THE GOOD FOR MAN
Subject Matter and End of Moral Philosophy: Diversity of Ends
I. FIRST ARISTOTLE SHOWS WHAT HE INTENDS TO DO. — 1 to 7
A. He presents in advance certain things necessary to explain his intention.
1. HE SHOWS HOW IT IS NECESSARY TO START WITH THE END.
a. He states... that all human things are ordered to an end.
i. He states his intention. — 8
All arts and all teaching, and similarly every act and every choice seem to have the attainment of some good as their object. —
ii. He explains his purpose. — 9-10
For this reason it has correctly been proclaimed that good is what all desire.
b. He shows that there can be a number of ends. — 12-13
Now a certain diversity of ends is apparent, for some are operations while others are works outside the operations.
c. He makes a comparison among ends. — 14
If the ends are works then the works are better than the operations.
2. HE COMPARES HABITS AND ACTS WITH THE END.
a. He shows that different things are ordered to different ends. — 15
Since there are many operations and arts and sciences there must also be different ends for each of them. Thus the end of medical art is health; of shipbuilding, navigation; of strategy, victory; of domestic economy, riches.
b. He arranges the order of habits among themselves. — 16
In all such skills a subordination of one to another is found. For instance, the art of bridle-making is subordinated to the art of riding as also are the arts which make riding equipment. The art of riding in turn, and all military operations, come under strategy. In a similar way other arts are subordinated to still others.
c. He lays down the order of ends. — 17
It follows then that in all these, architectonic ends are more desirable than the ends subordinated to them. The reason is that men seek the latter for the sake of the former.
d. He shows that it makes no difference whether the end is a product or an operation. — 18
It does not matter whether the ends are operations themselves or something other than the operations as in the skills mentioned above.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1. As the Philosopher says in the beginning of the Metaphysics (Bk. 1, Ch. 2, 982 a 18; St. Th. 2, 41-42), it is the business of the wise man to order. The reason for this is that wisdom is the most powerful perfection of reason whose characteristic is to know order. Even if the sensitive powers know some things absolutely, nevertheless to know the order of one thing to another is exclusively the work of intellect or reason. Now a twofold order is found in things. One kind is that of parts of a totality, that is, a group, among themselves, as the parts of a house are mutually ordered to each other. The second order is that of things to an end. This order is of greater importance than the first. For, as the Philosopher says in the eleventh book of the Metaphysics (Bk. XII, Ch. 10, 1075 a 15; St. Th. Bk. XII, Lect. 12, 2629-2631), the order of the parts of an army among themselves exists because of the order of the whole army to the commander. Now order is related to reason in a fourfold way. There is one order that reason does not establish but only beholds, such is the order of things in nature. There is a second order that reason establishes in its own act of consideration, for example, when it arranges its concepts among themselves, and the signs of concept as well, because words express the meanings of the concepts. There is a third order that reason in deliberating establishes in the operations of the will. There is a fourth order that reason in planning establishes in the external things which it causes, such as a chest and a house.
2. Because the operation of reason is perfected by habit, according to the different modes of order that reason considers in particular, a differentiation of sciences arises. The function of natural philosophy is to consider the order of things that human reason considers but does not establish-understand that with natural philosophy here we also include metaphysics. The order that reason makes in its own act of consideration pertains to rational philosophy (logic), which properly considers the order of the parts of verbal expression with one another and the order of principles to one another and to their conclusions. The order of voluntary actions pertains to the consideration of moral philosophy. The order that reason in planning establishes in external things arranged by human reason pertains to the mechanical arts.
Accordingly it is proper to moral philosophy, to which our attention is at present directed, to consider human operations insofar as they are ordered one another and to an end.
3. I am talking about human operations, those springing from man’s will following the order of reason. But if some operations are found in man that are not subject to the will and reason, they are not properly called human but natural, as, clearly appears in operations of the vegetative soul. These in no way fall under the consideration of moral philosophy. As the subject of natural philosophy is motion, or mobile being, so the subject of moral philosophy is human action ordered to an end, or even man,.as he is an agent voluntarily acting for an end.
4. It must be understood that, because man is by nature a social animal, needing many things to live which he cannot get for himself if alone, he naturally is a part of a group that furnishes him help to live well. He needs this help for two reasons. First, to have what is necessary for life, without which he cannot live the present life; an for this, man is helped by the domestic group of which he is a part. For every man is indebted to his parents for his generation and his nourishment and instruction. Likewise individuals, who are members of the family, help one another to procure the necessities of life. In another way, man receives help from the group of which he is a part, to have a perfect sufficiency for life; namely, that man may not only live but live well, having everything sufficient for living; and in this way man is helped by the civic group, of which he is a member, not only in regard to bodily needs—as certainly in the state there are many crafts which a single household cannot provide—but also in regard to right conduct, inasmuch as public authority restrains with fear of punishment delinquent young men whom paternal admonition is not able to correct.
5. It must be known moreover that the whole which the political group or the family constitutes has only a unity of order, for it is not something absolutely one. A part of this whole, therefore, can have an operation that is not the operation of the whole, as a soldier in an army has an activity that does not belong to the whole army. However, this whole does have an operation that is not proper to its parts but to the whole—for example, an assault of the entire army. Likewise the movement of a boat is a combined operation of the crew rowing the boat. There is also a kind of whole that has not only a unity of order but of composition, or of conjunction, or even of continuity, and according to this unity a thing is one absolutely; and therefore there is no operation of the part that does not belong to the whole. For in things all of one piece the motion of the whole and of the part is the same. Similarly in composites and in conjoined things, the operation of a part is principally that of the whole. For this reason it is necessary that such a consideration of both the whole and its parts should belong to the same science. It does not, however, pertain to the same science to consider the whole, which has solely the unity of order, and the parts of this whole.
6. Thus it is that moral philosophy is divided into three parts. The first of these, which is called individual (monastic) ethics, considers an individual’s operations as ordered to an end. The second, called domestic ethics, considers the operations of the domestic group. The third, called political science, considers the operations of the civic group.
7. Thus Aristotle as he begins the treatment of moral philosophy in the first part of this book called Ethics, or morals, first gives an introduction in which he does three things. First  he shows what he intends to do. Second [Lect. 3, II], at “Our study will be etc.” (B.1094 b 13), he determines the manner of treatment. Third [III] in the same lecture, at “Now every man etc.” (B.1094 b 29), he explains what manner of person the student of this science ought to be. In regard to the initial point he does two things. First [A] he presents in advance certain things necessary to explain his intention. Second [Lect. 2, B], at “If our actions etc.” (B.1094 a 19), he manifests his intention. In regard to the first he does two things. Initially  he shows how it is necessary to start with the end. Then , at “Since there are many etc.,” he compares habits and acts with the end. On the first point he does three things. He states initially [1, a] that all human beings are ordered to an end. Next [1, b], at “Now a certain diversity etc.,” he shows that there can be a number of ends. Last [ 1, c], at “If the ends are works etc.,” he makes a comparison among ends. In regard to the first point he does two things. He states his intention [i]; and then, at “For this reason etc.” [ii], he explains his purpose.
8. In regard to the first we should consider that there are two principles of human acts, namely, the intellect or reason and the appetite, which are active principles as explained in the third book De Anima (Ch. XI, 434 a5a22; St. Th. Lect. 16, 840-846). The intellect or reason considers both the speculative and the practical. The rational appetite is concerned with choice and execution. Now all these are ordered to some good as to their end, for truth is the end of speculation.
Therefore, in the speculative intellect he includes teaching by which science is conveyed from teacher to student, while in the practical intellect he locates art which is right reason applied to things to be made, as is stated in the sixth book of this work (1153). He indicates that the act of the appetitive intellect is choice, and that execution is “actus.” He does not mention prudence, which is in the practical reason together with art, because choice is properly directed by prudence. He says therefore that each of these faculties obviously seeks some good as an end.
9. Then [ii], at “For this reason,” he manifests his intention by the effect of good. In regard to this we should bear in mind that good is enumerated among the primary entities to such a degree—according to the Platonists—that good is prior to being. But, in reality, good is convertible with being. Now primary things cannot be understood by anything anterior to them, but by something consequent, as causes are understood through their proper effects. But since good properly is the moving principle of the appetite, good is described as movement of the appetite, just as motive power is usually manifested through motion. For this reason he says that the philosophers have rightly declared that good is what all desire.
10. There is no problem from the fact that some men desire evil. For they desire evil only under the aspect of good, that is, insofar as they think it good. Hence their intention primarily aims at the good and only incidentally touches on the evil.
11. The saying “... what all desire” is to be understood not only of those who knowingly seek good but also of beings lacking knowledge.
These things by a natural desire tend to good, not as knowing the good, but because they are moved to it by something cognitive, that is, under the direction of the divine intellect in the way an arrow speeds towards a target by the aim of the archer. This very tendency to good is the desiring of good. Hence, he says, all beings desire good insofar as they tend to good. But there is not one good to which all tend; this will be explained later (58-59; 108-109). Therefore he does not single out here a particular good but rather discusses good in general. However, because nothing is good except insofar as it is a likeness and participation of the highest good, the highest good itself is in some way desired in every particular good. Thus it can be said that the true good is what all desire.
12. Then [i, b], at “Now a certain diversity,” he indicates that there is a diversity of ends. In this we must keep in mind that the final good, to which the inclination of each thing tends, is its ultimate perfection. Now the first perfection is possessed after the manner of a form, but the second perfection by way of an operation. Consequently, there must be this diversity of ends: some are operations and others are the objects achieved, that is, the products which exist apart from the operations.
13. For evidence of this we must consider that activity is of two kinds, as noted in the ninth book of the Metaphysics (Ch. 8, 1050 a 23; St. Th. lect. 8, 1862-1865). One, which remains in the agent himself, as seeing, wishing and understanding, is an operation of the type properly called “action.” The other is an operation passing over into external matter and is properly called “making.” Sometimes a person accepts external matter only for use, as a horse for riding and a zither for playing, and at other times he takes external matter to change it into some other form, as when a carpenter constructs a house or a bed. Accordingly, the first and second of these operations do not have any product which is their term, but each of them is an end. The first, however, is more excellent than the second, inasmuch as it remains in the agent himself. But the third operation is a kind of generation whose term is a thing produced. So, in operations of the third type, the things done are the ends.
14. Then [ i, c ], at “If the ends,” he presents the third type, saying that whenever the products which are extrinsic to the activities are ends, the things produced necessarily are better than the operations that brought them to be, as the thing generated is better than the generative action. The end is more important than the means—in fact, the means have goodness from their relation to the end.
15. Then , at “Since there are many operations,” he compares habits and acts with the end. In this matter he does four things. First [2, a] he shows that different things are ordered to different ends. He says that, since there are many operations and arts and sciences, there must be different ends for each of them, for the ends and the means are proportional. This he shows by saying that the end of medical art is health; of shipbuilding, navigation; of strategy, victory; and of domestic economy or managing a household, riches. He accepts this last example on the opinion of the majority of men, for he himself proves in the first book of the Politics (Ch. 3-4, 1253 b 12-1254 a; St. Th. Lect. 2, 46-51; Ch. 9-11, 1256 b 40-1259 a 36; St. Th. Lect. 7-9, 71-100) that riches are not the end of domestic economy but the instruments thereof.
16. Second [2, b], at “In all such skills,” he arranges the order of habits among themselves. It happens that one operative habit, which he calls virtue (skill), is subordinated to another, as the art of bridle-making is subordinated to the art of riding because the rider tells the bridle-maker how he should make the bridle. In this way the rider is the designer, that is, the chief producer of the thing itself. The same arguments hold for the other arts making additional equipment needed for riding, such as saddles or the like. The equestrian art is again subordinated to the military, for in ancient times the army included not only mounted soldiers but everyone who fought for victory. Hence under military science there is not only the equestrian but every art or skill ordered to the prosecution of war-archery, ballistics and everything else of this kind. In this same way other arts are subordinated to still others.
17, Third [2, c], at “It follows then,” he lays down the order of ends according to the order of habits. He says that in all arts or skills it is commonly true that the architectonic ends are absolutely more desirable to everyone than are the ends of the arts or skills that are subordinated to the chief ends. He proves this from the fact that men follow or seek the ends of the inferior arts or skills for the sake of the ends of the superior. The text, however, is suspensive, and should be read as follows: In all such skills a subordination of one to another is found... in all these the architectonic ends etc.
18. Fourth [2, d], at “It does not matter,” he shows that it makes no difference in the order of ends, whether the end is a product or an activity. He says that it makes no difference in what pertains to this order that these ends be activities or some product other than the activities, as is evident from the explanation given above (16). The end of bridle-making is a finished bridle; but the end of horsemanship, which is of greater importance, is an operation, that is, riding. The contrary is true in medicine and gymnastics, for the end of medicine is something produced, namely, health. But of gymnastics which is comprised under it, the end is an activity, which is exercise.
The Supreme End of Human Affairs; Political Science
B. The philosopher now begins to show what the principal purpose of this science is.
1. HE SHOWS... THERE IS SOME SUPREME END OF HUMAN AFFAIRS. — 19-22
If our actions have an end that we wish for itself and if we wish other things for that end, and not each thing on account of another (for this would involve us in an infinite process making our desire useless and in vain) then obviously that will be not only a good end but a supreme end.
2. HE SHOWS THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO KNOW THIS END.
a. He shows that it is necessary for man to know such an end. — 23
A knowledge of it, therefore, will be a great help in human living, for like archers keeping their eye on the target, we will more likely attain our objective.
b. He manifests what man should know about it. — 24
This being the case, we must try to determine the general characteristics of this end and to which of the sciences or skills its study pertains.
3. HE SHOWS TO WHICH SCIENCE THIS KNOWLEDGE BELONGS.
a. He gives a reason in proof of his statement. — 25
It seems undoubtedly to belong to the most truly architectonic science. This, to all appearances, is political science.
b. He proves something that he had previously assumed.
i. He proves that (political science) is most truly architectonic.
x. He ascribes to political science... the things belonging to an architectonic science. — 26-28
Now such a science ordains which studies are to be followed in a state, and who are to pursue them and to what extent. Hence we see the noblest of the operative arts, for example, strategy, domestic economy, and rhetoric fall under political science.
y. From this he draws the conclusion he intended. — 29
Political Science in fact makes use of other practical sciences, even legislating what is to be done and what is not to be done. Its end, therefore, embraces the ends of the other practical sciences. For these reasons, then, this end will be the good of man.
ii. (He proves) that it is most important. — 30-31
Even though the good be the same for one man and for the whole state, it seems much better and more perfect to procure and preserve the good of the whole state. It is admirable, indeed, to preserve the good of an individual but it is better still and more divine to do this for a nation and for cities. With such a good as the object of our inquiry we may call our study political science.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
19. After having stated premises on which his proposition must rest, the Philosopher now begins to manifest it, that is, to show what the principal purpose of this science is [B]. To achieve this he does three things. First [1 ] he shows from what he has already said, that there is some supreme end of human affairs. Second , at “A knowledge of it etc.,” he shows that it is necessary to know this end. Third , at “It seems undoubtedly,” he shows to which science this knowledge belongs. He gives three proofs for the first statement. The principal one is this. Whenever an end is such that we wish other things because of it, and we wish it for itself and not because of something else, then that end is not only a good end but a supreme one. This is obvious from the fact that an end for the sake of which other ends are sought is of greater importance than they, as is evident from his earlier remarks (16). But it is necessary that there be some such end of human affairs. Therefore, human life or activity has some good end which is supreme.
20. He proves the minor premise by an argument leading to an impossible conclusion. Thus, it is evident from the premises (16) that one end is desired on account of another. Now, either we arrive at some end which is not desired on account of another, or we do not. If we do, the proposition is proved. If, however, we do not find some such end, it follows that every end will be desired on account of another end. In this case we must proceed to infinity. But it is impossible in ends to proceed to infinity. Therefore, there must be some end that is not desired on account of another.
21. That it is impossible in ends to proceed to infinity is proved also by an argument having an impossible resolution. If we should proceed to infinity in our desire for ends so that one end should always be desired on account of another to infinity, we will never arrive at the point where a man may attain the ends desired. But a man desires fruitlessly what he cannot get; consequently, the end he desires would be useless and vain. But this desire is natural, for it was said above (9) that the good is what all beings naturally desire. Hence it follows that a natural desire would be useless and vain. But this is impossible. The reason is that a natural desire is nothing else but an inclination belonging to things by the disposition of the First Mover, and this cannot be frustrated. Therefore, it is impossible that we should proceed to an infinity of ends.
12. It follows that there must be some ultimate end on account of which all other things are desired, while this end itself is not desired on account of anything else. So there must be some supreme end of human affairs.
23. Then , at “A knowledge of it,” he shows that the knowledge of this end is necessary for man. He proves this in two steps. First [2, a] he shows that it is necessary for man to know such an end. Second [2, b], at “This being the case etc.,” he manifests what man should know about it. He concludes then from what has been said (19-22), that it is necessary for man to know that there is a supreme end of human affairs because this has great importance for life, that is, it is of great help in all phases of human living. This conclusion is apparent for the following reasons. Nothing that is directed to another can be immediately attained by man unless he knows that other to which it is to he directed. An obvious indication of this is found in the example of the archer who shoots straight because he keeps his eye on the target at which he is aiming. Now man’s whole life ought to be ordered to the supreme and ultimate end of human life. It is necessary, therefore, to have a knowledge of this end of human life. The explanation is that the reason for the means must always be found in the end itself, as also is proved in the second book of the Physics (Ch. 9, 199 b 34-200 b 10; St. Th. Lect. 15, 184-188).
24. Then [2, b], at “This being the case,” he shows what ought to be known about that end. He states that inasmuch as the knowledge of the supreme end is necessary for human life, we must determine what, is the supreme end, and to which speculative or practical science its study belongs. By sciences he understands the speculative sciences, and by skills the practical sciences since there are principles of some operations. According to him we must make this attempt, in order to suggest the difficulty there is in grasping the ultimate end of human life, as in considering all ultimate causes. He says then that we should understand it in its general outlines, that is, with only the evidence of probability because such a manner of understanding is largely what is available in human things, as he will explain later on (131-134). Now the first of these two belongs to the treatise on this science because such a consideration is about the matter of this science. But the second belongs to the introduction, where its purpose is explained.
25. Therefore when immediately after this material he says “It seems undoubtedly” , he shows to which science the consideration of this end should belong. In regard to this he does two things. First [3, a] he gives a reason in proof of his statement. Second [3, b], at “Now such a science etc.,” he proves something which he had previously presumed. First then, he states the reason for his proposal, which is this: the supreme end belongs to the most important and most truly architectonic science. This is clear from what was said above, for it was pointed out (16, 20) that the sciences or arts treating of the means to the end are contained under the science or art treating of the end. So it is necessary that the ultimate end should belong to the most important science concerned with the primary and most important end and to the truly architectonic science as directing the others in what they should do. But political science appears to be such, namely, the most important and the most truly architectonic. Therefore, it belongs to it to consider the supreme end.
26. Then [3, b], at “Now such a science’ “ he proves what he had taken for granted: that political science is such a science. First [b, i] he proves that it is most truly architectonic, and next [b, ii], at “For even though the good etc.,” that it is most important. He handles the first statement in two ways. First [i, x] he ascribes to political science or politics the things which belong to an architectonic science. Second [i, y] from this he draws the conclusion he intended, at “Political science etc.” There are two characteristics of architectonic knowledge. One is that it dictates what is to be done by the art or science subject to it, as the equestrian art dictates the manner of bridle-making. The other is that it uses it for its own ends. Now the first of these is applicable to politics or political science both in regard to speculative and in regard to practical sciences-in different ways, however. Political science dictates to a practical science both in the matter of its activity, that is, whether or not it should operate, and in regard to the objects to which its operation is to be directed. It dictates to the smith not only that he use his skill but also that he use it in such a fashion as to make knives of a particular kind. Both (characteristics of architectonic knowledge) are ordered to the end of human living.
27. But political science dictates to a speculative science only as to activity, but not concerning the specification of its proper activity. Political science orders that some teach or learn geometry, and actions of this kind insofar as they are voluntary belong to the matter of ethics and can be ordered to the goal of human living. But the political ruler does not dictate to geometry what conclusions it should draw about a triangle, for this is not subject to the human will nor can it be ordered to human living but it depends on the very nature of things. Therefore, he says that political science ordains which sciences, both practical and speculative, should be studied in a state, who should study them, and for how long.
28. The other characteristic of an architectonic science, the use of subordinate sciences, belongs to political science only in reference to the practical sciences. Hence he adds that we see the most highly esteemed, the noblest skills, i.e., the operative arts, fall under political science-for example strategy, domestic economy, and rhetoric. Political science uses such skills for its own end, that is, for the common good of the state.
29. Then [i, y], at “Political science in fact,” he draws a conclusion from two premises. He says that since political science uses the other practical sciences, as already noted (28), and since it legislates what is to be done and what omitted, as previously stated (27), it follows that the end of this science as architectonic embraces or contains under itself the ends of other practical sciences. Hence, he concludes, the end of political science is the good of man, that is, the supreme end of human things.
3o. Then [b, ii], at “For even though the good be the same,” he shows that political science is the most important science from the very nature of its special end. It is evident that insofar as a cause is prior and more powerful it extends to more effects. Hence, insofar as the good, which has the nature of a final cause, is more powerful, it extends to more effects. So, even though the good be the same objective for one man and for the whole state, it seems much better and more perfect to attain, that is, to procure and preserve the good of the whole state than the good of any one man. Certainly it is a part of that love which should exist among men that a man preserve the good even of a single human being. But it is much better and more divine that this be done for a whole people and for states. It is even sometimes desirable that this be done for one state only, but it is much more divine that it be done for a whole people that includes many states. This is said to be more divine because it shows greater likeness to God who is the ultimate cause of all good. But this good common to one or to several states is the object of our inquiry, that is, of the particular skill called political science. Hence to it, as the most important science, belongs in a most special way the consideration of the ultimate end of human life.
31. But we should note that he says political science is the most important, not simply, but in that division of practical sciences which are concerned with human things, the ultimate end of which political science considers. The ultimate end of the whole universe is considered in theology which is the most important without qualification. He says that it belongs to political science to treat the ultimate end of human life. This however he discusses here since the matter of this book covers the fundamental notions of political science.
Qualities of the Student and Teacher
II. HE NOW DETERMINES THE METHOD PROPER TO THIS SCIENCE.
a. On the part of the teacher. — 32-35
Our study will be adequately treated if it is investigated according to the nature of the subject matter. The same certitude should not be sought in all discussions just as the same exactness should not be expected in all the productions of art. Now good and just deeds, with which political science is concerned, are differently and mistakenly judged to such a degree that none of them seems to be good and just by nature but merely by disposition of law. Because of bad judgment, many have been harmed even by good things: some men have lost their lives by reason of riches, others by reason of physical courage. It is desirable therefore when treating of these variable subjects and when arguing from them as premises, to bring out roughly the outlines of the truth, and to conclude about those things which occur in the majority of cases.
b. On the part of the student. — 36
In this same spirit the student ought to take whatever is taught, for it is proper to an educated man to look for as much certitude in each study as the nature of the subject admits. It approximates the same thing to allow a mathematician to use rhetorical arguments and to demand conclusive demonstrations from a rhetorician.
