Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 4, Chapter 4 (1125b1-26)

By Aristotle

Book 4, Chapter 4 (1125b1-26)

  • Aristotle opens with the difficulty of defining the excess, mean and deficiency related to the pursuit of honor.
  • The problem hinges around the word "ambitious." This could mean that a person is too grabby for honor than he ought to be. Then again, it could designate just a person who wants honor.
  • Same problem for "unambitious": could be too lazy, could be a person not overly grasping for honor.
  • As a result, the golden mean has no real name—since the extremes don't have a fixed terminology.
  • In which case, we have to substitute "Goldilocks language": some love honor too much, some not enough, and some just right.