an object of aversion to all things, and therefore its contrary must be an object of choice. That is most an object of choice which we choose not because or for the sake of something else, and pleasure is admittedly of this nature; for no one asks to what end he is pleased, thus implying that pleasure is in itself an object of choice. Further he argued that pleasure when added to any good, e.g. to just or temperate action, makes it more worthy of choice, and that it is only by itself that the good can be increased.ARIST. Nico. X.2.
  71. Plato proves the good not to be pleasure; he argues that the pleasant life is more desirable with wisdom than without, and that if the mixture is better, pleasure is not the good; for the good cannot become more desirable by the addition of anything to it.ARIST. Nico. X.2.
  72. Neither is pleasure the good nor is all pleasure desirable; some pleasures are desirable in themselves, differing in kind or in their sources from others.ARIST. Nico. X.3.
  73. Each of the pleasures is bound up with the activity it completes. An activity is intensified by its proper pleasure, since each class of things is better judged and brought to perfection by those who engage in the activity with pleasure. As activities are different, so are the corresponding pleasures.ARIST. Nico. X.5.
  74. Different things seem valuable to boys and men and so they should to good men and bad. To each man the activity that agrees with his disposition is most desirable; to the good man that accords with virtue.ARIST. Nico. X.6.
  75. If happiness is an activity natural to virtue, it is reasonable that it should be in accord with the highest virtue and that will be the best thing in us; the activity of contemplation.ARIST. Nico. X.7.
  76. A philosopher, as any other man, needs the necessaries of life, yet unlike others, he is self-sufficient since he can contemplate alone. Happiness is thought to depend on leisure; we busy ourselves that we might have leisure just as we make war that we may live in peace.ARIST. Nico. X.7.
  77. We must not follow those who advise us to think as human things, but we must as best we can make ourselves immortal and strain with every nerve to live according to the best thing in us. That which is proper to every thing is by nature best and most pleasant for each thing; for a man the life according to reason is best and most pleasant since reason more than anything else is man.ARIST. Nico. X.7.
  78. Happiness extends just so far as contemplation does. Being human, one will need external prosperity for our nature is not self-sufficient and our body needs food and other attention. Still a man needs few and not great things and nothing to excess. Anaxagoras thought that the happy man would be neither rich nor potent when he said that he would not be surprised if the happy man were to seem to most people a strange person. Should not the benevolent gods approve in man that which most resembles themselves?ARIST. Nico. X.8.
  79. Where there are things to be done, the end is not to survey and recognize the various things, but to do them. Proverb.ARIST. Nico. X.9.
  80. It is not enough to know of virtue, we must try to have and use it. If arguments were enough to make men good, they would as Thegonis says, have won great awards. The student must first be cultivated by means of noble habits for noble joy and noble hatred; for he who lives in a passion does not hear argument nor understand what he hears. It is difficult to get from youth onwards a right training for virtue if one has not been brought up under the right laws. For this reason the nurture and occupations of youth should be fixed by law; they will not be painful when they have become customary.ARIST. Nico. X.9.
  81. I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.ARIST. Stobaeus. Florilegium.

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