III. HE SHOWS WHAT SORT OF PERSON THE STUDENT ... OUGHT TO BE.
a. Who is an incompetent student.
i. He introduces certain things necessary to explain his proposition. — 37
Now every man is a good judge of the things he knows. Accordingly, then, one educated in a particular subject judges well what belongs to that subject. But the man who is well educated in all subjects can judge well about all.
ii. He proves his statement. — 38
In keeping with this a young man is not a good student of political science, for he is inexperienced in the ways of life that are the starting point and subject matter of this science.
b. Who is an unprofitable student. — 39-40
Furthermore, because he is strongly influenced by his emotions, he will study political science without result and uselessly, for the end of this science is not knowledge but human action. Nor does it matter whether the student be immature in age or immature in character, for the deficiency is not due to time but to a life lived according to the passions and to the pursuit of each object of passion. Such men gain no profit from their knowledge; and the same is true of the incontinent.
c. He explains the characteristics of the ideal student. — 41-42
But it will certainly be very useful to have a knowledge of moral matters for those who desire and act according to the dictates of reason. To sum up what has been treated in the introduction: we have discussed the student, the method of demonstrating and the purpose of our science.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
32. After the Philosopher has shown what is the good principally intended in this science, he now [II] determines the method proper to this science. He does this first on the part of the teacher [II, a]; and then, at “in the same spirit etc.,” on the part of the student [II, b]. In regard to the first he lays down this reason. The method of manifesting truth in any science ought to be suitable to the subject matter of that science. He shows this from the fact that certitude cannot be found, nor should it be sought, in the same degree in all discussions where we reason about anything. Likewise, the same method is not used in all products made by art; but each workman works with the material in a way suited to that material, in one way with the soil, in another with clay, in still another with metal. Now the matter of moral study is of such a nature that perfect certitude is not suitable to it. He shows this from two classes of things which seem to belong to the material with which moral study is concerned.
33. In the matter of morals the first and foremost place is held by virtuous works. They are called just and are the chief concern of political science. Regarding them there are no agreed opinions, but rather a decided difference is found in what men judge about them. In this matter a variety of errors occur, for certain actions, considered just and good by some, are looked upon as unjust and bad by others according to different times and places and persons. Now a deed is considered vicious at one time and in one country, but at a different time and in a different country it is not c6nsidered to be so. Because of this disagreement, it happens that some are of the opinion that no action is just or good by nature but only by disposition of law. We shall treat more fully of this opinion in the second book of this work (245-254).
34. Second, external goods that are used purposively by men have a moral consideration. In regard to them it happens that we find the mistake just mentioned inasmuch as these material goods are not always used in the same way by everyone. Some men are helped by them, while others indeed are harmed by them. Many are ruined by having riches—for instance, those who are murdered by robbers. Some by reason of their physical courage on which they rely have carelessly exposed themselves to dangers. Thus it is evident that moral matters are variable and divergent, not having the same certitude each time.
35. Because, in the art of demonstrative science, principles must conform to conclusions, it is desirable and preferable when treating subjects so variable, and when proceeding from premises likewise variable, to bring out the truth first in a rough outline by applying universal principles to singulars and by proceeding from the simple (universal) to the complex (particular) where acts are concerned. For it is necessary in every practical science to proceed in a composite (i.e., deductive) manner. On the contrary in speculative science, it is necessary to proceed in an analytical manner by breaking down the complex into elementary principles. Second, we should bring out the outlines of the truth, that is, an approximation to the truth. This is to proceed from the proper principles of this science. Moral science treats the acts of the will, and the thing moving the will is not only the good but even fictitious good. Third, we must speak of events as they happen in the majority of cases, that is, of voluntary acts that proceed from the will, inclined perhaps to one alternative rather than another but never operating under compulsion. In these, too, we must proceed in such a way that principles are conformable to conclusions.
36. Then [II, b], at “In this same spirit,” he shows that the student must accept this limitation in moral matters. He says that it is proper that each one should take whatever is said to him by another in the same spirit, that is, as the matter warrants. The reason is that a learned or well-instructed man should look for as much certitude in any matter as the nature of the subject admits. There cannot be as much certainty in variable and contingent matter as in necessary matter which is always the same. Therefore, the educated man ought not to look for greater, nor be satisfied with less, certitude than is appropriate to the subject under discussion. It seems an equal fault to allow a mathematician to use rhetorical arguments and to demand from a rhetorician conclusive demonstrations such as a mathematician should give. But mistakes happen because the method appropriate to the matter is not considered. Mathematics is concerned with matter in which perfect certitude is found. Rhetoric, however, deals with political matter where a variety of views occurs.
37. Then [III], at “Now every man,” he shows what sort of person the student of this science ought to be. First [III, a] he shows who is an incompetent student; and second [III, b], at “Furthermore etc.,” who is an unprofitable student. Third [III, c], at “But it will certainly etc.,” he explains the characteristics of the ideal student. In respect to the first lie does two things. First [a, i] he introduces certain things necessary to explain his proposition. He states that each man can judge well only the things he knows. Thus a man educated in one particular subject can judge well what belongs to that subject. But the man who is well educated in all subjects can judge well about all, without restriction to a particular subject.
38. Second [a, ii], at “In keeping with this,” he proves his statement, namely, that a young man is not a good student of political science nor of any part of moral science comprised under political science, because as was said (37) a man can judge well only the things he knows. Now every student should make good judgments about what he studies, so that he may accept what is true but not what is false. Therefore, no one can be a good student unless he has some knowledge of what he ought to study. But a young
man does not have a knowledge of things belonging to moral science, which are known mostly by experience. A young man is inexperienced in the ways of life because of the very brevity of his life, while the principles of moral science proceed from what pertains to and also treats of the actions of human life. For instance, if it be said that the generous man keeps the cheaper things for himself and makes a present of the more expensive to others, a young man will perhaps judge this not to be true because of inexperience. It is the same with other social dealings. Hence it is evident that a young man is not a good student of political science.
39. Then [III, b], at “Furthermore,” he shows who is an unprofitable student of this science. Here we must consider that moral science teaches men to follow reason and to refrain from the things to which the passions incline, such as concupiscence, anger, and the like. Toward these, men are inclined in two ways. In one way by choice, for instance, when a man of set purpose intends to satisfy his concupiscence. Such a one he calls a slave of his emotions. In another way, when a man resolves to abstain from harmful pleasures but is sometimes overcome by the urge of passion, so that contrary to his resolution he follows the promptings of passion. A man of this type is said to be incontinent.
40. He affirms then that the one who is ruled by the emotions will study this science in vain, that is, without any result and uselessly without attaining its proper end. The end of this science is not knowledge alone, which those enslaved to passion can perhaps gain. But the end of this science, as of all practical sciences, is human action. Now those who follow the emotions do not attain virtuous acts. So in regard to this it makes no difference whether the student of this science is immature in age or immature in character, that is, a slave of the emotions. The reason is that, as the person immature in age fails to achieve the end of this science that is knowledge, so the immature in character fails to achieve the end that is action-His deficiency is not due to time but to the fact that he lives according to his emotions, seeking everything to which the emotions incline. Now, for such men the knowledge of this science is useless; the same may be said of the incontinent who do not act in accord with their. knowledge of moral matters.
41. Then [III, c], at “But it will certainly,” he indicates the good student of this science. He says that it is very useful to have a knowledge of moral matters for those who regulate their desires and act in externals according to the dictates of reason.
42. Last, in the conclusion he sums up what has been discussed in the introduction (1-41), stating that certain things have been said in a preliminary manner about the student—this was treated last; stating also what is the method of demonstrating—this was treated in the middle of the introduction; and last what is our purpose, namely, what is the principal aim of this science—this was treated first.
Opinions About Happiness
I. FIRST HE EXPLAINS HIS INTENTION. — 43
Since all knowledge and choice have some good for their objective, let us ask on resuming our inquiry what it is that we call the objective of political science? What is the highest good of all human actions?
II. HE CARRIES IT OUT.
A. He investigates the opinions of others about happiness.
A’ He gives the opinions of others.
1. HE PRESENTS OPINIONS ABOUT THE ULTIMATE END OF HUMAN ACTIONS.
a. He indicates the aspects of general agreement. — 44-45
As to the name nearly all agree, for both the common people and the educated say it is happiness. They identify happiness with living well and acting well.
b. He shows in what way there is disagreement. — 46-49
But as to where happiness is to be found men are at variance. The multitude differs from the philosophers, for the people generally think that happiness consists in something apparent and obvious such as pleasure or riches or honors; some place it in one of these, others in another; and oftentimes even the same person shifts his position. For instance, the sick man thinks happiness is found in health, the poor man considers that it is found in riches, while men conscious of their own ignorance esteem those happy who give utterance to lofty ideas that are above their comprehension. Some philosophers [Platonists] were of the opinion that, over and above the many goods, there exists an absolute good which is the cause of goodness in all other things.
2. HE POINTS OUT HOW WE SHOULD EXAMINE OPINIONS OF THIS KIND.
a. He shows which of these opinions we ought to investigate. — 50
It is perhaps vain to examine all these opinions, and it will be sufficient to give special attention to those appearing probable on the surface or are thought by many to have some probability.
b. He shows in what order we should do this. — 51-52
In this matter we should be aware of the difference in arguments, some of which proceed from principles and others to principles. Previously Plato had learnedly discussed the subject when he examined the question whether we proceed from or to principles like athletes in the race- b course running from or toward the judges. In either case we must start from things known. Now these are of two kinds, namely, things known to us and things known absolutely. Presumably then we should begin from what is known to us.
c. He shows how the student should be disposed. — 53-54
One who is going to devote himself seriously to the study of good and just deeds and to political affairs in general ought to have been accustomed to a virtuous life. This will serve as a principle and if it be adequate he will have no need to know the reasons for virtuous conduct. A student with this upbringing will discover working principles within himself or readily acquire them from someone else. The man, however, who can do neither of these things should listen to the verdict of Hesiod [Works and Days, 293]. That man, the poet says, is best who understands everything by himself; and that man good who takes what is well 10 said by another. But he who neither himself understands nor takes to heart what he hears from another is indeed a useless fellow.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
43. Having finished the introduction, Aristotle here begins the treatise on the science itself. He divides the treatise into three parts. In the first part he investigates happiness, which is the supreme human good, and he comes to the conclusion from a study of the subject that happiness is activity flowing from virtue. In the second part [Lect. 19] he discusses virtues at “If then happiness is a kind of operation according to perfect virtue etc.” (B.1102 a 4). In the third part he completes his treatise on happiness, explaining which operation it is and of what nature. This he does in the tenth book (B.1172 a 19) at “After these matters we ought perhaps next to discuss pleasure.” In regard to the first he does two things. First  he explains his intention. Second [II], at “As to the name etc,,” he carries it out. He says first, resuming what he was investigating before (9-13), that since all knowledge and choice aim at some good, that is, are ordered to some desired good as an end, we must discuss the nature of that good to which political science is ordered. Such is the highest good of all actions, that is, the highest among those attainable by human operation. Moreover, it was said above (18) that these two notions must be studied about the ultimate end of human good; what it is—this is here proposed for consideration and to what science it belongs and this was treated above in the introduction (25-30).
44. Next [II], at “As to the name,” he treats happiness. He proceeds here in two steps. First [A] he investigates the opinions of others about happiness. Second [Lect.9], at “Let us return again to a consideration etc.” (B.1097 a 16), he states his own opinion. In regard to the initial point he does two things. First [A’] he gives the opinions of others about happiness. Second [Lect. 5; I], at “Let us return to the subject etc.” (B.1095 b 12), he examines these opinions. He handles the first point in two ways. Initially  he presents opinions about the ultimate end of human actions. Then , at “It is perhaps vain,” he points out how we should examine opinions of this kind. In regard to the first he does two things. He indicates the aspects of general agreement [1, a]; and then [1, b], at “But as to where happiness etc.,” he shows in what way there is disagreement.
45. In the beginning he presents two points on which there is general agreement about the ultimate end. First [1, a], at “As to the name,” he asserts that both the many, that is, the common people and the cultured or philosophers, name happiness the highest human good. Second, they have a common understanding of the term because all consider that living well and acting well are identified with being happy.
46. Then [1I, b ], at “But as to where happiness,” he shows in what respect the opinions of men differ about happiness. He affirms that especially about the nature of happiness men are at variance, i.e.,’hold different opinions. This difference is threefold. First of all the multitude does not think in this matter like the philosophers. People commonly consider that happiness consists in something apparent and obvious among the objects of sense, which alone are evident to the multitude and, therefore, so obvious as not to need exhaustive search-such as pleasure, riches, honor, and the like. The views of the philosophers on this point are given later (49).
47. The second difference is found among the common people themselves. Some of them place happiness in one sensible good, others in another. The avaricious place it in riches, the self-indulgent in pleasures, the ambitious in honors.
48. The third difference arises from the end in itself. Since it is characteristic of the ultimate end that it be greatly desired, people consider that to be happiness which is desired most of all. Now, need of a good increases the desire for it, and so the sick man who lacks health judges the supreme good to be health; the beggar looks upon riches in the same way. Likewise those who are conscious of their own ignorance esteem as happy others who give utterance to lofty ideas which are above the comprehension of the ignorant. All this pertains to the opinion of the multitude.
49. But some among the philosophers, the Platonists were of the opinion that, over and above the many different sensible goods, there exists one which is absolute good and which is the separated essence of goodness itself. As the separated form of man was called by them “man in himself” so the separated good was “good in itself,” and this is the cause of the goodness of all other things as they partake of that highest good.
5o. Then , at “It is perhaps vain,” he shows how we should proceed in our investigation of the aforesaid opinions. He handles the discussion in three steps. First [2, a] he shows which of these opinions we ought to investigate. Second [2, b], at “In this matter we should etc.,” he shows in what order we should do this. Third [2, c] he shows how the student should be disposed so that he may properly understand what is taught. He says then that to examine all opinions men hold about happiness would be useless for a good philosopher, inasmuch as some of them are altogether unreasonable. But it suffices to examine at most the opinions that on the surface are probable either because they give that appearance or at least are considered to have weight by many.
51. Then [2, b], at “In this matter we should be aware,” he shows in what order we must discuss opinions of this sort and in general all moral matters. He points out a difference in the manner of reasoning. There are some argumentations proceeding from principles, that is, from causes to effects, such as demonstrations of the reasoned fact (propter quid). On the contrary, there are other argumentations proceeding from effects to causes or principles. These do not produce a demonstration of the reasoned fact but only of the fact (quia). This distinction was previously made by Plato when he inquired whether we should proceed from or to principles. Then he offers this example from the racecourse. In order to judge athletes running in a race certain agonothetes or judges were stationed at the beginning of the course. Sometimes the athletes started from the judges and ran to the finishing line, and sometimes they started from the end and ran toward the judges. Likewise there is a twofold order in the process of reasoning.
52. In order to know the order of procedure in any subject we should reflect that it is necessary to begin from what is better understood. Through things better known we arrive at a knowledge of things unknown. Now things are said to be better known in two ways. Some are better known in regard to us such as the composite and the sensible; others are better known absolutely and in themselves, as the simple and the intelligible. Because we acquire knowledge by reasoning, we must proceed from what is better known to us. Now if the better known absolutely are the same as the better known to us, the reason proceeds from principles as in mathematics. If, however, the better known absolutely are different from the better known to us, then we must use the effect-to-cause procedure as in the natural and moral sciences.
53. Then [2, c], at “One who is going,” he shows how a student of such subjects should be disposed. He says that since in moral matters we ought to begin from what is better known to us, that is, from certain effects noted about human acts, a man who wishes to be a competent student of moral science must be well-informed and experienced in the ways of human living, that is about external good and just actions or works of virtue, and in general about all civil matters like laws and political affairs and other things of this sort. The reason for this is that in moral matters we must take as a principle that a thing is so. For example, we accept from experience and custom that concupiscence is restrained by fasting.
54. If this is obvious to someone it is not so necessary for him in acting to understand the total explanation. Thus to effect a cure a physician need know only that this medicine cures a particular malady. But to know the reason, we must have a scientific knowledge that is sought chiefly in speculative sciences. Now one who is skilled in human affairs either discovers working principles for himself and sees them as self-evident, or he readily acquires them from someone else. But a man about whom neither of these things can be correctly said should listen to the verdict of the poet Hesiod. He calls that man best who can understand by himself, and that man good who takes what is said by another. But the man who is capable neither of understanding by himself nor of bearing in mind what he hears from another is useless as far as acquiring a science is concerned.
Examination of the Opinions
I. HE EXAMINES THE OPINION OF THOSE DISCUSSING HAPPINESS FROM THE MORAL POINT OF VIEW.
A. He lays down a notion that opinions on the subject have in common. — 55
Let us return to the subject from which we have digressed. Some seem to think, not without reason, that the supreme good called happiness is a good belonging to this life.
B. He begins to investigate the variety of opinions.
A’ He examines the opinions that seem more likely to be true.
1. HE EXAMINES THE OPINION THAT PLACES HAPPINESS IN... A LIFE OF PLEASURE.
a. He presents the opinion. — 56-57
Now, most men, including some very eminent persons, place happiness in pleasure and so logically prefer a sensual life.
b. He distinguishes three types of life. — 58-59
There are indeed three very prominent types of life: that just mentioned, another called public life, and last the contemplative life.
c. He examines the truth of the opinion presented.
i. He disproves it. — 60
The majority of men seem quite bestial in choosing to live a life of pleasure.
ii. He advances a reason why some are drawn to this life. — 61
They justify their choice on the plea that many in high places share the tastes of Sardanapalus.
2. HE EXAMINES THE OPINION THAT PLACES HAPPINESS IN THE THINGS PERTAINING TO PUBLIC LIFE.
a. In regard to honor.
i. Presenting the opinion, he notes... — 62
Men of superior refinement however, and those occupied in the active life, place happiness in honor,
ii. He offers a reason for this opinion. — 63
for honor seems to be nearly the whole purpose of public life.
iii. He disproves this opinion.
x. FIRST (REASON). — 64 —
But this seems too superficial to be the good we are looking for. Honor consists in the action of those rendering it rather than anything in the power of the person honored; while happiness certainly should be a good proper to man and a thing not easily taken from him.
y. SECOND REASON. — 65
Another reason is that men appear to seek honor to convince themselves of their own good qualities. They strive to be honored by the prudent, by those who know them best and for their virtue. Obviously then, in their opinion, virtue is a better thing than honor.
b. In regard to virtue.
i. The opinion. — 66
From this someone may conclude that virtue rather than honor is the end of public life.
ii. He rejects this (first). — 67
But apparently virtue too is lacking in perfection because a man may have a habit of virtue when he is asleep or when he has no opportunity to exercise its acts for a lifetime.
iii. He gives the second reason. — 68
Moreover, he may be subject to evils and very often may be ill-favored by fortune. No one would call such a man happy, unless he were merely defending an argumentative position. Enough has now been said, for we treated the subject sufficiently in the Encyclis.
3. HE MENTIONS THE CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE. — 69
Later on we shall investigate the third type of life, the contemplative.
B’ He examines an opinion rather remote from the truth.
1. HE EXAMINES ANOTHER OPINION... WHICH PLACES HAPPINESS IN MONEY.
a. He rejects it... first. — 70-71
As to the accumulator of riches, he lives a life of constraint;
b. He gives the second reason.
and riches themselves are not the good we Seek, for they are merely useful and sought for the sake of something else. Rather therefore the things previously treated are considered ends, since they are desired for them- 10 selves. Yet even these are not the supreme good and happiness, although many arguments have been marshalled to prove this. But these discussions must be terminated now.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
55. After the Philosopher has recounted the different opinions about happiness, he begins to investigate the truth of these opinions. First [I] he examines the opinion of, those discussing happiness from the moral point of view who place happiness in some good of this life. Second [Lect. 6], at “Perhaps it will be better” (B.1096 a 12), he examines the opinion of those who do not discuss happiness from the moral point of view but place it in some separated good. In regard to the first he does two things. He lays down a, notion [A] that opinions on this subject have in common; and next [B], at “Now, most men,” he begins to investigate the variety of opinions. Then, because the Philosopher seemed to have made a digression from his principal purpose while he was determining the mode of procedure, he returns to the point whence he had digressed, that is, to the opinions about happiness. He asserts that some seem to think, not without reason, that the final good called happiness is a good belonging to this life on the purely human level. This is the goal of all the works of life. Now, means are proportionate to that end. Hence it is probable that happiness is among the number of goods belonging to this life. But what the truth may be in this matter will be indicated later (60, 64, 65, 70-72).
56. Next [B], at “Now, most men,” he searches for the truth about the things on which the opinions differ. In regard to this he does two things. First [A’] he examines the opinions that seem more likely to be true. Second [B’], at “As to the accumulator of riches etc.,” he examines an opinion rather remote from the truth. In regard to the first he does three things. First  he examines the opinion placing happiness in the things that pertain to a life of pleasure. Second , at “Men of superior refinement etc.,” he examines the opinion placing happiness in the things pertaining to public life. Third , at “Later on we shall investigate etc.,” he mentions the contemplative life. In regard to the first he does three things. First [A’, 1, a] he presents the opinion. Second [A’, 1, b], at “There are indeed three etc.,” he distinguishes three types of life without elaborating on them. Third [A’, 1, c], at “The majority of men etc.,” he examines the truth of the opinion presented.
57. He says then in the first place that some men, from the goods of this life, choose pleasure and place happiness in it. They include not only the majority or the common people who by and large favor pleasure, but also persons eminent either in knowledge and teaching or in uprightness of life. Even the Epicureans, who considered pleasure the highest good, carefully cultivated the virtues. They did so, however, on account of pleasure, that is, for fear their pleasure would be hindered by means of contrary vices. The vice of gluttony, for instance, causes bodily suffering through excessive eating; because of theft a man is thrown into prison. So different vices are an impediment to pleasure in different ways. Since then the ultimate end is exceedingly delectable, they who make pleasure the highest good intensely love the life of pleasure.
58. Then [A’, 1, b], at “There are indeed three,” he distinguishes three types of life: the sensual just mentioned, the public, and the contemplative. These he calls the most prominent types. For evidence of this we must now bear in mind what will later be discussed in the ninth book (1944-1949), that every man thinks his life to be that to which he is most strongly drawn, as the philosopher to philosophizing, the hunter to hunting, and so on. Because man is most strongly drawn to the last end, it is necessary that the types of life be distinguished according to the diversity of the ultimate end. Now the end has the nature of good, and good is threefold: the useful, the pleasurable, and the virtuous or honorable. Two of these, namely, the pleasurable and the virtuous or honorable, have the nature of end because both are desirable for their own sake. That indeed is called virtuous which is good according to reason, and this has pleasure attached to it. Hence the pleasurable, as distinguished from the virtuous, is so called in reference to the senses. Reason, we must remember, is both speculative and practical.
59. Therefore, that life is called sensual which fixes its end in the pleasures of the senses; and that public which fixes its end in the good of the practical reason, for example, in the exercise of virtuous deeds; and that contemplative which fixes its end in the good of the speculative reason or in the contemplation of truth.
