Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good (Oxford Aristotle Studies Series) [1 ed.] 9780198829683, 019882968X

Marta Jimenez presents a novel interpretation of Aristotle's account of the role of shame in moral development. Des

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Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good (Oxford Aristotle Studies Series) [1 ed.]
 9780198829683, 019882968X

Table of contents :
Cover
Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good
Copyright
Dedication
Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
0.1 The “Moral Upbringing Gap” and Shame as the Bridge to Virtue
0.2 Finding Space for Shame as the Proto-Virtue of the Learner
0.3 Plan of the Book
Chapter 1: Becoming Virtuous by Doing Virtuous Actions
1.1 The Problem of the Gap in Moral Development
1.2 Learning-by-Doing, Priority Objection, and Virtue Acquisition
1.3 The Question about the “How” and the Continuity Principle
1.4 Aristotle’s Response to the Priority Objection: General Lines
1.4.1 Grammar Example: In Accordance With Grammar vs. Grammatically
1.4.2 Disanalogy Between Crafts and Virtues and the Question about the “How”
1.5 “Fake It till You Make It”: Motivationally-Neutral Accounts
1.6 What is Wrong with the Motivationally-Neutral Accounts?
1.6.1 Incorrect Conception of the Learners’ Actions as Not-Fully Virtuous
1.6.2 Thin Conception of the Goal of Action
1.6.3 The Moral Upbringing Gap
1.6.4 Why Are Right Actions without Virtuous Motive Not Productive of Virtue?
1.7 Alternative Account: Bridging the Moral Upbringing Gap
1.7.1 Virtuous Dispositions and Virtuous Goals
1.7.2 Virtuous Goals in Non-Virtuous Agents and Shame as Source of Proto-Virtuous Motivation
1.7.3 Aristotle’s Response to the Priority Objection
1.8 A Plan for the Next Chapters
Chapter 2: Learning through Pleasure, Pain, the Noble, and the Shameful
2.1 “Steering the Young through Pleasure and Pain”
2.2 The Conditioning View: Transformation through Rewards and Punishments
2.2.1 MacIntyre’s Chess Example: A Case of Reward-Based Upbringing
2.2.2 Aristotle’s Rejection of Associative Learning
2.2.3 An Alternative Conditioning View: “Internalized-Punishment” View
2.2.4 The Problem with the Conditioning View
2.3 The Familiarity View: Transformation through Repetition and Becoming Familiar
2.4 Burnyeat’s Account: Learning to Enjoy the Pleasures of the Noble
2.4.1 Pleasures of the Noble and the Dangers of Appetitive Pleasures
2.4.2 Curbing One’s Appetites: Bodily Pleasures in Moral Development
2.4.3 The Proper Pleasures of Virtue and Learning to Enjoy Things in the Right Way
2.5 Three Objections against Burnyeat’s View
2.5.1 First Objection: Priority of Awareness or “Grasp” over Pleasure
2.5.2 Second Objection: Priority of Love over Pleasure
2.5.3 Third Objection: Priority of Dispositions over Pleasure
2.6 The Beginning of a Solution
Chapter 3: Pseudo-Virtuous Practices, Pseudo-Virtuous Conditions
3.1 Varieties of Pseudo-Virtue
3.2 Appearances of Goodness and Errors about Character
3.2.1 Six Kinds of Pseudo-Courage
3.2.2 Pseudo-Virtuous Practices, Proto-Virtuous Practices, and Moral Development
3.3 Courageous Because of Ignorance: The Lowest Kind of Pseudo-Courage
3.3.1 The Failures of Ignorance
3.3.2 Actions Done on Account of Ignorance
3.3.3 Ignorance-Courage and Moral Development
3.4 The Courage of Hopeful Individuals and Drunks
3.4.1 Hopeful Agents’ Main Features
3.4.2 Acting from Hope
3.4.3 Hope-Courage and Moral Development
3.5 Thumos, Reactivity, and Natural Courage
3.5.1 Thumos and the Noble: The Platonic Prejudice
3.5.2 Thumos-Courage in NE III 8 and EE III 1
3.5.3 Thumos and Moral Development Revisited
3.6 Experience and Courage: The Case of Skilled Soldiers
3.6.1 Is Experience the Key to Moral Development?
3.6.2 The Courage of Skilled Soldiers
3.6.3 The Distinction that Aristotle Says Socrates Missed: Technical Training vs. Training for Virtue
3.6.4 Experience and Moral Development
3.7 Two Kinds of Political Courage and Two Methods of Civic Education
3.7.1 Fear-Based Political Courage in NE III 8
3.7.2 Fear of Punishment and Moral Development
Chapter 4: Connecting Shame with Honorand the Noble
4.1 Shame’s Self-Reflectivity, Other-Relatedness, and Responsiveness to External Reasons
4.2 Shame, Love of Honor, Virtue, and the Noble
4.3 The Standard View of Shame as Mere Desire for Reputation: Two Problems
4.3.1 Problem 1. Conflation of Two Distinctions: Aiming vs. Recognizing
4.3.2 Problem 2. Ambiguity of Love of Honor: Love of Mere Praise vs. Love of the Praiseworthy
4.4 An Alternative View of Shame and Love of Honor
4.4.1 Praiseworthy Actions, Praiseworthy Characters
Chapter 5: The Mixed Nature of Shame
5.1 Shame’s Many Faces
5.2 The Complexity of Shame and the Alleged Tensions between NE IV 9 and X 9
5.2.1 Sources of the Tension: The Double Face of Aristotelian Shame
5.3 Two Kinds of Shame as Solution to Shame’s Tensions?
5.3.1 First Attempt at a Solution: Aidōs vs. Aischunē
5.3.2 Second Attempt at a Solution: Prospective vs. Retrospective Shame
5.4 Shame’s Special Status as a Praiseworthy Emotion
5.4.1 The Praiseworthy Emotional Means
5.4.2 Emotions vs. Dispositions in NE II 5 and EE II 2
5.4.3 Shame as a Sui Generis Emotion and the Problem with the Emotional Means
5.4.4 The Advantage of Shame’s Mixed Nature
Chapter 6: Shame as the Proto-Virtue of the Learners
6.1 Moving Non-Virtuous Agents towards Virtue: Aristotle’s Positive View of Shame
6.2 Praiseworthy Shame and Young People in NE IV 9
6.2.1 Shame is Not a Virtue
6.2.2 “Shame is more like a pathos than like a hexis”
6.2.3 Shame is Praiseworthy in the Youth, but not Appropriate in Mature Individuals
6.2.4 Conditional Character of Shame
6.2.5 Shame is a Proto-Virtuous Pathos
6.3 Three Positive Aspects of Shame in NE X 9
6.3.1 Shame and Love of the Noble
6.3.2 Shame and the Learner’s Basic Grasp of the Noble
6.3.3 Shame and the Proper Pleasures of the Noble
6.4 Young Lovers of the Noble vs. the Shameless, the Virtuous, and the Timid
6.4.1 Shame and the Origin of Virtue
6.4.2 Shame as Proto-Virtue: Between Shamelessness and Virtue
6.4.3 Shame, between Shamelessness and Timidity: Solving the Heteronomy and Superficiality Problems
Conclusion: Shame, Love of the Noble, and Moral Development
Bibliography
Index of Texts
Index of Names
Index of Subjects

Citation preview

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Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good

OUP CORRECTED AUTOPAGE PROOFS – FINAL, 7/11/2020, SPi

OXFORD ARISTOTLE STUDIES General Editor Lindsay Judson      Doing and Being An Interpretation of Aristotle’s Metaphysics Theta Jonathan Beere Aristotle on the Sources of the Ethical Life Sylvia Berryman Aristotle on Knowledge and Learning The Posterior Analytics David Bronstein Aristotle and the Eleatic One Timothy Clarke Time for Aristotle Physics IV. 10–14 Ursula Coope Passions and Persuasion in Aristotle’s Rhetoric Jamie Dow Teleology, First Principles, and Scientific Method in Aristotle’s Biology Allan Gotthelf Aristotle on the Common Sense Pavel Gregoric The Powers of Aristotle’s Soul Thomas Kjeller Johansen Aristotle on Teleology Monte Ransome Johnson How Aristotle gets by in Metaphysics Zeta Frank A. Lewis Aristotle on the Apparent Good Perception, Phantasia, Thought, and Desire Jessica Moss Priority in Aristotle’s Metaphysics Michail Peramatzis Aristotle’s Theory of Bodies Christian Pfeiffer

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Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good MARTA JIMENEZ

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Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, United Kingdom Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries © Marta Jimenez 2020 The moral rights of the author have been asserted First Edition published in 2020 Impression: 1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by licence or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Control Number: 2020937527 ISBN 978–0–19–882968–3 DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829683.001.0001 Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY Links to third party websites are provided by Oxford in good faith and for information only. Oxford disclaims any responsibility for the materials contained in any third party website referenced in this work.

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To my grandfather, Mateo Agustín, who was a citizen soldier in the Spanish civil war. And to my parents, who taught me about it.

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Contents Acknowledgments

Introduction 0.1 The “Moral Upbringing Gap” and Shame as the Bridge to Virtue 0.2 Finding Space for Shame as the Proto-Virtue of the Learner 0.3 Plan of the Book

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1 6 9 15

1. Becoming Virtuous by Doing Virtuous Actions 1.1 The Problem of the Gap in Moral Development 1.2 Learning-by-Doing, Priority Objection, and Virtue Acquisition 1.3 The Question about the “How” and the Continuity Principle 1.4 Aristotle’s Response to the Priority Objection: General Lines 1.5 “Fake It till You Make It”: Motivationally-Neutral Accounts 1.6 What is Wrong with the Motivationally-Neutral Accounts? 1.7 Alternative Account: Bridging the Moral Upbringing Gap 1.8 A Plan for the Next Chapters

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2. Learning through Pleasure, Pain, the Noble, and the Shameful 2.1 “Steering the Young through Pleasure and Pain” 2.2 The Conditioning View: Transformation through Rewards and Punishments 2.3 The Familiarity View: Transformation through Repetition and Becoming Familiar 2.4 Burnyeat’s Account: Learning to Enjoy the Pleasures of the Noble 2.5 Three Objections against Burnyeat’s View 2.6 The Beginning of a Solution

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3. Pseudo-Virtuous Practices, Pseudo-Virtuous Conditions 3.1 Varieties of Pseudo-Virtue 3.2 Appearances of Goodness and Errors about Character 3.3 Courageous Because of Ignorance: The Lowest Kind of Pseudo-Courage 3.4 The Courage of Hopeful Individuals and Drunks 3.5 Thumos, Reactivity, and Natural Courage 3.6 Experience and Courage: The Case of Skilled Soldiers 3.7 Two Kinds of Political Courage and Two Methods of Civic Education

77 77 79

19 23 28 34 36 42 49

54 61 62 70 73

86 90 95 103 113

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4. Connecting Shame with Honor and the Noble 4.1 Shame’s Self-Reflectivity, Other-Relatedness, and Responsiveness to External Reasons 4.2 Shame, Love of Honor, Virtue, and the Noble 4.3 The Standard View of Shame as Mere Desire for Reputation: Two Problems 4.4 An Alternative View of Shame and Love of Honor

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5. The Mixed Nature of Shame 5.1 Shame’s Many Faces 5.2 The Complexity of Shame and the Alleged Tensions between NE IV 9 and X 9 5.3 Two Kinds of Shame as Solution to Shame’s Tensions? 5.4 Shame’s Special Status as a Praiseworthy Emotion

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6. Shame as the Proto-Virtue of the Learners 6.1 Moving Non-Virtuous Agents towards Virtue: Aristotle’s Positive View of Shame 6.2 Praiseworthy Shame and Young People in NE IV 9 6.3 Three Positive Aspects of Shame in NE X 9 6.4 Young Lovers of the Noble vs. the Shameless, the Virtuous, and the Timid

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Conclusion: Shame, Love of the Noble, and Moral Development Bibliography Index of Texts Index of Names Index of Subjects

120 123 127 133

139 141 148

160 161 170 176

185 189 203 206 209

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Acknowledgments This book is a distant descendant of a doctoral thesis that I completed at the University of Toronto. My gratitude is due first and foremost to my supervisor and friend, Jennifer Whiting. I could not have hoped for a better person to guide my work and help me during my early academic life. I am extremely grateful for her continued support, encouragement, and challenge. Rachel Barney and Brad Inwood were also part of the original conception of this project and helped me to shape many of the central ideas. I thank them for challenging many of my initial thoughts on the matter, for fruitful discussions, and for their extensive feedback. This project has been in gestation for such a long time that I have incurred many large debts of gratitude. It is a great pleasure to acknowledge the help of those friends, mentors, and colleagues who gave me comments on parts or sections of the material (whether in conversation or via written feedback) or helped me through discussion on particular matters at various points: Julia Annas, Samuel Baker, Juan Pablo Bermúdez, Alessandro Bonello, Sarah Broadie, David Bronstein, Klaus Corcilius, Willie Costello, Jamie Dow, Zoli Filotas, Emily Fletcher, Alessandra Fussi, Corinne Gartner, Paula Gottlieb, Devin Henry, Sukaina Hirji, Douglas S. Hutchinson, Dhananjay Jagannathan, Monte Johnson, Rusty Jones, Rachana Kamtekar, Aryeh Kosman, Danielle Layne, Stephen Leighton, Mariska Leunissen, Patricia Marechal, Jessica Moss, Tim O’Keefe, Chistiana Olfert, Richard Patterson, Francesca Pedriali, Christof Rapp, Gurpreet Rattan, Krisanna Scheiter, Clerk Shaw, Brooks Sommerville, Matt Strohl, Jacob Stump, Jan Szaif, Iakovos Vasiliou, David Wolfsdorf, and Joel Yurdin. Their questions, objections, and comments at different stages of the project have been essential for improving the final result and for helping me bring it to conclusion. I especially wish to thank those who made comments or raised objections after presentations which I gave about parts of the book at the University of Toronto, the Humboldt University, Princeton University, the University of VermontBurlington, Wellesley College, the University of California-Riverside, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, the University of Arizona, Haverford College, and Virginia Tech University, and to the audiences of my talks on topics from the book at general meetings of the American Philosophical Society, the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy, the Ancient Philosophy Society, the Canadian Philosophical Association, and the European Philosophical Society for the Study of Emotions. I am particularly grateful to the participants of the Institute for the History of Philosophy Summer Workshop that I co-organized with Christoph Rapp at

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Emory University in June 2015 on “Aristotle on the Emotions”: Jamie Dow, Craig Henchey, Corinne Gartner, Paula Gottlieb, Stephen Leighton, Hendrik Lorenz, Jozef Müller, Tim O’Keefe, Rachel Parsons, Clerk Shaw, Krisanna Scheiter, Melpomeni Vogiatzi, and Marco Zingano. This workshop provided an ideal environment to test some of my ideas about the role of emotions in Aristotle’s ethics and to discuss my main view about the centrality of shame. More recently I owe also thanks to Lucas Angioni for generously organizing in May 2018 a workshop on a penultimate version of my manuscript at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil, where I received insightful comments from Lucas, João Hobuss, Fernando Mendonça, Inara Zanuzzi, and Raphael Zillig. I sincerely thank the participants in this workshop for their valuable comments and questions, and Lucas in particular for his warm hospitality and for many stimulating exchanges about topics from the book. Special thanks are due to Julia Annas and David Konstan, who generously read whole drafts of this book and provided me with invaluable comments and suggestions. I worked out many of the ideas in this book while teaching courses on Aristotle’s ethics and emotion theory at Emory University. I am grateful to my students for their interest, their questions, and their insight as we worked together through Aristotle’s texts and the work of modern commentators. I would like to extend my gratitude also to my colleagues at the philosophy department of Emory University for their encouragement and support. A Junior Post Fourth-Year Review Leave from Emory allowed me to focus exclusively on my research during the Spring and Fall semesters of 2016. I am grateful to the university for this generous support. Thanks are due for the many useful comments of anonymous reviewers at Oxford University Press and, before that, for the comments of the anonymous reviewers and editors of the journals where parts of these chapters first appeared as articles. I also thank the editors at Oxford University Press for their guidance and patience. I thank my research assistants and good friends, Chad Horne and Jacob Stump, whose comments on the final drafts helped me clarify some key ideas and saved me from several mistakes. John Proios and Andrew Culbreth provided last-minute vital assistance compiling the indexes. I am of course responsible for any errors. Lastly, I thank my parents, Joaquín Jiménez and Isabel Rodríguez-Valdés, to whom this book is dedicated, and my wife, Stu Marvel, without whom I would not have been able to finish anything and to whom I owe it all. Chapter 1 is a revised version of my paper “Aristotle on Becoming Virtuous by Doing Virtuous Actions,” Phronesis 61.1 (2016): 3–32. I thank Koninklijke Brill NV for permission to reprint this material. Parts of Chapter 2 draw on sections from my paper “Aristotle on ‘Steering the Young by Pleasure and Pain’,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy 29.2 (2015): 137–164. I thank Penn State University Press for permission to reprint this material.

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Introduction Shame is a complex and multifaceted emotion and its contribution to our ethical lives is difficult to pin down. For some, shame is a valuable emotion that helps us to improve our character, motivating individuals and even communities to achieve higher moral standards. But shame is also often seen as a feeling we are better off without, insofar as it is a painful experience that can be used as a tool for social manipulation or oppression, and it can be paralyzing or even lead to selfdestructive behavior.¹ This ambivalence about shame is on display not only in contemporary discussions, but also in a good portion of the ancient Greek literature.² In many ancient Greek texts, shame (aidōs, aischunē) appears to be used in at least two senses, typically including both a good sense of shame as virtue, or at the very least as a stepping-stone to virtue, and a bad sense of shame as an oppressive emotion that unduly limits our agency.³ In Aristotle’s ethical writings we also find both positive and negative aspects of shame: it is praiseworthy in young people and crucial to their moral development, while it is alien to the virtuous because it is linked to moral failure and excessively dependent on what others think. My aim in this book is to show how Aristotle reconciles these apparently conflicting aspects of shame in a single unified account, and to dispel shame’s bad name by exploring Aristotle’s views on the nature of shame and its positive role in our early ethical lives. My central claim is that shame for Aristotle is not just a helpful aid to learning to be good, but an essential part of that process. Shame is, I contend, the proto-

¹ Contemporary philosophical discussions of shame often open with remarks about the multifaceted and ambivalent character of this emotion—see e.g. Kekes 1998; Calhoun 2004; Nussbaum 2004; Mason 2010; Tarnopolsky 2010; Deonna et al. 2012; and Thomason 2018. Among contemporary authors who deal with shame, some underscore shame’s moral relevance and its potential to encourage moral improvement—see e.g. Aldrich 1939; Rawls 1971, §67: “Self-Respect, Excellences, and Shame” (440–6); Taylor 1985; Williams 1993; Elster 1999 (149–64); Calhoun 2004; Manion 2002; Arneson 2007; Mason 2010; Tarnopolsky 2010; Appiah 2010; Deonna et al. 2012; Lebron 2013; Fussi 2015; and Ramirez 2017. Others, in turn, argue against its moral relevance—see e.g. Deigh 1983; while many others warn us against shame’s potentially damaging effects—see e.g. Adkins 1960; Kekes 1998; Nussbaum 1980 and 2004 (esp. ch. 4: “Inscribing the Face: Shame and Stigma”); and Thomason 2018. ² An essential study of the complex character of shame in ancient Greek thought, from Homer to Aristotle, is Cairns 1993. See also Von Erffa 1937; Fisher 1992; Williams 1993; and Konstan 2006 ch. 4 (91–110). North’s 1966 study on sōphrosunē is also relevant. ³ See Chapter 5, Section 5.3, for a brief discussion of this distinction and the ways in which it has been attributed to Aristotle. Cairns 1993 offers a thorough study of these two senses of shame in ancient Greek literature and provides numerous examples.

Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good. Marta Jimenez, Oxford University Press (2020). © Marta Jimenez. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829683.003.0001

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virtue of those learning to be good (I shall call them “learners”),⁴ since it is the emotion that equips learners with the seeds of virtue. Other emotions such as friendliness (philia), righteous indignation (nemesis), emulation (zēlos), hope (elpis), and even spiritedness (thumos) may play important roles on the road to virtue. However, shame is the only one that Aristotle repeatedly associates with moral progress. The reason, as I argue, is that shame can move young agents to perform good actions and avoid bad ones in ways that appropriately resemble not only the external behaviors of virtue, but also the orientation and receptivity to moral value characteristic of virtuous people. What, then, is shame, and how can it be seen to figure in our moral development? Although shame is not a virtue for Aristotle, it has three connected features that make it indispensable for the development of a good character: selfreflectivity, other-relatedness, and responsiveness to moral considerations beyond pleasures and gains. First, shame promotes our awareness of the connection betweeen the inside and outside aspects of the self. Specifically, shame focuses on the intimate connection between the praiseworthiness (or blameworthiness) of our actions and the praiseworthiness (or blameworthiness) of our character—it gets us to see our external behavior and, in general, how we seem to be, as a reflection of who we are. Secondly, shame makes us receptive to the moral opinions of others and thus enables us to listen to moral reasons. And finally, third, shame makes agents responsive to a kind of value beyond mere pleasure (hēdonē) and mere gain (kerdos). More precisely, shame makes agents responsive to the value of the kalon (noble, admirable, beautiful, or fine), which is the characteristic goal of virtue.⁵ By turning the agents’ attention to considerations about honor (timē) and praise (epainos), and thus—as I will argue—turning their attention to considerations about the perceived nobility and praiseworthiness of their own actions and character, shame places young people on the path to becoming good. Beyond Aristotle, also in contemporary discussions shame is typically characterized as a self-reflective and other-related emotion. Shame tends to be classified,

⁴ This idea echoes the claim in Burnyeat 1980 that shame is for Aristotle “the semi-virtue of the learner” (78). Deonna et al. 2012 also use the expression “semi-virtue” in their explanation of shame’s function in contemporary terms (178). I prefer “proto-virtue” because it has the connotations of being a precursor of virtue, which I think is more accurate, as it preserves the Aristotelian point that shame puts learners on the path towards virtue. ⁵ I will translate kalon for the most part as “noble,” but occasionally as “admirable,” “beautiful,” or “fine,” or will leave it untranslated as seems most appropriate to the context. See note 11 in Chapter 1, Section 1.2, below for the list of texts where Aristotle claims that doing virtuous actions “for the sake of the noble” (tou kalou heneka) is characteristic of virtue. Some relevant discussions of the notion of the kalon in Aristotle are Owens 1981; Rogers 1993; Cooper 1996; Richardson Lear 2006; Irwin 2010; Kraut 2013; and Crisp 2014.

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like pride and guilt, as one of the self-conscious or self-reflective emotions.⁶ The self-reflectivity of shame is special, however, because it always includes a reference to the gaze of the other. Central to any episode of shame is the apprehension, imaginary or actual, of oneself as being seen or exposed in a negative light, as being inadequate or failing in some way.⁷ Thus, shame is a response to the kind of exposure that leads to loss of esteem in the eyes of others, as when we fail to conform to social norms and ideals. The other-relatedness of shame is due to its direct connection to our common human concern with status, respect, and recognition—a concern that is also behind our appreciation of honor, reputation, and praise and behind our aversion to contempt, disrepute, and blame. But shame is also a self-reflective response to the exposure (or potential exposure) of our failing to achieve goals and ideals that we ourselves think important and inseparable from what we are or what we aspire to be in life. The self-reflectivity of shame, then, directly involves self-evaluation, and is closely associated with self-esteem.⁸ Specifically, shame is an emotional response to a kind of unwanted exposure that directly affects our sense of self-worth by reminding us of the connection between who we are and who we seem to be through our actions and, in general, through what is visible of us. This explains why shame is relevant to moral development—especially for someone who, such as Aristotle, holds that we learn to be good by doing good actions. If our sense of shame is appropriately cultivated, it will motivate us to avoid doing what is shameful and pursue instead what is genuinely noble and praiseworthy by tapping into our aspirations to be the best we can. From Bernard Williams’ Shame and Necessity (1993) to Anthony Appiah’s The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen (2010), and Chris Lebron’s The Color of Our Shame: Race and Justice in Our Time (2013), shame has been at the ⁶ For the self-reflective or self-conscious character of shame see e.g. Taylor 1985; Tangney et al. 1995; Elster 1999; Calhoun 2004; Manion 2002; Nussbaum 2004; Deonna et al. 2012; and Thomason 2018. ⁷ The locus classicus for the connection between shame and exposure is Sartre’s famous analysis of the shame one experiences at being discovered in an embarrassing situation (Sartre 1956, Part 3, ch. 1). More recent discussions of the connection between shame and exposure are e.g. Williams 1993, who holds that “the root of shame lies in exposure . . . in being at a disadvantage: in . . . a loss of power” (220); Velleman 2001, for whom the key events that provokes shame are failures of privacy and “unintentional self-exposure” (38). Sherman 2016 reminds us that the Greek etymology of aidōs (shame), which is related to aidoia, genitals, underscores this connection between shame and exposure; as she puts it “to be ashamed is to be caught without your fig leaf” (128). For the connection between shame and failure see e.g. Deigh 1983 (following Piers 1953): “shame is occasioned when one fails to achieve a goal or an ideal that is integral to one’s self-conception. [ . . . ] Shame is felt over shortcomings, guilt over wrongdoings” (225). ⁸ The self-evaluative character of shame is discussed by e.g. Taylor 1985 (who calls pride, shame, and guilt “emotions of self-assessment”); Tangney et al. 1995 and 2007 (who claim that shame, guilt, and embarrassment are “evoked by self-reflection and self-evaluation,” 347); Elster 1999; Manion 2002; Nussbaum 2004; Deonna et al. 2012; and Thomason 2018 (who characterizes shame as “an experience of tension between one’s identity and one’s self- conception,” 11). A classic defense of the connection between shame and self-esteem appears in Rawls 1971 (440–6), while Deigh 1983 argues against the existence of such a connection.

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center of different important proposals on how to reformulate modern ethics which have brought to the fore the relevance of moral emotions. My book is a contribution to this conversation. I think that the views of Williams, Appiah, and Lebron concerning the potential transformative powers of shame are in line with Aristotle’s understanding of the role of this emotion in moral development.⁹ From very different angles, these authors converge in seeing that by mobilizing people’s concern for how they look, how they appear, and whether they are living up to some ideal, shame (and, for Appiah, love of honor) can encourage people to act in ways that more closely correspond to their individual and social standards of decency, and ultimately to live better lives and be better. Many modern readers, however, are suspicious of shame and maintain that we do better without it, particularly in the context of a theory of moral formation.¹⁰ Shame’s connection with honor and praise (and with contempt and blame), plus shame’s concern with how we appear in the eyes of others, provokes two worries: heteronomy and superficiality. According to the first worry, insofar as shame makes us depend on the opinions of others, it may seem that shame is an obstacle to the development of moral autonomy. Agents who respond to shame are seen as moved by external incentives and societal pressures instead of being guided by their own internal motivations and reasons, and consequently they are seen as excessively heteronomous.¹¹ According to the second worry, insofar as shame tracks how we appear to others, it seems superficial—concerned with reputation and mere appearance rather than reality.¹² These reservations tend to undermine or obscure the positive aspects of shame that Aristotle identifies. How can we square the central role of shame in Aristotle’s theory of moral development with these more questionable features? Part of the aim of this book is to argue that the complex nature of shame, its responsiveness to the moral views of others, and its direct responsiveness to praise and blame, are precisely the features that make shame a good catalyst for moral development. Both the self-reflective and the other-related aspects of shame are key in our progress towards virtue. Against the heteronomy objection, I argue that shame’s connection with love of honor, reputation, and praise, and with aversion to disrepute, disgrace, and reproach, is not an obstacle to the development of ⁹ In fact, both Appiah 2010 and Lebron 2013 emphasisize the Aristotelian roots of their views. Appiah 2010 claims that his study of the relevance of honor in a successful human life “is a contribution to ethics in Aristotle’s sense” (xiv), while Lebron 2013 appeals to Neo-Aristotelian virtue theory, and concretely cites the work of Sherman 1989 and Hursthouse 2001 in support of his analysis of how shame is relevant to contemporary politics (see “Shame and Politics?,” 22–6, and notes 8–9 at 170). ¹⁰ See e.g. Adkins 1960; Kekes 1988; Nussbaum 1980 and 2004; Baron 2017; and Thomason 2018. Tarnopolsky 2010 presents an insightful review of some of these critics in her Introduction at 2–4 and discusses the views in more detail in Chapters 5 and 6. ¹¹ See a list of commentators who hold the view that shame is a potential obstacle to autonomy and my arguments against it in Chapters 4 and 6. ¹² See my characterization of the classic attack on shame (and “shame culture”) and my arguments against it in Chapter 4 (especially section 4.3).

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autonomy. Rather, the attention to other people’s views explains why shame can help us acquire the intellectual and affective maturity of autonomous moral agents, who live in a social context where giving and taking reasons for one’s behavior and choices is part of moral life.¹³ Against the superficiality objection, I argue that shame’s connection with love of honor and responsiveness to praise and blame does not entail a superficial concern with appearance over reality. For Aristotle, love of honor and concern with praise and blame are not just based on the joy of merely appearing to be good in the eyes of others, but on the joy of getting others to truly see virtue (or the potential for virtue) in oneself through one’s actions. Because of its self-reflective character, shame turns our attention to the intimate link that connects the things we do, and how those things make us appear in our social world, with the kind of people that we are (or will become). As a consequence, the aversion to what is shameful, as well as the aspiration to shine in the eyes of others, are typically indications that learners are attending to considerations about the nobility or shamefulness of their actions as a reflection of who they are (or who they will become), and have a true interest in doing what is right. As Aristotle reminds us in Rhetoric (Rhet) II 6, 1383b13–1385a15, the kinds of things that produce shame are those that are “due to bad character” (apo kakias, 1383b18) or those actions that are generally “signs” (sēmeia) of defective traits of character (1383b29–1384a4 and 1384b17–20).¹⁴ By producing in us aversion to displaying signs of bad character or vice, and by making us alert to those signs and their connection with true vice, shame makes us veer away from the kinds of actions that make us worse precisely because they make us worse (as opposed to veering away from bad actions on account of the mere fear of the potential harms or unpleasant consequences that might follow). Consequently, shame puts learners on the right path towards true virtue. Far from moving learners to simply fake virtue until they acquire stable virtuous dispositions of character, shame makes learners genuinely responsive to the value of the noble, and to how that value is expressed in what they do and what they are. Although it is not controversial that shame plays a relevant role in Aristotle’s theory of ethical formation, the texts that explicitly support this claim are scarce and scattered throughout the ethical treatises, so any attempt to specify the role of shame must confront substantial obstacles. Aristotle himself does not provide us with a direct and detailed explanation of the process of moral development; rather, in his ethical treatises he offers a schematic account. Thus the reader is left to decipher the nature of the practices that lead learners to become virtuous agents ¹³ See e.g. Calhoun 2004 and Sher 2006 for insightful discussions of this point. In agreement with these authors, Aristotle’s view is—as I argue throughout this book, and especially in Chapter 4 below— that responsiveness to shame equips learners with a sensitivity to blame (and praise) which is clear expression of a concern with moral issues and an aspiration to getting things right. ¹⁴ Unless otherwise noted, all translations of passages from Aristotle’s Rhetoric are from Rhys Roberts (in Barnes 1984), sometimes substantially modified, and the Greek text used is Ross 1959.

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from a limited number of remarks on habituation and good upbringing. Moreover, although Aristotle devotes two long discussions to shame—at Nicomachean Ethics (NE) IV 9, 1128b10–35, and Rhet II 6, 1383b12–1385a15— both are incomplete and fragmentary, and fail to spell out the details of how shame is an integral part of young people’s transition into mature moral agents. To build a more complete and unified account of the role of shame in moral development, then, we will have to look beyond these texts. Some of the crucial passages that help build a deeper story about shame are the discussions of moral development and the relationship between actions and dispositions at NE II 1–4 and Eudemian Ethics (EE) II 1; the characterization of shame as one of the emotional praiseworthy means between extremes at NE II 7, 1108a30–35, and EE III 7, 1233b16–1234a34; the treatment of voluntariness and praise in NE III 1–5, 1109b30–1115a3, and EE II 6–11, 1222b15–1228a19; the discussions of the pseudo-courage based on shame at NE III 8, 1116a15–29, and EE III 1, 1230a16–33; and the final remarks on the ideal audience of ethical lessons at NE X 9, 1179b4–16, where Aristotle directly associates shame with receptivity to ethical arguments. As I will show, these passages offer sufficient textual evidence to establish shame’s relevance to the question of moral education in Aristotle and to make apparent how shame equips us with the necessary orientation for learning to be good.

0.1 The “Moral Upbringing Gap” and Shame as the Bridge to Virtue Let me start by presenting the problem that the proposal of shame as the protovirtue of the learner is designed to solve. Aristotle offers an account in the NE of how we become good that seems, at first sight, relatively straightforward. He famously claims that we become just, temperate, and courageous by performing just, temperate, and courageous actions, and in general, that we become virtuous agents by doing virtuous actions; I call this the learning-by-doing thesis. Yet Aristotle also makes clear that virtuous actions performed virtuously, i.e. virtuous actions done in the right way or as the virtuous person does them, must be performed both with knowledge and with a proper aim, which he often expresses as “for the sake of the noble” (tou kalou heneka).¹⁵ The tension between these claims produces a serious difficulty: How can learners be expected to perform virtuous actions in the right way—and thereby learn virtue “by doing”—unless

¹⁵ The claim that doing virtuous actions “for the sake of the noble” (tou kalou heneka) is characteristic of virtue (and virtuous people) is expressed by Aristotle on numerous occasions throughout the discussion of the particular virtues of character in NE III 6 to IV 8, 1115a6–1128b9. See Chapter 1, note 11 for a list of passages where Aristotle makes this claim.

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they are already virtuous? For if learners are already in such condition as to be able to do virtuously-performed virtuous actions, then they would have the kind of knowledge and motivational tendencies that characteristically belong to virtuous people. The answer is, I propose, that learners are not blank slates, but have instead proto-virtuous resources that allow them to perform virtuous actions in the right way before having the relevant dispositions. And crucially, I argue, the emotion of shame is the key proto-virtuous resource for learners to be able to do virtuous actions aiming at the right goal. Aristotle’s solution to the learning-by-doing puzzle in NE II 4 is cryptic, and as I show in Chapter 1, it has been read in many ways. Some interpretations take the actions of the learners of virtue to be merely externally similar to those of virtuous people—this is sometimes called the “mechanical view,” according to which learners perform the actions in an unthinking and almost automatic way.¹⁶ This view, as many modern commentators recognize, is unsatisfactory because it fails to provide the relevant continuity between the actions of the learners and the dispositions that those actions produce. Specifically, it leaves us with the need to bridge the gap between the learners’ mechanically performed virtuous actions and the reliably virtuous dispositions that such actions are supposed to produce—this is what I call “the moral upbringing gap.” To achieve continuity in the process of learning by doing—i.e. to make the learners’ actions truly conducive to virtue—it is required not only that the learners’ actions are virtuous (in the sense of being the right thing to do in the circumstances), but also that they are done in the right way, i.e. exercising the relevant capacities. The reason is that, the weaker the link between the manner in which the actions of learners are performed and the manner in which truly virtuous agents act, the more difficult it will be to understand how the repeated performance of the learners’ actions can produce genuinely virtuous dispositions of character. Attention to this requirement of continuity has led most contemporary commentators to agree that habituation is not a mindless process and that learners must exercise the relevant cognitive capacities in their practices towards virtue. Concretely, learners must not just perform actions that are right in the circumstances, but must also do them with awareness of what they are doing and involvement of their perceptive and deliberative capacities. By adding this “knowledge requirement” to the practices of the learners, most recent interpretations succeed in maintaining a sufficient continuity in the development of the cognitive powers relevant to the exercise of virtue. For many of these commentators, however, the actions of the learners still differ from those of virtuous people because, they assume, learners do not perform virtuous actions with virtuous motivation—or more precisely, they do not

¹⁶ See a discussion of this view and a list of authors who defend it in Chapter 1, Section 1.2.

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do virtuous actions for the sake of the noble. Unfortunately, as I argue, this deflationary interpretation of the actions of the learners—this time, deflationary regarding their goal—leaves Aristotle’s view open to a second problem of discontinuity like the one found in the mechanical view. To fully close this second gap and provide continuity to the process of moral development, learners must also have the ability to perform virtuous actions in the right way with regard to their motivation. Their actions must contribute not only to the formation of cognitive capacities that enable them to adequately deliberate about practical situations, but must also lead to the formation of a reliable motivational tendency to orient their behavior towards the noble and consistently act for the sake of the noble. Put briefly, not all instances of virtuous actions are conducive to virtue, but only those that engage both the relevant cognitive capacities and the relevant affective tendencies in the learner. To be successful, then, learners will have not only to learn how to determine what kind of behavior is appropriate to each practical situation, but also to practice the proper ways of being affected, since the goal is to become the kind of person who not only reliably does virtuous actions, but does them out of the right stable disposition, i.e. virtue. For Aristotle, as I will argue, when learners of virtue behave reactively, just following orders, out of mere familiarity, enticed by the prospect of rewards, or simply to avoid punishments, they fail to exercise the relevant ethical capacities, even if they do the right thing; instead, they learn to attend to situational features that distract their attention from the noble and the good. When people are guided by their fears or their appetites, they attend to considerations about selfpreservation or self-satisfaction that often take them away from aiming at the noble and the good. In contrast, the feeling of shame turns agents towards considerations about the public recognition (approval or disapproval) of their actions, and thus it tracks a value that is different from pleasure or gain—a value that, as I will argue, is directly related to nobility and praiseworthiness. Moreover, when learners are guided by their sense of shame, they focus on how their actions reveal their character, and consequently they can exercise their agency more fully, and strive to act in ways that are expressive of nobility and goodness, avoiding to act in ways that express baseness. Although behavior moved by shame might appear externally similar to behavior moved by fear, appetite, etc., there is in fact a significant difference regarding the cognitive and affective capacities being exercised in each case, and a significant difference in the kind of character being built. By focusing on questions about the perceived nobility and praiseworthiness of their actions, or about how to avoid shameful conduct, learners guided by their sense of shame exercise a capacity for responsive awareness to the ethically relevant features of their situations. Thus, as the emotion that spurs agents to perform actions because of their nobility and praiseworthyness and to avoid those actions that are shameful or reprehensible, shame provides learners with the sort of malleable pre-habituated orientation

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towards the noble that allows them to perform virtuous actions with the relevant motive before they have acquired practical wisdom or stable virtuous dispositions. This is why shame is crucial to solving our initial puzzle about moral development.

