Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 7, Chapter 6 (1149a25-1150a9)

By Aristotle

Book 7, Chapter 6 (1149a25-1150a9)

  • Aristotle also believes that lack of self-restraint in regards to "spiritedness" (i.e. when our "blood's up") isn't quite so bad as it is with other passions.
  • This is because there is some sort of reasoning involved in outbursts, even though the reasoning is distorted.
  • People also have sympathy for those who get carried away, since it's natural. Also, spiritedness doesn't act in a pre-meditated way—it's impulsive, a reaction—which is more forgivable.
  • It's less deceitful than desire, which Aristotle describes as general lack of self-restraint (kind of like vice with a capital "V").
  • To put the nail in this coffin, Aristotle brings in hubris. A spirited person acts out of pain, not out of conceited notions of their worth. A person driven by pleasure is "hubristic."
  • Aristotle says that brutishness is "lesser than vice, but more frightening." This is because a brutish person has a destroyed soul. Dang.
  • He says that any person who's the origin of his own baseness is worse than those who aren't (i.e. voluntary wickedness v. involuntary wickedness).
  • So an unethical person is infinitely more harmful than a brute animal.