60. Next [A’, 1, c], at “The majority of men,” he examines the opinion cited above. In regard to this he does two things. First [c, i] he disproves it. Second (c, ii], at “They justify their choice etc.,” he advances a reason why some are drawn to this life. In regard to the first we must consider that the sensual life, which fixes its end in sense pleasure, necessarily has to place that end in those very intense pleasures following from the natural operations by which the individual is preserved by eating and drinking and the race by sexual intercourse. Now pleasures of this kind are found in both men and beasts. It follows then that the multitude of men who fix their end in such pleasures seem quite bestial in choosing a life which even the pigs enjoy. If the happiness of man would consist in this, dumb animals enjoying the pleasure of food and sexual intercourse would have to be called happy for the same reason. Assuming that happiness is a characteristically human good, it cannot possibly consist in these things.
61. Then [c, ii], at “They justify their choice,” he gives the reason why some hold this opinion. He says that the reason they offer is that many in high places, like kings and princes who are considered very happy by the common people, share the tastes of a certain Assyrian king named Sardanapalus who was much given to sensuality. On this account it is thought that pleasure is something very good since it is a thing highly esteemed by the great.
62. At “Men of superior refinement”  he investigates opinions concerning the active or public life. First [2, a] he does this in regard to honor; and second [2, b], at “From this someone etc.,” in regard to virtue. This is a reasonable procedure, for the active or public life aims at the honorable good. Now it is called honorable as pertaining to the state of honor. Hence both honor itself and virtue, which is the cause of honor, appear to belong to it. In regard to the first he does three things. First [2, a, i], in presenting the opinion, he notes that persons of superior refinement, namely, the virtuous and those occupied in the active life, place happiness in honor.
63. Second [2, a, ii], at “for honor seems,” he offers a reason for this: the sole purpose of public life appears to be honor which is rendered as a reward to the politically successful. Therefore, for those engaged in public life happiness probably seems to consist in honor.
64. Third [2, a, iii], at “But this seems” he disproves this opinion by two reasons. In the first [iii, x] of these he says that in a way we divine the true nature of happiness, that is, we surmise happiness to be a good proper to the happy man, a thing belonging preeminently to him and taken from him with difficulty. But this is not true of honor which seems rather to consist in the action of the one rendering the honor, and to be in his power rather than in the power of the one honored. Therefore honor is something more extrinsic and superficial than the good we are seeking, which is happiness.
65. He gives the second reason at “Another reason” [iii, y]. Happiness is some very good thing which is not sought on account of another. But there is something better than honor, namely, that on account of which honor is sought. Men appear to seek honor in order to confirm the solid opinion they have formed of themselves that they are good men and that they may be assured of this by the judgment of others. They look, therefore, for honor from prudent men with correct judgment and from those who know them best and can be better judges. Hence they seek to be honored for their virtue, which is the source of man’s good, as will be shown in the second book (307-308). So virtue, for whose sake honor is sought, is a better thing than honor. It follows then that happiness does not consist in honor.
66. Then [2, b], at “From this someone,” he investigates the opinion of those who place happiness in virtue. In regard to this he does two things. First [2, b, i] he states the opinion and says that perhaps someone will think, by reason of what was just said, that virtue rather than honor is the end of public life.
67. Second [2, b, ii], at “But apparently,” he rejects this for two reasons. The first is that happiness seems to be a most perfect good. But virtue is not of such a nature, for sometimes it is found without the perfection of activity, as we see in those who are asleep and yet have the habit of virtue. It is possible, too, that a man may have the habit of virtue, but for lack of opportunity not perform a single act of a particular virtue during his whole life. This is particularly evident regarding magnanimity and magnificence, virtues perhaps possessed by a poverty-stricken person who is never able to perform great deeds. Therefore virtue is not the same as happiness.
68. He gives the second reason at “Moreover he may be” [2, b, iii]. It is this. It happens that one who has the habit of virtue may be ill-favored by fortune. Who will call such a man happy except someone obstinately defending a thesis against the plain truth? Therefore happiness is not the same as virtue. This, he says, is sufficient for his purpose. Enough has been said on the subject in his Encyclis, that is, in certain learned verses that Aristotle composed on happiness.
69. Then , at “Later on we shall investigate,” he mentions the contemplative life, saying that it will be investigated later on in the tenth book (2086-2125).
70. At “As to the accumulator of riches” [B’, i], he examines another opinion, less probable, which places happiness in a thing which has the nature of a useful good, money. But this is incompatible with the nature of an ultimate end, for a thing is called useful because it is ordered to an end. However, since money has an over-all utility in respect of temporal goods, the opinion that places happiness in money has some probability.
71. But he rejects it for two reasons [B’, i, a]. The first is that money is acquired under coercion and is parted with under coercion. But this is not in keeping with happiness, which is the goal of voluntary operations. Consequently happiness does not consist in money.
72. He gives the second reason [B’, 1, b] at “and riches themselves.” It is this. We look for happiness as a good that is not sought for something else. But money is sought for something beyond itself since it is by its nature a useful good, as was just said (70). Therefore happiness does not consist in money.
73. A further conclusion notes that pleasure, honor, and virtue, all of which were treated above (57-72), can be considered ultimate ends at least in the sense that they are sought for themselves, as was said (57, 61, 63, 70)However, the ultimate end is not to be found in these, as has been shown (57-72), although many arguments have been marshalled by various philosophers to prove that happiness consists in these goods. But these discussions must be terminated.
Happiness and a Separated Good
A. He disproves the opinion of those placing it in a separated good.
1. HE SHOWS THE NECESSITY OF DISCUSSING THIS OPINION.
a. He suggests the advantage of this inquiry. — 74
Perhaps it will be better to investigate thoroughly the existence of the universal good and to inquire about its nature,
b. He points out... an unpleasant aspect of the investigation. — 75
even if the investigation has become unpleasant owing to the fact that the doctrine of ideas was introduced by good friends.
c. He shows that this should not deter us from seeking the truth. — 76-78
However, it seems indeed better, and in fact especially obligatory on philosophers, to sacrifice even the rights of friendship for the sake of truth. While it is commendable to have love for both, we ought to honor truth as sacred above friends.
2. HE BEGINS TO DISPROVE IT.
a. He shows there is no one common idea or form of good.
i. There cannot be one common idea of good.
x. THE FIRST... ARGUMENT. — 79-80
Those who hold this opinion did not postulate ideas in which priority and posteriority were found. On this account they made no provision for an idea of numbers. Now good is found in the category of substance and quality and relation. But being in itself, i.e., substance, is naturally prior to being in reference to something else, for the latter is likened to an offspring of being and an accident of it. Therefore there will not be any common idea for these.
y. HE LAYS DOWN THE SECOND REASON. — 81
Furthermore, good is convertible with being. For good is predicated of substance such as God and intellect. It is predicated of quality such as virtues, of quantity such as the mean, of relation such as the useful, of time such as the opportune, of place such as a summerhouse, and so on. Hence it is obvious that one common idea of good that is universal does not exist. Otherwise good would not be found in every category but in one alone.
z. HE GIVES THE THIRD REASON. — 82
Moreover, because a single science treats things failing under one idea, there would have to be a single science of all good things. But we have many sciences, even of things contained in one category like time, for the opportune is studied in war by strategy, in disease by medicine, and in exercise by gymnastics.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
74. After the Philosopher has rejected the opinion of those who place happiness in one of the obvious goods, here [A] he disproves the opinion of those placing it in a separate good, In regard to this he does two things. First  he shows the necessity of discussing this opinion. Second  he begins to disprove it. in regard to the first he does three things. First [1, a] he suggests the advantage of this inquiry. Second [1, b], at “even if the investigation etc.,” he points out what may seem an unpleasant aspect of the investigation. Third [1, c], at “However, it seems etc.,” he shows that this should not deter us from seeking the truth. In regard to the first we must consider that the separated good, in which the Platonists asserted that man’s happiness consists, was called a universal good. By participation in it all things are said to be good. Hence he says that perhaps it is better to investigate thoroughly the existence of this universal good and to inquire what its nature is than to discuss the opinions mentioned before. The investigation of the good is more philosophical and more properly belongs to the discussion of the true good and the ultimate end than do the opinions considered in themselves. If, however, they be considered according to our stated intention of inquiring about the opinions mentioned above, it would seem to be more in agreement with our plan. On this account he uses “perhaps,” an adverb indicating doubt.
75. Then [1, b], at “even if the investigation,” he states what might deter him from an investigation of this opinion. He says that the investigation is made reluctantly because the opinion was introduced by friends of his, the Platonists. He himself was a disciple of Plato, and by rejecting this opinion he might seem to disparage his teacher. He raises the point here rather than in his other works where he likewise rejects the opinion of Plato because the repudiation of the opinion of a friend is not contrary to truth, which is the principal object in speculative sciences. It is, however, contrary to good morals, the subject discussed in this book.
76. Then [1, c], at “However, it seems indeed better,” he shows that this consideration ought not to deter him. The reason is that it seems to be better, meaning more honorable and in agreement with good morals, and indeed obligatory, that a man should not hesitate to oppose his friends for the sake of truth. It is so necessary for good morals that without it virtue cannot be preserved. Unless a man prefer truth to his friends, it follows that he will make false judgment and bear false witness in their defense. This is contrary to virtue. While reason prescribes that all men should prefer truth to their friends, this holds in a special way for the philosophers whose calling is to study wisdom, which is knowledge of the truth.
77. That truth should be preferred to friends he proves in this way. He is the greater friend for whom we ought to have the greater consideration. Although we should have friendship for both truth and our fellow man, we ought rather to love truth because we should love our fellow man especially on account of truth and virtue, as will be shown in the eighth book (1575-1577). Now truth is a most excellent friend of the sort to whom the homage of honor is due. Besides, truth is a divine thing, for it is found first and chiefly in God. He concludes, therefore, that it is virtuous to honor truth above friends.
78. Andronicus, the peripatetic, says that piety makes men faithful to and observant of the things of God. Along the same line is the judgment of Plato who, in rejecting the opinion of his teacher Socrates, says a man ought to care more for truth than anything else. Somewhere else too he affirms that while Socrates is certainly his friend, truth is still more so. In yet another place he says that we should have some care for the views of Socrates but more for truth.
79. Then , at “Those who hold his opinion,” he rejects the position of Plato who maintains that the happiness of man consists in a common idea or form of good. In regard to this he does two things. First [2, a] he shows there is no one common idea or form of good. Second [Lect. 8; 2, b], at “But perhaps we should etc.” (B. 1096 b 29), he shows that even if there were, human happiness would not consist in it. In regard to the first he does two things. First [2, a, i] he shows that there cannot be one common idea of good. Second [Lect. 7; 2, a, ii], at “Someone will rightly etc.” (B. 1096 a 34), he examines the manner of speaking used by the Platonists when they talk about this idea. In regard to the first we must consider that Aristotle does not intend to reject the opinion insofar as Plato maintained a separated good on which all good would depend. In the twelfth book of the Metaphysics (Ch. 10, 1075 a 11 sq.; St. Th. Lect. 12, 2627-2663), Aristotle expressly mentions a good, separated from the universe, to which the whole universe is ordered as an army is ordered to the good of the general. He does reject the opinion insofar as Plato held that the separated good is an idea common to all goods. He uses three reasons to disprove the opinion.
80. The first [i, x] of these is taken from the argument of the Platonists themselves who did not postulate an idea for these classes of things in which priority and posteriority arefound, as is the case with numbers, for two is naturally prior to three. So the Platonists did not hold that number in general would have a separated idea. They did, though, place separated ideas for individual numbers, for example, two, three and so on. The reason for this is that the things in which priority and posteriority are found do not seem to be of one order and consequently do not partake of one idea. But among good things there is priority and posteriority. This is clear from the fact that good is found in the quod quid est or substance, and likewise in quality and also in other genera. Now it is evident that what is being in itself, such as substance, is naturally prior to all those things that have being only in relation to substance—as quantity, which is the measure of substance; quality, which is the disposition of substance; and relation, which is the reference of substance. The same is true in other categories that are all, as it were, the offspring of being or substance. This is being in the full sense, and from it are engendered and derived all other genera, which are called being to the extent that they are accidents of a substance. From this he concludes that there cannot be a common idea of good.
81. He lays down the second reason [i, y] at “Furthermore, good etc.” To understand this we must know that Plato held the “idea” to be the “ratio” or nature and essence of all things that partake of the idea. It follows from this that there cannot be one idea of things not having a common nature. But the various categories do not have one common nature, for nothing is predicated of them univocally. Now good, like being with which it is convertible, is found in every category. Thus the quod quid est or substance, God, in whom there is no evil, is called good; the intellect, which is always true, is called good. In quality good is predicated of virtue, which makes its possessor good; in quantity, of the mean, which is the good in everything subject to measure. In relation, good is predicated of the useful which is good relative to a proper end. In time, it is predicated of the opportune; and in place, of a location suitable for walking as a summerhouse. The same may be said of other categories. It is clear, therefore, that there is not some one good that is the idea or the common “ratio” of all goods. Otherwise good would not be found in every category but in one alone.
82. He gives the third reason at “Moreover, because etc.” [i, z]. To understand this we must know the following. Things existing outside the mind, according to Plato, acquire the form of genus or species by participating in the “idea” so that the mind does not know a stone except by participating in the “idea” of stone. The mind in this way partakes of science and knowledge of those things when the “forms” or “ideas” of them are impressed in it. It follows that there is a single science of all the things that partake of one “idea.” If, therefore, there be one “idea” of all goods, it will belong to the study of one science. But we see that this is false even in regard to the goods belonging to a single category. He adds this for fear that someone may specify sciences according to the diversity of categories. We see, however, that strategy studies the opportune in war, medicine studies it in disease, and gymnastics in exercise. It remains then that there is not one common “idea” of all goods.
The Separated Good and an Absolute Good
ii. Whether it is properly called by this name.
x. IS NOT PROPERLY NAMED ABSOLUTE GOOD.
aa Not properly called absolute good. — 83-84
Someone will rightly ask what they mean in calling anything “absolute” if in both absolute man and this particular man there exists one and the same nature, that of man. This is the truth for they differ in no way as man. On the same supposition an absolute good or a good in itself and a particular good do not differ as good.
bb. He rules out a... rejoinder. — 85-86
It may not be countered that the good in itself is better because eternal, since what endures a long time is not necessarily better by nature than a thing that lasts a day.
cc. The Pythagorean view. — 87-88
A more likely explanation seems to have been given by the Pythagoreans who place unity in their list of goods. In this apparently Speusippus followed them. But further discussion of the point will have to wait.
y. THIS IS INCONSISTENT WITH... THE COMMON IDEA... OF ALL GOODS.
aa. An absolute good cannot be an idea common to all goods. — 89-90
Contrary to what they have asserted, some doubt arises because their words are not said of every good and yet they do so apply. Now things are said to be good according to one species of good which are sought and desired for their own sake, and things productive or in some way preservative of these or prohibitive of their contraries are said to be good according to an other species. It is obvious then that good is predicated in two ways, for some things are sought for their own sake and some for the sake of others.
bb. No common idea of... things... good in themselves.
a’. He declares his intention. — 91
Let us separate from the useful good things good in themselves and examine whether they can be called good according to one idea.
b’. He investigates... by proposing a question. — 92
But what would you have enumerated among goods in themselves? Would you include even all the goods sought for themselves alone, as intelligence, sight, and some types of pleasure and honor? These are sometimes sought for the sake of another, but they always have an intrinsic value. Otherwise nothing else seems an absolute good except the “idea” or “form.”
c’. He resolves the second part. — 93
Wherefore the idea will be empty.
d’. He resolves the first Part. — 94
If things in themselves are demonstrated as absolute good, then the same nature of goodness will have to appear in all of them as the nature of whiteness in snow and in white lead. But just as we find different natures in honor, prudence, and pleasure, so too we find differences in goodness. The absolute good is not, therefore, something common according to one idea.
cc. He handles a pertinent query. — 95-96
In what way then are they to be called good? Not as things purely equivocal. Are they at least to be compared as things referring to one principle or as all tending to one end? Or still better, should we say according to analogy? Indeed, as sight is the good of the body so intellect is the good of the soul and so of other things.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
83.The Philosopher has shown above that there is no common idea of all goods. But because the separated good is called by the Platonists not only the “idea” or “form” of good but also absolute good, Aristotle here intends to inquire whether it is properly called by this name [(2, a) ii]. In regard to to this he does two things. First [ii, x] he shows that the separated good is not properly named absolute good. Second [ii, y], at “Contrary to what etc.,” he shows that to postulate a separated good as absolute is inconsistent with saying that it is the common idea or form of all goods. In regard to the first he does three things. First [x, aa] he shows that the separated good is not properly called absolute (per se) good. Second [x, bb], at “It may not be countered etc.,” he rules out a particular rejoinder. Third [x, cc], at “A more likely explanation etc.,” he compares this doctrine with the Pythagorean view.
84. In regard to the first we must consider that the separated good, which is the cause of all goods, ought to be placed in a higher degree of goodness than the good things about us because the separated good is the ultimate end of all. But it seems that, according to this doctrine, it is not a higher degree in goodness than other goods. This is apparent because the Platonists called each of the separated things absolute or in itself, as man in himself and even horse in itself. Now it is clear that one and the same nature belongs to man who lives among us and to man in himself, that is, ideal man. He proves this by the fact that ideal man and man clothed with matter do not differ as man, but they do differ in certain other respects—for example, this particular man has matter. Thus the notions of animal and man do not differ in animality but rather in man’s rational principle that he has over and above animality. So too it seems that the ideal man does not differ from this particular man in the nature of man but because this particular man has matter in addition to being man. For the same reason the good that is called absolute will not have goodness different in nature from this particular good, although there can be a difference in other respects than the nature of good.
85. Then [x, bb], at “It may not,” he rules out a particular answer. Someone could say that the good in itself is better because eternal while the goods here are perishable. Indeed, a thing that lasts longer does seem better and more desirable. To exclude this he points out that the good in itself is eternal does not mean that it is better. The eternal differs from the non-eternal by reason of duration, and the difference of duration of a thing is outside the nature of the species, as life that lasts only a day and life more enduring are not different by reason of life but only by duration. So then if good be understood as one species, its duration will be outside the nature of good. The longer duration of a thing then does not make that thing any better.
86. If we do not hold that there is one species or idea of good as the Platonists did, but that good, like being, is predicated in every genus, duration itself will be a good of time. It would, in that case, add something to goodness. Hence what is more lasting will be better. But this cannot be said if the good is one species in itself. It follows then that it is not better because eternal.
87. Then [x, cc], at “A more likely explanation,” he compares this opinion with that of the Pythagoreans. We must consider that according to the Platonists the nature of the one and the good is the same, and so they identified one in itself and good in itself. Hence they were obliged to postulate one first good. The Pythagoreans did not do this’ however, but they put one among the things contained in the list of the good under which they placed:
Light (The contrary evil of which they declared to be: ). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Darkness
Unity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Multitude
Knowledge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Opinion
Rest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Motion
Straight. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Curved
Masculine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Feminine
Right. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Left
Finite. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Infinite
Equal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Unequal
Square. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rectangular
88. He says, therefore, that on this point the Pythagoreans gave a more likely explanation than the Platonists because the Pythagoreans were not compelled to hold one nature for the good. Even Speusippus, who was a son of Plato’s sister and his successor in the Academy, did not follow Plato but Pythagoras on this point. He adds that further discussion of the subject will be taken up in the Metaphysics. (Cf. Bk. I, Ch. 5, 986 a 13-986 b 9; St. Th. Lect. 8, 124-133, Cf. Bk. XI, Ch. 9, 1066 a 13-17; St. Th. Lect. 9, 2303.)
89. Then [ii, y], at “Contrary to what,” he shows that the assertion that the separated good is an absolute good or a good in itself is inconsistent with their view that there is one idea or form of all goods. He does three things on this point. Firstly, [y, aa] he shows that an absolute good cannot be an idea common to all goods. Second [y, bb], at “Let us separate etc.,” he shows that there cannot be a common idea of all things called good in themselves. Third [y, cc], at “In what way etc.,” he handles a pertinent query. He says then in the first place that contrary to what the Platonists assert, there seems to be a subtle hesitation here. When they speak about the good in itself, it does not seem from the obvious meaning of their words that the discussion concerns every good, but as much can be gathered from the context because there are various species or forms of goods.
90. Those things sought, pursued, chosen, or desired for themselves are good according to one species or form of goodness. Those desired insofar as they are good in some way for the sake of others, which in their turn are really good, are called good for another reason. In a third way, some things are called good because they prevent the contrary evil. It is clear, therefore, that good is predicated in two ways. Primary goods are good in themselves. As we have already remarked (9-13, 58) they are sought for themselves. Both of the other things called good the productive or preservative of good and the restrictive of contrary evil are called good in reference to things good in themselves. It is obvious then that the “ratio’ , of absolute good is not suited to all goods.
gi. Then [y, bb], at “Let us separate,” he shows that the “ratio” of absolute good cannot belong to all goods in themselves. First [bb, a’] he declares his intention. We must consider that those things that are productive or preservative of goods in themselves, or restrictive of contraries, are called good because they are useful, and the nature of absolute good does not belong to the merely useful. Let us then separate from these useful things the things that are in themselves good and see whether they can be designated good according to one form, which is called absolute good.
92. Second [bb, b’], at “But what would you,” he investigates this last point by proposing a question: what kinds of things should be considered goods in themselves? He presents this question in two parts. In the first he asks whether we are to call absolute whatever goods are sought for themselves alone to the exclusion of all others, so that they are not ordered to any further use. Such would be, for example, sight, and certain kinds of pleasure and honors. These things are sometimes sought for the sake of something else to which they are useful, but even if they have no use beyond themselves they are good and desirable in themselves. The second part of the question asks whether there is any other absolute good besides the idea or form itself.
93, Third [bb, c’] at “Wherefore the idea,” he resolves the second part just mentioned. He concludes that if nothing else be a good in itself except the idea, then the idea will be a kind of exemplar whose likeness will be impressed on others. An exemplar is useless if it has no likeness to some thing else. Hence it follows that the idea is useless if there is no other good in itself.
94. Fourth [bb, d’], at “Things in themselves,” he resolves the first part in this way. If all the aforementioned things are good in themselves by partaking of the idea which is itself good, the same nature of goodness must appear in all of them, as we find the same nature of whiteness in snow and in white’ lead from the fact that they share in the one form. But this apparently is not true of the things mentioned above. Honor, prudence, and pleasure differ in their natures, that is, the nature of honor precisely as honor differs from the nature of prudence as prudence. Moreover, the nature of honor as a good differs from the nature of prudence as it is a good. There is not, then, one nature of goodness in all good things nor are they all desirable under the same aspect. Hence it remains that what is called absolute good is not something common as one idea or form common to all goods.
95. Then [y, cc], at “In what way,” he handles a pertinent query. This inquiry belongs here since predication according to different reasons is made in the first of two ways according to meanings that are without any relation to any one thing. These are purely equivocal because it happens by chance that the same word has been used by one person for one thing, and then by someone else for an entirely different thing, as is plainly evident in the case of different men having the same name. In another way, one word is used of several things with meanings not entirely different but having some sort of common likeness. Sometimes they agree in referring to one principle, as a thing is called military because it is a soldier’s weapon (like a sword), or his clothing (like a uniform), or his transportation (like a horse). Sometimes they agree in referring to one end. Thus medicine is called healthy because it produces health, diet is called healthy because it preserves health, and urine in its turn is called healthy because it is a sign of health. Sometimes the agreement is according to a different proportion to the same subject, as quality is called being because it is a disposition of a being in itself, i.e., a substance, and quantity because it is a measure of substance, and so on. Or the agreement is according to one proportion to different subjects. For instance, sight has the same proportion to the body as intellect to the soul. Hence as sight is a power of a physical organ so also is the intellect a power of the soul without the participation of the body.