0.2 Finding Space for Shame as the Proto-Virtue of the Learner Since the early 1980s there have been numerous attempts to understand Aristotle’s account of moral upbringing and to determine the steps that, according to Aristotle, lead towards the acquisition of virtue, with particular attention to the interplay of cognitive and non-cognitive elements.¹⁷ Thanks to Myles Burnyeat‘s seminal paper, “Aristotle on Learning to be Good” (1980), much attention has been paid to two important features of Aristotle’s theory of moral development: first, the claim from NE II 1 that practice, not teaching, generates virtue of character; and second, Aristotle’s contention, against Socratic intellectualism, that moral development requires attention to both cognitive and affective factors.¹⁸ These two basic Aristotelian tenets, which I call the learning-by-doing thesis and the non-intellectualist thesis respectively, occupy a central place in most modern accounts of Aristotle’s theory of moral education and are at the core of the argument of this book. A third basic tenet that Burnyeat’s interpretation stresses is that there is an intimate connection between Aristotle’s understanding of the process of acquisition of virtue and his conception of virtue. As Nancy Sherman puts it, “if full virtue is to meet certain conditions, then this must be reflected in the educational process.”¹⁹ Aristotle himself expresses a similar thought in NE II 3, when he states ¹⁷ Much of the literature aims at rethinking the contrast between cognitive and non-cognitive elements (sometimes expressed in terms of “rational” vs. “non-rational”) and highlight the intertwined character of those elements. See e.g. Sorabji 1973–4; Burnyeat 1980; Kosman 1980; Engberg-Pedersen 1983; Hursthouse 1984, 1988, and 2001; Sherman 1989 (esp. ch. 5), 1997 and 1999a; Broadie 1991 (esp. ch. 2); Cooper 1996; McDowell 1996; Vasiliou 1996 and 2007; Kraut 1998 and 2012; Achtenberg 2002; Curzer 2002 and 2012; Fossheim 2006; Kristjánsson 2006; Lorenz 2009; Lawrence 2009 and 2011; Moss 2011, 2012 (esp. ch. 8), and 2014; and Coope 2012. (This interest in the non-rational and in the role of emotions in our moral psychology is reinforced by a renewed interest in Aristotle’s theory of emotions and their role in persuasion as it appears the Rhetoric (see e.g. Fortenbaugh 1970 and 1992; Leighton 1982/1996; Cooper 1993 and 1996b; Striker 1996; Nussbaum 1996; Rapp 2002 and 2012; and Dow 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2015.) ¹⁸ The so-called “Socratic intellectualism,” a label used to indicate that Socrates underestimates the importance of the affective side of human nature and focuses solely on the intellectual, is probably an exaggeration that we owe to Aristotle, who sometimes aims at characterizing his view as radically opposed to that of Socrates in this regard. Although this interpretation of Socrates has been dominant until recently, an emerging consensus is that at least the Socrates from Plato’s dialogues pays close attention to the effects of emotions in our intellectual and moral development. See Nehamas 1999 and Segvic 2000 for careful discussions of the history and the limits of the interpretation of Socrates as a model of intellectualism, and Blank 1993 for an insightful overview on the relevance of emotions in the Socratic conversations. ¹⁹ Sherman 1989, 159. See also Burnyeat 1980, 69.

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that “the actions from which [virtue] arises (ex hōn egeneto) are those in which [virtue] actualizes itself (peri tauta kai energei)”²⁰ (1105a15–16). And in EE II 1, 1220a29–32: “Virtue, then, is a disposition of this kind, which is brought about (ginetai) by the best movements of the soul and which produces (prattetai) the best functions and affections of the soul.”²¹ This rule, which I call the continuity principle, is the third main precept behind the argument of this book, and will be crucial to explain the role that shame plays in our moral development. One of the fortunate consequences of paying close attention to the details of Aristotle’s learning-by-doing thesis has been the total abandonment of the old mechanical view of habituation, according to which the practices of the learners of virtue are understood simply as the mechanical repetition of behavior that externally resembles the actions of virtuous people. By contrast, contemporary interpretations highlight that the practices which lead towards the acquisition of virtue are not mere drills but in fact engage the learners at a cognitive level. In relation to Aristotle’s non-intellectualist stance, Burnyeat famously points out that perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Aristotelian account of ethical upbringing lies in the fact that Aristotle, unlike Socrates, allows non-rational factors to occupy a preferential place in moral development. For Aristotle, Burnyeat claims, these non-rational factors are “the fabric of moral character” (1980, 80).²² This overturning of the Socratic intellectualistic model means, as Burnyeat puts it, that Aristotle achieves a “grasp of the truth that morality comes in a sequence of stages with both cognitive and emotional dimensions” (1980, 70–1). In brief, Aristotle’s learners of virtue find themselves at an intermediate stage in which both rational and non-rational factors play an important role. Thus, a second auspicious consequence of Burnyeat’s intervention in the debate has been a focus on the role of the emotions. Nancy Sherman’s The Fabric of Character (1989), which offers a general study of Aristotle’s views on the nonrational sources of virtue, represents a good example of this trend, with a remarkable attempt to take seriously the role of emotions in moral education.²³ However, since the main goal of Sherman’s account of moral development is to argue for a conception of habituation as “reflective and critical,” her focus remains primarily

²⁰ καὶ ὅτι ἐξ ὧν ἐγένετο, περὶ ταῦτα καὶ ἐνεργεῖ. (Unless otherwise noted, all translations of passages from the NE are from Ross-Urmson (in Barnes 1984), sometimes substantially modified, and the Greek text used is Bywater 1894.) ²¹ καὶ ἡ ἀρετὴ ἄρα ἡ τοιαύτη διάθεσις ἐστίν, ἣ γίνεταί τε ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρίστων περὶ ψυχὴν κινήσεων καὶ ἀφ’ ἧς πράττεται τὰ ἄριστα τῆς ψυχῆς ἔργα καὶ πάθη. (Unless otherwise noted, translations of the EE are from Inwood-Woolf 2013, sometimes substantially modified, and the Greek text used is from Susemihl 1884.) See also NE II 2, 1103b29–31 and 1104a27–29; NE II 3, 1104b19–21; and NE III 5, 1114a6–7, all quoted in Chapter 1. Section 1.3 below. ²² This phrase would later be the title of Sherman’s 1989 monograph on Aristotle’s theory of virtue. ²³ See especially Sherman 1989, 44–50. See also e.g. Fortenbaugh 1969 (repr. 2006); Kosman 1980; and Sherman 1997 and 1999a. For a treatment of this issue from a broader perspective see Kristjánsson 2007.

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on “how we refine the discriminatory capacities included in the emotions” (1989, 160). My goal here is to contribute to this study of the emotional dimension of moral development by offering an account of the role of shame as the emotion that provides the minimal starting conditions that make moral progress possible. On my interpretation, shame, which was considered to be a fundamental civic virtue in the tradition from Homer to Plato, does not lose its force and relevance in the works of Aristotle. Although Aristotle, like Plato, partly breaks with the tradition that precedes him by giving shame a reduced role in the life of the virtuous person, his strategy is to transfer the central role of shame from the virtuous life to earlier stages in moral development, and to regard it as a requirement for the acquisition of mature virtue.²⁴ Shame, then, is not less important in Aristotle’s work than it was in the work of his predecessors; on the contrary, for Aristotle shame is an indispensable notion in the explanation of how the acquisition of full virtue is possible. Contemporary commentators often reject that shame can play a positive role in moral development because they assume that Aristotle understands shame as a desire for mere reputation and a fear of mere disrepute.²⁵ For them, Aristotle has strong reasons to reject shame’s role in the development of a fully virtuous agent because shame’s dependence on the opinion of others and its concern with appearance make it incompatible with the sort of orientation towards the noble that is characteristic of a virtuous agent. In other words, they attribute to Aristotle the heteronomy and superficiality worries that we find in contemporary literature about shame. My goal is to show that for Aristotle shame is directly linked with a concern with nobility and praiseworthiness—a concern with being seen as noble and expressing nobility (or avoiding shamefulness) in one’s actions because one aspires to genuine nobility and goodness—and I argue that such a link places shame at the center of Aristotle’s understanding of our moral development. There are some scholars who recently, and as part of the renewed interest in the role of emotions in our intellectual and moral lives, have taken a more sympathetic conception of the relationship between shame, virtue, and the noble in Aristotle’s work.²⁶ Some of them have opened promising avenues for a positive ²⁴ Thus, views like that of Irwin 1999, who sees in the fact that Aristotle denies to shame the condition of being a virtue a sign that he “rejects a long Greek tradition” (347) are exaggerated in my opinion. On the contrary, I hold that Aristotle does not reject the long tradition that considers shame a central element in the regulation of moral conduct. He merely refines this view by limiting the positive role of shame to the sphere of moral development rather than moral maturity. ²⁵ Some representative examples of this negative interpretation of Aristotle’s view of shame (as excessively other-dependent and superficial) are Irwin 1999; Broadie 1993; Richardson Lear 2004; Taylor 2006; and Hitz 2012. This view will be discussed in detail in Chapter 4 below. ²⁶ This is particularly the case since Burnyeat 1980. Other authors who explicitly acknowledge that shame has an important place in Aristotle’s account of moral development are: Cairns 1993; Curzer 2002 and 2012; Grönroos 2007; and Raymond 2017. For challenging arguments against this strategy see Hitz 2012.

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role of shame in moral development, and the approach that I propose in this book is greatly influenced by their insights. My view on the centrality of shame in moral progress is most indebted to Burnyeat’s account of habituation and learning to be good in Aristotle, and a major part of this book can be seen as a development and defense of his view. For Burnyeat, shame is crucial in moral progress because it is the emotion that turns learners towards the noble by initiating them in the proper appreciation of the pleasures of the noble. Concretely, Burnyeat underscores how shame helps to transform the learners’ motivational outlook by shifting their attention from appetitive pleasures to the pleasures of noble activities. I believe Burnyeat’s account is fundamentally right and provides the right clue to solve the problem of the gap in moral development: the learners’ ability to feel shame—which Burnyeat calls “the semi-virtue of the learner” (78)—is precisely what gives them initial access to the new pleasures of the noble. What I set as my goal to explain, is exactly how shame does that. My view aims at complementing Burnyeat’s initial proposal by explaining how shame gives learners access to the value of the noble through a more basic concern with honor, reputation, and praise. This concern with honor, reputation, and praise performs a double function: on the one hand, it turns the agents’ attention away from the lure of mere pleasure and mere advantage, and makes them able to resist the temptation of shameful pleasures and gains; on the other hand, it turns agents towards considerations of praiseworthiness and blameworthiness, and thus puts them on the track of the noble and away from the shameful. My defense of shame, then, requires that we pay close attention to Aristotle’s crucial distinction between three objects of choice at NE II 3, 1104b30–31, namely the noble, the advantageous, and the pleasant, and that we acknowledge that while these objects of choice are often aligned in the eyes of virtuous people, agents can be motivated by each of them separately from early on in life. Crucially, young people can be moved by the motive of the noble before they have been fully formed in virtue, and this capacity enables them to perform virtuous actions in the right way and to choose the noble over the merely pleasant and the advantageous in ways that have a transformative effect on their character. A second wave of inspiration comes from some of Burnyeat’s critics (such as Curzer 2012) who propose models of moral education that focus on conditioning strategies, where the weight is placed in associating pleasures or pains to the right objects. I show that these models fail to confer sufficient continuity to the process and are unable to explain how actions guided by appetitive pleasures and pains can yield dispositions to act for the sake of the noble and in avoidance of the shameful. Instead, I argue that young people have from the start a basic appreciation of nobility and a repulsion towards the shameful and that moral upbringing consists in the cultivation of that initial appreciation of the noble—especially

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through our practices of praise and blame—and in the proper integration of that tendency with our other tendencies to be drawn towards the pleasant or the advantageous and to move away from the painful and the harmful. In my argument, I emphasize that to explain how the relevant transformation in the learners occurs we need an independent account of the origin of the love of the noble. A good starting point for moral development will have to be a capacity or tendency that enables learners to appreciate the noble and desire the noble for its own sake. For this reason, a third crucial counterpoint for my view comes from Cooper 1996, whose account of moral development has the virtue of providing exactly that starting point. Cooper holds that thumos (spirit) is the emotion that equips us with an innate impulse towards the noble, and thus it is thumos that sows the first seeds of moral progress by enabling learners to have their first experience of moral value. The idea of a natural emotional tendency that enables learners to identify and be motivated by the noble is, I think, the best way to ensure that there is motivational continuity between the practices of the learners and the dispositions that they are aiming to acquire. In this regard, Cooper’s project is attractive because it provides a coherent account of Aristotelian moral development without any gaps. However, Cooper locates the first impulse towards the noble in the wrong place. The Aristotelian discussion of thumos is much thinner and vaguer than Cooper’s treatment suggests, and it is hard to see how the limited textual evidence could support thumos’ robust orientation towards the noble. In fact, Aristotle’s view of the place of thumos in our psychology is less defined than in Plato, and he tends to characterize thumos as a reactive emotion without a clear object. To further Cooper’s view, some authors (such as Richardson Lear 2004 and Grönroos 2007) have proposed to emphasize the thumoeidetic nature of shame, and conceive of shame as an emotion inseparably linked to thumos and associated with thumoeidetic desires. This move strengthens Cooper’s proposal by adding the important textual support from the passages on shame. However, Aristotle never explicitly associates thumos and shame, and when he deals with these two emotions in the same discussion (as in NE III 8, 1116a15–29 and 1116b23–1117a9, and in EE III 1, 1229a20–29 and 1230a16–33), he keeps the two emotions clearly separated and attributes different roles to each of them. My account of shame’s role in moral development is indebted to these attempts to find in Aristotle a first natural tendency towards the noble, and my view on the role of shame has many features in common with these thumos-centered views. I think, however, that disentagling shame from thumos has important textual and theoretical advantages. Moreover, I have found essential support for my view that shame is at the center of Aristotle’s account of moral development in Cairns’ 1993 comprehensive study on the history of the term from Homer to Aristotle. Much of what I say

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about the nature of shame and its aptness to guide learners in their path to virtue is in tune with Cairns’ analysis. In contrast with his interpretation (and with Raymond 2017), however, I argue that Aristotle has convincing reasons for conceiving shame as a proto-virtuous emotion, and not as a virtue. While Cairns sees as a failure Aristotle’s reluctance to give shame the status of disposition, I believe that shame can perform a central role in moral development precisely because it is an emotion only appropriate in young people and indeed not a disposition at all. In my view, Aristotle establishes a division between emotions (pathē), capacities (dunameis), and dispositions or states (hexeis) precisely because he is interested in differentiating between the conditions of those who are in the process of acquiring virtue and those who have already succeeded in doing so. For this reason, Aristotle is rightly invested in classifying shame as an emotion and not as a virtue. Shame is appropriate only for those who are in the intermediate stages of moral development, i.e. for those who do not yet have fully formed dispositions in their soul. In sum, my claim that shame is the key emotional factor in the process of moral development stands in harmony with those authors who contend that obedience to one’s sense of shame is what enables learners to make progress towards virtue. Where my analysis differs, however, is in regard to details concerning the relationship of shame with pleasure and pain, the relation between shame and spirit, the nature of shame as a peculiar emotion, and shame’s relationship with honor, with the noble, and with virtue. Finally, my view that shame is at the heart of Aristotle’s account of moral development is not incompatible with accounts that explore the value of musical education to explain our initial steps in learning to appreciate the value of the noble. It is uncontroversial that musical education plays a crucial role in Aristotle’s explanation of how we learn to properly appreciate and enjoy the value of the noble. A number of recent accounts offer rich material to support this point, and I believe that the view I present is in harmony with that important part of Aristotle’s model of moral upbringing.²⁷ In this regard, I depart from the view of Hitz 2012, where musical education is presented as an alternative to education through shame. Yet my contribution aims not at competing with the accounts of moral development through music and imitation, but at highlighting a complementary part of the process, by arguing that we have a natural impulse towards nobility and aversion to the shameful that emerges directly in the context of our social interactions and guides us on the path of learning to be good.

²⁷ For recent discussions of different aspects of Aristotle’s account of musical education and its role in initiating us in the appreciation of the noble see e.g. Fossheim 2006; Hitz 2012; Brüllmann 2013; Cagnoli Fiecconi 2016; and Hampson 2019.

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0.3 Plan of the Book The first step in my argument is to examine the account of habituation as learning-by-doing in NE II 1–4, 1103a14–1105b18, the locus classicus of Aristotle’s account of how virtue of character is acquired through habits. In Chapter 1, “Becoming Virtuous by Doing Virtuous Actions,” I look at the details of the learning-by-doing thesis and propose a new way of thinking about the conditions that learners of virtue must meet for their habituation to be successful. The gist of my proposal is that there should be continuity between how learners and virtuous agents act. If the actions of the learners are to be conducive to virtue, then learners need to perform them in ways that appropriately resemble how virtuous people act. For that reason, learners cannot be blank slates, but should at least partly fulfill the requirements for knowledge, motivation, and stability that NE II 4 establishes as necessary for doing virtuous actions in the right way (i.e. virtuously). Becoming good, then, requires the proper exercise of both the cognitive capacities and the affective tendencies that anticipate in the learner the way in which virtuous agents think and feel. I argue that to achieve the relevant continuity between the learners’ actions and the resulting dispositions, learners need to perform virtuous actions not just with sufficient awareness but also with the right motivation. This means that learners should be equipped with some initial minimal affective tendencies that enable them to perform virtuous actions for the sake of the noble. Only then, I think, will their actions be conducive to virtue. Chapter 2, “Learning through Pleasure, Pain, the Noble, and the Shameful,” offers a first step towards explaining how the learners’ motivational outlook is shaped in habituation. Specifically, in this chapter I explore the role that pleasures and pains play in the learners’ capacity to be attracted to the nobility of virtuous actions and to aim at the noble in action before they are virtuous. In the view that I propose, moral development is not the acquisition of a taste for the new pleasures of the noble, but a reorienting and shaping of the alreadypresent capacity to enjoy nobility and be pained by the shameful—a reorienting and shaping through which learners of virtue become better able to appreciate the comparatively superior value of nobility over mere pleasure or mere gain. My main point is that the taste for the noble and the capacity to appreciate it is present in us from the start, just as the desire for pleasure and the desire for benefit. Moral upbringing is the process in which we learn to align those desires and tendencies correctly and to give priority to the noble over all other considerations. In Chapter 3, “Pseudo-Virtuous Practices, Pseudo-Virtuous Conditions,” I analyse a number of possible sources for our pre-habituated taste for the noble. My goal in this chapter is to find a natural condition that can equip learners with resources to be able to perform virtuous actions on account of their nobility.

