Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 3, Chapter 7 (1115b8-1116a16)

By Aristotle

Book 3, Chapter 7 (1115b8-1116a16)

  • Not everybody's frightened by the same things (except death). Also, not all frightening things are wicked scary. They differ in magnitude.
  • A courageous person still fears things (when appropriate), but he keeps his fear under control.
  • On the other side of things, there are people who fear things they shouldn't or let their fear spiral out of control.
  • There are also some guys who fear nothing, and that's a whole other problem.
  • These are the reckless, which Aristotle says the Celts are rumored to be.
  • But a reckless person is not properly courageous: they're braggarts. They don't persevere through things that are truly frightening to them. They just have a higher tolerance for fear.
  • Cowards feel fear when they shouldn't or, if they should feel fear, they feel too much.
  • Using death as an escape mechanism for an unpleasant situation—like poverty or an ill-starred romance—isn't courageous. Hiding from suffering isn't brave.