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 ETHICS in plain language (book7.2)

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Number of posts : 1255
Age : 56
Location : Denver, CO
Registration date : 2007-10-14

PostSubject: ETHICS in plain language (book7.2)   Wed 09 Jan 2008, 11:16 pm

[DR] Some pleasant things are by nature worthy of choice, while others are contrary to these, and others are intermediate, e.g.
wealth, gain, victory, honor. Men are not blamed for desiring and loving them, but for doing so in a certain way, i.e. for going to excess. There is no wickedness, then, with
regard to these objects, because each of them is by nature a thing worthy of choice for its own sake; yet excesses in respect of them are bad and to be avoided. Similarly there is no incontinence with regard to them.
Excess in pursuit of worthy things that please the ego is not incontinence, but is bad nevertheless.
[TI, JT] Some things are naturally pleasant, and some of these are unconditionally pleasant, while others correspond to differences between kinds of animals and of human beings. But there are other things that are not naturally pleasant, but become so, either through injury or through habit or through congenital depravity. Naturally pleasant things are enjoyed by animals and men. There are also naturally unpleasant things that are enjoyed by people with mental or physical defects.
[DR] Every excessive state whether of folly, of cowardice, of self- indulgence, or of bad temper, is either brutish or morbid. As the wickedness which is on the human level is called wickedness simply, while that which is called wickedness not simply but with the qualification 'brutish' or 'morbid', in the same way it is plain that some incontinence is brutish and some morbid, while only that which corresponds to human self-indulgence is incontinence simply. Excess of folly, cowardice,self -indulgence, or bad temper is evidence either of brutishness or abnormality.
Incontinence, then, is said to be due to one of these defects; ordinary incontinence is due to human weakness.
[DR] We pardon people more easily for following natural desires; anger and bad temper are more natural than the appetites for excess, i.e. for unnecessary objects. We pardon excess of natural desires, anger and bad temper sooner than unnatural excesses.
[DR] Those who are more given to plotting against others are more criminal. Now a passionate man is not given to plotting, nor is anger itself -- it is open. Premeditated criminal acts are worse than crimes committed in a fit of passion.
[JT] Nobody who behaves with wanton insolence does so from a sense of grievance, but always with a feeling of pleasure,
whereas everyone who acts in anger does so from a sense of grievance.
Gratuitous acts of violence are committed with maliciousness. Acts committed in anger are due to a grievance.
[DR] The incontinence concerned with appetite is more disgraceful than that concerned with anger, and continence and
incontinence are concerned with bodily appetites and pleasures.
Incontinence of bodily appetites is worse than incontinence of anger.
[JT] Brutishness is not as bad as vice, although it is more alarming, because it consists not in the corruption of the highest part, as it does in man, but in the absence of it. A bad man can do infinitely more harm than a brute. A man who acts badly by design does more harm than the brutish simpleton.
[DR] Since some pleasures are necessary while others are not, and are necessary up to a point while the excesses of them are not, nor the deficiencies, and this is equally true of appetites and pains, the man who pursues the excesses of things pleasant, or pursues to excess necessary objects, and does so by choice, for their own sake and not at all for the sake of any result distinct from them, is self-indulgent; for such a man is of necessity without regrets, and therefore incurable. The man who is deficient in his pursuit of them is the opposite of self-indulgent; the man who is intermediate is temperate. The self-indulgent man is worse than the incontinent. The self-indulgent person pursues the pleasures to excess by choice, the temperate person observes moderation. The insensible person abstains from pleasure too much.
[DR] The self-indulgent man, as was said, has no regrets; for he stands by his choice; but any incontinent man is subject to
regrets. Wickedness is like a disease such as dropsy or consumption, while incontinence is like epilepsy; the former is permanent, the latter an intermittent badness. And generally incontinence and vice are different in kind; vice is unconscious of itself, incontinence is not. Incontinence is contrary to choice while vice is in accordance with choice.
The difference between vice and
[JT] The incontinent are not wicked but they do wicked things. Again the incontinent man, while pursuing bodily pleasures that are excessive and contrary to right principle, is so constituted that he pursues them without the conviction that he is right, whereas the licentious man has this conviction, because
