Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 7, Chapter 9 (1151a30-1152a7)

By Aristotle

Book 7, Chapter 9 (1151a30-1152a7)

  • More perplexities: does a self-restrained person always make good choices?
  • What separates the self-restrained from those who lack self-restraint?
  • Is there one supremely good choice and optimal sense of reason that the self-restrained know about but those who lack self-restraint don't?
  • Does the self-restrained just pick an opinion (any opinion) and stick to it, while those who lack self-restraint abandon all convictions? Stay tuned for answers.
  • It's possible to stick to an opinion too hard, Aristotle says—as in the case of the obstinate. They are non-persuadable and overly self-restrained.
  • Who are the obstinate? Oh, you know them. They're your opinionated friends. But they are also often ignorant and "boorish."
  • On second thought, says Aristotle, they kind of act like people without self-restraint, since they defend their points of view beyond reason.
  • It's possible to abandon our convictions but not lack self-restraint. Sometimes, we do it for a noble reason. This isn't error or vice, but good judgment.
  • To be self-restrained is to walk the middle line between being a party pooper and a person who's out of control.
  • A person lacking self-restraint behaves badly for a couple of reasons: 1) he enjoys something too much; 2) he doesn't enjoy something as he should.
  • A self-restrained person doesn't shy away from pleasure. Rather, he uses reason to steady himself.
  • The self-restrained person and the moderate person are similar…except in one respect. The self-restrained has "base desires" but chooses to ignore them and to follow reason.
  • The person lacking self-restraint and the licentious person are similar and different (yay, Aristotle!).
  • The person lacking restraint pursues pleasure, but knows he shouldn't. He feels guilty about his behavior.
  • The licentious person doesn't believe in guilt.