96. In this fashion, therefore, he affirms that “good” is predicated of many things not with meanings entirely different, as happens with things ,completely equivocal, but according to analogy or the same proportion, inasmuch as all goods depend on the first principle of goodness, that is, as they are ordered to one end. Aristotle indeed did not intend that the separated good be the idea and “ratio” of all goods but their principle and end. Likewise, all things are called good by an analogy or the same proportion just as sight is the good of the body and intellect is the good of the soul. He prefers this third way because it is understood according to goodness inherent in things. The first two ways, however, are ascribed to a separated goodness from which a thing is not so properly denominated.
This Matter Really Belongs to Another Science
2,b Supposing a common idea of good, it would not follow: that happiness would have to be sought according to it.
i. He presents a proof of his position. — 97-98
But perhaps we should now leave these subjects, for a precise determination of them properly belongs to another branch of philosophy [Metaphysics]. The same too may be said about the idea.
Even if there is some one good univocally predicated or if a separated good in itself does exist, it is obvious that it is not a thing produced or possessed by man. Now it is a good of this kind that we are looking for.
ii. He gives an apparent rejoinder. — 99
Perhaps some will think it better for the sake of the goods produced or possessed to obtain a knowledge of the separated good. Using this as a guide we will have a more thorough understanding of the objects that are good for us, and thus enlightened, we may acquire them.
iii. He refutes it.
x. BY TWO REASONS. THE FIRST. — 100
This reasoning certainly has some probability, although it does not seem to square with what we observed in the sciences. While sciences tend to some good and seek the necessary, they all neglect to use a knowledge of the separated good. But it is not reason able to suppose that all artists and scientists would be ignorant of and would fail to seek a thing so advantageous to themselves.
y. HE OFFERS A SECOND REASON. — 101-102
Indeed the separated good would be useless. What help does a knowledge of it afford a weaver and a carpenter in the practice of their trades? Or how is a man a better doctor or a better soldier by studying the idea itself? A doctor surely is not intent on health so understood but on the health of man in the concrete, or even better perhaps, on the health of this man. It is the individual man whom a doctor intends to cure. Enough has now been said on these topics.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
97. After the Philosopher has explained that there is no common idea of good, now [2, b] he shows that even if there were, it would not follow that happiness would have to be sought according to it. In regard to this he does three things. First [i] he presents a proof of his position. Second [ii], at “Perhaps some will think etc.,” he gives an apparent rejoinder. Third (iii], at “This reasoning certainly etc.,” he refutes it. He says first that the manner of predicating good according to one or different reasons must now be put aside because more accurate study of the matter properly belongs to another branch of philosophy, metaphysics. Likewise, the consideration of the idea of good is not pertinent to our purpose. As reason for these statements he maintains that if there were one good univocally predicated of all, or even if a separated good did exist in itself, it would obviously not be a thing produced or possessed by man. Now it is precisely such a thing we are seeking.
98. We are looking for the happiness that is the end of human acts. The end, however, of man is either some thing he does or some external thing. This can be the end of man because either it is produced, as a house is the end of building or it is possessed as a thing that is used. Now it is clear that the common or separated good cannot be the operation itself of man, nor is it something produced by man. Moreover, it does not seem to be something possessed by man as he possesses things used in this life. Obviously, then, the common or separated good is not the good of man that is the object of our present search.
99. Then [ii], at “Perhaps,” he gives an apparent rejoinder. Someone might say that the separated good, although not produced or possessed by man, nevertheless is the pattern of all the good produced and possessed. Now one who wishes to understand the copies ought to know the pattern. So it would seem that one should know the separated good itself for the sake of the goods produced and possessed. The reason is that, having the separated good as a guide, we will be better able to know and consequently better able to acquire the things that are good for us, as an artist looking at a model is better able to paint a likeness. too. Then [iii], at “This reasoning certainly,” he refutes this response by two reasons. The first [iii, x] he takes from ordinary observation. While the reason given seems probable, he says that it does not appear to be in agreement with what we observe in other sciences. All sciences and arts tend to some good, as we said above (8), and to attain the end aimed at, each uses what is necessary for itself. None of them, though, uses the knowledge of this separated good. This would not be reasonable if some advantage could be derived from it. Therefore, the knowledge of this separated good contributes nothing to the goods produced and possessed.
101. He offers a second reason [iii, y] at “Indeed the separated good would be useless.” This is taken from the very nature of the thing. He states that the good under consideration is altogether useless for the sciences and the arts, both in regard to their exercise, since a weaver or a carpenter is in no way aided in the practice of his art by a knowledge of that separated good, and in regard to the acquisition of a science or an art. No one becomes a better physician or a better soldier because he has studied the separated form of good. The reason he assigns is that an exemplar, at which it is necessary to gaze, must be in conformity with the work produced. Art, however, does not produce some good in common or an abstract good but a good that is concrete and individual. A physician does not intend health in the abstract but in the concrete, the health of this particular man. He does not give medicine to mankind in general but to this individual man. We must conclude then that the knowledge of a universal and separated good is not needed either for the acquisition or for the exercise of the sciences.
102. On this note he concludes his discussion of the opinions offered about happiness.
The Nature of Happiness
I. HE SHOWS WHAT HAPPINESS IS.
A. He shows what happiness is.
A’ He shows what happiness is.
1. HE PROPOSES SOME GENERAL NOTIONS AND CONDITIONS.
a. He states that happiness is the ultimate end. — 103-106
Let us return again to a consideration of the good we are seeking in order to find out what it is. It seems that the good differs in different operations and arts. In medicine it is one good, in war it is another, and in other arts, still other goods. As the thing sought in every activity, the good is the end for the sake of which other things are done. This will be health in medicine, victory in war, a building in architecture, something else in some other art. In every activity and choice there is an end, the agent doing everything he does for the sake of that end. Therefore, if there is an end for all that we do, this will be the good intended. If there are many ends, there will be many goods, and in this case our discussion- will go beyond the many until it arrives at that supreme good.
b. He lays down the conditions belonging to the ultimate end.
i. The first is that it be a perfect thing. — 107-111
We must make a considerable effort to give this a fuller explanation. Apparently there are many ends, some of which we choose for the sake of something else like riches, flutes, and in general all instruments. It is obvious then that not all ends are perfect. But the ultimate end appears to be perfect. Wherefore, if there be only one of this kind, it will be what we are looking for. If there are a number of goods, then it is the most perfect of these. Now we call that object which is desired for its own sake more perfect than one that is desired for some further purpose. That which is never desired for any further utility is more perfect than the things desirable in themselves and for the sake of this further purpose. In the event that the object is perfect without qualification it will always be desirable for itself and never for anything beyond itself. Happiness in fact seems especially to be of this nature, for we choose it in every case for itself and never for something else. Honor and pleasure and knowledge and every virtue we do indeed choose for themselves, for we would choose every one of them even if no advantage accrued to us. But we choose them also on account of happiness because we hope to become happy. On the other hand, no one chooses happiness for the sake of these goods or for any other good whatsoever.
ii. The second, that it be self-sufficient.
x. FIRST IN REGARD To... THE NATURE OF SUFFICIENCY. — 112-114
The same seems to follow from the viewpoint of self-sufficiency, for the perfect good apparently is self-sufficient. We call it self-sufficient not only as adequate for a man living a solitary life by himself but also for his parents, children, wife, friends in general, and fellow citizens because this good naturally will include man’s social life. But some limitation must be placed on the number provided for, since the extension to relatives, neighbors and friends might go on without limit. We must return to examine this question later. Now we call that self-sufficient which, taken alone, makes life desirable and lacking nothing. In our opinion happiness is of this nature.
y. AS REGARDS THE PREFIX “SELF.” — 115-117
Moreover, happiness without further addition will be the most desirable of all things. With any addition it will certainly be more desirable even though the addition be ever so slight. The reason is that the addition has increased the good, and a greater good is always more desirable. Therefore, happiness as the end of all human actions is the perfect self-sufficient good.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
103. After the Philosopher has thoroughly discussed the opinions of others about happiness, he now gives his own opinion on the subject. He divides this treatment into two parts. In the first  he shows what happiness is. In the second [Lect. 18; II], at “Having settled these matters etc.” (B. 1101b 10), he treats a particular property of happiness. He makes a twofold division of the first part. In the first division [A] he shows what happiness is. In the second [Lect. 15], at “Many changes take place etc.” (B.1100 a 5), he solves a particular problem. In regard to the first he does two things. First [A’] he shows what happiness is. Second [Lect. 12], at “In our study of the principles etc.” (B.1098 b 8), he shows that everything said about happiness is in agreement with this doctrine. In regard to the first he does two things. First  he proposes some general notions and conditions of happiness that are obvious to nearly everyone. Second [Lect. 10; 2], at “But to say that happiness etc.” (B.1097 b 22), he inquires into the nature of happiness. In regard to the first he does two things. First [a] he states that happiness is the ultimate end. Second [b], at “We must make etc.,” he lays down the conditions belonging to the ultimate end.
104. Therefore, he says first that, after completing the treatise (43-102) on the opinions of others, we must again return to a consideration of the good that is the subject of our inquiry—happiness—to find out what it is. Our first consideration about it must be that in different activities and arts the good sought differs. In the medical art the good sought is health, and in the military art victory, and in other arts some other good.
105. If it be asked what good is sought in every art and in every activity, we must know that it is the object for the sake of which all other things are done. In medicine everything is done on account of health, in war everything is done on account of victory, and in architecture everything is done for the sake of the building to be constructed. Likewise, in every other activity the good sought is some one thing for the sake of which all other things are done. This good, the object of every activity or choice, is called the end, for the end is nothing else than that for the sake of which other things are done.
106. If, therefore, there should be some end immediately apparent to which all the products of all arts and human activities are directed, such an end will be the good unqualifiedly sought, that is, the thing intended in all human operations. But if at this point many goods arise to which the different ends of different arts are ordered, our reason will have to inquire beyond this number until it arrives at this one thing, that is, some obvious good. There must be, indeed, one ultimate end for man precisely as man because of the unity of human nature, just as there is one end for a physician as physician because of the unity of the art of medicine. This ultimate end of man is called that human good which is happiness.
107. Then [b], at “We must make,” he lays down two conditions of the ultimate end. The first [b, i] is that it be a perfect thing; the second [b, ii], that it be self-sufficient, at “The same seems to follow etc.” The ultimate end is the ultimate term of desire’s natural inclination. But in order that something be the ultimate term of natural inclination, two things are required. First that it be a thing actually having a species and not on the way to have a species. The generation of fire, for instance, is not terminated at the disposition to the form but at the form itself. Now a thing that has form is perfect, but a thing that is merely disposed to a form is imperfect. Therefore, the good that is the ultimate end must be a perfect good. Second, the term of the natural inclination must be integral since nature is not deficient in necessary things. Hence the end of human generation is not a deformed man but a perfect man. Likewise the ultimate end that is the term of desire must be self-sufficient as an integral good.
108. In regard to the perfection of a final good we must consider that, as an agent moves towards the end, so the end moves the desire of the agent. Hence the gradations of the ends must be in proportion to the gradations of the agent. Now an agent may be of three kinds. One, the most imperfect, does not operate by its own form but only insofar as moved by another, as a hammer forges a blade. Hence, the effect in the acquired form is not like this agent but like the one who moves the agent. Another, a perfect agent, operates indeed according to its form so that the effect is like it, as fire gives off heat, but nevertheless it must be moved by some prior principal agent. In this respect it partakes imperfectly of the nature of an instrument. A third agent, the most perfect, operates according to its own form and is not moved by any other.
109. The same is true in the order of ends. There we find an object desired not on account of some formal goodness existing in itself but only as useful for something else like bitter medicine. We find also an object is indeed desirable on account of what it is, but besides, it is desired for something else like sweet-tasting medicine. This is better than the first. But the most perfect good is that which is so desired for its own sake that it is never desired for the sake of anything else. Here then the Philosopher distinguishes three degrees of good. He says, as we have just stated (107-109), that we must give a more complete explanation of the ultimate end by examining the conditions required for it.
110. There are also, it seems, many degrees of ends. Some of these we choose purely for the sake of something else, riches, for instance, which are sought for their utility in human living. Flutes on which music is made is another example. All such instruments are ends sought merely because of their usefulness. It is obvious that such ends are imperfect. The best end, namely the ultimate end, must be perfect. Therefore, if there is only one such end, it must be the ultimate end we are looking for. If, however, there are many perfect ends, the most perfect of these should be the best and the ultimate. What is desirable in itself is more perfect than what is desirable because of another. It clearly follows then that what is never desired for some thing beyond itself is more perfect than the things which, although sought for themselves, are also sought as a means.
111. Therefore, that is absolutely perfect which is always desirable for itself and never for another. But happiness appears to be of this nature, for we never seek it for something else but always for itself. We do choose honor, pleasure, knowledge, and virtue for themselves. We would choose them or have a desire for them even if no other good would come to us through them. In fact we choose them for happiness precisely because we think we will be happy in having them. But no one chooses happiness for them or for anything else. We conclude then that happiness is the most perfect good, and consequently the ultimate and best end.
112. Then [b, ii], at “The same seems,” he treats the self-sufficiency of happiness-first [ii, x] in regard to that which pertains to the nature of sufficiency, and second [ii, y], at “Moreover, happiness etc.,” as regards the prefix “self.” He says first that the same conclusion seems to follow from self-sufficiency as well as from perfection: happiness is the best and the ultimate end. Indeed, the latter two follow one another, for the perfect good seems to be self-sufficient. If it is not sufficient in some particular, it does not perfectly satisfy desire, and so it will not be the perfect good. It is called a self-sufficient good not because it suffices merely for one man living a solitary life but also for his parents, children, wife, friends, and fellow citizens as well, so that it will adequately provide the necessaries in temporal matters, instruction and counsel in spiritual matters for them too. Such extension is required because man is a social animal, and his desire is not satisfied in providing for himself but he wants to be in a position to take care of others. This, however, must be understood within limits.
113. If someone should want to extend such care not only to his own relatives and friends but even to the friends of his friends this would go on indefinitely so that no one could have a sufficiency and therefore no one could be happy, if happiness would require such infinite sufficiency. In this work the Philosopher speaks of happiness as it is attainable in this life, for happiness in a future life is entirely beyond the investigation of reason. To what extent a man needs a sufficiency to be happy will have to be investigated again elsewhere, namely, in domestic ethics or in political science.
114. Because he has already shown (112-113) that the perfect good called happiness ought to be sufficient not for one man alone but for all whose care is incumbent upon him, next he explains the nature of what is called self-sufficient. He says that the self-sufficient is that which, even when had by itself, makes life desirable and free from want. Happiness does this eminently, otherwise it would not terminate the inclination of desire if something that man needed remained outside it. Certainly everyone in need desires to have what he lacks. Hence it is clear that happiness is a self-sufficient good.
115. Then [ii, y], at “Moreover,” he explains the nature of self-sufficiency as regards the expression “self.” A thing is said to be self-sufficient when, taken apart from other things, it is sufficient. This can happen in two ways. First in such a manner that the perfect good, which is called self-sufficient, would be incapable of receiving an increase of goodness from another-a condition of the being that is totally good, God. As an additional part is not greater than the whole since the part itself is included in the whole, so too any good whatsoever added to God does not increase His goodness because the addition is good only by participating in the divine goodness. Likewise, a thing taken alone, no addition being made, is said to be sufficient in that it has everything a man absolutely needs.
116. In this sense happiness, the subject of our present discussion, has self-sufficiency because of itself it furnishes everything that is absolutely necessary, but it does not supply everything that can come to a man. Man can be made better by an additional good. But a man’s desire for this does not remain unsatisfied because a desire controlled by reason, such as a truly happy man should have, is undisturbed by the things that are unnecessary even though attainable. Happiness, therefore, has this quality above everything else; it is desirable even when not augmented by other goods. However, if it does receive an addition, be it ever so small, surely that is even more desirable. The reason is that by the accession, a superabundance or an increase of good is effected, and because something is a greater good, it is more desirable.
117. Last, he repeats in the epilogue the conclusion of what has been established (104-116), namely, that since happiness is the ultimate end of all our activities, it is the perfect good and self-sufficient.
The Definition of Happiness
2. HE ... EXAMINES ITS DEFINITION.
a. He shows the necessity of this inquiry. — 118
But to say that happiness is the best of goods seems merely to state some thing already perfectly obvious. How ever, since we wish to bring out more clearly what it is, we must investigate the matter further.
b. He searches for the definition of happiness.
i. First he inquires into its genus.
x. HE SHOWS THAT HAPPINESS CONSISTS IN AN ACTIVITY OF MAN. — 119-120
Perhaps this can be done by considering the activity of man. As the good of a flute player or sculptor or any artist, or of anyone who has some special activity, seems to consist in that activity and its skillful performance, so also the good of man who has an activity characteristic of himself precisely as man.
y. HE SHOWS THAT THERE IS AN ACTIVITY PROPER TO MAN.
aa. First by activities incidental to man. — 121
Have a weaver and a tanner a special work and activity while man precisely as man has none? Is he left by nature without a purpose?
bb. Second,... by means of the human members. — 122
If the eye, hand, foot, and each member have a proper operation, surely we will not refuse to concede an activity proper to man as man.
z. HE SHOWS WHICH IS MAN’S PROPER ACTIVITY. — 123-126
What therefore will it be? Life belongs even to plants and we are in search of something characteristic of man. The life of nutrition and growth must then be ruled out. Even the life of sense experience, which is a step higher, is shared with the horse, cow, and other animals. The remaining type of life belongs to the rational part of man and finds its expression in. actions. This rational part either follows the dictates of reason, or it possesses and exercises the power of understanding. Of the two functions, the latter seems the more correct, for when we speak of reasoning, we signify the exercise of our rational powers.
ii. (He inquires) into its differences.
x. HE DIVIDES THE INQUIRY INTO TWO PARTS (FIRST) . — 127-128
The function of man, therefore, is activity of the soul according to reason or at least not independent of reason. Now as a rule we classify in the same way the function of an artist and of a skillful artist, of a flute player and of a good flute player. This applies generally where skill is an addition to the function, for a flute player is one who plays the flute and a good flute player one who plays the flute well. If then we place the function of man in a certain kind of life, that is, of an activity of the soul according to reason, it will be proper to a good man to act well and to the best of his ability according to reason. In every case the good of man will consist in action conformable to virtue, and if there are a number of virtues, action conformable to the best and most perfect of them.
y. HE BEGINS THE SECOND PART. — 129-130
Further, it must extend to a complete life. A single swallow or one good day does not mean that spring has come. So one day (of goodness) or a short practice of virtue does not make a man blessed and happy.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
118. After the Philosopher has laid down certain conditions of happiness, he here  examines its definition. Concerning this he does three things. First [2, a] he shows the necessity of this inquiry. Second [2, b], at “Perhaps this can be done etc.,” he searches for the definition of happiness. Third [Lect. 11], at “In this way, therefore etc.” (B. 1098 a 20), he shows that the definition given is insufficient and further inquiry must be made. He says first that all admit that happiness is the very best of things including the belief that it is the ultimate end and the perfect self-sufficient good. But it is rather obvious that some clarification must be made about happiness to give us a knowledge of its specific nature.
119. Then [2, b], at “Perhaps this,” he investigates the definition of happiness in a twofold manner. First [b, i] he inquires into its genus, and second [b, ii], at “The function of man,” into its differences. The first point requires a threefold procedure. First [i, x] he shows that happiness consists in an activity of man. Second [i, y], at “Have a weaver etc.,” he shows that there is an activity proper to man. Third [i, z], at “What therefore etc.,” he shows which is man’s proper activity. He says first that the nature of happiness can be made evident by consideration of human activity. When a thing has a proper operation, the good of the thing and its well-being consist in that operation. Thus the good of a flute player consists in his playing, and similarly the good of the sculptor and of every artist in their respective activity. The reason is that the final good of everything is its ultimate perfection, and the form is its first perfection while its operation is the second. If some exterior thing be called an end, this will be only because of an operation by which a man comes in contact with that thing, either by making it as a builder makes a house, or by using or enjoying it. Accordingly, the final good of everything must be found in its operation. If then man has some characteristic activity, his final good which is happiness must consist in this. Consequently, happiness is the proper operation of man.
120. But if happiness is said to consist in something else, either this will be a thing fitting man for an operation of this kind, or it will be something he attains by his operation, as God is said to be the beatitude of man.
121. Then [i, y], at “Have a weaver,” he proves in two ways that there is an operation proper to man. He does this first [y, aa] by activities that are incidental to man. It may happen that a man is a weaver, tanner, grammarian, musician, or anything else of the kind. In none of these capacities does he lack a proper operation, for otherwise he would possess them as empty and useless things. Now it is far more unfitting that a thing ordained by divine reason, as is the naturally existent, should be unprofitable and useless than a thing arranged by human reason. Since, therefore, man is a being possessing a natural existence, it is impossible that he should be by nature without a purpose, or a proper operation. There is then a proper operation of man no less than of the abilities that are incidental to him. The reason is that everything, either natural or acquired by art, exists by means of its form which is a principle of some operation. Hence as each thing has a proper existence by its form so also does it have a proper operation.
122. Second [y, bb], at “If the eye,” he proves the same truth by means of the human members. We must consider that the same mode of operation is found in the whole and in the parts of man, because, as the soul is the act of the whole body, so certain powers of the soul are acts of certain parts of the body, as sight is of the eye. But each part of man has a proper operation; for example, the operation of the eye is seeing; and of the hand, touching; and of the feet, walking; and so of the other parts. We conclude, therefore, that some operation proper to man as a whole exists.
123. Then [i, z], at “What therefore, he explores the nature of the operation proper to man. Now it is evident that each thing has an operation which belongs to it according to its form. But the form of man is his soul, whose act is life, not indeed life as the mere existence of a living thing, but a special vital operation, for example, understanding or feeling. Hence happiness obviously consists in some vital operation.
124. It cannot be said that man’s happiness should arise from any kind of life, for even plants have life. But happiness is sought as a good characteristic of man since it is called a human good. Likewise, happiness must be different from the life of nutrition or growth, which even vegetables posses. From this we take it that happiness does not consist in health, beauty, strength, or great stature, for all these things result from activities of vegetative life.
125. On the step above the life of mere nutrition and growth is the life of sense experience. Again, this is not proper to man but is possessed by horses, oxen, and other animals. In this kind of life, then, happiness does not consist. So we. conclude that human happiness is not found in any form of sense perception or pleasure.
126. Beyond the life of assimilation and of sense experience there remains only the life that functions according to reason. This life is proper to man, for he receives his specific classification from the fact that he is rational. Now the rational has two parts. One is rational by participation insofar as it is obedient to and is regulated by reason. The other is rational by nature as it can of itself reason and understand. The rational by nature is more properly called rational because a thing possessed intrinsically is always more proper than a thing received from another. Since, therefore, happiness is the most proper good of man, it more likely consists in the rational by nature than in the rational by participation. From this we can see that happiness will more properly be found in the life of thought than in a life of activity, and in an act of reason or intellect than in an act of the appetitive power controlled by reason.
