chapter  5
4 Pages

Types of Vices

It must be understood that one speaks of 'middle' in two senses; on the one hand, there is that which is in itself680 the middle between two things-like four, which is the middle-point between two and six; and it is impossible that such should deviate from centrality. Then there is that which is relatively298 the middle, like the specific and individual equilibria of the physicians;681 the force of the word 'middle' in the present science is in the very same case,682 and this is the reason why the conditions for each virtue differ according to each individual, necessarily varying with the variation of actions, states, times and so on. (Moreover, corresponding to each of the virtues of each given individual683 are (an) infinite (number of) vices, as we have said; thus, the vices of any individual cannot be limited or numbered, for which reason the motives684 for evil are very many, while those for good are few.) But the numeration of these individual items570 and numbers is not incumbent on the master of a discipline,562 whose task is to give fundamental principles and rules,685 not to calculate particulars; 686 similarly, a carpenter or a goldsmith has a rule for the conception of a door or a ring (respectively) , 687 by means of which he may actualize688 (an) infinite (number of) individual specimens540 of this class. In each situation, 689 however, they observe what is proper to that situation, as demanded by a particular690 material, a particular690 size, or the estimation of any need there may be. 691 It is not necessary that they should conceive the numbers of different doors and rings that can be brought into existence, or the numbers of spoilages692 that may occur in the course of a discipline. 562

Now, since deviations refer to two kinds, one necessarily arising from transgressing in the direction of excess43 :1 and the other necessarily arising from transgressing in the direction of neglect;433 therefore, corresponding to every virtue are two classes of vice, the

virtue standing at the middle-point and the two vices at two extremes. But it has already been explained that the classes of virtues are four; hence the classes of vices are eight. Two correspond to Wisdom, namely Ingenuity and Foolishness; two correspond to Courage, namely Foolhardiness and Cowardice; two to Continence, namely Greed and Sluggishness of Appetite; and two Correspond to Justice, namely Injustice and the Suffering of Wrong. 693

Ingenuity, which is in the direction of excess, is the use of the reflective faculty on what is not obligatory694 or beyond the obligatory extent; it is sometimes called 'cleverness'.695 Foolishness, which is in the direction of neglect, is the disuse 696 of this faculty, voluntarily,697 not out of natural disposition. 698 Foolhardiness, being in the direction of excess, denotes the undertaking of something when such undertaking is not decorous. 699 Cowardice, being in the direction of neglect, represents the avoidance of something when such avoidance is not praiseworthy. Greed, which is in the direction of excess, is avidity for pleasures beyond the obligatory694 extent. Sluggishness of Appetite, which is in the direction of neglect, is rest (by free choice,10o not from deficiency of natural disposition)698 from motion in quest of those necessary pleasures701 in which one is allowed to engage by both the religious rule and the intellect.102 Injustice, being in the direction of excess, is the acquisition of the means of livelihood in reprehensible ways. The Suffering of Wrong, being in the direction of neglect, is allowing one who seeks the means of livelihood to possess them by force and plunder,703 even submitting abjectly to their being taken without just claim. Moreover, since the means of obtaining property and sustenance,704 and so on, are many, the unjust man and the treacherous are always well-endowed, while the oppressed is poorly off; but the just man is in an intermediate state.