Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 4, Chapter 9 (1128b10-35)

By Aristotle

Book 4, Chapter 9 (1128b10-35)

  • A sense of shame isn't properly a virtue—since it belongs really to the body (not the soul) and the passions.
  • Shame also belongs almost exclusively to the young, since they're always messing up and suffering embarrassment. There should be no call for a mature person to feel shame.
  • Same thing for a good person. If you're good, you shouldn't be doing wicked things that'll make you feel poorly about yourself.
  • Aristotle believes that we shouldn't be praised as decent for feeling shame (when we've done something wrong), since being naughty is a voluntarily done bad thing.
  • And you shouldn't voluntarily choose to do the wrong thing, now should you?
  • Aristotle points out that self-restraint isn't quite a virtue, either, and promises to discuss this in depth later.