127, Then [b, ii], at “The function of man,” he inquires into the specific differences of happiness. He divides the inquiry into two parts [ii, x] according to the two specific differences investigated, and he begins the second part [ii, y] at “Further, it must extend etc.” First then we know from the premises (126) that the proper function of a man is a psychic activity in accord with reason itself or at least not independent of reason. The latter is mentioned because of the activity of the appetite controlled by reason. Now as a rule we find that the function of a thing generally and the efficient activity of that thing are of the same nature, except that allowance must be made for the part played by skill. For example, the function of a harpist is to play the harp, and the function of a good harpist is to play the harp well. The same is true of all other functions.
128. If, therefore, man’s proper role consists in living a certain kind of life, namely, according to the activity of reason, it follows that it is proper to a good man to act well according to reason, and to the very good man or the happy man to do this in superlative fashion. But this belongs to the nature of virtue that everyone who has virtue should act well according to it, as a horse with good training or “virtue” should run well. If, then, the activity of the very good man or the happy man is to act well, in fact to act to the best of his ability according to reason, it follows that the good of man, which is happiness, is an activity according to virtue. If there is only one virtue for man, his activity according to that virtue will be happiness. If there are a number of such virtues for man, happiness will be te activity according to the best of them. The reason is that happiness is not only the good of man but the best good.
129. Then [ii, y], at “Further, it must extend,” he inquires into the other specific difference of happiness. Continuity and perpetuity, to some extent, are also required for happiness. These qualities are naturally desired by the appetite of a person endowed with reason, who apprehends not a particular being, as our senses do, but also being in itself. Now being is of itself desirable. It follows then that, as an animal which apprehends a particular being by its senses desires that particular being, so also man apprehending being in itself desires it as always existing and not this particular being alone. So continuity and perpetuity, which are not found in the present life, belong to the nature of perfect happiness. Hence perfect happiness cannot be had in this life. However ,the happiness attainable here must extend to a complete life, that is through the whole life of man. As the sight of a single swallow or one clear day does not prove that spring is here, so a single good deed is not enough to make a man happy. It arises rather form the continued performance of good deeds throughout his whole life.
130. From this discussion, therefore, it is clear that happiness is a virtue-oriented activity proper to man in a complete life.
The Task Before Us
3. HE NOW SHOWS WHAT MAY STILL REMAIN TO BE DONE.
a. He indicates first what remains to be done.
i. He manifests what has been done and what remains to be done. — 131
In this way, therefore, the good of happiness has been sketched, for the proper procedure is first to study a subject according to its general notions and afterwards to explain it more fully.
ii. He assigns the reason for the statement just made. — 132
It would indeed seem a reasonable mode of procedure to make a sketch of the matter and then to investigate its features one by one.
iii. He shows how a man may be helped in this procedure. — 133-134
In this matter time seems to be, as it were, a good discoverer and a special assistant. Thus improvements in the arts have been due to successive artists, each making his own contribution.
b. (He indicates) how this should be done.
i. He presents this in general. — 135
We must recall what was said before, that the same certitude is not to be expected in all sciences but in each according to the subject matter, and that the degree of certitude should be suited to the subject taught.
ii. He makes specific what he has said.
x. HE TAKES UP WHAT MUST BE HANDLED DIFFERENTLY FOR DIFFERENT SUBJECTS.
aa. The first... is the difference between a practical and a speculative science. — 136
For a carpenter and a geometrician both study a straight line, but for different reasons. The carpenter does so to the extent that this is useful in his work; the geometrician as a student of truth wants to learn what a line is and how it differs from other figures. This distinction must be observed in other practical sciences lest they be burdened with discussions that are out of place.
bb. He treats a second difference. — 137
Likewise, we must not seek causes equally in all matters but in some it suffices to establish a fact. This is the case with the first principles of a science since a principle is a starting point. Now, we understand some principles by induction, some by observation, some by custom and others in other ways.
y. (HE TAKES UP) WHAT MUST BE OBSERVED GENERALLY IN ALL SUBJECTS. — 138
In all cases we must strive for a thorough knowledge of each set of principles according to their nature and must study how to define them properly.
Principles are a great help in understanding what follows. Indeed a single principle seems to be more than half of the whole, for it furnishes answers to many of our questions.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
131.After the Philosopher has investigated the definition of happiness itself, he now  shows in a twofold fashion what may still remain to be done. He indicates first [3, a] what remains to be done, and second [3, b], at “We must recall etc.,” how this should be done. In regard to the initial point he does three things. First [a, i] he manifests what has been done and what remains to be done. He says that the final good of man which is happiness has been previously sketched (103-130). By a sketch he understands that knowledge through some common principles which indeed give a picture of the matter but not in such a way that the nature of that thing in particular is manifested. The reason for this is, as he himself says, that a thing should first be studied according to its general characteristics, i.e., by a general description which is like it and in a way extrinsic to it. Then with other matters clarified, we must take up what was previously sketched roughly and etch in the lines more sharply. For this reason he himself will take up in greater detail the treatise on happiness toward the end of this work (Bk. X, Ch. 6-8, 1176 a 30-1179 a 33; St. Th. Lect. 9-13, 2065-2136).
132. Second [a, ii], at “It would indeed seem,” he assigns the reason for the statement just made (131) saying that it seems natural for man to advance from the imperfect knowledge which covers a good description things to a perfect knowledge of them by filling in the details. This he does by investigating first one part and then another, for it is according to man’s nature to proceed by the steps of reason to a knowledge of the truth. Reason has this peculiar characteristic that it grasps the truth gradually, and as a consequence man properly perfects himself in knowledge little by little. On the contrary, separated or intellectual substances attain at once to the knowledge of the truth without any such investigation.
133. Third [a, iii], at “In this matter time,” he shows how a man may be helped in this procedure. He says that time seems to be, as it were, a discoverer of things well suited to sketch a subject and to be of special assistance in the work. The meaning is not that time itself contributes anything but that this help comes with time. If someone should busy himself investigating the truth for a period, he will be aided in the discovery of the truth by the passage of time. This is true in the case of the same person who will understand subsequently what he had not understood before, and also for different persons~ as in the case of a man who learns the things discovered by his predecessors and adds something himself. In this way improvements have been made in the arts, in which a small discovery was made first and afterwards notable advances were made by the efforts of various men, each looking upon it as a duty to supply what is lacking in the knowledge of his predecessors.
134. But if, on the contrary, application to study be neglected, time is rather a cause of forgetfulness, as is said in the fourth book of the Physics (Ch. 12, 221 a 32; St. Th. Lect. 20, 604). We see indeed that the negligent individual forgets what he knows, and in human history we observe that many sciences which flourished among the ancients gradually have been lost when interest in them ceased.
135. Then [3, b], at “We must recall,” he shows how we must follow up the remainder of our task. First [b, i] he presents this in general by recalling to mind what was said in the introduction (32, 36), that we must not look for the same certitude in all subjects but in each according to the matter, namely, that which is proper to the subject taught.
136. Second [b, ii], at “For a carpenter,” he makes specific what he has said. First [ii, x] he takes up what must be handled differently for different subjects, and second [ii, y], at “In all cases we must etc.,” what must be observed generally in all subjects. In regard to the first he gives a threefold difference. The first of these [x, aa] is the difference between a practical and a speculative science. He says therefore that a carpenter, who is a practical man, and a geometrician, who is a theorist, study a straight line for different reasons. A practical—man—a carpenter studies a line insofar as it is useful for his work, in sawing wood or in doing anything else of this nature. But the geometrician investigates what a line is—its qualities and its nature by considering the properties and potentialities. He is interested only in the study of truth. We must proceed in the first way to avoid many discussions that are out of place in practical sciences. Fore instance, in moral matters we must steer clear of an exhaustive treatment of the intellect and the other powers of the soul to the neglect of the study of human acts themselves. It is a serious defect in any science to squander time on matter outside the science.
l17. He treats a second difference at “Likewise, we must not” [x, bb]. Here he considers the difference between principles and deductions made from them. He says that the cause is not to be sought equally in all matters, otherwise we would proceed to infinity in demonstrating. But in some cases it is sufficient to show clearly that a thing is so. This is true of principles that are taken for granted in a science, since they are the beginning and cannot be reduced to anything previous. Now principles themselves are not manifested in the same way. But some are understood by induction form particular examples, for instance, that every number is even or odd. Some are taken from observation, as in nature, that every living thing needs nourishment. Some are taken from custom, as in morals, that sensual desires are diminished if we do not give into them. Still other principles are manifested in still other ways, as in the practical arts principles are learned by a sort of experience.
138. Then [ii, y], at “In all cases we must,” he sets down the procedure to be followed generally in all such matters. He says. that a person out to persist in going over thoroughly each set of principles, both speculatively and practically, in the way a knowledge of their nature demands and in studying how men understand them. Thus a man will learn how to distinguish one principle from an other, and one set of principles from another set. A knowledge of principles is a great help in understanding the conclusions that flow form them. Indeed a single principle seems to be more than half of the whole, since the content of a science is contained in the principles. He adds that many answers we look for in a science are clear from one principle well understood and completely thought out.
Confirmation of the Definition
I. HE PROPOSES HERE TO CONFIRM THE VIEW HE HAS JUST GIVEN.
A. He indicates his intention. — 139-140
In our study of the principles we must carefully examine not only the conclusions and the premises from which the argument proceeds but also the considered views of others. Everything indeed will fall into agreement with what is true, and the truth will be quickly seen to be at variance with the false.
B. He begins to carry it out.
A’ He shows... the consensus of others is in agreement with his view.
1. HE SHOWS THAT WHAT IS COMMONLY SAID BY PHILOSOPHERS IS IN HARMONY WITH THE GIVEN DESCRIPTION OF HAPPINESS.
a. He proves (this) . . by dividing human goods into three classes. — 141-143
Goods have been classified as (a) external, (b) of the soul, and (c) of the body. Among these we hold that the goods of the soul are the best and most properly called goods. We attribute vital actions and operations to the soul. Therefore, our opinion must be sound for it is in agreement with that ancient one held by the philosophers.
b. He proves the same thing in a different way. — 144
It was stated accurately then that we identify the end with certain acts and operations. Thus happiness will be accounted one of the goods of the soul and not an external good.
2. HE SHOWS THAT THE SAME IS TRUE FROM WHAT IS GENERALLY AFFIRMED BY EVERYONE. — 145
This coincides with the common notion that one who lives well and does well is a happy man. As a matter of fact, a good life appears to be nothing else but good activity.
B’ He shows that the points on which others disagree substantiate his view.
1. HE BRINGS FORWARD THE POINTS ON WHICH MEN DIFFER ABOUT HAPPINESS.
a. He states what he wishes to show. — 146
Everything that philosophers have looked for in happiness seems to be found in our notion of it.
b. He gives different views on happiness. — 147-149
i. The first.
Some have taught that happiness consists in virtue either generally, or specifically in prudence or in wisdom.
ii. The second opinion.
Others say it consists in all or one of these virtues accompanied by pleasure, or at least not without pleasure.
iii. A third opinion.
Still others would include a goodly share of external goods.
c. He indicates the difference in the persons holding the foregoing views. — 150
The rank and file together with some ancient philosophers held this last opinion, while a distinguished minority chose virtue. It is likely that no one was entirely wrong but each was right on one or more points.
2. HE SHOWS THAT EACH OF THESE IS IN AGREEMENT WITH THE ABOVE VIEW.
a. He shows that this is true of the first opinion that virtue is happiness.
i. He shows that the first opinion... is in agreement with his. — 151
Our definition of happiness is acceptable to those who hold that happiness consists in all or in one of the virtues, for virtuous activity clearly is something belonging to it.
ii. He shows how his opinion is better.
x. FROM REASON. — 152
But besides, it makes a great difference whether the chief good be placed in possession or use, in habit or activity because a habit may exist in a person not actually performing any good, for instance, in one who is asleep or otherwise not engaged in any way whatsoever. This is not possible with an activity, for a man having it necessarily is active, and if the activity be virtuous he will act virtuously.
y. FROM A CUSTOM AMONG MEN — 153
At the Olympic games the best looking and strongest athletes do not receive the crown but the victorious competitors. So, too, among those who are good and best in virtuous living, those who perform righteous deeds become illustrious.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
139. After the Philosopher has shown in general what happiness is, he proposes here [I] to confirm the view he has just given, by what is said by others on happiness. Concerning this he does two things. First [I, A] he indicates his intention. Then [I, B ], at “Goods have been etc.,” he begins to carry it out. He says first that it is most important to have a principle thoroughly understood. The principle in practical matters is the ultimate end. To insure a more careful study of it, we must examine not only the conclusions and the premises from which the discussion of the reasoner proceeds, but also the observations of others concerning the principle itself, namely, the ultimate end or happiness. He then assigns the reason for this procedure, that everything harmonizes with the truth. This is so because, as will be said in the sixth book (1143), truth is the good of the intellect. Good, as explained later (320), is achieved only in the concurrence of all the factors pertaining to the perfection of the thing.
140. Evil, on the contrary, comes about in a variety of ways by the defect of any single necessary qualification. No evil, however, can be found in which the good is completely corrupted, as will be shown in the fourth book (8o8). So not only all good things are in agreement with the good but even evil things in that they retain something of good. In a similar way all false things are in agreement with the truth insofar as they retain some likeness of truth. It is not possible that the mind holding a false opinion is completely deprived of the knowledge of the truth, because by means of the true it immediately judges something false as lacking in the truth. This is what he understands by saying that the true is at variance with the false, somewhat like a right angle with an oblique angle.
141. Then [I, B], at “Goods have been classified,” he begins to carry out his intention, first in respect to what he has affirmed about happiness. In regard to this he does two things. First [B, A’] he shows that what is the consensus of others is in agreement with his view (touching on the things said above by him at “... our opinion is in agreement”). Second [B, B’], at “Everything that philosophers etc.,” he shows that the points on which others disagree substantiate his view. In regard to the initial point he does two things. First [A’, 1] he shows that what is commonly said by philosophers is in harmony with the given description of happiness. Second [A’, 2], at “This coincides with etc.,” he shows that the same is true from what is generally affirmed by everyone. He proves the first observation in two ways, and
142. initially [A, 1, a] by dividing human goods into three classes. Of these some (a) are external, as riches, honors, friends, and such like. (b) Others concern the soul, as knowledge, virtue, and the like. These are the chief goods, for external things are for the sake of the body, and the body for the sake of the soul, as matter for form and as an instrument for a principal agent. Now the common view of all philosophers is that the goods of the soul are the most important.
143. The Stoics and the Peripatetics held divergent views about some goods. The Stoics were of the opinion that some goods are not human goods because they do not make man better. The Peripatetics, that is, the followers of Aristotle, asserted indeed that external goods are the least of goods—the goods of the body being, as it were, means—but the chief goods in their judgment were the goods of the soul, by which man is made good. Other goods, however, according to them are called good insofar as they serve as means toward the principal goods. Thus happiness, since it is the chief good, must be numbered among the goods of the soul. Hence it is evident that the placing of happiness in an operation of the rational soul, as we said above (110-126), is in agreement with this ancient opinion common to all philosophers, that the most important goods are those belonging to the soul.
144. Second [A’, 1, b], at “It was stated accurately,” he proves the same thing in a different way. The soul he says, has two kinds of operations. Some of these pass into external matter, as weaving and building. Operations of this sort are not ends but things done for ends, that is, woven cloth and a completed house. Other operations of the soul, however ,remain in the agent himself, as understanding and willing. Operations of this kind are ends. It was correctly stated (119-120), when we said that happiness is an operation and not a product, that acts and operations themselves are ends. Thus happiness is classified as one of the goods belonging to the soul and not an external good. Now in an immanent action the operation itself is a perfection and a good of the agent, but in a transient action the perfection and the good is found in the external effect. Hence not only is the aforesaid view in agreement with the position of the philosophers who hold that goods of the soul are the chief goods—and we said happiness was concerned with the operation of the soul—but also in this, that we place happiness in the operation itself.
145. Then (A’, 2], at “This coincides,” he shows that the things generally agreed on about happiness fit in with our view, for it was said above (45, 128) that everyone identifies living a good life and doing well with being happy. What we said is in agreement with this notion or understanding of happiness because a good life appears to be good activity and happiness seems to be of this nature. Those things truly are said to live which of themselves are moved to activity.
146. Then [B, B’], at “Everything that philosophers,” he shows that even the things in which others differ are in agreement with the aforesaid view. On this point he does three things. First [B’, 1] he brings forward the points on which men differ about happiness. Second [B’, 2], at “Our definition of happiness etc.,” he shows that each of these is in agreement with the above view. Finally [Lect. 14; 3], at “Next we investigate etc.” (B. 1099 b 9), he asks and answers a certain question concerning the premises. In regard to the first he does three things. First [B’, 1, a] he states what he wishes to show, that everything that was looked for in happiness by various philosophers in various ways seems “to be found in our notion,” that is, to be preserved in his view.
147. Second [B’, 1, b], at “Some have taught” he gives different views on happiness. (1) The first. [b,. i] of these is that happiness consists in virtue. This has three variations. Some taught that (a) any virtue, especially moral virtue which perfects the appetite under the control of the reason constitutes happiness. To others it seemed that (b) happiness consists in prudence which which perfects the practical reason. Still others think that (c) happiness is found in wisdom which is the ultimate perfection of the speculative reason.
148. The second opinion [b, ii] holds that all or any of these may constitute happiness provide that pleasure be added. This is understood in two senses. Some maintained that (a) virtue and pleasure almost in equal measure constitute happiness. Others (b), while placing happiness in virtue primarily, assign a secondary role to pleasure.
149. (3) A third opinion [b, iii] adds to these elements of happiness a full measure of external goods, like riches and other material goods.
150. Third [B’, 1, c], at “The rank and file,” he indicates the difference in the persons holding the foregoing views. He says that the majority, that is, the common people and some men of antiquity who were not well grounded in such matters, held some of these opinions such as pleasure and riches being necessary for happiness. But others, the minority but distinguished and famous men, held that happiness consisted rather ingoods of the soul. It is likely that none of these was entirely wrong but that each of them was right on some points.
151. Then [B’, 2], at “Our definition of happiness,” he shows that these views are in agreement with what he previously assigned to happiness. First [2, a] he shows that this is true of the first opinion which held that virtue is happiness. Second [Lect. 13; 2, b], at “The life of those etc.” (B. 1099 a 9), he shows that it is true of the second opinion which adds pleasure. Finally [Lect. 13; c, i], at “It seems, however etc.” (B. 1099 a 32), that it is true of the third opinion which adds external goods. In regard to the first assertion he does two things. First [2, a, i] he shows that the first opinion given is in agreement with his. Second [2, a, ii], he shows how his opinion is better. He affirms, therefore, that the definition of happiness given above (130) as an activity according to virtue is acceptable to those who held that all virtue or one virtue constitutes happiness. It is evident that virtuous activity is something belonging to virtue.
152. Then [a, ii], at “But besides, it makes a great difference” he shows that his own view is better: first [ii, x] from reason; second [ii, y], from a custom among men by the words “At the Olympic games.” He says first that it makes a great deal of difference in external goods whether the most important good is in the possession of a thing or in its use—which is obviously better than possession. It is the same, too, with a habit of virtue and its operation or in its use—which is obviously better than possession. It is the same, too with a habit of virtue and its operation or use which is of greater value than the habit. A habit can exist in a person who is not actually doing any good act, as in one who is asleep or not engaged in any way whatsoever. But this is not possible with an operation. It necessarily follows that that man should operate in whom there is an operation, and that he should produce a good effect if there be in him a virtuous operation. Consequently, a virtuous operation is more perfect than virtue itself.
153. Then [ii, y] when he says “At the Olympic games,” he proves the same thing by a custom among men. Concerning this we must know that in Macedonia there is a very high mountain called Olympus where certain competitive sports, called Olympic games were held. In these, not the strongest and best looking athletes but only the winning contestants received the crown., for those who did not compete were ineligible for the prize. So also, of those who are good and best in virtuous living, only those are illustrious and happy who actually perform good deeds. Hence it is better to say that happiness is a virtuous operation than virtue itself.
Some Place Happiness in Virtue with Pleasure;
Others Say External Goods Are Necessary for Happiness
b. (He shows that) the second opinion, which holds that happiness consists in virtue together with pleasure (is in agreement with the definition given above).
i. He shows how this position harmonizes with his own opinion.
x. FIRST HE STATES HIS PROPOSITION. — 154
The life of those who act in accord with virtue is itself pleasurable.
y. HE GIVES EVIDENCE FOR HIS STATEMENT.
aa. By showing first that virtuous action should be pleasurable. — 155
Now pleasure is an activity proper to a living being. And everyone finds pleasure in what he is fond of, as a lover of horses finds pleasure in horses and a lover of shows in shows. In the same way a man who loves justice finds pleasure in just deeds; and in general one who loves virtue, finds pleasure in virtuous activity.
bb. This pleasure is preferable to others. — 156
Many experience pleasure in things that are in opposition to one another because the pleasure is not in accord with human nature. Men, however, who love the good find pleasure in the things which are inherently pleasurable. Of this kind are virtuous operations that therefore are pleasurable not only to virtuous men but also by their very natures.
ii. He shows how it differs (from his own opinion).
x. HE STATES A PROPOSITION. — 157
This type of life then has no need of pleasure as an accessory but is pleasurable in itself.
y. HE GIVES EVIDENCE FOR HIS STATEMENT.
aa. Virtuous life is pleasurable in itself. — 158
It should be added that every virtuous person rejoices in virtuous acts, for no one win call a man just who does not enjoy doing just deeds; no one will call a man generous who does not enjoy giving generously. Similarly we speak of men in other virtuous activities. From this it is clear that actions in accord with virtue are pleasurable in themselves.
bb. It has nobility and goodness in a high degree. — 459-160
Granting this, such actions are noble and good. In fact they have each of these qualities in the highest degree, if a good man judge truly in this matter as we have said he does. Happiness is the best, therefore, the noblest and the most pleasurable of all things.
cc. He excludes a false opinion. — 161
These qualities do not belong to different things as the inscription at Delos has it: “The best is the just thing, the most desired is health, and the sweetest is the heart’s desire.” But they are all found together in the most virtuous actions. In all these or in the best-of these we say happiness consists.
c. He comes to the third opinion... that external goods are necessary to happiness.
i. This opinion may conform to the truth. — 162
It seems, however, that happiness stands in need of external goods, as we have said,
ii. Evidence for his statement. — 163
for it is impossible, or at least difficult, for an indigent man to perform certain virtuous actions. Many good deeds become feasible, as we have pointed out, by the aid of friends and money and political influence. Then too the lack of other blessings, like noble birth, good children, and physical beauty spoil a man’s happiness. One who is extremely ugly, lowborn, or alone in the world and without children cannot be entirely happy. Much less is he happy who is cursed with wayward children or evil associates or who has lost friends by death. In our opinion then it seems that happiness has need of external prosperity to a degree.
iii. He draws a conclusion. — 164
For this reason some have identified good fortune with happiness. Others, however, prefer to place happiness in virtue.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
154. After the Philosopher has shown how the first opinion, which places happiness in virtue, is in agreement with the definition given above, and how it differs from it, he now does the same [b] regarding the second opinion, which holds that happiness in virtue together with pleasure. On this point he does two things. First [b, i], he shows how this position harmonizes with his own opinion. Second [b, ii], at “This type of life etc.,” he shows how it differs. On the initial point he does two things. First [i, x] he states his proposition; and then [i, y] gives evidence for his statement at “Now pleasure is etc.” He says, therefore, first that the life of those who act virtuously is itself pleasurable. Happiness then which we place in an operation of virtue does not lack pleasure which, in their judgment, happiness requires.