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To this end, I explore the causes of the different kinds of apparent courage (or “pseudo-courage”) introduced by Aristotle in NE III 8 and EE III 1. These passages are testimony to the complexity of Aristotle’s understanding of the relationship between agents, actions, behavioral tendencies, and dispositions of character. By exploring the “missing ingredients” in each of the causes of pseudo-courage— shame (aidōs), fear (phobos), experience (empeiria), spirit (thumos), hope (euelpis), and ignorance (agnoia)—we gain a clearer idea of the requirements that the learners’ actions must fulfill to bring them closer to virtue, as well as a clearer idea of the preconditions which learners themselves must meet in order to perform virtuous actions properly. The analysis of these passages reveals that the variety of pseudo-courage based on shame—the best of the two kinds of political courage—is the most promising candidate to equip learners with a proto-version of the conditions for virtuously performed virtuous actions, and consequently, as a potential proto-virtue. Agents with shame, although not yet virtuous, perform virtuous actions on account of their nobility and avoid base actions on account of their shamefulness. For this reason, shame stands out as a good candidate to bridge the moral upbringing gap. There are, however, widely accepted objections against the claim that shame is a good guide to perform virtuous actions on account of their nobility. Many commentators fall prey to a modern prejudice against shame and hold that for Aristotle shame orients people towards the superficial goal of honor, not the noble, and away from what brings discredit, rather than from what is truly base. Chapter 4, “Connecting Shame with Honor and the Noble,” is devoted to showing that the interpretation of shame as a superficial concern with reputation or external recognition comes about as a result of overlooking the connections that Aristotle makes between love of honor and love of the noble. Indeed, Aristotle has a complex view of the role that our sense of shame, as a sensitivity to honors and reproaches, plays in the social practices of praise and blame, a view that enables him to establish a robust link between love of honor and the concern with one’s own virtue and with the nobility of one’s actions. As a result, learners with a sense of shame can perform actions that are not only externally indistinguishable from those of virtuous people, but are also ultimately oriented towards the same noble goals and are similarly done for the sake of the noble. They therefore fulfill at least partially the core motivation requirement for virtuously-performed virtuous action, and for this reason their actions constitute the right kind of practice towards the acquisition of virtue. If the conclusion of Chapter 4 is correct and shame plays a beneficial role in orienting learners towards virtue and the noble, then it becomes harder to see why Aristotle considers shame to be a “proto-virtue” and not a proper virtue. Chapter 5, “The Mixed Nature of Shame,” explores why Aristotle insists on the “mixed” character of shame in his ethical treatises, where he characterizes it as a sui generis emotion that is only in some respects like a virtue. I argue that he has

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good reasons to maintain that shame is a special kind of emotion—concretely, one of the praiseworthy emotional means (EE III 7, 1233b16–1234a34; cf. NE II 7, 1108a30–35)—but not a virtuous disposition of character. Appealing to the Aristotelian scheme of capacities, emotions, and dispositions, I show that shame’s peculiar status as a praiseworthy emotion is a necessary feature for it to be able to operate as a bridge towards virtue in young people. For only if shame is an emotion and not a stable disposition of character can he attribute shame to those young people who are not yet virtuous but are on the path towards virtue. A final obstacle against shame’s crucial role in moral development is the apparent tension between the two main texts on shame in the NE, IV 9, 1128b10–35, and X 9, 1179b4–16. In Chapter 6, “Shame as the Proto-Virtue of the Learners,” I present my interpretation of the nature and function of shame and show that these passages complement each other. Together, they offer support for my view that agents who are responsive to their sense of shame already have both a grasp of the noble and the shameful, which allows them to produce value judgments in the right terms. They have also an attachment to the noble and aversion to the shameful, which enables them to be properly affected by the relevant features of their practical situations and act in ways that are conducive to virtue. In other words, in these passages shame emerges as a genuine love of noble things and hatred of shameful ones that allows young people to perform virtuous actions in the right way and make reliable progress towards virtue. Learners who are responsive to shame are in a much better condition than those who have no shame at all (the “shameless”) or those who have excessive shame (the “timid”), not only because they are able to do virtuous actions in the right way, but also because they are able to properly exercise their agency. They are aware that they can shape who they are (and who they become) through their own actions, and thus see their actions as expressions of their selves and as opportunities for becoming better. Although they are not yet virtuous, these learners of virtue can appreciate the value of noble activity and can guide their actions by a true interest in doing the right thing for its own sake. In conclusion, my interpretation provides a genuinely intermediate place for the learners of virtue with respect to both the cognitive and affective dimensions of moral development, and is thus better able to explain the process of becoming virtuous without any gaps.

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1 Becoming Virtuous by Doing Virtuous Actions 1.1 The Problem of the Gap in Moral Development How do we develop a good character? Although Aristotle often claims that becoming virtuous is a matter of three factors, namely nature, habit, and reason, he clearly holds that good habits are what makes all the difference.¹ He famously opens his discussion of the virtues of character in the NE with the assertion that the virtues of character are in us through habituation: Virtue, then, is of two kinds, of thought and of character. Virtue of thought arises and grows mainly from teaching; that is why it requires experience and time. Character virtue, on the other hand, comes about from habit; that is why also its name is one that is formed by a slight variation from the word for ‘habit’ (ethos).² (NE II 1, 1103a14–18)

While good habits are clearly the core of his account, Aristotle does not deny that nature plays an important role in the acquisition of character virtues. On the contrary, he claims that “we are adapted by nature (pephukosi) to acquire them, but are made perfect (teleioumenois) through habit”³ (NE II 1, 1103a25–26). His view is that we become just by doing just actions, courageous by doing courageous actions, and in general, virtuous by doing virtuous actions. And we are naturally equipped to become good by doing such actions. What kinds of habits lead learners towards virtue? And what are the conditions that make learners ready to receive the virtues and allow them to succeed in becoming good? In this chapter I

¹ For the claim that virtues of character are the result of a combination of nature, habit, and reason see e.g. Politics (Pol) VII 13, 1332a38–b11, and the closing remarks of the NE at X 9, 1179b18–31. In EE I 1, 1214a14–30, Aristotle mentions these factors, adding also chance, as the causes of happiness. As Burnyeat 1980 indicates, the question about the origin of virtue was a “well-worn topic of discussion” in Aristotle’s time, and the beginning of Plato’s Meno (70a) offers a typical example of the usual way of framing the debate. ² Διττῆς δὴ τῆς ἀρετῆς οὔσης, τῆς μὲν διανοητικῆς τῆς δὲ ἠθικῆς, ἡ μὲν διανοητικὴ τὸ πλεῖον ἐκ διδασκαλίας ἔχει καὶ τὴν γένεσιν καὶ τὴν αὔξησιν, διόπερ ἐμπειρίας δεῖται καὶ χρόνου, ἡ δ’ ἠθικὴ ἐξ ἔθους περιγίνεται, ὅθεν καὶ τοὔνομα ἔσχηκε μικρὸν παρεκκλῖνον ἀπὸ τοῦ ἔθους. ³ πεφυκόσι μὲν ἡμῖν δέξασθαι αὐτάς, τελειουμένοις δὲ διὰ τοῦ ἔθους.

Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good. Marta Jimenez, Oxford University Press (2020). © Marta Jimenez. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829683.003.0002

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present the beginning of an answer by paying attention to how Aristotle deals with a potential gap in his explanation. The claim that we become virtuous by doing virtuous actions is open to a familiar objection concerning the priority of actions over dispositions: How can we perform virtuous actions unless we are already virtuous? My goal is to explore Aristotle’s response to this “priority objection” in NE II 4, with special attention to how considerations of continuity between the practices of the learners and those of virtuous people affect his understanding of the process of moral upbringing. My main concern is to keep track of the fact that the learners’ actions need to be continuous with the dispositions that those actions produce, so I argue that proper habituation involves doing virtuous actions in a way that can count as an exercise of the cognitive and motivational capacities and tendencies that constitute virtue, even though those capacities and tendencies are not fully developed or activated in the learners. To explain how the proper exercise of those capacities and tendencies is possible for the learners, I argue, we need to have a robust account of what Aristotle means when he says that we are naturally able to receive the virtues of character. In the central sections of the chapter, I explain and reject a common reading of Aristotle’s response to the priority objection, a reading that I call the motivationally-neutral view because it offers a deflationary account of the learners’ actions in relation to motivation. The problem with this view is, I argue, that it fails to provide continuity between the learners’ actions and the resulting dispositions to act for the sake of the noble. To conclude, I lay out an alternative proposal, inspired by a parallel text from Metaphysics (Metaph) IX 8, 1049b29–1050a2, that enables us to understand moral development as a continuous process, where the dispositions do not arise in agents ex nihilo so to speak, through the practice of fully non-virtuous capacities and tendencies, but instead, they grow out of the learners’ proper use of proto-virtuous resources that they already have. My goal is to show that (and explain why) Aristotle alludes in his ethical treatises to emotional resources available to learners that could allow them to somehow aim at the noble in their actions and grasp the value of virtuous actions before they possess virtuous dispositions of character. Because learners can make use of such emotional resources before having virtue, their practices can resemble those of virtuous people not simply in their external outcomes, but also in the relevant internal motivational aspects.

1.2 Learning-by-Doing, Priority Objection, and Virtue Acquisition NE II 1 presents Aristotle’s familiar view that virtues of character come about “as a result of habit” (ex ethous, 1103a17). Virtues of character are dispositions that are

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neither present in us from birth nor arise in us as part of our natural development, but instead require our active involvement for their coming into being and their completion—we are born only with the ability to form them “through habit” (dia tou ethous, 1103a26). Although this view seems straightforward in its initial formulation, Aristotle’s explanation in the lines which immediately follow, in terms of the learners “having exercised” (energēsantes) and “doing” (prattontes) virtuous actions before possessing the corresponding dispositions, involves some complications.⁴ The complications of the account become apparent in NE II 4, 1105a17–21, where Aristotle himself admits that the claim that learners perform virtuous actions before having virtue gives rise to a potential objection concerning the priority of actions over dispositions: How can learners perform virtuous actions unless they are already (ēdē) virtuous? In other words, how can learners become virtuous by doing virtuous actions, if one must be virtuous prior to doing virtuous actions? Aristotle responds to this priority objection by denying that having virtue is a requirement for all cases of doing virtuous actions. His strategy is to distinguish between (a) simply doing virtuous actions, i.e. doing actions that are “in accordance with the virtues” (kata tas aretas); and (b) doing virtuous actions virtuously (or ‘justly’ (dikaiōs), ‘temperately’ (sōphronōs), etc.), which requires the agent to fulfill three further crucial requirements concerning knowledge, motivation, and stability (NE II 4, 1105a26–b12). But Aristotle’s response to the priority objection seems to generate a new problem—this time a problem of discontinuity. If we take his view to be that learners become virtuous by doing virtuous actions, but in a different way than how virtuous people do them—i.e. not virtuously—then it is hard to see how actions performed in that way can contribute to the formation of truly virtuous dispositions. Indeed, the more deflationary the characterization of the way that learners perform virtuous actions, the more difficult it is to find any significant continuity between those actions and the virtuous dispositions they are expected to yield.

⁴ NE II 1, 1103a26–b2 (quoted and discussed in detail in Section 1.7.3 of this chapter). The puzzling claim, as discussed below, is “we acquire the virtues by first having exercised them” (τὰς δ’ ἀρετὰς λαμβάνομεν ἐνεργήσαντες πρότερον, 1103a31). The explanation in the final section of EE II 1 might be susceptible to similar complications, although it is not explicitly formulated in terms of exercise-beforepossession: “Virtue, then, is a tendency of this kind, which is brought about by the best movements of the soul and which produces the best functions and affections of the soul” (καὶ ἡ ἀρετὴ ἄρα ἡ τοιαύτη διάθεσις ἐστίν, ἣ γίνεταί τε ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρίστων περὶ ψυχὴν κινήσεων καὶ ἀφ’ ἧς πράττεται τὰ ἄριστα τῆς ψυχῆς ἔργα καὶ πάθη, 1120a29–32) and “a thing gets habituated as a result of a pattern of conduct that is not innate, by repeated movement of one sort or another, so that eventually it is capable of being active in that way” (ἐθίζεται δὲ τὸ ὑπ’ ἀγωγῆς μὴ ἐμφύτου τῷ πολλάκις κινεῖσθαι πώς, οὕτως ἤδη τὸ ἐνεργητικόν, 1120b1–3).

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Many recent commentators have highlighted this difficulty,⁵ and many have proposed accounts of habituation that aim at finding continuity in the process.⁶ Precisely for this reason, most commentators have abandoned the so-called mechanical view of habituation, according to which habituation is conceived as a mostly non-rational process of shaping—typically through repetitions, punishments, and rewards—the learners’ emotional responses and their relationship to pleasure and pain.⁷ On the mechanical view, the actions of learners are externally similar to those of virtuous people but nonetheless lack the intellectual and affective components that characterize virtuous people’s actions. Against this view, numerous scholars assert that habituation is not mindless repetition, but instead involves from the start the cultivation of the learners’ perceptive and critical powers.⁸ These scholars argue that if learners do not exercise their ⁵ Many commentators worry that Aristotle’s response in NE II 4 seems at first to make mysterious the formation of mature moral character through practice and that we need further explanation. For example, Broadie writes: “the more he stresses the differences, the more one is entitled to wonder how merely performing the actions leads to moral character” (1991, 104); Curzer 2012 finds Aristotle’s response lacking as he takes it to be presented in NE II 4, and he rightly locates the problem in the fact that habituation (as repetition of merely virtuous acts not done virtuously) does not seem to explain how learners acquire the knowledge and motivation required for virtue: “It is easy enough to see how performing virtuous acts can provide dispositions of virtuous action. . . . But the acquisition of the two remaining components of virtue seems mysterious. How do we acquire the ability to identify virtuous acts? How do we come to desire virtuous acts for their own sake?” (318–19, my emphasis). Similarly, Taylor 2006 finds Aristotle’s explanations in NE II 4 unsatisfactory and claims that “Aristotle seems to have slipped away from addressing the crucial problem, at least as it arises from the formulation in chapter 1. . . . If that is still his problem in this chapter, he does not solve it by distinguishing between exercising a skill and doing the things prescribed by the skill without possessing it. For the latter is not exercising the skill; hence the distinction contributes nothing to answering the question ‘How is it possible to acquire a skill by exercising it?’ ” (82). ⁶ As I advance in the Introduction (Section 0.2), an explicit concern for continuity is present, for example, in Burnyeat‘s characterization of Aristotle’s views on moral development, where he relies on the basic rule that there must be an intimate dependence between Aristotle’s understanding of the process of acquisition of virtue and his conception of virtue (1980, 69). See also Sherman 1989 (esp. 159), quoted above in Section 0.2. ⁷ The expression “mechanical theory” is used by Grant 1885 to refer to the view that there is no significant involvement of reason in habituation (480). This expression is later taken up by Sherman 1989 in her rejection of this theory and her defense of the view she calls “critical habituation” (157–9). Early defenders of the mechanical view of habituation are Grant 1885; Stewart 1892; and Joachim 1951. This view has also modern defenders, e.g. Engberg-Pedersen 1983, although his position is only moderately mechanical, since he explicitly rejects the view that habituation is a “mindless process” (158). Another moderate version of the mechanical view can be found in Curzer 2012, who understands habituation as the “mechanism of internalizing the punishments,” and appeals to Pol 1338b4 (“education is to be in habits before it is in reason”) to minimize the presence of reason in habituation (317). ⁸ There is a long and varied list of authors who explicitly reject the mechanical view and hold that habituation must include the cultivation of the learners’ cognitive powers. For example, Burnyeat 1980: “Aristotle is not simply giving us a bland reminder that virtue takes practice. Rather, practice has cognitive powers, in that it is the way in which we learn what is noble or just” (73); Sherman 1989: “Contrary to the popular interpretation according to which ethical habituation is nonrational, I argue that it includes early on the engagement of cognitive capacities” (7), and “We misconstrue Aristotle’s notion of action producing character if we isolate the exterior moment of action from the interior cognitive and affective moments which characterize even the beginner’s ethical behaviour” (178); Broadie 1991: “Forming a habit is connected with repetition, but where what is repeated are (for example) just acts, habituation cannot be a mindless process, and the habit (once formed) of acting

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perceptual and deliberative capacities in their practices towards virtue, then it becomes a mystery as to how they eventually develop them.⁹ Although the mechanical view has been mostly abandoned because of its inability to explain the transition to moral maturity, and most commentators today hold that reason has to be present (at least in some degree) in the process of habituation, many nonetheless think that Aristotle gives a deflationary account of the learners’ actions in relation to motivation. It is common to see the learners’ actions characterized as being virtuous only “in an equivocal sense” or “homōnimōs” (Stewart), “only in their external aspect like those that virtue produces” (Ross), not virtuous “in the same full sense as those which we do when our hexis is fully formed” (Joachim), “not strictly virtuous” or actions that “while not strictly virtuous or accomplished, have an external similarity to the performances which manifest a virtue” (Hardie), “minimally virtuous actions” and “acts that are less than fully V[irtuous]” (Williams), “virtuous actions in a minimal sense” (Vasiliou), and so on.¹⁰ In all these cases, scholars see the actions of the learners as lacking in relation to those of virtuous people because they are not done for virtuous motives—i.e. they are not done for the sake of the noble, but aiming at some other goal, typically pleasure or gain. Here I propose to extend the application of the continuity principle to motivational tendencies and show that continuity is both possible and necessary for developing in the learners a reliable tendency to do actions for the sake of the noble. I argue that deflationary views of the learners’ actions in relation to motivation should be rejected for reasons similar to those we have for rejecting the mechanical view: they are similarly unable to explain how the learners’ actions contribute to the formation of virtuous dispositions. Against these deflationary views, I argue that Aristotle’s account requires that the actions of the learners have continuity with those of virtuous people not only in that they are the right things to do in the circumstances, but also in that they are done from right motives. In my view, the actions of learners can and indeed must be done for the sake of the noble, even if learners do not yet have stable virtuous dispositions of character. justly cannot be blind in its operations, since one needs intelligence to see why different things are just under different circumstances” (109); Kraut 2012: “that process of thoughtless routinization cannot be what Aristotle has in mind when he says that we become just by doing just acts. . . . a just person is good at thinking about problems that call for a just response. That kind of thoughtfulness cannot be acquired by automatically and mindlessly repeating some single type of action like brushing one’s teeth” (539). See also Hardie 1968, 104–5; Cooper 1975, 8; Sorabji 1980, 216; Hursthouse 1988, 210–11; McDowell 1996, 28; Vasiliou 2007, 42. ⁹ In Sherman’s terms, the problem with the mechanical view is that it “leaves unexplained how the child with merely ‘habituated’ virtue can ever develop the capacities requisite for practical reason and inseparable from full virtue” (1989, 158). ¹⁰ See respectively Stewart 1892, 183; Ross 1923, 194; Joachim 1951, 79; Hardie 1968, 104–5; Williams 1995, 14; Vasiliou 2007, 51. We can find an even more deflationary account in Gauthier and Jolif 1958–9, where virtuous actions can only be performed by virtuous people (130, quoted in note 34 below).

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To make this move plausible, I question the assumption that only virtuous agents can perform virtuous actions on account of their nobility. For although it is true that aiming at the noble in action belongs characteristically to virtuous people, this does not preclude the possibility that non-virtuous agents occasionally act for the sake of the noble.¹¹ By recognizing that the learners can become genuinely virtuous only if they can at least occasionally act from such a motive, and by showing moreover that the virtuous actions of learners can be performed for the sake of the noble, my view shows that Aristotle’s account can provide a satisfactory explanation of how doing virtuous actions can eventually yield genuinely virtuous dispositions.

