The Meaning of ΘΡΑΣΟΣ in Aristotle's Ethics

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“Pleasure, throughout the Ethics, is regarded in two ways. Pleasure is the opposite of pain; men normally infer that if something brings pain, its opposite will bring pleasure. Here pleasure and pain are signs of, and components of, the passions. On the other hand, pleasure is unimpeded activity and is a sign of activity. Here pleasure is not known by its contrary, pain; rather, each pleasure is known by its correlative activity. Both dimensions of pleasure are explored throughout the Ethics, and their interrelations occasion some of the complications in the argument. Here, in the discussion of courage and its vices, both senses of pleasure come in. Confidence is a pleasant passion, the opposite of the painful passion of fear. Rashness is based on excessive confidence. But the courageous man is confident; courageous action sometimes is accompanied by the pleasure of unimpeded activity. Since the activity here is facing risks cheerfully, without hesitation or fear, the accompanying pleasure is confidence. Hence, the rash man imitates and tries to be the courageous man by having the right feeling, confidence, instead of through the right choice. Pleasure, including the pleasure of confidence, accompanies both passion and action; the two dimensions of pleasure are easy to confuse-easy, that is, for everyone except the virtuous man.”


Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/270248