155. Then [i, y], at “Now pleasure is,” he proves his statement by showing first that virtuous actions should be pleasurable [i, y, aa] and second [i, y, bb], at “Many experience etc.,” that this pleasure is preferable to others. He says first that pleasure is an activity proper to animals. Although we may attribute a natural appetite to inanimate things, we attribute pleasure only to a being having perception. From this we see that pleasure properly belongs to the activities of a soul, one of which is happiness. Now in activities of this kind, everyone finds pleasure in what he is fond of. As a lover desires the thing which is absent, so he takes pleasure in it when it is present. In this way a lover of horses finds pleasure in a horses; and a lover of shows, in a show. Hence it is evident that every virtuous person loves the activities of his own virtue as something agreeable to him. To the extent that the just man loves justice he will take pleasure in doing just deeds. It is universally true that virtuous operations are pleasurable to virtuous persons who love virtue.
156. Then [i, y, bb], at “Many experience,” he shows that this pleasure is preferable to others. He explains that the things pleasurable to the majority of men are contrary to one another. Prodigality, for instance is a source of pleasure to the spendthrift, while hoarding delights the miser. This happens because these pleasures are not in accord with human nature common to all men, in other words with reason, but rather with the corruption of an appetite departing from reason. But to men loving the good of virtue, these things are pleasurable that are inherently so, that is, that are agreeable to man according to reason, the perfection of his nature. Because of this, all virtuous men take pleasure in the same things—virtuous operations—which are naturally pleasurable to men according to right reason. These are pleasurable not only to men but also in their very nature. But evil actions give pleasure to men who get used to them by corrupt habits. Since then what is of itself and by nature such is preferable, pleasure arising from virtuous operation will be more delightful than other pleasures.
157. Then [b, ii], at “This type of life,” he shows in what respect this opinion may not be true. In regard to this he does two things. First [ii, x] he states a proposition. Second [ii, y], at “It should be added etc.,” he gives evidence for his statement. We must, therefore, consider in regard to the first, that those who hold that happiness consists in virtue together with pleasure seemed to intimate that virtue may have need of some extrinsic pleasure for the perfection of happiness. Aristotle disagrees her saying that the life of those who act in accord with virtue does not need pleasure as an extrinsic addition. That life is pleasurable in itself.
158. Then [ii, y], at “It should be added,” he gives evidence for what he has affirmed. In regard to this he does three things. First [ii, y, aa] he proves that virtuous life is pleasurable in itself. Second [ii, y, bb], at “Granting this, such actions etc.,” he proves that it has nobility and goodness in a high degree. Third [ii, y, cc], at “These qualities do not etc.,” he excludes a false opinion. He says first that to the reasons proving (154-156) that virtuous actions are naturally pleasurable, we must add that pleasure necessarily belongs to virtue and pertains to its very nature. There is no virtuous person who does not enjoy the good deeds he does. He proves this inductively by saying that no one will call that man just who does not rejoice in doing just deeds. A similar observation may be made of the generous man and of a man practicing any virtue. The reason is that the act of a virtuous man is agreeable to him according to a proper habit, and as a consequence he derives pleasure form it. From this it is clear that virtuous actions aqre pleasurable in themselves and do not require pleasure external to them.
159. Then [ii, y, bb], at “Granting this,” he shows that actions in accord with virtue are not only pleasurable but also noble and good. Actions indeed are pleasurable to an agent when they are agreeable to him by reason of a proper habit. They are noble or beautiful because of a right order of circumstances as of parts, for beauty consists in a fitting arrangement of parts. They are good because of ordered to the end.
166. He adds that each of these three qualities belongs to virtuous actions in a high degree. He proves this by te judgment of a good man. Such a man, since he has the right feeling for human works, judges them correctly. In another field the man with a healthy sense of taste will make correct judgment on flavors. But a good man judges that actions in accord with virtue are eminently pleasurable, noble nad good, so much so that he puts them before any other pleasures, beauties or goods. Since therefore, happiness consists in virtuous actions, it follows that happiness is the best, most beautiful and most pleasant.
161. Then [ii, y, cc], at “These qualities do not belong,” he excludes from his doctrine a certain opinion. To understand this we must recall the inscription in Apollo’s temple at Delos: “The best is what is most just. The most desired is to be healthy. The most delightful is that which one desires to enjoy.” But the Philosopher says that these three qualities do not belong to different things but all three belong to virtuous actions in all of which or in the best of which happiness consists. Therefore there is one—happiness—which is the best, most beautiful, most desired or most delightful.
162. Then [c], at “It seems, however,” he comes to the third opinion which held that external goods are necessary to happiness. In regard to this he does three things. First [c, il he brings out in what way this opinion may conform to the truth. Second [c, ii], at “for it is impossible etc.,” he gives evidence for his statement. Third [c, iii] at “For this reason some etc.,” he draws a conclusion from the premises. He says first that the third opinion given above (149) seems true in this that happiness has need of external good, as was indicated previously (111).
163. Then [c, ii], at “for it is impossible,” he gives evidence for his statement. In this matter we must consider that happiness needs certain external goods as instruments to perform the good deeds in which happiness consists. Touching on this he says that it is impossible or difficult for a man, who does not possess the means for gifts and expenditures, to practice certain virtuous acts. In many works of virtue we make use of friends, wealth, and political power, as in the case of someone who is a ruler or an official. There are some external goods which lend a beauty to happiness insofar as they make a man pleasing in the eyes of others giving him a kind of splendor. At this point he adds that a lack of certain externals clouds a man’s happiness making him as it were contemptible in the eyes of others, as is evident in a man who lacks noble birth, good children or even physical beauty. A man is not entirely happy when he is ugly since this makes him contemptible and despised. The same is true of one who is lowborn or who does not have good children. Much less is he happy who has wicked sons or friends, for this limits his virtuous activity. Likewise, it is incompatible with happiness to have lost good friends by death, for such a loss means grief of heart. So it seems then that happiness has some need of goods of fortune.
164. Then [c, iii], at “For this reason,” he comes to the conclusion that although happiness consists in virtuous actions, nevertheless it needs external goods to some extent. Such externals are called goods of fortune because they often fall into a man’s lap, or, in bad luck, desert him. For this reason some have held that good fortune and happiness are identical. But others have identified happiness with virtue, as was said above (66-68).
The Cause of Happiness
3. HE... INVESTIGATES THE CAUSE OF HAPPINESS.
a. He states the question. — 165-166
Next we investigate whether happiness is something which can be learned or acquired by habit or attained in some way by training. Does it come to us by divine providence or by chance?
b. He explains it.
i. First... in parts.
x. IT IS EMINENTLY REASONABLE FOR HAPPINESS TO HAVE A DIVINE CAUSE. — 167-168
If anything is the gift of the gods to men it is reasonable to think that happiness, the best by far of all human goods, is the gift of God. But this subject is perhaps more properly treated in another science.
y. IT IS ACCEPTABLE FOR IT TO HAVE A HUMAN CAUSE.
aa. (This) does not do away with... (it being) most excellent and divine. — 169
On the other hand, if happiness is not sent directly by God, but comes to men by virtue and study and exercise, it would still be judged most divine. As the re ward and end of virtue it is apparently most excellent and divine and blessed.
bb. He proves the same point in this way. — 170
It will also be common to human nature because, supposing it be the result of discipline and study, happiness can be had by all who are not impeded from virtuous action.
z. HE SHOWS IT IS NOT FITTING FOR (HAPPINESS) TO BE AN EFFECT OF CHANCE.
aa. First. — 171
If such is the case, it is better that happiness be attained in this way than by chance, and it is reasonable to have it so. The things that are in accord with nature are as good as they can be by their very make-up. The same too can be said of what is produced by art or by any cause especially the highest.
bb. He offers a second reason. — 172
Besides, to abandon the greatest and the best good to the vagaries of chance is most pernicious.
ii. Then (he explains) by offering a common reason. — 173
What we seek is evident from the definition of happiness as a certain kind of activity of the soul in accord with virtue. Of the remaining goods some are necessary to enrich happines and others work instrumentally for its attainment.
c. He shows that the previously discussed definition... is in agreement... with his opinion.
i. He shows what concurs with his earlier remarks. — 174
This—that happiness is a virtuous activity—is apparent in the light of what was laid down in the beginning. There we stated that the end of political science is the best of human goods, for the principal aim of this science is the formation of men in such a way that they will become upright citizens and doers of good works.
ii. He concludes what is the correct view in accord with this opinion.
x. NO DUMB ANIMAL IS CALLED HAPPY. — 175
That is why we do not say properly that a cow or a horse or any other animal is happy, for it is not possible for any of them to participate in moral activity.
y. HE ALSO EXCLUDES CHILDREN FROM HAPPINESS. — 176
For the same reason children are not really happy, in that they have not yet attained sufficient age for the performance of virtuous deeds. Children are called happy because they give promise of happiness, while real happiness needs perfect virtue and a complete life, as we have already pointed out.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
165. After the Philosopher has shown how different opinions are in agreement with the definition of happiness presented above, here  he naturally investigates the cause of happiness. First [3, a] he states the question, and second [3, b], at “If anything etc.,” he explains it. In regard to the first we must consider that happiness must proceed from either a per se and determined cause, or an incidental and indetermined cause, that is, chance. If from a per se and determined cause, this will be either human or divine. In the case of a human cause, the effect is produced in us in three ways: first by learning, as a science; second by practice, as a moral virtue; third by exercise, as a military drill and other things of this kind.
166. Accordingly he proposes the question in three parts. The first concerns a human cause. He asks whether happiness is something that can be learned asa science, or that can be acquired by habit as a moral virtue, or that can to some extent be had by training, like setting-up exercises. The second part concerns a divine cause. He asks whether happiness is something divine in us and a sharing in some way of godlike qualities which are above men. The third part concerns an incidental and indetermined cause. In other words he asks whether happiness occurs to man by chance.
167. Then [3, b], at “If anything,” he explains the question first [b, i] as it were in parts by considering the individual sections of the question; and then [b, ii], by offering a common reason taken from the definition of happiness at “Whit we seek is evident etc.” In regard to the first he does three things. First [i, x] he shows it is eminently reasonable for happiness to have a divine cause. Second [i, y], at “On the other hand etc.,” he shows that it is acceptable for it to have a human cause. Third [i, z], at “If such is the case,” he shows it is not fitting for it to be an effect of chance. He say first that if the gods (i.e. beings called gods by the ancients) make gifts to men, it is reasonable that happiness be the gift of the supreme God because it is the most excellent of human goods. It is obvious that a thing is led to a higher end by a higher virtue or power, for instance, man is led to a higher end by military art than by bridle-making. Hence it is reasonable that the ultimate end, happiness, should come to man from the highest power of all, the supreme God.
168. That separated substances may bestow something on men becomes evident from the fact that men and separated substances are alike in the power of intelligence. As the lower bodies are brought to perfection by the higher bodies so the lower intellectual beings by the superior intellectual beings. But there is no reason to delay any longer on this matter for it because it belongs rather to another science, metaphysics.
169. Then [i, y], at “On the other hand,” he shows it is acceptable to say that happiness has a human cause. Although God is the principal cause, man does contribute something to happiness. Aristotle shows this in two ways. First [y, aa], the fact that happiness has a human cause does not do away with its chief characteristic, that it is most excellent and divine. He says that if happiness is not a gift sent directly by God but comes to men by virtue as a thing acquired by habit, or by study as a thing to be learned, or by exercise as a thing to be had by training, nevertheless it seems to be something especially divine. The reason is that since happiness is the reward and end of virtue, it follows that it is something most excellent and divine and blessed. A thing is not called divine only because it comes from God but also because it makes us like God in goodness.
170. Second [y, bb], at “It will also,” he proves the same point in this way. Applicable to happiness is the idea that what belongs to the purpose of a nature should be something common to the things having that nature, for nature does not fail in what it intends except in the minority of cases. So if happiness is the end of human nature, it must be common to all or many having human nature. This principle remains intact if the cause be a human one. If happiness be had through discipline and study it could come to everyone who is not impeded in the performance of virtuous works either by defect of nature as those who are naturally stupid, or by an evil habit which imitates nature. From this it is clear that the happiness spoken of by the Philosopher, does not consist in that contact with separated intelligence by which man can understand all things, as certain people have maintained. Such experience does not happen to very many, in fact, to no one in this life.
171. Then [i, z], at “If such is the case,” he rejects chance as the cause of happiness for two reasons. First [z, aa], things that are in accord with nature are very good, since nature produces what is suitable. The same is true also of everything made by art or by any cause whatsoever. This is especially the case with the principal cause from which happiness, as the most excellent good, seems to depend. ne reason is that art and all efficient causes operate for the sake of good. It follows, then, that every agent should most aptly arrange, as far as possible, what he does. This particularly applies to God who is the cause of all nature. The things which are in accord with nature seem to be better from their very make-up. But it is better that happiness springs from a per se cause, either divine or human, than from chance which is an incidental cause, for what is per se is preferable to what is incidental. Consequently, chance is not the cause of happiness.
172. He offers a second reason [z, bb] at “Besides, to abandon.” Happiness is the most perfect of all human goods because all others are ordered to it as to an end. Now it would be very harmful if this good were to depend on chance, for other goods would be much more subject to chance. As a result man’s zeal in pursuing these goods would vanish, a most perilous situation. Chance, therefore, is not the cause of happiness.
173. Then [b, ii], at “What we seek,” he settles the question we are considering. He says it is evident, from the definition already given (130), where the truth lies in our investigation of the present question. As was previously indicated (127-128), happiness is an activity of the rational soul in accord with virtue. Now what is in accord with virtue is according to reason influenced by some divine cause. But what is according to chance is contrary to reason. It follows that happiness does not spring form chance but from some human cause immediately and from a divine cause principally and ultimately. Certain other goods, however, in which chance plays a part, do conduce to happiness, but happiness does not chiefly consist in them. Some, though, are necessary for a certain enrichment of happiness, and others work instrumentally to attain it, as we have said (169). But we must not attribute happiness to chance because of these secondary goods.
174. Then [c], at “This-that happiness,” he shows that the previously discussed definition of happiness is in agreement not only with the opinions of others on happiness but also with observations made in keeping with his own opinion. In regard to this he does two things. First [c, i] he shows what concurs with his earlier remarks about happiness (19-42). Second [c, ii], at “This is why etc.,” he concludes what is the correct view in accord with this opinion. He says first “this”—that happiness is an activity in accord with virtue—“is apparent,” that is, in harmony with the words of the introduction (19-42). We said there that the best human good, happiness, is the end of political science whose goal manifestly is activity in accord with virtue. Political science is especially concerned with framing laws and apportioning rewards and punishments in order to develop good citizens and doers of good works. This is to operate in accord with virtue.
175. Then [c, ii], at “That is why,” he concludes from the reason assigned that happiness cannot be attributed to certain beings according to what has been correctly laid down. First [ii, x] he says that no dumb animal is called happy, and rightly so because none of them can share in the activity of virtue which is in accord with reason and which constitutes happiness.
176. Second [ii, y], at “For the same reason,” he also excludes children from happiness saying that for a similar reason they cannot be called happy. Lacking sufficient age they have not attained that full use of reason requisite for the performance of virtuous actions. If children are sometimes called happy, this is because we see in them sings that give promise of future excellence. At present, therefore, they are not happy, for happiness, as we have indicated (127-126) needs perfect virtue to be not only a good but the best operation and a life perfected by good activity which is continuous and permanent.
A Problem About Happiness
A. Whether anyone can be called happy in this life.
A’ He gives the reason for the problem. — 177-179
Many changes take place in life and all kinds of fortune are met with in the course of a lifetime. Sometimes a very prosperous man falls into great misfortune in old age as we read of Priam in the epic poems. Certainly no one calls a man happy who has enjoyed such goods of fortune and then ends his days in misery.
B’ He presents the problem.
1. FIRST HE ASKS A QUESTION. — 179
Is no man then to be called happy so long as he lives, but must we consider the end of life, as Solon believed?
2. HE BRINGS UP AN OBJECTION. — 180
If we hold this to be so, it follows that a man will be happy only when he dies. But such an opinion is altogether unreasonable especially for us who maintain that happiness is a kind of activity.
3. HE REJECTS A PARTICULAR ANSWER (FOR TWO REASONS).
a. in regard to the first.
i. He proposes an answer and rejects it. — 181-182
We may say that a mad man is not happy and that Solon did not wish to assert that he is. We may say Solon meant that a man will safely be called happy at death because he is then beyond the reach of evils and misfortune. This meaning, though, gives rise to a problem. It seems that the dead no less than the living, even though unaware of it, are influenced by good and evil, for instance, by honors and dishonors, by the prosperity and misfortune of children and of descendants in general.
ii. He brings up a problem. — 183-184
A difficulty, however, here presents itself. It may happen that a man lived happily to a ripe old age and has died a worthy death, and afterwards many changes take place in regard to his children. Some of them are good and have gained a position in life they well deserve, while others are just the opposite. Indeed, it does happen that children are quite different from their parents. Now it is incongruous that a dead man should suffer these same changes so that he at one time becomes happy and then again unhappy. On the other hand, it seems unfitting that the affairs of the children should in no way affect the parents, at least for a certain length of time.
b. He gives the second reason. — 185-186
But we must return to our first problem. Perhaps from its solution light will be shed on our present difficulty. Let us suppose that we must look at the end and then declare each man happy, not because he is happy but because he formerly was happy. Now nonsensical, if when a man is happy we may not affirm it of him since we are unwilling to call the living happy on account of the changes in the present life, because we think happiness permanent and not easily changeable, and because fortune often goes in cycles for the same persons. Obviously, if we use fortune as our norm we will very often call the same person happy and again unhappy as though he were a chameleon, and declare him happy and yet insecure in his happiness.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
177. After the Philosopher has shown what happiness is, he here raises a problem about happiness, namely [A], whether anyone can be called happy in this life. On this point he proceeds in three steps. First [A’] he gives the reason for the problem. Second [B’], at “Is no man then etc.,” he presents the problem. Third [Lect 16, C’], at “We ought not to make etc.” (B. 1100 b 7), he gives the solution. He says first that many changes take place in life; for life rarely remains the same either good or bad. It is stable in few things, changing from good fortune to bad and from bad to good. Sometimes, indeed, the changes occur in small matters and sometimes in great, and sometimes in matters of medium importance. Changes of this sort occur at any age, in adolescence, maturity or old age.
178. Sometimes it happens that a man has had an abundance of external goods all his life, and in old age falls into great misfortune as Priam did, according to the epic poem of Homer. No one will call that man happy who has enjoyed such goods of fortune and ends his life in misery. The fact that one has been reduced from great prosperity to extreme wretchedness seems to add to his misery.
179. Then [B’], at “Is no man then,” he proposes the difficulty. But first [B’, 2], at “If we hold this etc.,” he brings up an objection. Third [B, 3], at “We may say etc.,” he rejects a particular answer. First then he asks the question about the view of Solon, one of the seven wise men, who framed the laws of the Athenians. Considering man’s life as subject to the changes of fortune, Solon said that no one ought to be called happy so long as he lives, but only at the end of his life. In light of what happened to Priam, the question arises whether any man is to be called happy so long as he lives. Is it best, as Solon holds, to consider the end of life if happiness continues that long, in order that a man may be called happy? Or should this be disregarded?
180. Then [B, 2], at “If we hold,” he brings up an objection to the question that was asked, and disproves the saying of Solon. If we hold as true what Solon said, it follows that man will be happy only when he dies. But this seems unreasonable on other grounds, for example, because death is the worst of evils and happiness the greatest of perfections. Besides, happiness is a kind of activity, as we indicated above (119-126). But a dead man does not seem to have an activity. The dead, therefore, cannot be called happy. It should be noted that the Philosopher is not here speaking of happiness in a future life, but of happiness in the present life. Can we attribute happiness to man while he lives or only at death?
181. Then [B’, 3], at “We may say,” he rejects an answer, and this for two reasons. He gives the second reason [3, b] at “But we must return to our first problem etc.” In regard to the first [3, a] he does two things. Initially [a, i] he propose an answer and rejects it. Second [a, ii] by reason of this he brings up a problem at “A difficulty, however, here presents itself etc.” In regard to the first point we must consider that the previous argument of Aristotle showed that a man is not happy in death. Now this will be granted by anyone who says that a dead man is not happy: Solon did not mean that a man is happy when he dies. But he did mean that when a man is dead, a valid argument can be made about his happiness, because the dead man is now beyond the danger of evils and misfortune so that there is no longer any doubt about it. But he rejects this answer saying it contains an uncertainty.
182. A dead man differs from a living man in the loss of consciousness. A good ting or a bad thing—such as defamation of character, the murder of his children, or the loss of riches—could conceivably happen to someone still living, and he might not feel it precisely because he does not know about it. By the same argument, it seems, some good or evil could happen to a dead man who is unaware of it. Here Aristotle is talking about good and evil in public life as his examples—“honor and dishonor”—show. Sometimes certain honors are given to the dead when they are praised and their memory celebrated. Likewise certain dishonors are heaped upon them, for example, when their bodies are exhumed and their remains burned. Also something good or bad can happen to them by reason of the prosperity or misfortune of their children and their grandchildren. Then it would seem that not even the dead are entirely beyond evils nad misfortunes. Consequently, even in death men cannot be called happy.
183. Then [a, ii], at “A difficulty, however,” he interposes a difficulty arising from the premises. Such things as the prosperity and misfortunes of children and grandchildren present a problem for him. It happens sometimes that a man lives happily—in the way we have described happiness—to old age and dies a worthy death but afterwards many changes take place in regard to his children, some of whom are good after the example of a worthy father, but others just the opposite. Indeed it does happen that children are quite different from their parents: good parents have wicked children and wealthy parents, needy children. from this statement something unfitting seems to follow for both parents and children.
184. it is inappropriate that a dead man should suffer change because of misfortunes of this sort, so that he who at one time is happy now becomes unhappy. On the other hand it seems improper if, at least for a short time after death, the lot of children should in no way affect the happiness of deceased parents.
185. Then [3, b], at “But we must return,” he gives a second reason for rejecting the previous answer. He says that, passing over the second problem, we must return to the first, the solution of which will shed light on the truth of the second. Now it seems that the answer given is not consistent. If we must look to the end of life and then call a man happy, not because he is then truly happy but because he was previously happy, there seems to be this inconsistency: that wen a man is happy, we may not say of him that he is happy, since the truth of a statement in he past is founded on the statement being true at the time it actually occurred. Therefore “fuisse” is true of a thing because “esse” was true of it.
186. But some were unwilling to call a man happy because of the changes in the present life inasmuch as they were under the impression that happiness was something permanent and not easily changeable; otherwise it would not satisfy the natural desire. For everyone naturally desires to remain secure in the good he possesses. But the wheel of fortune very often turns for the same persons, so that they change from good fortune to bad and conversely. Thus it is evident that if in judging about happiness we sould follow the consideration of fortune and should say of someone that he is happy in this life, very often we will say of one and the same person that he is happy and again that he is unhappy. In this way we will be saying that a person is happy after the manner of a chameleon, an animal which changes color in keeping iwth different surroundings. We will be declaring that the happy are insecure in their happiness which is contrary to the nature of happiness.