1.3 The Question about the “How” and the Continuity Principle In NE II 1–3 (and EE II 1) Aristotle discusses the general relationship between actions (praxeis) and dispositions (hexeis) and explains how practice contributes to the generation of dispositions. To this end, he repeatedly refers to the similarity that exists between the actions of the learners and those of virtuous people: the actions of the learners, he claims, reflect the relevant features of the actions of those who possess the corresponding disposition. Here are some of his remarks in support of this point:

¹¹ The claim that doing virtuous actions “for the sake of the noble” (tou kalou heneka) is characteristic of virtue (and virtuous people) is expressed by Aristotle on numerous occasions throughout the discussion of the particular virtues of character in NE III 6, 1115a6, to IV 8, 1128b9. See e.g. NE III 7, 1115b10–13: “the courageous person . . . will stand his ground as he ought and as the rule directs, for the sake of the noble; for this is the end of virtue” (ὁ δὲ ἀνδρεῖος . . . ὡς δεῖ δὲ καὶ ὡς ὁ λόγος ὑπομενεῖ τοῦ καλοῦ ἕνεκα· τοῦτο γὰρ τέλος τῆς ἀρετῆς); NE III 7, 1115b23–24: “Therefore it is for the sake of something noble that the courageous person endures and acts as courage directs” (καλοῦ δὴ ἕνεκα ὁ ἀνδρεῖος ὑπομένει καὶ πράττει τὰ κατὰ τὴν ἀνδρείαν); NE IV 1, 1120a23–25: “Now actions done in accordance with virtue are noble and for the sake of the noble. And the liberal person will give for the sake of the noble, and rightly” (Αἱ δὲ κατ’ ἀρετὴν πράξεις καλαὶ καὶ τοῦ καλοῦ ἕνεκα. καὶ ὁ ἐλευθέριος οὖν δώσει τοῦ καλοῦ ἕνεκα καὶ ὀρθῶς) and 1120a27–29: “But he who gives to the wrong people or not for the sake of the noble but for some other cause, will be called not liberal but by some other name” (ὁ δὲ διδοὺς οἷς μὴ δεῖ, ἢ μὴ τοῦ καλοῦ ἕνεκα ἀλλὰ διά τιν’ ἄλλην αἰτίαν, οὐκ ἐλευθέριος ἀλλ’ ἄλλος τις ῥηθήσεται); NE IV 2, 1122b6–7: “And the magnificent person will spend such sums for the sake of the noble; for this is common to the virtues” (δαπανήσει δὲ τὰ τοιαῦτα ὁ μεγαλοπρεπὴς τοῦ καλοῦ ἕνεκα· κοινὸν γὰρ τοῦτο ταῖς ἀρεταῖς). See also 1123a24–27. While the expression “for the sake of the noble” does not appear in the EE, Aristotle describes the virtuous person as acting for the sake of kalon actions themselves at EE VIII 3, 1248b34–37: “Someone is noble and good because those goods which are noble are his on their own account (di’auta), and because he practices noble things (tōn kalōn) and does so for their own sake (autōn heneka), the noble things being the virtues and the actions that proceed from virtue” (καλὸς δὲ κἀγαθὸς τῷ τῶν ἀγαθῶν τὰ καλὰ ὑπάρχειν αὐτῷ δι’ αὑτὰ καὶ τῷ πρακτικὸς εἶναι τῶν καλῶν καὶ αὑτῶν ἕνεκα. καλὰ δ’ ἐστὶν αἵ τε ἀρεταὶ καὶ τὰ ἔργα τὰ ἀπὸ τῆς ἀρετῆς).

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      Thus, in one word, dispositions arise from similar activities. This is why we must do activities of a certain kind. It is because the dispositions result from the differences between these.¹² (NE II 1, 1103b21–23) We must examine the nature of actions, namely how we ought to do them; for these determine also the nature of the dispositions that are produced, as we have said.¹³ (NE II 2, 1103b29–31) But not only the actions that are sources and causes of their origination and growth are the same as those of their destruction, but also their actualizations will be in the same actions.¹⁴ (NE II 2, 1104a27–29) Every disposition of the soul has a nature relative to and concerned with the kinds of things by which it tends to be made worse or better.¹⁵ (NE II 3, 1104b19–21)

These passages from NE II 1–3 express a strong correlation between the kinds of actions performed by the learners and the resulting dispositions of character, where the qualities of the learners’ actions—i.e. ‘how’ (pōs, 1103b30) they are performed—determine the qualities of the dispositions that they bring about.¹⁶ Moreover, Aristotle also claims that ‘the exercises’ or ‘the actualizations’ (hai energeiai) of the dispositions are in ‘the same actions’ (en tois autois, 1104a29), thus suggesting the absence of a significant difference between the actions that learners do before acquiring a virtue and those that they do once they have become virtuous.¹⁷

¹² καὶ ἑνὶ δὴ λόγῳ ἐκ τῶν ὁμοίων ἐνεργειῶν αἱ ἕξεις γίνονται. διὸ δεῖ τὰς ἐνεργείας ποιὰς ἀποδιδόναι· κατὰ γὰρ τὰς τούτων διαφορὰς ἀκολουθοῦσιν αἱ ἕξεις. ¹³ ἀναγκαῖον ἐπισκέψασθαι τὰ περὶ τὰ πράξεις, πῶς πρακτέον αὐτάς· αὗται γάρ εἰσι κύριαι καὶ τοῦ ποιὰς γενέσθαι τὰς ἕξεις, καθάπερ εἰρήκαμεν. ¹⁴ ἀλλ’ οὐ μόνον αἱ γενέσεις καὶ αὐξήσεις καὶ αἱ φθοραὶ ἐκ τῶν αὐτῶν καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν αὐτῶν γίνονται, ἀλλὰ καὶ αἱ ἐνέργειαι ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἔσονται· ¹⁵ πᾶσα ψυχῆς ἕξις, ὑφ’ οἵων πέφυκε γίνεσθαι χείρων καὶ βελτίων, πρὸς ταῦτα καὶ περὶ ταῦτα τὴν φύσιν ἔχει· ¹⁶ This correlation is expressed also in the EE, for example in EE II 1, 1220a29–34: “Virtue, then, is a disposition of this kind, which is brought about by the best movements of the soul and which produces the best functions and affections of the soul. In addition, the same things in one way bring virtue about, and in another way destroy it; and the use of it is related to the same factors that cause it to develop or decay—those to which its best disposition is related.” (καὶ ἡ ἀρετὴ ἄρα ἡ τοιαύτη διάθεσις ἐστίν, ἣ γίνεταί τε ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρίστων περὶ ψυχὴν κινήσεων καὶ ἀφ’ ἧς πράττεται τὰ ἄριστα τῆς ψυχῆς ἔργα καὶ πάθη, καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν αὐτῶν πὼς μὲν γίνεται, πὼς δὲ φθείρεται, καὶ πρὸς ταὐτὰ ἡ χρῆσις αὐτῆς ὑφ’ ὧν καὶ αὔξεται καὶ φθείρεται, πρὸς ἃ βέλτιστα διατίθησιν.) ¹⁷ Aristotle summarizes his view concerning the acquisition of virtue through practice in NE II 3 as follows: “Let this be taken as said: that virtue, then, is concerned with pleasures and pains; and that (a) by the actions from which it comes to be it is both increased and, if they are done differently, destroyed; and that (b) the actions from which it has come to be are those in relation to which it actualizes itself ” (1105a13–16). The important claims for our purposes are the last two, (a) and (b), where he restates his conclusion concerning the relationship between actions and virtuous dispositions: Not only (a) ‘from’ (ἐκ) doing certain kinds of actions, certain dispositions grow in us, but also (b) the actions ‘from which’ (ἐξ ὧν) a given disposition comes to be in us are those ‘in relation to’ (περὶ) which that disposition, once formed, ‘actualizes itself ’ (ἐνεργεῖ).

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That there is a direct correlation between the learners’ actions and the resulting dispositions is something that Aristotle takes to be obvious to everyone. He brings up this point in his explanation of responsibility for character in NE III 5: “So only an entirely stupid person would not know that dispositions come about from the exercise of activities in each sphere”¹⁸ (1114a9–10). In fact, that agents are aware of this correlation between dispositions and practices is crucial for responsibility for character: But those who live without restraint (aneimenōs) are themselves responsible for becoming such kinds of individuals, and they are themselves responsible for being unjust or self-indulgent, in the first case by engaging in illicit actions, in the second by spending their time in drinking parties and the like. For the activities done in relation to each sphere produce the corresponding kinds of agents.¹⁹ (NE III 5, 1114a4–7)

We are familiar with this phenomenon, he claims, from examples of everyday life, like those of people who prepare for winning in a contest, “since they keep doing the activity continuously” (diatelousi gar energountes, 1114a9). In fact, those who want to win at a running competition run, those who want to win at a dancing competition dance, and each continuously keeps doing the activities they want to become proficient at, since their capacity to do those activities of running, dancing, etc. is both generated and increased by their repeated performance. NE II 2, at 1104a27–33, presents a similar example, about acquiring strength: we increase our strength from “taking much food and undergoing much exertion,” and then the acquired strength is actualized in those very activities of “taking much food and undergoing much exertion.” By practicing certain activities, we become more able to do those same activities: After the practice, the strong person “will be most able to do these things” (1104a33).²⁰ Here as well the case of the virtues is parallel: So too is it with the virtues. By abstaining from pleasures we become temperate, and it is when we have become so that we are most able to abstain from them. Similarly also in the case of courage; for by being habituated to despise

¹⁸ τὸ μὲν οὖν ἀγνοεῖν ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ ἐνεργεῖν περὶ ἕκαστα αἱ ἕξεις γίνονται, κομιδῇ ἀναισθήτου. ¹⁹ ἀλλὰ τοῦ τοιούτους γενέσθαι αὐτοὶ αἴτιοι ζῶντες ἀνειμένως, καὶ τοῦ ἀδίκους ἢ ἀκολάστους εἶναι, οἳ μὲν κακουργοῦντες, οἳ δὲ ἐν πότοις καὶ τοῖς τοιούτοις διάγοντες· αἱ γὰρ περὶ ἕκαστα ἐνέργειαι τοιούτους ποιοῦσιν. ²⁰ There is a parallel example in EE II 1, 1220a22–26: “Let us first assume that the best tendency is brought about by the best things, and that the best actions in relation to each thing result from the corresponding virtue. For example, the best exercises and food are what bring about good physical condition, and the best physical condition results in the best exercises.” (ὑποκείσθω δὴ πρῶτον ἡ βελτίστη διάθεσις ὑπὸ τῶν βελτίστων γίγνεσθαι, καὶ πράττεσθαι ἄριστα περὶ ἕκαστον ἀπὸ τῆς ἑκάστου ἀρετῆς, οἷον πόνοι τε ἄριστοι καὶ τροφὴ ἀφ’ ὧν γίνεται εὐεξία, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς εὐεξίας πονοῦσιν ἄριστα·)

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      things that are terrible and to endure them we become courageous, and it is when we have become so that we shall be most able to endure them.²¹ (NE II 2, 1104a33–b3)

Also with the virtues, the actions that “we are most able” (genomenoi malista dunametha, 1104a34–35) to do once we have acquired virtuous dispositions, e.g. standing our ground in battle in the case of courage or abstaining from pleasures in the case of temperance, are the same as the actions through which we have acquired those dispositions. In what sense are the activities performed before and after the acquisition of a disposition similar? What Aristotle’s comments in NE II 1–3 reveal is that the simple practice of superficially similar actions will not be sufficient to produce the desired dispositions; instead, the actions of the learners need to have certain qualities, and it is important to pay attention to how they are done—i.e. they need to be done in the right way. Aristotle explains this point in some detail through a parallel with technical skills: Again, it is from the same causes and on account of the same things that every virtue is both produced and destroyed, and similarly every skill; for it is from playing the lyre that both good and bad lyre-players are produced. And the corresponding statement is true of builders and of all the rest; people will be good or bad builders as a result of building well or badly. For if this were not so, there would have been no need of a teacher, but everyone would have been born good or bad.²² (NE II 1, 1103b6–13)

It makes a great difference how the actions during the learning process are performed: to become good builders, learners need to practice building ‘well’ (eu), and not ‘badly’ (kakōs); to become good lyre players, learners need to practice playing the lyre well, and not badly; and, in general, to become experts in a craft, learners need to perform the corresponding activities well, and not ‘badly’. For example, if someone simply makes sounds with the lyre while unaware that she is doing so, or if she repeatedly plays with the wrong rhythm, in the wrong tone, with the wrong intensity, etc., it is clear that her ‘practice’ is not going to contribute to her becoming a good lyre player. When learning a skill, people typically need to pay attention to what they are doing and to follow the advice of those who know ²¹ οὕτω δ’ ἔχει καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀρετῶν· ἔκ τε γὰρ τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι τῶν ἡδονῶν γινόμεθα σώφρονες, καὶ γενόμενοι μάλιστα δυνάμεθα ἀπέχεσθαι αὐτῶν· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς ἀνδρείας· ἐθιζόμενοι γὰρ καταφρονεῖν τῶν φοβερῶν καὶ ὑπομένειν αὐτὰ γινόμεθα ἀνδρεῖοι, καὶ γενόμενοι μάλιστα δυνησόμεθα ὑπομένειν τὰ φοβερά. ²² ἔτι ἐκ τῶν αὐτῶν καὶ διὰ τῶν αὐτῶν καὶ γίνεται πᾶσα ἀρετὴ καὶ φθείρεται, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τέχνη· ἐκ γὰρ τοῦ κιθαρίζειν καὶ οἱ ἀγαθοὶ καὶ κακοὶ γίνονται κιθαρισταί. ἀνάλογον δὲ καὶ οἰκοδόμοι καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ πάντες· ἐκ μὲν γὰρ τοῦ εὖ οἰκοδομεῖν ἀγαθοὶ οἰκοδόμοι ἔσονται, ἐκ δὲ τοῦ κακῶς κακοί. εἰ γὰρ μὴ οὕτως εἶχεν, οὐδὲν ἂν ἔδει τοῦ διδάξοντος, ἀλλὰ πάντες ἂν ἐγίνοντο ἀγαθοὶ ἢ κακοί.

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(the teachers), who are able to show the difference between a good performance and a bad performance, and are able to correct the learner’s mistakes. The case of the virtues, Aristotle continues, is parallel in this respect: This is also the case, then, with the virtues. For by doing the actions that we do in our dealings with other people we become just or unjust, and by doing the actions that we do in the presence of danger, and being habituated to feel fear or confidence, we become courageous or cowardly. The same is true of actions concerning appetites and those concerning anger; some people become temperate and good-tempered, others self-indulgent and irascible, by behaving in one way or the other in the corresponding circumstances.²³ (NE II 1, 1103b13–21)

To become just, courageous, and in general virtuous, not only must we do transactions with other people, and not only must we deal with dangerous situations, but we also need to do such things well. If we engage incorrectly in transactions with other people, or if we deal incorrectly with dangerous situations, then we will become unjust, cowardly, and in general vicious instead of virtuous. In sum, it is not just from doing certain actions, but from doing them ‘in one way’ (houtōsi) instead of the other that we become virtuous—i.e. doing them in a way that relevantly models the actions of virtuous people. For example, if someone stands at their post during a battle unaware that she is doing so, or if she does so at the wrong moment, with the wrong goal, etc., her action will not contribute to her becoming courageous. It will be similarly useless for her character formation if she stands at her post feeling no fear or with no confidence. It is by feeling fear or confidence appropriately in the relevant circumstances that people become courageous, and it is by feeling fear or confidence inappropriately that people become cowardly. It is thus of the greatest importance to pay attention to how learners perform their actions, since they will acquire virtuous dispositions only if they perform the relevant actions in the right way—because the qualities of the dispositions will reflect the qualities of the actions through which they came into being. The relevance of the how implies, then, that learners have to be able to perform the relevant actions well, even before they have the relevant dispositions. And this priority requirement generates a true puzzle for those who defend that only virtuous people are able to perform virtuous actions properly.

²³ οὕτω δὴ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀρετῶν ἔχει· πράττοντες γὰρ τὰ ἐν τοῖς συναλλάγμασι τοῖς πρὸς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους γινόμεθα οἳ μὲν δίκαιοι οἳ δὲ ἄδικοι, πράττοντες δὲ τὰ ἐν τοῖς δεινοῖς καὶ ἐθιζόμενοι φοβεῖσθαι ἢ θαρρεῖν οἳ μὲν ἀνδρεῖοι οἳ δὲ δειλοί. ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὰ περὶ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας ἔχει καὶ τὰ περὶ τὰς ὀργάς· οἳ μὲν γὰρ σώφρονες καὶ πρᾶοι γίνονται, οἳ δ’ ἀκόλαστοι καὶ ὀργίλοι, οἳ μὲν ἐκ τοῦ οὑτωσὶ ἐν αὐτοῖς ἀναστρέφεσθαι, οἳ δὲ ἐκ τοῦ οὑτωσί.

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     

1.4 Aristotle’s Response to the Priority Objection: General Lines In NE II 4 Aristotle offers his response to those who raise concerns about the priority of dispositions over actions. The priority objection is formulated as one that affects both the case of learning crafts or skills and that of acquiring virtue: Someone might wonder, however, what we mean by saying that becoming just requires doing just actions first, and becoming temperate requires doing temperate actions. For if people do what is just and what is temperate, they are already just and temperate; similarly, if they do what is grammatical or musical, they are grammarians and musicians.²⁴ (NE II 4, 1105a17–21)

Aristotle’s first move is to show that the objection is misguided in the case of the crafts. To this end, he argues that we are familiar with examples of people who do not possess a craft but are able to produce outcomes that are stereotypical of the craft—e.g. someone who does not know grammar but can build a correct sentence, or someone who does not know music but can play a melody. This argument can also be applied to the case of the virtues: we are familiar with examples of people who are not virtuous but are able to act ‘according to the virtues’—such as when people produce outcomes that are stereotypical of the virtues by merely following the law, or acting from fear of punishment, or simply by chance.²⁵ Although this line of argument would be sufficient to respond to the priority objection,²⁶ Aristotle does not stop there. Instead, in the second section of the argument he adds a complexity by introducing a disanalogy between virtues and crafts. Why does he add this disanalogy? And how does it contribute to his response to the priority objection? ²⁴ Ἀπορήσειε δ’ ἄν τις πῶς λέγομεν ὅτι δεῖ τὰ μὲν δίκαια πράττοντας δικαίους γίνεσθαι, τὰ δὲ σώφρονα σώφρονας· εἰ γὰρ πράττουσι τὰ δίκαια καὶ σώφρονα, ἤδη εἰσὶ δίκαιοι καὶ σώφρονες, ὥσπερ εἰ τὰ γραμματικὰ καὶ τὰ μουσικά, γραμματικοὶ καὶ μουσικοί. ²⁵ Aristotle refers to this phenomenon also in NE VI 12, 1144a13–17: “we say that some people who do just actions are not necessarily just, i.e. those who do the actions ordained by the laws either unwillingly [akontas] or owing to ignorance [di’agnoian], or for some other reason and not for the sake of the actions themselves [mē di’ auta] (though, to be sure, they do what they should and all the things that the good person ought).” A parallel distinction between doing unjust actions and being unjust appears in NE V 6, 1134a17–23, and V 8, 1135b11–25. ²⁶ Commentators tend to agree that the grammar example is a sufficient response to the priority objection as it is presented in NE II 4. For example, Broadie 1991 claims that Aristotle’s counterexample concerning the crafts is all that he needs for responding to the priority objection in NE II 4: “Aristotle responds by denying (2) [i.e. that doing what is grammatical is a sufficient condition for being proficient in grammar], which is all that he needs for his main point; but then as if to be on the safe side he takes this opportunity to argue against (1) [that virtues are analogous to skills]” (119, note 17, my emphasis). Irwin 1999 reads in NE II 4 two consecutive independent answers to the priority objection: “The second reply is independent of the first [i.e. that the crafts do not support the objection], and challenges (2) [that virtues are analogous to crafts in the relevant ways], insisting on an important difference between virtues and crafts” (195).

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In what follows I present a way of understanding the first response that enables us to tackle the section on the disanalogy with new eyes.