he is so constituted as to pursue them; consequently the former can easily be persuaded to change, but the latter cannot. For virtue preserves, while vice destroys, the first principle, and in conduct the first principle is the end.
The incontinent person understands
the first principle of virtue, but cannot resist the temptation of bodily pleasures. The licentious person has no qualms about pursuing excessive pleasures. Virtue
preserves, vice destroys the first principle
[DR, TI] Virtue either natural or produced by habituation is what teaches right opinion about the first principle. The sort of person with this virtue is temperate, and the contrary sort intemperate. The temperate person has the virtue to comprehend the first principle of pleasure. The intemperate person does not.
[DR] Not everyone who does anything for the sake of pleasure is either self-indulgent or bad or incontinent, but he who does it for a disgraceful pleasure. Since there is also a sort of man who takes less delight than he should in bodily things, and does not abide by the rule, he who is intermediate between him and the incontinent man is the continent man; for the incontinent man fails to abide by the rule because he delights too much in them, and this man because he delights in them too little; while the continent man abides by the rule and does not change on either account. The continent person abides by the rule and is intermediate in the pursuit of pleasure between the incontinent
person and the insensible one who shuns pleasure.
[TI] The continent and the temperate person are both the sort to do nothing in conflict with reason because of bodily pleasures; but the continent person has base appetites, and the temperate person lacks them. The temperate person is the sort to find nothing pleasant that conflicts with reason; the
continent is the sort to find such things pleasant but not to be led by them. The incontinent and the intemperate person are similar too; though they are different, they both pursue bodily sources of pleasure, but the intemperate person pursues them because he also thinks it is right, while the incontinent person does not think so.
The continent and the temperate
person's attitude towards pleasure compared to the attitude of the incontinent and intemperate
[JT] It is impossible for the same person to be at the same time prudent and incontinent; for we have proved that a prudent man is at the same time morally good. Besides, merely knowing what is right does not make a person
prudent; he must be disposed to do it too: and the incontinent man is not so disposed. In
fact the incontinent man is like a state which passes all the right decrees and has good laws, but makes no use of them, whereas the bad man is like a state that implements its laws, only the laws that it implements are bad ones.
A prudent person is
prevented by moral virtue from being incontinent. The incontinent person gives in to his weaknesses. The wicked man revels in excessive pleasure.
[JT] Neither thought nor any other activity is hindered by its proper pleasure, but only pleasures of a different origin. Indeed the pleasures that we derive from contemplation and learning will encourage us to contemplate and learn more. Proper pleasure can be had from proper activities. Pleasure derived from contemplation is especially rewarding.
[JT, TI] Pain is an evil, and to be avoided; because it is either absolutely an evil or in some sense an impediment. But the contrary to what is to be avoided, in so far as it is bad and to be avoided, is a good; hence
pleasure must be a good. If some pleasures are bad, there is still no reason why some kind
of pleasure should not be the supreme good.
Pain and pleasure are opposites. Pain is bad, pleasure is good, even if some pleasures are bad.
[TI] This is why all think the happy life is pleasant and weave pleasure into happiness, quite reasonably, since no activity is
complete if it is impeded, and happiness is something complete. Hence the happy person needs to have goods of the body and external goods added to good activities, and needs fortune also, so that he will not be impeded in these ways. And because happiness needs fortune added, good fortune seems to some people to be the same as happiness. But it is not. For when it is excessive, it actually impedes happiness.
A person must also have bodily and material goods and good fortune to enjoy complete happiness.
[DR] There can be too much of bodily goods, and the bad man is bad by virtue of pursuing the excess, not by virtue of pursuing the necessary pleasures (for all men enjoy in some way or other both dainty foods and wines
and sexual intercourse, but not all men do so as they ought). The contrary is the case with pain; for the bad man does not avoid the excess of it, he avoids it altogether.
The bad person pursues bodily and material goods to excess and tries to avoid pain completely.


INSERT a pithy quotation or credo that attempts to illustrate my superior intellect and profound ethical character, and seeks to encourage you to explore new ideas, understand the inexplicable, reject the nonsensical, and appreciate my scathing wit HERE (c) kjb

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