Happiness and Changes of Fortune
I. HE SOLVES THE PRINCIPAL PROBLEM.
C’ The philosopher here solves (his problem).
a. He introduces a point necessary for the solution of the problem. — 187
We ought not to make changes of fortune our norm because good and evil do not consist in these, although human living does stand in need of external goods, as we have indicated. But virtuous action is the dominant factor in human happiness just as vicious action is the dominant factor in man’s unhappiness.
b. He applies it to the solution of the present problem.
i. First he shows that deeds of virtue are especially long-lasting compared to other human things. — 188-190
This contention is strengthened by what we have just learned, for virtuous actions are more uniformly constant than other human activities. They are more abiding apparently than the speculative sciences. Among the virtues the most noble seem to be more lasting because the happy man is quite intent on them and because he lives according to them at all times. For this reason man does not forget about the virtues.
ii. He shows that... happiness can endure all during life.
x. FROM THE ACTIONS THEMSELVES. — 191-192
The happy man will have what we had inquired about, for he will be happy all his life. He will always, or nearly always, perform virtuous actions and be contemplating the life of virtue.
y. FROM THE GOODS OF FORTUNE.
aa. (In general). — 193
Because he is really good and four-square without reproach, he will bear all changes of fortune most admirably and will be eminently prudent in all matters.
bb. In detail. — 194-197
Many events differing in importance happen by the change of fortune. A short run of good luck or of bad luck clearly does not notably affect life. But great and frequent good fortune will be an occasion of a happier life, for external goods were made to enrich human life and their use is becoming and a means of virtue. On the contrary, great and frequent evils cause the happy man external annoyance and internal affliction bringing about sadness and hindering many good works. However, even here the good of virtue shines forth when a man gracefully endures frequent and major misfortunes not because he is insensible to the sorrow but because he is courageous and magnanimous.
iii. He shows that all inconveniences are avoided if we follow this teaching. — 198-199
If virtuous actions play the dominant role in a happy life that we have indicated, a happy person will not become unhappy nor will he sometimes perform hateful and evil actions. As a truly good and wise man in the estimation of all, he will bear the changes of fortune in a becoming manner. He will always make the best of the existing circumstances like a general who employs his present forces to the best advantage in battle or like the cobbler who makes the best shoe possible from the leather at hand or like other artisans in similar circumstance. This being the case, then the unhappy man will certainly not become happy. We can say too that the happy man will not fall into the misfortunes of Priam. He will not easily be moved. He will not be changed from happiness by minor misfortunes but only by great and frequent ones. After such catastrophies he will not become happy again soon but, if indeed he does, it will take an abundance of good and noble deeds during a long period.
c. He brings to an end his own thoughts on happiness. — 200-202
What therefore hinders us from calling that man happy who acts in accord with perfect virtue and has sufficient external goods not for a short time but all during life? We must also add that he will live his whole life in this way and will die in a manner befitting reason because the future is not clear to us; and we understand happiness as an end altogether perfect in every respect. If this be so, we shall call those happy in this life—happy we must remember as men—who have now and will have the conditions we presented. Now we have said enough on these points.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
187. After explaining his problem, the Philosopher here [C’] solves it. First [C’, 1] he solves the principal problem. Second [Lect. 17; 2], at “It seems quite foreign etc.” (B. 1101 a 22), he solves the lesser one. In regard to the first he does two things. First [1, a] he introduces a point necessary for the solution of the problem. Second [1, b], at “This, contention is strengthened,” he applies it to the solution of the present problem. In regard to the initial point we should consider that while happiness consists essentially in the performance of virtuous actions, external goods that are subject to fortune are in a way tools of happiness. Hence he says we ought not to make changes of luck the norm for reckoning a man happy or unhappy, because man’s good or evil, which is judged by reason, does not consist principally in such changes of luck. Human living however does stand in need of external goods as means, as has been indicated (163). But virtuous actions are the principal and predominant factor in a man’s happiness so that he can be called happy principally because he acts virtuously. On the contrary, vicious actions are powerful and dominant in the opposite state, which is misery, so that he is truly miserable who is occupied with evil deeds.
188. Then [1, b], at “This contention is strengthened,” he applies what was said just now (187) to the solution of the problem. First [b, i] he shows that deeds of virtue are especially long-lasting compared to other human things. Second [b, ii], at “The happy man will have etc.,” he shows that in keeping with what was said, happiness can endure all during life. Third [b, iii], at “If virtuous actions play etc.,” he shows that all inconveniences are avoided if we follow this teaching. He says first that what we have now learned (186) about the permanence of happiness confirms our contention that virtuous actions are of foremost importance in happiness. The reason is that no human activity is found so uniformly constant as these. It is clear that external goods, and even internal bodily goods, because material and corporeal, are subject to change by their nature. But the goods that belong to he soul are changeable only indirectly, and so less liable to change. Of the goods pertaining to a man’s soul, some belong to the intellect as the sciences, and some to the activities of living as the virtues. These virtues are indeed more lasting than the disciplines, i.e., the demonstrative sciences.
189. However, this must not be understood as referring to the matter, for demonstrative sciences have as their object necessary things which cannot be otherwise. It is to be understood rather as referring to the exercise of the act. Now we do not have the same opportunity to cultivate the study of the sciences continually as we do to practice virtue, for situations are constantly arising where we must act according to virtue or contrary to virtue as in the use of food, association with women, conversations with other men and similar actions with which human life is continuously concerned. Hence it is reasonable that the habit of virtue be more firmly fixed in man because it is used more than the habit of science.
190. Among the virtues themselves, the most noble seem to be more lasting both because they are more intense and because men work more constantly to live according to them. Such are the virtuous operations in which happiness consists, because they are most perfect as has been proved (128, 130, 150, 160, 164). This is naturally the reason why man does not forget to be virtuous because he continually has the occasion to exercise the virtues. Another reason too is that virtue consists chiefly in the inclination of the appetite which is not destroyed by forgetfulness.
191. Then [b, ii], at “The happy man will have,” he shows that according to this doctrine happiness can last a lifetime. He says that virtuous actions are most lasting, as was pointed out (188-190). If then happiness be placed principally in them as we have said (153-190), it would follow that the happy man will have what was inquired about in a previous question, that is, he will be happy all his life. He proves this first [ii, x] from the actions themselves at “He will always.”
192. One who has a habit perfectly can act always or almost continually according to that habit in everything he does. The happy man possesses perfect virtue, as was explained above (187, 188). Consequently, he can always or nearly always or nearly always perform virtuous actions in a life of activity and can attentively consider in a life of contemplation.
193. Second [ii, y], at “Because he is really good,” he shows the same thing from the goods of fortune, an object of lesser importance in happiness. He says [y, aa] that the happy man will bear all changes of fortune most admirably and will be eminently prudent in all matters, since he is really a good man and not superficially so. He is “foursquare” without reproach, or, as some have explained, perfect in the four cardinal virtues. But this interpretation does not seem to be according to the mind of Aristotle who has never been found making such an enumeration. The tetragon does however indicate something perfect in virtue after the manner of a cube, which has six squared surfaces and so lies evenly on any surface. Similarly the virtuous person is of an even temperament in any fortune. Since therefore, it pertains to virtue to bear all fortune becomingly, obviously the happy man will not cease to act virtuously because of any change of fortune. He shows this then in detail [y, bb], as it were by way of division, when he adds “Many events.”
194. He says that since many good and bad things differing in importance may happen by changes of fortune, it is evident that a short run of good luck and likewise a short run of bad luck do not cange life from happiness to misery or conversely. If, however, they are great and frequent they will be either good or bad. If good, they will make a man’s life happier. The reason is that, as was indicated above (169, 173), happiness has need of external goods either as adornments or as means of virtuous actions. In regard to adornments he says that they were made to enrich the life of man. As to the means of virtuous action, he says that the use of external goods is becoming and virtuous insofar as virtues make use of them to perform worthy deeds.
195. If on the contrary the evils should be frequent and great, they will cause the happy man external annoyance and internal affliction, because internally they bring about sadness and externally they hinder good works. However they do not eliminate virtuous action entirely, because virtue makes good use even of misfortunes themselves. In this way the good of virtue shines forth insofar as a man gracefully endures frequent and great misfortunes, not because he may not feel the sorrow or sadness as the Stoics held but, being courageous and magnanimous, his reason does not succumb to such afflictions.
196. This, in fact, was the difference between the Stoics and the Peripatetics, whose leader was Aristotle. The Stoics held that sorrow in no way afflicts a virtuous man, because, in their view, corporeal or external things are not in any sense a good of man. The Peripatetics, on the contrary, said that a virtuous man is affected by sadness, yet this does not overwhelm reason but is moderated by it. In their opinion corporeal and external things do not constitute the greatest but the least good of man and this in the degree that they help him.
197. But it should be observed that some change could happen that would entirely take away a man’s happiness by hindering virtuous action altogether. for example, some sickness could cause madness or insanity or any other mental breakdown. Since happiness may not be attained except by living humanly or in accord with reason, when the use of reason is gone, human living is not possible. Consequently, in what concerns living humanly, the condition of madness must be equated with the condition of death. So seemingly we must say the same of him who continues in virtuous action until loss of mind as if he had continued until death.
198. Then [b, iii], at “If virtuous actions play,” he excludes the unsuitable things that seemed to follow from the premises. He says that if virtuous actions play the dominant role in happiness, as we have asserted (188), it will not follow that the happy man becomes unhappy on account of misfortunes, or that because of misfortune he will perform actions contrary to virtue. But by reason of his perfect virtue the happy man—it can be predicted—will bear all changes of fortune becomingly like a truly good and wise man. In other words he will act according to virtue under every condition. Even if he does not perform the same actions in every contingency, he will always act most nobly according as the circumstances are favorable or unfavorable. He will use the material that fortune provides in the way that a good general with an awareness of the condition of his army ought to dispose his existing forces to the best advantage in battle. A commander will do one thing if he has seasoned troops and another if he has an army of raw recruits. Likewise, a cobbler ought to make the best shoes possible from the leather at hand. He will of course make better shoes form one piece of leather than from another. The same may be said of all other craftsmen.
199. If this is so, the unhappy man will not be made happy by any additional good fortune. The reason is hat he will use that good fortune badly and the evildoer will always remain unhappy. Likewise the happy man will not fall into the misfortune of Priam. First because he will prudently guard against it. Second, because if he should be stricken unexpectedly, he will bear it most gracefully, as we have pointed out (198). He will not, therefore, be changed easily from happiness to unhappiness by any misfortune whatsoever except by frequent and great changes that deprive him of the use of reason. If he has been made unhappy, he will not readily become happy again but he will need an abundance of great and noble things acquired after a long time by the exercise of virtuous action and by the restoration of external fortune.
200. Then [1, c], when he says “What therefore,” he brings to an end his own thoughts on happiness. He says that nothing hinders us from calling that man happy who acts in accord with perfect virtue and has sufficient external goods for virtuous activity, not just for a short time but all during life or at least for a long period. This is enough for a man to be called happy in this life.
201. If we wish to understand happiness in the most perfect sense , possible, we must add to the definition of happiness that the happy man will live his whole life as we have indicated (129) and will complete it by dying in a manner befitting reason. It appears that this condition must be added because the future is unknown to us. Now all that is perfect and best seems to belong to the definition of happiness, since it is the ultimate end. In this second way Solon was speaking of happiness. If the case be as just described (200) we shall call those men happy in this life who have now and will have in the future the conditions we have laid down (177-186).
202. But because these things seem not to measure up in all respects to the conditions required for happiness above (104-117), he adds that those we call happy are men subject to change in this life, who cannot attain perfect beatitude. Since a natural desire is not in vain, we can correctly judge that perfect beatitude is reserved for man after this life. He concludes with the remark that we have said enough on these points.
The Fortune of Friends and Happiness of the Dead
Chapter I I
2. HE SETTLES A DOUBT... ABOUT THE CHANGE OF FORTUNE IN REGARD TO FRIENDS.
a. He compares the good, fortunes and misfortunes happening to friends with those which happen to man himself.
i. He proposes that the things happening to one’s friends affect the man himself. — 203
It seems quite foreign to the nature of friendship and contrary to the common opinion to say that changes in the fortunes of descendants and of friends have o influence on man’s happiness.
ii. He shows what the things are and their nature. — 204-205
Many and vastly different things happen in fortune. Since some of these touch us closely and others remotely, it would be a long, even an endless, task to determine the extent of each. It will be enough to discuss the subject in broad and general terms. Some of the fortunes affecting a man himself are of sufficient importance to better the conditions of life while others are of lesser moment. We can affirm the same of the events which happen to friends generally.
b. He compares the events that happen to the dead with what happens to the living.
i. He shows there is a difference in regard to... the living and dead. — 206-208
It makes much more difference that an experience should happen to the living or the dead than that certain injustices and evils should be indicated as happening before the action of the drama or should be committed in the course of the drama. We must take this difference into consideration.
ii. He inquires whether the lot of friends affect the dead.
x. FIRST HE EXAMINES THE PROPOSITION. — 209
Perhaps we should rather inquire whether the dead share in any prosper at or adversity. It seems from what has been said that if any event either good or bad affects the dead, it will be fleeting and insignificant in itself or in its effect upon them. If this be the case, then the event will not be so great or of such a nature as to make happy those who are not happy, or to take away happiness from those who have it.
y. HE BRINGS TO A CONCLUSION HIS CHIEF PROPOSAL. — 210-212
The good actions done by friends, therefore, do have some influence on the dead. Misfortunes too seem to affect them. But all these take place in such a way and to such an extent that they do not make the happy unhappy nor produce any other like changes.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
203. After the Philosopher has solved the principal doubt concerning the change of fortune for the happy man, here  he settles a doubt raised above (183) about the change of fortune in regard to friends. On this point he does two things. First [2, a] he compares the good fortunes and misfortunes happening to friends with those which happen to man himself. Second [2, b], at “It makes much more etc.,” he compares the events that happen to the dead with what happens to the living. In regard to the first he does two things. Initially [a, i] he proposes that the things that happen to one’s friends affect the man himself. Second [a, ii], at “Many and vastly different etc.,” he shows what the things are and what their nature is. He affirms, first, that to say that the prosperity of great grandchildren or of descendants in general and of all friends would have no effect on the happiness of a man, living or dead, seems to be incongruous for two reasons. Primarily indeed, because it would be contrary to the nature of friendship, that is a union among friends to such an extent that one considers as his own what belongs to the other. Then too, because this would be contrary to the common opinion which cannot be entirely false.
204. Then [a, ii], at “Many vastly different things,” he shows what events may affect the happiness of a friend and the nature of these events. He says that many and vastly different things happen in prosperity or adversity, in kind, in quantity, in time, and in other respects. Some of them touch us closely and others remotely. If then we should wish to determine in every case which of them affect the man himself and which do not, the task would be a long one, in fact almost endless, because differences happen in an infinite variety of ways.
205. With regard to the fortunes affecting a man himself it is sufficient to note in general, and so to speak, typically, by way of distinctive qualities or superficial likeness, that some acts of fortune are of sufficient importance and influence to change the condition of human life and do contribute to happiness. Others, however, are of lesser moment an help man’s life but little. The same thing takes place in the events that happen to any of our friends except that things of lesser moment happenting to blood-relatives affect us more.
206. Then [2, b], at “It makes much more difference,” he shows in what manner the changing fortunes of friends affect a person—it is rather evident how this touches a man while he lives, even how this may affect the dead. On this point he does two things. First [b, i] he shows in what way there is a difference in regard to this about the living and the dead. Second [b, ii] he inquires whether the lot of friends affect the dead, since it is clear they do affect the living. This he does at “Perhaps we should rather inquire.” On the first point we must consider that the dead are outside the present life, the happiness of which Aristotle here intends to inquire about, as appears from what has been previously said (180). They have contact with this life only as they remain in the memories of the living. The dead, therefore, may be compared in this way to the living—when we consider this life—as the events actually happening now are compared to those that took place long ago and are now recounted—for example, the Trojan war or any incident of this kind.
207. He then remarks that it makes a great difference whether a particular misfortune befalls men while they are living or after hey are dead—a far greater difference than it makes in a tragedy whether certain evil deeds like murder, robbery, or any other kind of misfortune be recounted by the playwrights as preceding the action of the drama or are performed in the course of it. The reason is that in the first case (the living and the dead) the same misfortunes affect them but in a different way because of their different states, for some are actually engaged in human affairs, but some of the trials befalling them are recounted as here and now taking place, while others as having previously occurred. Because happiness refers rather to persons than to things happening externally, the Philosopher says that the first difference (which refers to the living and the dead)—precisely as it pertains to the point at issue, namely, a change of happiness—is of more importance than the second (which refers to actions in tragedies). And by reason of a similar inference concerning the difference of events, he says that we must consider the difference in our question.
208. Now it is clear that even though a recitation of past evils in a way influences the the hearer who is in some measure affected by them, it does not do so to the extent of changing his condition. Consequently, much less do fortunes change the condition of the dead. This is brought out by the Philosopher to clear up, as it were, the statement made above (184), which concluded that if something affects men who are not conscious, it affects also the dead.
209. Then [b, ii], at “Perhaps we should rather inquire,” he inquires last whether things happening to friends affect the dead in some way. First [ii, x] he examines the proposition; and second [ii, y], he brings to a conclusion his chief proposal at “Therefore the good actions.” He says first that we should rather inquire whether the dead in any way share in the prosperity and adversity that take place in this life. That a man is not changed from happiness to unhappiness or the other way round seems sufficiently established. The reason is that if an event taking place here, either good or bad, affects the dead, it will be fleeting and insignificant in itself or in its effect on them. But if this is the case, it will not be so great or of such a nature as to make them happy who are not happy, nor to take away happiness from them who have it. It has been said already (194) that trifling happenings do not cause a change in life. If then an insignificant event, among the things that happen, affects the dead, it follows that their condition of happiness will not be changed.
210. Then [ii, y], at “Therefore the good actions,” he concludes his opinion. He says that the good actions done by friends or the evil befalling them seem to have some influence on te dead, and misfortunes too seem to affect them. But these take place in such a manner and to such an extent that they do not make the happy unhappy or the unhappy happy, nor do they change the dead in such things as wisdom or virtue or the like. However, the construction can be conditioned by the words “If this be the case.” Then the statement “do have some influence” will be properly conditional, and the conjunctive particle will be superfluous.
211. It seems that Aristotle intends that the things said here are to be understood of the dead not as they are in themselves but as they live in the memory of men. In this way what happens to their friends after death seems to affect the dead so that their memory and glory become more distinct and more obscure. But this, he says, is indeed a fleeting thing because nothing is more fleeting than what exists only in the opinion of men. He says also that it is an insignificant thing especially for he dead themselves because it belongs to htme only to the extent they are remembered by men.
212. The questions, however, whether the souls of men survive in some fashion after death and whether they are aware of or are changed in any way by what occurs in this life do not pertain to our purpose since the Philosopher here is treating of the happiness of the present life, as is evident from what was said above (206). Consequently inquiries of this kind, which need to be considered at some length, must be omitted at this point lest in this science which is practical many discussions outside its scope be carried on—a procedure that the Philosopher condemned (136). Elsewhere we have treated these subjects more fully.
Happiness, A Good Deserving Honor
II. HE INQUIRES ABOUT A CERTAIN PROPERTY OF HAPPINESS.
A. He asks a question. — 213-214
Having settled these matters we must investigate whether happiness is one of the goods to be praised or, more properly, to be honored. It is obviously not in the genius of potentiality.
B. He ascertains the truth.
A’ He shows that happiness is of the number of goods to be honored.
1. HE SHOWS TO WHOM PRAISE IS GIVEN.
a. He presents his proposition. — 215
Now a thing that is praiseworthy has a certain proportion in itself and some sort of relation to another.
b. He proves his proposition.
i. From human praises. — 216-217
Thus we generally praise the just, the brave, and the good man and even virtue itself because of the works and actions. We raise also the physically strong, the swift, and the like as possessing a certain natural ability, and as ordered in some way to a thing good in itself and desirable.
ii. From divine praises. — 218
Our point is obvious too from the praises of the gods, for such praises would be ridiculous if judged by our standard. This happens because praises are given by reason of relation to another, as we have indicated.
2. HE CONCLUDES THAT SOMETHING BETTER THAN PRAISE IS GIVEN TO THE BEST.
a. He puts the conclusion this way. — 219
If praise belongs to things of this kind, clearly something greater and better than praise is given to the best.
b. He proves the previous conclusion from what is commonly held.
i. In regard to the things of which there is something better than praise.
x. HE FIRST PRESENTS WHAT SEEMS TO BE COMMONLY HELD. — 220
This seems to be true, for we call gods blessed and happy, as we do the most godlike among men. We speak in a similar way of goods, for no one praises happiness as he praises a just man, but he ascribes to happiness something better and more divine, namely, blessedness.
y. SECOND, WHAT SEEMED SO TO EUDOXUS. — 221
Apparently Eudoxus put pleasure in the first place for a good reason. He thought that this is intimated from the fact that pleasure is a good not praised but is better than things praised, such as God and any good in itself. To things of this kind, other things are referred.
ii. In regard to the things of which there is praise. — 222
Praise surely belongs to virtue since doers of good works are praised for activity of body and of soul in accord with virtue. But perhaps a consideration of this subject more properly belongs to those who labor over the study of laudatory statements. It is obvious now to us from our discussion that happiness is a perfect good and one to be honored.
B’ He shows the same thing from the fact that happiness has the nature of a principle. — 223
This appears to be true also from the nature of a principle. Now men do all that they do for the sake of happiness. But we look upon such a principle and cause of good as something divine and a thing to be honored.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
213. After the Philosopher has shown what happiness is, here [II] he inquires about a certain property of happiness. First [II, A] he asks a question, and second [II, B], he ascertains the truth, at “Now a thing that is praiseworthy etc.” He says that after determining the preceding matters, it is necessary to examine whether happiness is of the number of goods to be honored or to be praised. He proves that happiness must be contained under the one or the other kind of good by the fact that happiness is not in the genus of potentiality. A man is not praised or honored because he has the potentiality to good but because he is somehow disposed to good.
214. To have an understanding of this question, we must consider that honor and praise differ in a twofold manner. First on the part of that in which honor or praise consists. In this respect honor is more extensive than praise. Honor signifies testimony manifesting a person’s excellence either by word or by deed, as when one genuflects to another or rises for him. But praise consists only in words. Second, praise and honor differ in regard to that for which they are given, for both are given on account of some excellence. Now there are two kinds of excellence. One is absolute and in this sense honor is due to it. But the other is an excellence in relation to some end, and in this sense praise is due.
215. Then [II, B], at “Now a thing that is,” he answers the question. First [B, A’] he shows that happiness is of the number of goods to be honored because it is a thing perfect and best. In the second place [B, B] he shows the same thing from the fact that happiness has the nature of a principle, at “This appears to be true also etc.” On the first point he does two things. Initially [A’, I] he shows to whom praise is given. Second [A’, 2] he concludes that something better than praise is given to the best, at “If praise belongs etc.” In regard to the initial point he does two things. First [1, a] he presents his proposition. Second [1, b] he presents his proposition. Second [1, b] he proves the proposition at “Thus we generally praise the just etc.” He says first that everything that is praised seems to be praiseworthy for two reasons simultaneously: (1) because it has a certain kind of disposition in itself and (2) because it has a relation of some sort to another.