1.4.1 Grammar Example: In Accordance With Grammar vs. Grammatically The first step in Aristotle’s argument is to indicate that there are plenty of familiar cases where people without expertise in a craft do something that is a characteristic product of that craft. For example, it is possible for someone without expertise in grammar to produce something grammatical: Or is this [that one needs to have a disposition if one is to be able to perform the activities characteristic of that disposition] not true even of the crafts? It is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or prompted by someone else. Someone will be an expert grammarian, then, only when he has both done something grammatical and done it grammatically; and this means doing it in accordance with the grammatical knowledge in himself.²⁷ (NE II 4, 1105a21–26)

This example introduces a crucial distinction between (a) productions where the outcome is ‘something grammatical’ (grammatikon ti), i.e. something that is in accordance with the rules of grammar, even though it does not come about from the agent’s knowledge of grammar; and (b) productions where both the outcome is something grammatical and the productions themselves are “grammatically” (grammatikōs) done, i.e. “in accordance with the grammatical knowledge in the person” (kata tēn en hautōi grammatikēn). This distinction provides a direct response to the thesis that dispositions are necessarily prior to actions, since it reveals through a familiar example that an agent does not need to possess “in himself ” (en hautōi) the disposition or skill, in this case the grammatical knowledge, to be able to produce a characteristic outcome, i.e. something grammatical. This response, however, provides only a formal solution to the priority objection, by showing that it is possible to produce the characteristic outcomes before having the skill; this answer does not offer any input about how the process of learning by doing works. In other words, although the grammar example is a sufficient solution to the priority problem, it does not sufficiently address the question of how practice contributes to the formation of the corresponding dispositions. For surely Aristotle is aware of the fact that there are ways of doing something grammatical or musical that do not contribute to learning, and ²⁷ ἢ οὐδ’ ἐπὶ τῶν τεχνῶν οὕτως ἔχει; ἐνδέχεται γὰρ γραμματικόν τι ποιῆσαι καὶ ἀπὸ τύχης καὶ ἄλλου ὑποθεμένου. τότε οὖν ἔσται γραμματικός, ἐὰν καὶ γραμματικόν τι ποιήσῃ καὶ γραμματικῶς· τοῦτο δ’ ἐστὶ τὸ κατὰ τὴν ἐν αὑτῷ γραμματικήν.

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     

that can even be detrimental to learning. As I argued in Section 1.3, the relevant question concerning learning by doing is whether (or how) learners can perform the relevant actions well. To make progress towards a viable account of learning by doing we should avoid reading Aristotle’s first response in 1105a21–26 as his full solution to the objection. Concretely, we should not understand Aristotle to be proposing that we can solve the learning-by-doing puzzle by positing a simple dichotomy between (a) actions merely in accordance with grammar and (b) actions from grammar, where all actions done in accordance with grammar but not from grammar are to be understood as grammatical only coincidentally.²⁸ On such a reading, the learners, who do not yet possess expertise and thus cannot act from it, would perform the corresponding actions coincidentally, thereby ruling out the possibility that they perform the relevant actions well. Although this reading might be encouraged by Aristotle’s choice of examples—in particular, the example of someone who does the right (grammatical) action merely “by chance” (apo tuchēs)—it might mistakenly lead to an excessively deflationary view of the learners’ actions that does not allow for sufficient continuity in the process. In short, the repetition of merely coincidental productions will not result in the formation of the corresponding expertise. For example, imagine a learner of Spanish who proceeds by copying random words from a list and putting them together in sentences. Even if she were so lucky that she hit upon correct sentences on every occasion, thus producing grammatical outcomes, we would not say that she is really learning anything in that process. To learn something through her practice, the sentences cannot be merely coincidental, nor can they be done in any old way. But Aristotle also uses the example of someone who does something grammatical “prompted by someone else” (allou hupothemenou). Although this kind of production can also be coincidental, as in cases where an agent unreflectively follows instructions and does not pay attention to what she is doing, those are not the relevant cases when we are talking about learning. Instead, true learners must follow their teachers’ instructions, paying attention to the relevant details of what they are doing and becoming more able to reproduce the activities in the future. Only if the learners pay attention to the relevant features (e.g. the factors that make their productions grammatical) will they acquire the memories and experiences that eventually turn into expert knowledge. Therefore, the grammar example provides a merely formal answer to the priority objection, by showing that there are several ways of doing the actions or ²⁸ Some commentators suggest that this is the point of Aristotle’s first response. For example, Irwin 1999 writes: “the point he has made in the first reply,” namely at NE II 4, 1105a21–26, is “that someone might produce a good product accidentally” (195, my italics). Also Vasiliou 2007 sides with this line of reading: “While it is sufficient for a skill to be executed excellently if its product is excellent, it is not sufficient for an action to have been done virtuously for a person simply to have done what the virtuous person would do. A shoe might, by accident, be an excellent shoe (we can determine this by examining the shoe); but a virtuous action cannot be virtuous by accident” (52, my italics).

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’     :  

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productions characteristic of a craft without possessing the relevant disposition. But Aristotle’s examples of someone producing the right outcome by chance and prompted by someone else are two ways in which a non-expert can do something grammatical, not two ways in which learners can become grammarians. As I have suggested, an action or production has to be more than merely coincidental to be part of the process of forming the corresponding expertise. The second option, i.e. doing actions under the guidance of someone else, is the way in which learning typically occurs. Although clearly not all cases of performing actions guided by someone else lead to learning, with adequate guidance we can do the right actions in the right way, paying attention to the relevant details, and in this way we will be able to develop the appropriate dispositions.

1.4.2 Disanalogy Between Crafts and Virtues and the Question about the “How” Aristotle appeals in the next lines to a difference between crafts and virtues not with the aim of building a new response to the priority objection, but rather in order to add some complexity concerning the details to which learners of virtue should pay attention if their practices are to yield the relevant dispositions. In other words, Aristotle’s next step is to tackle the question of the ‘how’ by appealing to a disanalogy between the crafts and the virtues with the aim of underlining a difference in the requirements that we should take into account when learning virtue: Again, the case of the crafts and that of the virtues are not similar. For the products of the crafts have in themselves the quality of being well made [to eu], so that it is enough that they should have a certain character, but if the actions that are in accordance with the virtues have themselves a certain character, it does not follow that they are done justly or temperately. The agent also must be in a certain condition [pōs echōn] when he does them: in the first place, he must have knowledge; secondly, he must choose the actions, and choose them for their own sake; and thirdly, he must act with consistency and firmness. These are not considered to be conditions of the possession of the crafts, except the bare knowledge; but as a condition of the possession of the virtues, knowledge has little or no weight, while the other conditions, i.e. the very conditions which result from often doing just and temperate acts, count not for a little but for everything.²⁹ (NE II 4, 1105a26–b5)

²⁹ ἔτι οὐδ’ ὅμοιόν ἐστιν ἐπί τε τῶν τεχνῶν καὶ τῶν ἀρετῶν· τὰ μὲν γὰρ ὑπὸ τῶν τεχνῶν γινόμενα τὸ εὖ ἔχει ἐν αὑτοῖς· ἀρκεῖ οὖν ταῦτά πως ἔχοντα γενέσθαι· τὰ δὲ κατὰ τὰς ἀρετὰς γινόμενα οὐκ ἐὰν αὐτά πως ἔχῃ, δικαίως ἢ σωφρόνως πράττεται, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐὰν ὁ πράττων πῶς ἔχων πράττῃ, πρῶτον μὲν ἐὰν εἰδώς,

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     

Here Aristotle explains first what is necessary for the stereotypical outcomes or results of productions to be well done, and next, he contrasts this with the requirements for the stereotypical outcomes or results of actions to be well (or ‘justly’ or ‘temperately’ and, in general, virtuously) performed. The main difference between the sphere of crafts and the sphere of the virtues is that, in the first case, things have ‘goodness’ (to eu) simply when they are done ‘by the crafts’ (hupo tōn technōn), independently from the actual characteristics of the agent, while in the case of the virtues, e.g. justice or temperance, we must add considerations about the agent, how he acts and whether he himself fulfills certain conditions. The possession of the virtues, unlike that of the crafts, requires that agents not only have knowledge but also choose the actions for their own sake and act with consistency and firmness. Moreover, the latter two conditions have most weight for the possession of virtue, and are precisely the conditions that result from habituation. It is common to emphasize in this passage the distinction that it establishes between the way in which learners perform virtuous actions and the way in which fully virtuous people do. For example, Taylor writes in his commentary on 1105a28ff.: This distinction [sc. between actions that are in accordance with the virtues and actions that are in addition performed virtuously] enables Aristotle to offer in the case of virtue a solution of his problem; an essential part of the process of learning to act while satisfying those further conditions consists in acting without satisfying them. (2006, 83, my emphasis)

However, I think that this way of interpreting the purpose of the passage is misleading. The main problem is that this reading might lead us to think that learners do not fulfill the conditions for virtuously performed virtuous action at all, and thus overlook the conclusion that we reached in Section 1.3 that if habituation is to be successful, then the actions of the learners must be done well and not just in any old way. Moreover, read this way the passage does not add much to the formal answer provided with the grammar example. A more promising approach is, I think, to emphasize instead the disanalogy with the crafts. How should this disanalogy affect our understanding of the respective processes of learning? What are the differences between the requirements for the right practice to become a good lyre player and the requirements for the right practice to become a just person? Aristotle’s comments give us some

ἔπειτ’ ἐὰν προαιρούμενος, καὶ προαιρούμενος δι’ αὐτά, τὸ δὲ τρίτον ἐὰν καὶ βεβαίως καὶ ἀμετακινήτως ἔχων πράττῃ. ταῦτα δὲ πρὸς μὲν τὸ τὰς ἄλλας τέχνας ἔχειν οὐ συναριθμεῖται, πλὴν αὐτὸ τὸ εἰδέναι· πρὸς δὲ τὸ τὰς ἀρετὰς τὸ μὲν εἰδέναι οὐδὲν ἢ μικρὸν ἰσχύει, τὰ δ’ ἄλλα οὐ μικρὸν ἀλλὰ τὸ πᾶν δύναται, ἅπερ ἐκ τοῦ πολλάκις πράττειν τὰ δίκαια καὶ σώφρονα περιγίνεται.

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’     :  

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hints about this issue. When learning a craft, agents should pay attention in their practices to features or conditions of the product and make them correspond to the rules of the corresponding craft. For example, those learning to make shoes should do the things that expert shoemakers characteristically do: they should choose the right material, stitch the pieces together in the right way, design the shoes with the right shape, use the right instruments, etc. In sum, they should attend to the effects of their actions, choice of materials etc. on the product. In contrast, for virtuous actions to be done well (or ‘justly’, ‘temperately’, etc.), agents must not only be aware of the appropriateness of their outcomes to the given situations, but must themselves be in a certain condition when they perform those actions. As we have seen in our analysis of NE II 4, in the case of virtuous activity the relevant ‘goodness’ or ‘being well done’ (to eu) is not achieved when the outcome that occurs “according to the virtues” (kata tas aretas) “has itself a certain character” (pōs echēi); on the contrary, an action has the relevant ‘goodness’, i.e. it is not only virtuous but also performed virtuously, when the agent fulfills further requirements concerning knowledge, motivation, and stability. (1) Knowledge requirement: the agent must know what he is doing; (2) Motivation requirement: the agent must choose the actions, and choose them for their own sake; and (3) Stability requirement: the agent must act from a firm and unwavering character. For example, when someone makes a substantial donation to a hospital we can say that she has done a stereotypically generous action; however, to know whether her action had the kind of goodness required in order to be generously done, we need to inquire whether, in addition, (1) the agent knew what she was doing, (2) she was doing it for its own sake, and (3) she had sufficient consistency and firmness in her behavior as to not to have mixed feelings or waver. In contrast with Taylor’s interpretation, my alternative view is that although learners themselves do not yet have stable dispositions to act virtuously, they are able to fulfill at least occasionally and at least to some degree the requirements for virtuously performed virtuous action. This interpretation allows for continuity in the process and thus enables us to see the origins of the capacity to choose well and of the stability required for virtue. Thus what we learn from the disanalogy passage is that, while in the case of the crafts learners need to acquire only (or mainly) knowledge, in the case of the virtues learners need to acquire not only knowledge but also the capacity for right choice (prohairesis) and stability. The difference between learning crafts and learning virtues is that the kind of activities involved in the acquisition of a craft require the learners to be aware of the relevant features of the production so that they may acquire knowledge of the craft; in contrast, the kind of activities involved

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     

in the acquisition of virtue require not only that the learners be aware of the features of their practical situation, but also that they possess the right kind of motivation towards the noble and a relatively stable sense of what they stand for. In what follows I focus on the motivation requirement and ask whether in this respect the actions of the learners merely resemble the actions of virtuous people externally, or if they instead fulfill at least partially the motivation requirement by being done for the sake of the noble.

1.5 “Fake It till You Make It”: Motivationally-Neutral Accounts One way to conceive of the learners’ actions is, as mentioned above, as merely externally similar repetitions of the actions of virtuous people. Modern commentators tend to disagree with an extreme version of this deflationary conception of the learners’ actions and claim, correctly I think, that learners must at least be aware of the actions they are performing and must put some thought into what they are doing. It is broadly agreed that although learners of virtue do not have practical wisdom (phronēsis) and consequently do not have the kind of knowledge about virtue and the noble that virtuous agents have, their actions are not ‘mindless’ but require the engagement of the learners’ cognitive capacities. However, some commentators introduce a second kind of deflationary view— this time regarding the learners’ motivation. Reading the second section of NE II 4 as centered on the difference between the actions of the learners and those of virtuous people, these commentators assume that Aristotle’s view is that the actions performed by the learners are virtuous in that they are the right actions in the circumstances, i.e. the kinds of actions characteristically performed by virtuous people, but that they differ from the activities of virtuous people not only in not being performed from a stable disposition of character, but also in that they lack virtuous motivation.³⁰ The following passage by Ross provides a clear example of this approach:

³⁰ Some of the commentators that defend this deflationary view concerning the learners’ motivation are mentioned in note 10 above. Irwin 1999 talks about actions that are “not done for the virtuous person’s reasons” or from “the motive of the virtuous person,” by which he means actions that are not done for their own sake, since he contrasts them with how virtuous agents “do the virtuous action because they have decided to do it for its own sake” (xviii); Vasiliou 2007 defends this line of interpretation as follows: “What Aristotle needs, however, to solve the puzzle of 2.4 is not only a separation between virtuous action and motive but also the ability to describe the virtuous action, the action to be done, without using ethical terms. This is what makes it possible for the virtuous and nonvirtuous agent to, in one ordinary sense of the expression, do the same action—for example, to share half their sandwich, even though it will only be a truly virtuous action if the agent is motivated in the appropriate way” (52, note 22; my emphasis). The position of Broadie 1991 is more difficult to pin down—on the one hand, her interpretation of NE II 4 suggests a deflationary conception of the learners’ actions in that she explains the difference between learners and virtuous people appealing

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“     ”: - 

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A paradox is involved in Aristotle’s assertion that we become good by doing good acts; how can we do good acts if we are not ourselves good? He proceeds to explain that there is a difference between the acts that create and those that flow from the good disposition. . . . Thus the paradox disappears: the actions that produce virtue are not in their inner nature but only in their external aspect like those that virtue produces. Aristotle here (1105a17–b18) lays his finger with precision on the distinction between the two elements involved in a completely good action—(a) that the thing done should be the right thing to do in the circumstances, and (b) that it should be done from a good motive. (1959, 194, my emphasis)

The main assumption behind this deflationary conception of the learners’ actions, which I call the motivationally-neutral view, is that Aristotle tries to answer the priority objection while maintaining the claim that only virtuous agents are moved by virtuous motives.³¹ This assumption is manifest in Irwin’s commentary on NE II 4: The puzzle arises because Aristotle has emphasized the similarity between the actions that we learn to do in habituation and the actions that we do when we are virtuous. We may suppose that if the actions are the same, their motive must be the same too, so that we can learn to be virtuous only if we already have the motive of the virtuous person. (1999, 195, my emphasis.)

Here Irwin assumes that the gist of the objection about priority that Aristotle is trying to solve is that it is impossible for a non-virtuous agent to perform virtuous actions properly because non-virtuous agents cannot have virtuous motives. Once the equivalence between ‘good motive’ or ‘virtuous motive’ and ‘the motive of the virtuous person’ is assumed, it follows that any successful response to the priority objection must hinge upon dissociating virtuous actions from virtuous motivations and showing that the actions of the learners can be virtuous even if they are not performed from a virtuous motive. The reasoning leading to this kind of view is then as follows: since only virtuous agents are moved by virtuous motives, the actions of the learners must necessarily lack virtuous motivation. If, per impossibile, the actions of the learners were to the distinction between “doing what in fact is right” and “doing it in the right spirit” (88); on the other hand, she does not maintain a deflationary view in her explanation of the actions of the learners in other places, instead holding that “it is important for Aristotle’s theory of moral education that subjects not yet established in their prohairetic attitudes can act for the sake of the noble. This is a spirit that requires to be educated, since misdirections are possible” (93; my emphasis). ³¹ See e.g. Williams 1995: “ ‘an act done for X reasons’ is not a type of act independent of its agent’s state; it is an act done by an agent with a certain disposition” (18). See also a reply to Williams in Hursthouse 1995.

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     

performed from virtuous motives, then the learners would already possess virtue. Consequently, since learners cannot have virtuous motivation, Aristotle must allow for a way of describing the virtuous actions of the learners that is not only independent of the agents’ possession of virtuous dispositions, but is also independent of the agent’s motivation. My approach, in contrast, is to embrace Irwin’s conclusion and take it not as the problem but as the solution: learners become virtuous by acting from virtuous motives, or as Irwin puts it, by acting with “the motive of the virtuous person”. If, as I will argue in Section 1.7, Aristotle does not accept that being a fully virtuous agent is a necessary condition for acting from a virtuous motive,³² then we can see that his response to the priority objection in NE II 4 does not force him to renounce the claim that the virtuous actions of the learners involve virtuous motivation—in other words, Aristotle’s discussion in NE II 4 does not rule out that in their practice towards virtue learners aim at noble goals on account of their nobility. Let us turn now to some of the disadvantages of the motivationallyneutral view.

1.6 What is Wrong with the Motivationally-Neutral Accounts? The motivationally-neutral conception of the learners’ actions, according to which the actions of learners are the right things to do in the circumstances but are lacking the right motivations, involves a number of difficulties. First, it leads some defenders of this view to claim, erroneously, that the virtuous actions of the learners are not fully (or even truly) virtuous or good. Second, it is also in tension with the account of the actions of learners that we find in NE II 9, 1109a24–b7, where Aristotle explains the relevance of the doctrine of the mean as a guide for acquiring virtue. Third, and most importantly, this conception opens a gap between the motivationally-neutral actions of the learners and the noble-oriented virtuous dispositions that those actions are expected to yield.

³² The view that virtuous motivation is not necessarily dependent on the possession of stable virtuous dispositions is defended by Hurka 2006, where he attributes to Aristotle (and criticizes) the assumption that only virtuous agents act with virtuous motives. My claim here is, however, that Aristotle does not hold that view, and that the claim that only virtuous agents act with virtuous motives is erroneously attributed to him by some commentators (e.g. Ross 1959, 194, and Irwin 1999, 195, as quoted above in this section). Other commentators, however, are sympathetic to the possibility that learners can have virtuous motives—see e.g. Broadie 1991 (esp. 93), quoted in n. 30 above.

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     - ?

