Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 7, Chapter 4 (1147b20-1148b14)

By Aristotle

Book 7, Chapter 4 (1147b20-1148b14)

  • Can a person lack self-restraint generally? Or does it have to be directed toward a particular something?
  • Aristotle reiterates that all things relating to self-restraint have to do with pleasures and pains.
  • Those who are LSR (lacking self-restraint) are usually said to err regarding something specific relating to these (i.e. money, honor, sex, etc.).
  • But there are those who are obsessed with pleasures generally (especially the bodily ones). These people lack self-restraint "unqualifiedly," without further specification.
  • This is why the person LSR is lumped together with the licentious person.
  • The difference: the person LSR does not choose pleasure; he chases it against his better understanding.
  • It's possible to desire noble things that give pleasure (honor, victory—even money) in excessive ways. Aristotle doesn't think these people are corrupt, since what they desire is good.
  • However, they can still go overboard in unhealthy ways and become base. These are not people LSR, but may be perceived as such by others.