216. Then [1, b], at “Thus we generally praise,” he proves the proposition first [1, b, i] from human praises and second [1, b, ii] from divine praises at “Our point is obvious too from the praises of the gods.” In regard to the first we must consider that a man is praised both because of virtue of mind and because of power or strength of body. By reason of virtue of mind, a man (for instance, one who is just or brave or virtuous in any way) is praised for having virtue. The virtue also is praised, and this is because of something else, namely, virtuous works and actions. The virtuous man and virtue itself then are praised insofar as they are ordered to do the work of virtue. Second, a aman is praised by reason of power or strength of body because he is strong in fighting, swift in running, and so forth. This happens because the athlete is in a way ordered to something good in itself and desirable as worthy of achievement.
217. We must pay attention to the difference between virtues or powers of mind and body. It is sufficient in the praise of virtue of soul that a man be well disposed to the proper act of the virtue. The reason is that the good of man consists in the very act of virtue, for instance, for running or for wrestling. Human goodness does not consist in such things, since a man can run, wrestle, or fight for both as good and an evil purpose. Consequently, when speaking of the praises of the virtues of the soul he said they are praised because of works and actions (that flow from them). But in speaking of the powers of the body he indicated that they are praised in relation to something else.
218. Then [1, b, ii], at “Our point is obvious too,” he explains what is meant by divine praises. If something be praiseworthy absolutely and not as related to some other thing, it follows that the thing is praiseworthy in all circumstances. But this is clearly false in the case of praises given to separated substances that he calls gods. It would seem ridiculous to praise them for things that are praised in men, for instance, because they are not overcome by concupiscence or fear. This is so because praises are given by reason of a relation to something else, as has been pointed out (214).
219. Then [A’, 2], at “If praise,” he concludes his proposition from what has been said. First [2, a] he puts the conclusion this way. Praise is given to the things whose goodness is considered in relation to something else. But the best things are not ordered to anything else but rather other things are ordered to them. Therefore, something better than praise is given to the best. In a somewhat similar way, there is science for the study of speculative principles, but something higher than science, understanding. Science is concerned with conclusions which are known by means of principles. Likewise, praise is concerned with things whose goodness is for the sake of others. But honor, a thing better than praise, is concerned with things to which other things are ordered.
220. Second [2, b], at “This seems to be true,” he proves the previous conclusion from what is commonly held. First [2, b, i] in regard to the things of which there is something better than praise; and second [2, b, ii] in regard to the things of which there is praise at “Praise surely belongs etc.” In regard to the first he does two things. To prove his proposition he first [i, x] presents what seems to be commonly held and second [ i, y] what seemed so to Eudoxus at “Apparently Eudoxus.” He says first that it seems commonly held that there is something better than praise for the best. This is made clear from the fact that those ascribing to the gods as it were something better than praise call them blessed and happy. They say the same, too, of the best among men who have a certain likeness to the gods by reason of excellence. As we ascribe something better than praise to the best among men, so also to the best of goods like happiness. No one praises happiness in the way he praises a just or virtuous man. Something better is ascribed to happiness when we call it blessedness.
221. Then [i, y], at “Apparently Eudoxus” he reduces the saying of Eudoxus to the same argument. Now Eudoxus called pleasure the first fruits of good, saying that pleasure is the supreme good. He thinks this is intimated from the following. Pleasure is a good that is not praised because in itself it is something better than the things that are praised. No one indeed is praised on account of pleasure, for instance, God and any other good in itself. The reason is that things whose goodness is praised are referred to things good in themselves. Things that are praised are praised precisely because they are somehow related to the things that are good in themselves.
222. Then [2, b, ii], at “Praise surely,” he proves what he said in respect of the things to which praise is given. He says that praise belongs to virtue which makes us doers of good works, for a person is praised because of activity of body or soul as was just mentioned (216-217). But a consideration of the words used by men in bestowing compliments pertains more properly to rhetoricians who labor over the study of laudatory statements. It belongs to the kind of subject that deals with praise or dispraise (demonstrativum genus)—one of the three falling under the study of rhetoric, as is clear from the Philosopher in the first book of the Rhetoric (Ch. 3, 1358 b 21-1359 a 5) and from Tully (Cicero) in his Rhetoric (De Oratore, Bk. II, Ch. x, xi). So far as we are concerned it is obvious from the above (220) that happiness is of the number of goods to be honored because it is a perfect good.
223. Then [B, B’], at “This appears to be true also,” he proves his proposition from the nature of a principle. We look upon the principle and the cause of goods as a thing to be honored, for it is as it were something divine, since God is the first principle of all good. But happiness is the principle of all human good because men do all that they do by reason of happiness. Now the end in things to be done and things to be desired has the nature of a principle because the nature of the means is understood from the end. Hence it follows that happiness is a good to be honored.
Happiness and Virtue
I. HE PREMISES CERTAIN THINGS NECESSARY FOR THE STUDY OF VIRTUE.
A. He shows that it pertains to this science to study virtue.
A’ First by a reason taken from the doctrine on happiness. — 224
If then happiness is a kind of operation according to perfect virtue, we must investigate the question of virtue. In this way we shall perhaps make a more profound study of happiness.
B’ Second... from the particular nature of this science. — 225
Now political science really seems to be concerned especially with the attainment of virtue. Its object is to produce good citizens obedient to the laws, as is exemplified by the lawmakers of the Cretes and the Spartans, and others like them. If this investigation belongs to political science, the study will be Obviously conducted according to the disposition we made in the beginning.
B. He assumes certain things we must know about the parts of the soul.
A’ He shows it is necessary that such things be discussed in this science.
1. HE SHOWS THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO CONSIDER CERTAIN QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PARTS OF THE SOUL. — 226-227
The virtue we are investigating then will be human virtue, for we were seeking human good and human happiness. Now we call that virtue human which is proper not to the body but to the soul. Besides, we say that happiness is an activity of the soul. Since this is so, obviously the statesman must know to some extent the things pertaining to the soul, as he who is to heal the eyes or the whole body should know something about physiology. In fact the knowledge of the statesman should be greater insofar as political science is nobler and more important than medicine. But skillful physicians make it their business to know much about the body. Therefore, the statesman must study the soul.
2. HE SHOWS HOW WE MUST CONSIDER THESE QUESTIONS. — 228
The soul must be studied for the sake of the objects investigated and to the extent that suffices for them. To make a more exhaustive study would be a greater task than the subject requires.
B’ He takes them up.
I. HE DIVIDES THE PARTS OF THE SOUL.
a. He gives the division. — 229
Certain things about the soul are adequately treated in extraneous discourses. We should use these, for instance, the distinction of the soul into irrational and rational.
b. He says that a certain question must be left unanswered. — 230
But Whether the parts are distinct as particles of a body or anything physically divisible, or whether the parts are indivisible in nature and distinguishable according to reason alone, as the convex and concave of the circumference of a circle, is irrelevant to the present question.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
224. After the Philosopher has finished the treatise on happiness, he begins the consideration of virtue. First [I] he premises certain things necessary for the study of virtue. Second (B. 1103 a 14) he begins to define virtue in the beginning of the second book at “Virtue is of two kinds etc.” [Lect. 1]. In regard to the first he does three things. First [I, A] he shows that it pertains to this science to study virtue. Second [I, B], at “The virtues we are etc.,” he assumes certain things we must know about the parts of the soul. Third [Lect. 20; C], at “Virtue is divided etc.” (B. 1103 a 4), he divides virtue according to the division of the parts of the soul. He proves the initial point in two ways. First [A, A’] by a reason taken from the doctrine on happiness. It was pointed out previously (128, 130, 150, 160, 164, 175, 187, 190) that happiness is an action according to perfect virtue. Hence we can study happiness better by means of knowledge of virtue. In keeping with this, he completes the treatise on happiness when he finishes the study of all the virtues in the tenth book (1953-2180). Since then the principal object of this science is the good of man, which is happiness, an inquiry into virtue fittingly comes within the scope of this science.
225. Second [A, B] at “Now political science,” he proves the proposition from the particular nature of this science. Political science seems really to make a special study of virtue and its attainment. Indeed the object of political science is to produce good citizens obedient to the laws (as is evident from the lawmakers of the Cretes and the Spartans who had model states, and from others framing similar laws to make men virtuous). But the study of the present science is connected with political science because its principles are given here. Obviously then a consideration of virtue will be suitable to this science. Accordingly in the introduction (25-31) we placed political science, which investigates the ultimate end of human actions, above all other sciences.
226. Then [I, B], at “The virtue,” he takes up certain questions pertaining to the parts of the soul, which are necessary for the knowledge of virtues. On this point he does two things. First [B, A’] he shows it is necessary that such things be discussed in this science. Second [B, B’] he takes them up at “Certain things about the soul etc.” In regard to the first he does two things. First [A’, 1] he shows that it is necessary in this science to consider certain questions about the parts of the soul. Second [A, 2], at “The soul must be studied etc.,” he shows how we must consider these questions. First, since it is our intention to investigate virtue, we understand that we are speaking of human virtue. We have just now noted (224) that we are looking for human good and human happiness in this science. If, therefore, we seek virtue for the sake of happiness, we necessarily seek human virtue. But that virtue is peculiarly human which is proper to the soul, for it does not belong to the body nor is it shared in common with other beings. Pertinent here is what we said before (123-126), that happiness is an activity of the soul.
227. In the study of the soul whose virtue he seeks, the statesman is compared to the physician who studies the body seeking its health. Obviously then the statesman must know to some extent the things belonging to the soul, as the physician who treats the eyes and the whole body must study something about the eyes and the whole body. The obligation of the statesman to study the soul whose virtue he seeks is greater because political science is more important than the science of medicine—a fact we know from what was said previously (25-30. Consequently, the study of political science must be more thorough. We see that skillful physicians study many things which will give them a knowledge of the body and not merely what concerns cures. Hence a statesman gives some thought to the soul.
228. Then [A’, 2], at “The soul must be studied,” he shows in what way the statesman ought to investigate these things. In this science, he says, the soul must be studied for the sake of the virtues and human actions that are the principle objects here investigated. Therefore, the study of the soul must be such as suffices for the things chiefly sought. If a man should wish to make a more exhaustive study, he will be imposing a greater task than the object of our investigation requires. So too in all other things sought for the sake of an end, the extent of them must be measured according to the end itself.
229. Then [B, B’], at “Certain things about the soul,” he takes up the things we must consider here about the parts of the soul. First [B’, 1] he divides the parts of the soul into rational and irrational. Second [Lect. 20; 2], at “One part of the irrational soul etc.” (B.1102 a 33), he subdivides the irrational. Third [Lect. 20; 31, at “If however we must etc.” (B. 1103 a 2), he subdivides the other member of the first division, that is, the rational part of the soul. In regard to the first he does two things. First [1, a] he gives the division. Second [1, b], at “But whether the parts etc.,” he says that a certain question must be left unanswered. He says first that certain things about the soul have been adequately treated in the book De Anima, which he calls extraneous discussions because he wrote the book as an epistle to persons living at a considerable distance. The books that he was accustomed to teach his students (auditors) were called reports or notes (auditions), as the books of the Physics are entitled on the audition of classes about nature; or they are called extraneous for the better reason that they are outside the scope of the immediate science. However, here we must use the things discussed in that book, for instance, one part of the soul is rational, another part irrational as is asserted in the third book De Anima (Ch. 9, 432 a 27; St. Th. Lect. 14, 797).
230. Then [1, b], at “But whether the parts,” he asks a certain question which is to be left unanswered intentionally. Are the two parts of the soul, rational and irrational, distinct from one another in their subject according to location and position, as particles of a body or of some other divisible continuum? Plato located the rational part or power in the brain, the emotional part in the heart, and the assimilative part in the liver. Or perhaps these two parts are not divided according to subject but only in concept as in the circumference of a circle the convex and concave are not distinguished by subject but in concept alone. He says that so far as it concerns us at present, it does not matter which opinion is held. Hence he leaves the question unanswered because it does not pertain to our present purpose.
Subdivisions of the Irrational Soul
2. HE SUBDIVIDES THE IRRATIONAL PART.
a. He presents one member of the subdivision.
i. He mentions an irrational part of the soul. — 231-232
One part of the irrational soul is like the vegetative soul common to all living things. By vegetative I understand that part which is the cause of nutrition and growth. Such a power of the soul is found in all things that assimilate food. It is found even in embryos and in the lowest forms of animal life. To these it is more reasonable to assign the vegetative part than some other.
ii. He shows that this part is not properly human.
x. FIRST HE CONCLUDES THIS FROM THE PREMISES. — 233
Because this power is common, it follows that it is not human.
y. HE ADDS A PROOF FROM A PARTICULAR EVIDENT SIGN. — 234-235
It seems that the vegetative part and potency of the soul are most active during sleep. Now good and evil persons are hardly distinguishable in their sleep. Hence the saying that the happy are no better off than the miserable for half their lives. This is a reasonable doctrine, for sleep is a cessation from the operation according to which the soul is called good and evil. Yet perhaps certain activities do penetrate the soul of the sleeper gradually. In this way the dreams of the virtuous become better than the dreams of other persons. But what we have now said on this subject will suffice. Therefore, discussion of the nutritive part must come to an end because it has no part in human virtue.
b. He presents the other (member of the subdivision).
i. He indicates what he intends. — 236
Seemingly there is another part of the soul, irrational also but participating in reason to some extent.
ii. He proves his proposition.
x. THERE IS ANOTHER PART OF THE IRRATIONAL SOUL. — 237-238
We praise the rational principle in the incontinent and continent man, for reason rightly induces to what is best. But something besides reason seems to be innate in them, which conflicts with reason and resists reason. As paralyzed members of the body are said to move wrongly to the left contrary to the will choosing the right, so also in the soul, for the movement of the incontinent are to things contrary to reason. While the uncontrolled movement can be seen in bodies, it is invisible in the soul. Nevertheless we must judge that there is something in the soul besides reason which is contrary and resistant to reason. But how this differs from reason does not matter at present.
y. THIS PART PARTICIPATES IN REASON.
aa. His first argument is based on acts taking place within man.
a’ He shows that this irrational part participates in reason. — 239
Now this part seems to share in reason, as we have said. Therefore, as found in the continent man, it is obedient to reason. But it is even more fully subject in the sober and courageous man whose every act harmonizes with reason.
b’ He finishes... the difference of this irrational part from the part presented above. — 240
Apparently the irrational part is twofold. The vegetative power does not partake of reason at all. But the concupiscible power and every appetitive power participate to some extent because they heed and are obedient to reason. Therefore, we say that reason holds the place of a father and friends but not of mathematicians.
bb. His second (argument) is based on acts external to man. — 241
Persuasion, reproach and entreaty in all cases indicate that the irrational principle is somewhat influenced by reason.
3. HE SUBDIVIDES THE OTHER MEMBER OF THE FIRST DIVISION, THE RATIONAL PART OF THE SOUL. — 242
If, however, we must say that this part shares in reason, then the rational will be of two kinds: one having reason principally and of itself, the other obedient to the reason as to a father.
C. He divides virtue according to this difference in the parts of the soul. — 243-244
Virtue is divided according to this difference, for we call some virtues intellectual, others moral. Wisdom, understanding and prudence are said to be intellectual virtues, while liberality and sobriety are called moral. When speaking of man’s good morals we do not describe him as wise or intelligent but as mild-tempered or sober. We do praise a person for acquiring the habit of wisdom since praiseworthy habits are called virtues.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
231. After the philosopher has divided the parts of the soul into rational and irrational, here  he subdivides the irrational part. First [2, a] he presents one member of the subdivision; and then [2, b], he presents the other at “Seemingly there is another part etc.” In regard to the initial point he does two things. First [a, i] he mentions an irrational part of the soul. Then [a, ii] he shows that this part is not properly human, at “Because this power etc.” He says first that one of the parts of the irrational soul is like the plant soul and is common to all things living here below. It is that part which is the cause of assimilation and growth. Such a part of the soul is found in every being that assimilates food not only in creatures after birth but even before birth, as in embryos that are obviously nourished and grow.
232. Likewise this part of the soul is discovered not only in the highly organized animals having all the senses and endowed with local motion but also in the lowest animals, like oysters having only the sense of touch and rooted to one place. Evidently all these creatures live and have some kind of soul. But this vegetative type of soul rather than some other part is more reasonably assigned to these lowest animals because the effects of this part are more evident in them.
233. Then [a, ii], at “Because this power,” he shows that the aforementioned part of the soul is not human. First [a, ii, x] he concludes this from the premises. We call human that which is distinctive of man. If then a part of the soul is altogether common, it will not be human.
234. Secondly [a, ii, y], at “It seems that,” he adds a proof from a particular evident sign. This part of the soul is found to be especially active during sleep, for when he natural heat has returned to the internal organs and the animal is asleep, digestion works better. But what is proper to man precisely as he is said to be good or evil operates only slightly during sleep. Good and evil persons are hardly distinguishable in their sleep. Hence the saying that the happy do not differ from the unhappy for half their life which is spent in sleep. The reason is that judgment of the intellect is bound during sleep, and the external senses do not function, although the imagination and he power of nutrition are active.
235. It is reasonable that the god and evil, the happy and the unhappy are indistinguishable while asleep because that part of man by which he is called good ceases to function during sleep. Good and evil men differ while asleep not on account of a difference occurring during their slumbers but because of what happened in their waking moments. Conscious activity gradually penetrates to the soul of the sleeper so that the things a man has seen or heard or thought while awake, present themselves to his imagination in sleep. In this way the virtuous who spend their wakeful hours in good works have more edifying dreams than other persons who occupy their conscious moments with idle and evil woks. What we have now said on this subject will suffice (2334-235). We conclude then from the premises (233-235), that the nutritive part of the soul is not adapted by nature to participate in human virtue.
236. Then [2, b], at “Seemingly there is,” he presents the other member of the division. First [b, i] he indicates what he intends; and second [b, ii] he proves his proposition at “We praise the rational etc.” He says first that besides the vegetative part of the soul, there seems to be another part, irrational like the vegetative, but participating in reason to some extent. In this it differs from the vegetative part that has nothing whatsoever to do with human virtue as was just said (235).
237. Then [b, ii], at “We praise the rational,” he proves his proposition: first [b, ii, x] that there is another part of the irrational soul; second [b, ii, y] that this part participates in reason at “Now this part seems to share in reason.” He proves the first by an argument taken from continent and incontinent men. In this matter we praise the part of the soul having reason because it rightly deliberates and induces to what is best, as if by entreaty and persuasion. Both—continent and incontinent—choose abstain from unlawful pleasures. But seemingly in both there is something innate in them other than reason, and this something conflicts with reason and resists or hinders reason in the execution of its choice. Obviously it is something irrational, since it is contrary to reason. The sensitive appetite, whichdesires what is pleasant to sense and at times opposes what reason judges absolutely good, would be such a thing. This appetite in the continent man is restrained by reason, for he certainly has evil desires but his reason does not follow them. On the other hand the appetite in the incontinent man overcomes reason, which is seduced by evil desires.
238. Then he adds an illustration. The members of the body are incapacitated when they cannot be controlled by the regulative power of the soul, as happens to paralytics and the intoxicated who move to the left side when hey wish to move to the right. This is true also of the souls of incontinent persons who are moved to the opposite of what the reason chooses. But the process is not so apparent in the parts of the soul as in the parts of the body. We see clearly in what way a bodily member moves unnaturally, but the movement of the parts of the soul is not so obvious to us. Despite this, we must judge there is something that is contrary to reason and resists it. But how this may differ from reason—whether by subject or by concept alone—does not matter at present.
239. Then [b, ii, y], at “Now this part,” he shows that an irrational part of this kind participates in reason. His first argument [y, aa] is based on acts taking place within man; his second [y, bb], at “Persuasion, reproach)” is based on acts external to man, With the first he does two things. First [aa, a’] he shows that this irrational part participates in reason. Second [aa, b’] he finishes the treatment of the difference of this irrational “ part from the part presented above, at “Apparently the irrational part.” He says first that the irrational part, of which we have now spoken (233-235), seems in some way to participate in reason, as was just said (236). This is obvious in the continent man whose sensitive appetite obeys reason. Although he may have evil desires, nevertheless he does not act according to them but according to reason. In the sober or temperate man this part of the soul is even more fully subject to reason. Such a man has so subdued his sensitive appetite that evil desires in him are not vehement. We may say thesame of the courageous man and of anyone endowed with the habit of moral virtue. The reason is that in these men nearly everything—both external actions and internal desires—harmonize with reason.
240. Then [aa, b’], at “Apparently the irrational,” he concludes the difference between the two irrational parts from the premises. He says that according to the premises the irrational part is apparently twofold. Now the vegetative part, found in plants, does not partake of reason in any way, for it is not obedient to the direction of reason. But the concupiscible power and every appetitive power like the irascible emotion and the will participate in reason in some measure because they heed the movement of the reason and are obedient to its regulations. Hence we say reason holds the place of a father giving guidance and of friends offering advice. But reason here does not play the role of a mere theorist like the reason of a mathematician, for the irrational part of the soul does not partake in any way of reason understood in this sense.
241. Then [y, bb], at “Persuasion, reproach,” he shows through the things externally done that the irrational part participates in reason. In his opinion this is indicated from the fact that the persuasion of friends, the reproach of superiors and the entreaties of inferiors aim to keep a man from following his desires. But all these would be useless unless this part of the irrational soul could share in reason. From this too it is apparent that reason is not controlled by the movements of the passions of the sensitive appetite but quite the contrary—reason can restrain such movements. Therefore, reason is not governed by the motions of the heavenly bodies, which can effect some change in the sensitive appetite of the soul through a change in the human body. Since the intellect or reason is not a faculty of any bodily organ, it is not directly subject to the action of any bodily power. The same is true of the will that is in the reason, as was said in the third book De Anima (Ch. 3, 427 a 21; St. Th. Lect. 4, 617-621).
242. Then , at “If however,” he subdivides the other member of the first division, the rational part of the soul. According to him (if we must say that that part of the soul that participates in reason is rational in some way) the rational part will be of two kinds: one, having reason principally and in itself, is rational by nature. But the other is inherently adapted to obey reason as a father, and is called rational by participation. In accord with this, one member is contained under both rational and irrational. Now, one part of the soul, the vegetative, is irrational alone; another part is rational alone, the intellect and reason. Still another part is of itself irrational but rational by participation, like the sensitive appetite and th will.
243. Then [C], at “Virtue is divided,” he divides virtue according to this difference in the parts of the soul. He says that virtue is designated or divided according to the above-mentioned difference in the parts of the soul. Since human virtue perfects the work of man which is done according to reason, human virtue must consist in something reasonable. Since the reasonable is of two kinds, by nature and by participation, it follows that there are two kinds of human virtue. One of these is placed in what is rational by nature and is called intellectual. The other is placed in what is rational by participation, that is, in the appetitive part of the soul, and is called moral. Therefore, he says, we call some of the virtues intellectual and some moral. Wisdom, understanding and prudence are said to be intellectual virtues, while liberality and sobriety are called moral.
244. He proves this point from human praises. When we wish to praise someone for good morals, we do not describe him as wise and intelligent, but as sober and mild-tempered. We do not praise a man for good morals alone but also for the habit of wisdom. Praiseworthy habits are called virtues. Therefore, besides the moral virtues, there are also intellectual virtues like wisdom, understanding, and some others of this kind. Thus ends the first book.