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1.6.1 Incorrect Conception of the Learners’ Actions as Not-Fully Virtuous The first problem with the motivational-neutral view is that it often leads commentators to weaken the sense in which the learners’ actions are said to be virtuous. Defenders of this view often (mistakenly) hold that Aristotle’s response to the priority objection consists in making a distinction between the fully virtuous actions of virtuous agents, which necessarily involve a virtuous motive, and the minimally virtuous actions of the learners, which lack virtuous motivation. On their view an action is only fully (or truly) virtuous if it is done from a virtuous motive.³³ But the assumption that an action is less virtuous if it is not done from a virtuous motive is wrong, so the corresponding qualification of the learners’ actions, as being just minimally or not fully virtuous, must be wrong as well. Indeed, this qualification of the learners’ actions does not fit with the text. In NE II 4, 1105a26–b12, Aristotle refers to the actions of the learners not only as actions done “in accordance with virtue” (kata tas aretas) but also as “just and temperate actions” (ta . . . pragmata dikaia kai sōphrona). Furthermore, Aristotle distinguishes the learners’ actions from the actions of virtuous agents not by saying that they are less virtuous, but by saying that they are not performed “justly or temperately” (dikaiōs ē sōphronōs)—and, in sum, not virtuously. It follows, then, that the distinction in NE II 4 is between two ways of performing fully virtuous actions—i.e. (a) in accordance with virtue but not virtuously and (b) virtuously. Aristotle holds that the three requirements of knowledge, right choice, and stability are conditions that the agent has to meet if the virtuous action is to be performed virtuously, but not requirements for virtuous action in general, as is sometimes thought.³⁴ Thus, those who conclude that the actions of the learners are not fully virtuous for this reason (i.e. because they do not fulfill the three mentioned requirements) are disregarding the terms of the distinction that Aristotle establishes in this passage.

³³ A clear example can be found in Vasiliou 2007: “it will only be a truly virtuous action if the agent is motivated in the appropriate way” (52, note 22; see full passage quoted in note 30 above). ³⁴ One example of how commentators insist on calling ‘virtuous actions’ only those in which the agent fulfills the requirements for virtue is the following claim from the commentary of Gauthier and Jolif 1958–9: “l’action vertueuse ne doit pas découler d’une disposition passagère, mais d’un état habituel de caractère qui rend cette activité comme naturelle” (130, my emphasis). Here they are talking about ‘virtuous action’ (l’action vertueuse) as if it only referred to the action performed by the virtuous agent. See also the comments to 1105b26–30 in Taylor 2006: “here [Aristotle’s] claim is that when skill is exercised, its being exercised well is determined purely by the excellence of the product, whereas in the case of the virtues extra conditions concerning the agent must be satisfied for the act to be virtuous” (83, my emphasis). (Morison’s 2007 review article discusses some consequences regarding the primacy of character over action of the fact that Taylor 2006 fails to make this distinction in his commentary.)

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     

1.6.2 Thin Conception of the Goal of Action A second problem of the motivationally-neutral view of the learners’ virtuous actions is that it also conflicts with Aristotle’s characterization of the activities of the learners in his discussion of the doctrine of the mean and the relevance of hitting the “middle point” or “intermediate” (to meson) in action.³⁵ In NE II 9 we find the list of requirements to hit the intermediate in action, i.e. the factors that agents need to get right for their actions to be well done in the circumstances. The list includes not only that the actions should be done at the right times, with reference to the right objects, towards the right people, in the right way, but also with ‘the right goal’ or ‘that for the sake of which’ (hou heneka): For in everything it is no easy task to find the middle point (to meson), e.g., to find the middle point of a circle is not for everyone but for the person who knows. So, too, anyone can get angry—that is easy—or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right goal, and in the right way, that is not for everyone, nor is it easy. From this it follows that the quality of being well done (to eu) is rare, praiseworthy (epaineton), and noble (kalon).³⁶ (NE II 9, 1109a24–30)

What matters in this passage for our purposes is that Aristotle includes the goal, i.e. the “that for the sake of which” (hou heneka), among the things that the agent should get right if the particular occurrence of anger is to be appropriate or if the action of giving money is going to be well done. This point is important because in these passages concerning the doctrine of the mean, Aristotle is trying to give an account of virtuous action that does not directly depend on the presence of virtuous dispositions, and concretely in this section he clearly has in mind the cases of learners and, in general, those who are trying to get things right but are not yet virtuous. In fact, NE II 9, as well as the parallel passage in EE II 5, provide some strategies for the correct training of those who are not yet virtuous and have difficulties hitting the correct intermediate in action: they should try to aim towards the point that is the opposite extreme from the one towards which they

³⁵ There is at times confusion related to the term ‘mean’ used in the expression “doctrine of the mean”, since sometimes it is used to refer to the mean in action (i.e. when the agent does what they do in the right moment, to the right person, etc.), for which Aristotle tends to use the term meson and I shall use the term ‘intermediate’ or ‘middle point’, while other times it is used to refer to the mean between two extremes (i.e. when a virtue is described as a mean between two vices), for which Aristotle tends to use the term mesotēs and I shall use the term “mean.” This division of labor between meson and mesotēs is defended by some commentators, such as Young 1988, while others do not seem to think we can establish a clear distinction in the usage of those terms. ³⁶ ἐν ἑκάστῳ γὰρ τὸ μέσον λαβεῖν ἔργον, οἷον κύκλου τὸ μέσον οὐ παντὸς ἀλλὰ τοῦ εἰδότος· οὕτω δὲ καὶ τὸ μὲν ὀργισθῆναι παντὸς καὶ ῥᾴδιον, καὶ τὸ δοῦναι ἀργύριον καὶ δαπανῆσαι· τὸ δ’ ᾧ καὶ ὅσον καὶ ὅτε καὶ οὗ ἕνεκα καὶ ὥς, οὐκέτι παντὸς οὐδὲ ῥᾴδιον· διόπερ τὸ εὖ καὶ σπάνιον καὶ ἐπαινετὸν καὶ καλόν.

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tend most easily. In general, learners should aim at getting it right in relation to the factors that are relevant for virtuous activity (right time, right occasion, right object, right goal, etc.), and in cases where they have a tendency to get it wrong, they should push themselves in the opposite direction “as people do in straightening sticks that are bent” (NE II 9, 1109b6–7). Defenders of the motivationally-neutral view might say that learners can aim at the right end, in the sense that they aim at the right outcome or external result, but for different reasons or with a different motive than virtuous people do.³⁷ A child, thus, can do a generous action like sharing her sandwich while aiming simply at the goal of sharing her sandwich, independently of whether it is a noble action or not; for example, she can aim simply at sharing her sandwich, even though she does so because the action is pleasant (when e.g. she does not really like her sandwich), or because it brings her some utility (when e.g. she avoids some punishment or gets some reward for her behavior). I suspect, however, that such a reading does not capture the spirit of Aristotle’s advice. If we insist that the goal of the child could simply be the action of sharing the sandwich, we might lose sight of the fact that the child’s ultimate goal in the examples is not the action itself but the pleasure or utility that she gets from the action. Now, whatever Aristotle has in mind when he says that one should aim at getting the goal right if one is to find the intermediate in action, I think we can rule out that pleasure or utility are the goals he has in mind. More importantly, it is hard to see how doing virtuous actions on account of the pleasure or the utility they produce can contribute to the formation of virtuous dispositions to act for the sake of the noble. This is the thrust of my next objection.

1.6.3 The Moral Upbringing Gap Let me turn now to what I consider to be the central difficulty for the motivationally-neutral view: If the actions of the learners lack virtuous motivation, i.e. if learners do not perform them while aiming at the noble goal on account of its nobility, then it is not clear how learners are supposed to become virtuous by doing such actions. My worry is similar to the one that other authors have expressed against the mechanical theory of habituation. The main problem, as I see it, is that the less the continuity between the actions of the learners of virtue and the actions performed ³⁷ For a discussion of the double nature of the telos of action in Aristotle that is relevant here see Segvic 2004. For a different angle on this issue see the distinction between end and motive in Vasiliou 2011 (183–90). As I argue in Chapter 3, Section 3.7, the possibility of aiming at the same result but at with different ultimate goals (e.g. aiming at the same courageous action of saving one’s city, but with either (a) the ultimate goal of winning a prize or (b) the ultimate goal of doing the right thing) is crucial for understanding the difference between the two kinds of political courage that Aristotle presents in NE III 8, 1116a17–b3, and it is also crucial for understanding his distinction between the merely good citizens and the noble-and-good (kalokagathoi) in EE VIII 3, 1248b16–1249a17.

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     

by virtuous agents, the more difficult it will be to understand how the repeated performance of the actions of the learners produces virtue. Thus, if the actions of the learners of virtue differ in motive from those of virtuous agents, it is hard to see how repeatedly performing such actions should lead to the acquisition of a disposition to which proper motivation is crucial. The motivationally-neutral conception thus creates a moral upbringing gap similar to the gap seen by commentators in the explanations of moral development given by the mechanistic theory. This general problem of discontinuity is captured clearly by Hardie: The question then remains how non-virtuous actions, actions done under direction or even under compulsion, produce virtues. To say, as Aristotle does in EN II 1, that, while virtue is not an endowment of nature, we have a natural tendency to acquire virtue is, perhaps, only a way of saying that the thing does happen: “we are adapted by nature to receive them, the virtues, and are made perfect by habit” (1103a23–6). (1968, 105, my emphasis)

Hardie has great difficulty finding an explanation in Aristotle’s text of how the actions of the learners, conceived as non-virtuous and done merely under direction or under compulsion, are able to produce virtue. His answer to this question seems to be that Aristotle simply takes this transition as a brute fact about human nature with no need to be explained—he claims that all that Aristotle says about it is that it just “does happen.”³⁸ Defenders of the motivationally-neutral view meet a similar problem, and are forced either to leave the transition between the motivationally-neutral actions of learners and their acquisition of virtuous dispositions unexplained, or else to appeal to a brute fact of human nature. However, we can provide an explanation for the transition if we allow that learners can have, at least occasionally, virtuous motives. To avoid the gap, then, we need a solution that guarantees continuity in the development of motivational attitudes.³⁹

1.6.4 Why Are Right Actions without Virtuous Motive Not Productive of Virtue? Finally there is a further group of related phenomena that a motivationally-neutral conception cannot explain, namely, the case of those who repeatedly perform the

³⁸ Pakaluk 2005 also mentions that there is no explicit explanation of this change: “Aristotle does not at this point attempt to explain how we so change, except insofar as this is implicit in his language of ‘actualization’ of a virtue” (103, n. 8). ³⁹ See Hampson 2019 for a recent critical discussion of my rejection of the motivationally-neutral view in this chapter.

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right actions in the circumstances, aware of the relevant details involved, but without aiming at the right goal in the sense explained above (i.e. not aiming at the noble in action), and who fail to acquire virtue as a result.⁴⁰ If we assume, as the motivationally-neutral view does, that Aristotle’s claim is that people become virtuous by performing the right actions without the right motive, then Aristotle would be left with these numerous irregular cases in which some agents do not acquire virtue as a result of their activities. However, Aristotle is familiar with this phenomenon and, as we will see in Chapter 3, he deals with it in his discussion of the different kinds of apparent courage in NE III 8, 1116a15–1117a28, and EE III 1, 1229a11–1230a33. In these passages, he offers several paradigmatic ways of deviating from virtue while nonetheless doing virtuous actions. One case is that of those who do courageous things merely from fear of punishment—these agents would not act as they do if there was no threat. Another case is that of those who are courageous on account of experience (empeiria), i.e. people who have been trained to react to dangerous situations in the right way—these agents turn into cowards whenever the danger appears real or the situation is unfamiliar. He also mentions the case of hopeful people, who have been repeatedly successful in dangerous situations in the past and for that reason think of themselves as courageous, but who also turn into cowards whenever they realize that they are not able to deal with present dangers. Why do these agents not acquire a courageous disposition even though they repeatedly perform actions that resemble those of courageous people? We will work towards a more detailed answer in Chapter 3, but let me mention here that an important reason provided in NE III 8, 1116a15–1117a28, and EE III 1, 1229a11–1230a33, for why these agents fail to acquire courage is that they do not act for the sake of the noble; instead, they act respectively with the goals of avoiding punishment or receiving some advantage (money or victory). The actions of these agents, then, fail to produce virtuous dispositions because they lack virtuous motivation. These agents can at best acquire knowledge about what the courageous things to do are, and become more able to identify them, or even more able to bring them to practice; however, their actions do not contribute to building a stable disposition to do courageous things for their own sake or for the sake of their nobility.

⁴⁰ Curzer 2002 also refers to this problem: “Conversely, some people habitually act rightly in situation after situation although their motives are far from pure. They refrain from theft in order to avoid getting caught, stand fast in battle in order to impress their girlfriends, etc. . . . they lack the desire to perform virtuous acts for their own sake. Some of these people go on to become virtuous, I suppose, but others make no moral progress at all. They habitually act rightly, but for the wrong reasons. They show that habituation alone is insufficient to instill the desire to perform virtuous acts for their own sake. I shall suggest below that habituation instills this desire only when combined with a certain catalyst” (148, my emphasis). Curzer’s view is that pain and fear of punishment are the catalysts that need to be combined with habituation in order to produce the virtues.

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     

1.7 Alternative Account: Bridging the Moral Upbringing Gap I have shown that Aristotle’s response to the priority objection does not require that we abandon the claim that the virtuous actions of learners are done for the sake of the noble. In the view that I propose, Aristotle’s solution requires instead that we acknowledge that not only virtuous agents act for the sake of the noble, even if acting for the sake of the noble characteristically belongs to virtuous agents.⁴¹ As a consequence, learners, who do not yet possess virtuous dispositions, may not only do the right actions in the circumstances, but also for the right reasons or in the right spirit. If I am right about Aristotle’s strategy on this point, then his solution to the puzzle avoids violating the principle of continuity in relation to motivation and thus bridges the moral upbringing gap: learners become virtuous, i.e. acquire dispositions to choose virtuous actions for their own sake (i.e. for the sake of the noble), by performing virtuous actions for their own sake (i.e. for the sake of the noble).

1.7.1 Virtuous Dispositions and Virtuous Goals Let me clarify first my point about the relationship between virtuous dispositions and virtuous goals. Aristotle undoubtedly associates the possession of virtuous dispositions with acting for the sake of the noble. Indeed, in his discussion of the particular character virtues from NE III 6, 1115a6, to IV 8, 1128b9, he repeatedly describes virtuous agents as acting “for the sake of the noble” (tou kalou heneka). And he even suggests that virtuous dispositions and virtuous motivation are necessarily connected when he claims in NE III 7 that the noble is the “goal of virtue” (telos tēs aretēs, 1115b13).⁴² Although there is no direct explanation of the motivation of the virtuous person (i.e. what it means to do virtuous actions “for themselves” or “for the sake of the noble”),⁴³ the examples in the discussion of the character virtues (NE III 6, 1115a6, to IV 8, 1128b9) help clarify the kinds of goals that Aristotle is trying to exclude.⁴⁴ Thus, we can get a more accurate idea of the characteristic motivation of the ⁴¹ The importance of this point has been underscored also by e.g. Broadie 1991 and Fossheim 2006. As mentioned in note 30 above, Broadie claims that it is important for Aristotle’s theory of moral development that people whose prohairetic attitudes are not fully developed can nonetheless act for the sake of the noble (1991, especially at 93). Fossheim 2006 also insists that the learner must be able to act for the sake of the noble, at least in some sense: “One thing that we need to explain is how the young learner can come to ‘choose his actions for their own sake’—not, no doubt, in the fully fledged sense in which the practically wise individual does so, but still in some sense” (109, italics in the original). ⁴² See note 11 above for a list of passages where Aristotle explicitly claims that virtuous agents act “for the sake of the noble” (tou kalou heneka). ⁴³ See Kraut 1976, Whiting 2002, Meyer 2016, and Hirji 2018 for interpretations of Aristotle’s requirement that virtuous actions be chosen for themselves. ⁴⁴ See a discussion of this point in Kraut 1976, 235–6.

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virtuous person by looking at the negative examples offered in the chapters on the particular virtues: an agent will not count as courageous if he performs a courageous action merely seeking recognition, out of fear of being punished or because he is expecting a reward (NE III 8, 1116a15–b3); someone who spends large sums “not for the sake of the noble but merely to show off his wealth” (NE IV 2, 1123a24–5) will not count as magnificent; someone who aims at being pleasant in social encounters not for the sake of the noble but to make some gain will not count as friendly but as a flatterer instead (NE IV 6, 1127a8–10); and similarly, the person who speaks the truth for the sake of mere reputation or of gain will not count as truthful (NE IV 7, 1127a27–b9). In sum, as Kraut puts it (1976, 236): “it seems that one cannot be virtuous if one chooses virtuous acts only because they bring one external goods (wealth, honor, etc.) or physical pleasures.” In all the examples, agents do not count as virtuous if they do something merely for the sake of pleasure (or to avoid pain) or merely to make some gain, and this is precisely because merely aiming at those goals in action is in conflict with doing actions “for themselves” and “for the sake of the noble,” which is the characteristic motive of virtue. These passages confirm, then, that there is an intimate connection between possessing virtue and performing actions for the sake of the noble. However, the existence of this connection does not necessarily imply that only agents who already possess virtuous dispositions can aim at the noble for its own sake. That is, it is possible that non-virtuous agents can also in some cases aim at noble goals for their own sake, even if this aiming might be occasional and lack the reliability and firmness that the possession of virtue confers. For example, a learner can appreciate the value of doing something generous or something courageous for its own sake, without being enticed by rewards and without the threat of punishment. In general, it is not difficult to imagine that learners are able to appreciate from an early age the beauty, praiseworthiness, and goodness of at least some virtuous actions, and thus they can be moved to perform those actions for their own sake (i.e. on account of their nobility and praiseworthiness), and not because of any resulting pleasures or gains.

1.7.2 Virtuous Goals in Non-Virtuous Agents and Shame as Source of Proto-Virtuous Motivation In fact, I think there is evidence that Aristotle holds that wanting to do actions for the sake of the noble is also at least occasionally, though perhaps imperfectly, present in non-virtuous agents. The main evidence comes from two crucial passages about shame, NE III 8, 1116a15–29 and NE X 9, 1179b4–16, which will be discussed in more detail in Chapters 4 and 6 respectively, and that are the two main pillars of my argument concerning the central role of shame in moral development. First, in the comparison of citizens with a sense of shame with

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     

those who respond only to fear in NE III 8, 1116a29–b3, Aristotle links being motivated by shame with a desire for honor, which he then in turn connects to the noble.⁴⁵ Second, in NE X 9, 1179b4–16, Aristotle again compares those who are by nature responsive to shame with those who only respond to punishments and rewards, and on this occasion he links having a sense of shame with loving the noble, having a notion of the noble, and having a taste for its characteristic pleasure.⁴⁶ These passages are not only good evidence for the claim that some non-virtuous agents can do virtuous actions for the sake of the noble, but also an indication that shame is crucial for generating such motivation. In the discussion of civic courage in NE III 8, Aristotle suggests that desire for the noble is also available to people who do not possess the virtue of courage when he explains the behavior of those citizens who perform courageous actions due to shame by appealing to desire for something noble: This kind of courage is most like that which we described earlier, because it is due to virtue. For it is due to shame and due to a desire for something noble (i.e. honor) and an avoidance of reproach, which is shameful.⁴⁷ (NE III 8, 1116a27–29)

Those individuals who have the kind of civic courage due to shame, or “shamecourage” as I shall call it, are in a condition that is very close to genuine courage, because they perform actions on account of their desire “for honor” (timēs), which Aristotle describes here as desire “for something noble” (kalou), or they perform them on account of their avoidance “of reproach” (oneidous), which Aristotle describes here as being “shameful” (aischrou). Desire for the noble is the characteristically virtuous motive, and although it is true that there may be differences between a desire for the noble simpliciter, in the way that the fully virtuous person desires it, and the qualified desire for the noble possessed by the person who does something virtuous moved by shame, here Aristotle indicates that there is nonetheless a significant connection between them. The direct motive of the person with shame (i.e. honor) and the motive of the virtuous person (i.e. the noble) are connected at least in the sense that the person with shame is able to attend to considerations different from pleasure or utility, and pays attention instead to the praiseworthiness or blameworthiness of the action.⁴⁸ ⁴⁵ See a detailed discussion of the connection between honor and the noble in this passage in Chapter 4 below, where I respond to the potential objection that the desire of honor in this case amounts to a mere desire of honor qua honorable and not qua noble. ⁴⁶ A detailed discussion of this passage, and an explanation of how it fits with Aristotle’s general treatment of shame, appears in Chapter 6 below. ⁴⁷ ὡμοίωται δ’ αὕτη μάλιστα τῇ πρότερον εἰρημένῃ, ὅτι δι’ ἀρετὴν γίνεται· δι’ αἰδῶ γὰρ καὶ διὰ καλοῦ ὄρεξιν (τιμῆς γάρ) καὶ φυγὴν ὀνείδους, αἰσχροῦ ὄντος. ⁴⁸ My point here is not that the motive of the person who acts from shame is strictly the same in all possible senses as the motive of the virtuous person. My view is compatible with the fact that because the

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This point is confirmed by Aristotle’s comparison between the citizen soldiers who respond to shame and those who act on account of fear, who “avoid” (pheugontes) not “the shameful” (to aischron) but “the painful” (to lupēron) (1116a32). Those who respond to fear avoid what is painful, not what is shameful, and respond only to considerations of pleasure, pain, gain and loss, not virtue or the noble; in contrast, those who follow their sense of shame stay at their posts to avoid the shameful, and sometimes they endure great pains and even death in order to avoid shameful acts. Although citizen soldiers who act from shame act from a desire for honor, they take honor as a sign of nobility and praiseworthiness, and not merely as something that brings pleasure or gain. Similarly, they avoid disgrace in action not because of the potential associated punishments, but because they hate the shameful even more than they fear death. Those citizens with a sense of shame, then, do not act merely from fear of punishment or in search of rewards, but from a motive that is in line with that of virtuous people, i.e. the love of something noble and the hatred of something shameful. Even though their preference for the noble and their avoidance of the shameful does not arise from a formed disposition of character and even though it may have to be reinforced by the laws and the system of honors, their motivation goes beyond that of the many, who are moved only by external incentives. A second relevant passage that indicates the existence of virtuous motivation in non-virtuous agents is NE X 9, 1179b4–16, where Aristotle again contrasts people who are responsive to their sense of shame and those who merely obey on account of a fear of punishment and are moved only by considerations about pleasure, pain, gain, and loss. While those who obey mere fear of punishment are not receptive to ethical arguments, because they are immune to considerations about the good and the noble, those with a sense of shame are receptive to ethical arguments because they have an awareness of the value of the noble and an appreciation for its characteristic pleasures. We will deal with this passage from NE X 9 in more detail in Chapter 6, since it is one of the key sources of evidence of a strong role for shame in Aristotle’s account of moral development. For the purposes of the present chapter, what matters is that this contrast between people with a sense of shame and people who respond only to fear offers solid support for the view that non-virtuous agents can perform virtuous actions for the sake of the noble, and that there are sources of motivation different from virtue, and less demanding than virtue, that nonetheless orient agents towards the noble. virtuous person has phronēsis, her reasons to act in a particular way will have a complexity that cannot be present in the case of non-virtuous agents. The claim I am making here is a weaker one, namely that the motive of the person who acts from shame is virtuous in the relevant sense that the central concern of the agent is the nobility of the action and not the consequential advantages or disadvantages that she will get from performing it—i.e. not the pleasure or the gain that she will derive from the action. Chapter 4 discusses this issue in detail.

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     

1.7.3 Aristotle’s Response to the Priority Objection We are now in a position to see that Aristotle’s solution to the priority problem need not violate the principle of continuity in relation to the development of the motivational attitudes of the learners. Learners acquire dispositions to choose actions for their own sake, by performing the right kinds of actions with the right kinds of motivations. Just as the critical and perceptive powers of the learners are involved from the beginning in the process of moral development, so too are the learners’ motivational attitudes. The view that I propose, following a suggestion in Sherman 1989,⁴⁹ is an expansion of the parallel solution to the learning-by-doing puzzle in Metaph IX 8: This is why it is thought impossible to be a builder if one has built nothing or a lyre player if one has never played the lyre. For the person who learns to play the lyre learns to play it by playing it, and all other learners do similarly. And from that arose the sophistical quibble, that one who does not possess a science will be doing that which is the object of the science; for he who is learning it does not possess it. But since, of that which is coming to be, some part must have come to be, and, of that which, in general, is changing, some part must have changed (this is shown in the treatise on movement), the learner must, it would seem, possess something of the science. But here too, then, it is clear that actuality is in this sense also, viz. in order of generation and of time, prior to potency.⁵⁰ (Metaph IX 8, 1049b29–1050a2)

The “sophistical quibble” (ho sophistikos elenchos) about the acquisition of knowledge that Aristotle tackles in this passage from Metaph IX 8 is similar to the one he presents in NE II 4 about learning virtue: how can a learner do something that belongs to a science before possessing that science? Aristotle’s solution in Metaph IX 8 is that in order to acquire the disposition at issue—in this case knowledge, or the skills of building or of playing the lyre—the learner must already possess something of it. With this clarification, the learning-by-doing claim becomes more intelligible, since although the learner does not possess full

⁴⁹ This parallel between our problem of learning virtue in the NE and the problem of learning in general in Metaph IX 8 is observed by Sherman 1989 (187–8). I am thankful also to David Bronstein for insisting on the relevance of this point and for the discussion of what he terms “the prior knowledge requirement” in the context of the Posterior Analytics (APo) (see Bronstein 2016, esp. 5–16, 23, 25–6, 61, 63, 85–6). ⁵⁰ διὸ καὶ δοκεῖ ἀδύνατον εἶναι οἰκοδόμον εἶναι μὴ οἰκοδομήσαντα μηθὲν ἢ κιθαριστὴν μηθὲν κιθαρίσαντα· ὁ γὰρ μανθάνων κιθαρίζειν κιθαρίζων μανθάνει κιθαρίζειν, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι. ὅθεν ὁ σοφιστικὸς ἔλεγχος ἐγίγνετο ὅτι οὐκ ἔχων τις τὴν ἐπιστήμην ποιήσει οὗ ἡ ἐπιστήμη· ὁ γὰρ μανθάνων οὐκ ἔχει. ἀλλὰ διὰ τὸ τοῦ γιγνομένου γεγενῆσθαί τι καὶ τοῦ ὅλως κινουμένου κεκινῆσθαί τι (δῆλον δ’ ἐν τοῖς περὶ κινήσεως τοῦτο) καὶ τὸν μανθάνοντα ἀνάγκη ἔχειν τι τῆς ἐπιστήμης ἴσως. ἀλλ’ οὖν καὶ ταύτῃ γε δῆλον ὅτι ἡ ἐνέργεια καὶ οὕτω προτέρα τῆς δυνάμεως κατὰ γένεσιν καὶ χρόνον.

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 :     

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knowledge, she does possess “something of knowledge” (ti tēs epistēmēs, 1050a1) that functions as a starting point in the process of learning.⁵¹ So learning does not arise out of nothing, but on the contrary, it builds up from capacities and dispositions that the learner already possesses. Consequently, the learners occupy an intermediate position between those who are absolutely ignorant and those who possess full knowledge of the science or skill at issue. If we apply this model to the case of learning virtue, then, learners of virtue will already have “something of” the virtues that they are trying to acquire, which will enable them to perform the actions in the right way. In the case of learning a science or a craft, the “something of ” the knowledge that the learner possesses is not knowledge properly speaking—and indeed it cannot be so, since knowledge is a perfection and a stable disposition. Rather, this “something of” knowledge consists in perceptions, memories, notions or true beliefs that are significantly related to the knowledge which the learner aims to acquire. Similarly, in the case of acquiring the virtues, the “something of ” virtue that the learner possesses will not be virtue properly speaking—since virtue too is a perfection and a stable disposition of the soul. Instead, it will consist in perceptions, memories, notions, true beliefs, desires or emotions that are significantly related to the virtue which the learner aims to acquire. In the view that I propose, then, the learners of virtue are not blank slates, and neither are they exclusively motivated by pleasure and gain at first. Instead, they have some desiderative and emotional tendencies that orient them towards the noble and thus allow them to act, though perhaps imperfectly, from occurrent virtuous motives, even if they do not yet have the relevant practical knowledge or stable dispositions of character that virtuous people possess. This model has both textual and theoretical advantages. One advantage of adopting the model of learning proposed in Metaph IX 8 is that it seems to equip us with the right tools to approach the passage from NE II 1, and get a better sense of what Aristotle means when he says that “we get the virtues by first exercising them”:

⁵¹ I am sympathetic to the interpretation of this passage in Scott 1995: “In the sophistic argument to which he refers, we have a version of Meno’s paradox. Someone learning to play the harp must play the harp in order to learn, but to play the harp they must already have the knowledge they hope to acquire. The resolution of the sophism consists in saying that the actualization of the potential, and therefore learning, depends on the existence of prior actuality even within the same individual. His conclusion is that the learner must have some of the knowledge that he is trying to attain (1050a1–2)” (132, my emphasis). Scott 1995 discusses Metaph IX 8, 1149b29–1150a2 in the context of his broader argument concerning the continuity between higher learning and the concepts of ordinary thinking (see ch. 5, “Discovery and Continuity in Science”). See also Bronstein 2016 for a detailed discussion of Aristotle’s solution of the Meno’s paradox that makes reference to this point (in the context of the APo) about the necessary existence of prior knowledge. For a discussion of this argument in the context of the general argument of Metaph IX see e.g. Witt 2003 (30–34).

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      Again, [a] of all the things that come to us by nature we first acquire the potentiality and later exhibit the activity (this is plain in the case of the senses; for it was not by often seeing or often hearing that we got these senses, but on the contrary we had them before we used them, and did not come to have them by using them); but [b] the virtues we get by first exercising them,⁵² as also happens in the case of the arts as well.⁵³ (NE II 1, 1103a26–32)

In this passage, Aristotle is interested in the differences between natural capacities and virtues with respect to their respective relationships of priority between ‘using/exercising x’ and ‘possessing x’. He suggests that the directions of priority in the cases of the natural capacities and of the virtues are contrary to one another: (a) in the natural capacities, possessing a capacity is prior to exercising it; (b) in the virtues, as in the arts, exercise is prior to possession. We do not possess the virtues (or the crafts) before we exercise them, but, on the contrary, we are supposed to exercise the virtues (or the crafts) before we have them, since only by exercising them do we acquire the corresponding virtuous dispositions. This notion of “exercise before possession” initially sounds highly paradoxical, but it becomes more intelligible when we take into account the explanation from Metaph IX 8: learners already have “something of” the knowledge or the virtue that they are trying to attain, and those starting points enable them to practice and make progress towards full acquisition. The main advantage of this model, for our purposes, is that we can avoid the problem of discontinuity that the deflationary views raise. While deflationary views about the learners’ motives deny that aiming at the right goal is part of what makes the actions of the learners count as well performed, I have shown instead that being done for the sake of the noble should be included in the description of the actions of the learners of virtue. In other words, we cannot

⁵² It is important to note that although Ross translates ἐνεργήσαντες as “by first exercising them,” and thus takes for granted that Aristotle is referring to exercise of the virtues, the Greek text does not have the corresponding direct object: τὰς δ’ ἀρετὰς λαμβάνομεν ἐνεργήσαντες πρότερον (1103a31). However, Ross’ translation is supported by a passage in Metaph IX 5, where Aristotle discusses in more detail the contrast between ‘innate’ (συγγενῶν) capacities and capacities acquired by habituation (ἔθει); there he repeats the idea that those capacities that come by habituation must be acquired by previous exercise—he uses the term προενεργήσαντας—while natural capacities do not need to be acquired: “As all potencies [Ἁπασῶν δὲ τῶν δυνάμεων] are either innate, like the senses, or come by practice, like the power of playing the flute, or by learning, like artistic power, those which come by practice or by rational formula we must acquire by previous exercise [τὰς μὲν ἀνάγκη προενεργήσαντας ἔχειν] but this is not necessary with those which are not of this nature and which imply passivity” (Metaph IX 5, 1147b31–35). See e.g. Witt 2003 for a discussion of the notion of “previous exercise” in the context of Metaph IX (esp. 30–34 and 73–74). ⁵³ ἔτι ὅσα μὲν φύσει ἡμῖν παραγίνεται, τὰς δυνάμεις τούτων πρότερον κομιζόμεθα, ὕστερον δὲ τὰς ἐνεργείας ἀποδίδομεν (ὅπερ ἐπὶ τῶν αἰσθήσεων δῆλον· οὐ γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ πολλάκις ἰδεῖν ἢ πολλάκις ἀκοῦσαι τὰς αἰσθήσεις ἐλάβομεν, ἀλλ’ ἀνάπαλιν ἔχοντες ἐχρησάμεθα, οὐ χρησάμενοι ἔσχομεν)· τὰς δ’ ἀρετὰς λαμβάνομεν ἐνεργήσαντες πρότερον, ὥσπερ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων τεχνῶν·

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     

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dissociate the description of the virtuous actions of the learners from that for the sake of which those actions are performed. Since the learners’ virtuous actions must be performed well to contribute to the formation of virtue, they must be cases of properly hitting the mean in action, where the learners are both aware that they are doing so and willing. In the case of the motivational factor, this means that the learners do not aim at the right outcome under a different ‘motivationally-neutral’ description, but rather they aim at the noble goal insofar as it is noble. Only if this is the case can we understand how the activities of the learners eventually yield dispositions to choose the right actions for their own sake and not for some further goal. By providing the connection that the motivationally-neutral view was missing between the learners’ motives and the reliable tendency to choose actions for their own sake that characterizes virtuous agents, this view enables us to explain in a non-mysterious way how we become virtuous by performing virtuous actions.

1.8 A Plan for the Next Chapters If the reading of NE II 1–4 just offered is right, then we need to rethink the conditions that learners should meet to be properly prepared to become virtuous through practice. Aristotle does not offer a direct account of the features that make habituation successful, but he gives us some hints that we can use as pointers in our search. In this first chapter, I have emphasized the continuity between the learners’ practices and the resulting dispositions of character as one of the crucial conditions for successful habituation. Just as mindless practice does not lead to the acquisition of virtue, heartless practice is not effective in transforming learners into good people either. The texts from NE II 1 and II 4 analyzed in Sections 1.2 to 1.4 make clear that if the learners’ actions are to lead to the formation of virtuous dispositions of character, then those actions need to be done well, i.e. fulfilling the requisite conditions of knowledge, motivation, and stability. The task ahead is, then, to explore how learners can fulfil those conditions. And particularly, how learners can aim at the right goal before they possess full virtue. The answer I propose, inspired by the above Metaph IX 8 passage and by previous commentators’ attempts to solve this problem, is that while Aristotle asserts that we do not have virtue by nature, he does assume a proto-virtuous natural tendency that provides the kind of initial responsiveness to nobility that enables proper practice towards virtue.⁵⁴ This is in harmony with Aristotle’s claim in NE II 1 (quoted in ⁵⁴ Several other commentators have suggested the existence of a proto-virtuous natural tendency to appreciate the noble, and they have proposed different versions of it. For example, Burnyeat 1980 refers to shame (aidōs), Cooper 1996 refers to spirit (thumos), Richardson Lear 2006 refers also to thumosshame, Fossheim 2006 and Hampson 2019 refer to our natural tendency to imitate, Viano 2007 takes natural virtue to be the starting point of moral development and she understands it as “as an impulse

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     

Section 1.1) that “virtues arise in us neither by nature nor contrary to nature; rather we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect (teleioumenois) by habit” (1103a23–26).⁵⁵ That is, while learners’ appreciation for the noble is not present by nature in a perfect or fully-shaped form, they do not acquire a completely new appreciation for the noble through habituation; instead, learners cultivate an appreciation for the noble that is already present in them in imperfect form. The potential sources of such initial appreciation for the noble are many, and the next chapters will explore some of the options that Aristotle suggests and commentators have taken seriously. I start by exploring in Chapter 2 the role of pleasure and pain. As we will see, the mechanisms through which learners become able to enjoy properly the pleasures of the noble are not evident, and we have to go beyond the discussion of pleasure to give an account of the source of our first impulses towards the noble. To this aim, Chapters 3 and 4 lay out the various possibilities that Aristotle himself indirectly presents in his discussion of pseudocourage in NE III 8, 1116a15–1117a28, and EE III 1, 1229a11–1230a33. Through an analysis of the available alternatives, we will be able to conclude that shame is the best candidate in the Aristotelian repertoire to bridge the moral upbringing gap.⁵⁶

(ὁρμή) towards the καλόν without the support of reason” (27–8), and Moss 2012 refers to “something close to what we call pride” (207, cf. 216–19). My proposal in this book is in line with their intuition that such starting point is essential for the process to be successful. ⁵⁵ οὔτ’ ἄρα φύσει οὔτε παρὰ φύσιν ἐγγίνονται αἱ ἀρεταί, ἀλλὰ πεφυκόσι μὲν ἡμῖν δέξασθαι αὐτάς, τελειουμένοις δὲ διὰ τοῦ ἔθους. ⁵⁶ Sections 1.2–1.7 of this chapter are a revised version of my paper “Aristotle on Becoming Virtuous by Doing Virtuous Actions,” Phronesis 61.1 (2016): 3–32. I thank Koninklijke Brill NV for permission to reprint this material. I would like to thank Jennifer Whiting, Brad Inwood, Rachel Barney, Gurpreet Rattan, Iakovos Vasiliou, Francesca Pedriali, David Bronstein, Samuel Baker, Alessandro Bonello and an anonymous referee from Phronesis for helpful comments on earlier versions.

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2 Learning through Pleasure, Pain, the Noble, and the Shameful 2.1 “Steering the Young through Pleasure and Pain” How can learners be properly motivated to do virtuous actions before they possess full virtue?¹ To become virtuous, we must turn towards the noble as our preferred object of choice and learn to reliably do virtuous actions for the sake of their nobility (i.e. for their own sake), moving away from the temptations of non-noble pleasures and from those calculations about benefits or gains that do not take the noble into account. How does this turn towards the noble occur? Aristotle’s view is that learners, who in their early years are mostly oriented towards bodily pleasures (which can often be in conflict with the noble), need to learn through habituation to reliably feel pleasure and pain about the right things, so that they become able to adequately orient their actions towards noble goals and enjoy those actions because of their nobility. In support of this view, he quotes Plato’s claims that the good upbringing teaches us to “delight in and to be pained by the things that we ought” (NE II 3, 1104b11–12), and that “we educate the young by steering them by pleasure and pain” (NE X 1, 1172a20–21).² Although Aristotle often remarks that the key lies in the education of our pleasures and pains, he is not explicit about the details of such education. The goal of this chapter is to explain how it works. Concretely, I focus on two questions: What is achieved through this hedonic reorientation? And how is it achieved?³ The main result of the outlined hedonic reorientation is, Aristotle tells us, that the noble and the pleasant come to be in harmony for us—that the noble becomes pleasant and the shameful becomes painful. In other words, the result is that we

¹ See Chapter 1, note 11 for the list of texts where Aristotle claims that doing virtuous actions “for the sake of the noble” is characteristic of virtue. ² Aristotle must be referring in these passages to Plato’s Republic III 401e1–402a4 and Laws II 653b6–c4 (cf. Pol VIII 5, 1340a15–17). ³ In Jimenez 2015 I present a first attempt to explain Aristotle’s claims about pleasure in moral development; while the present chapter has some elements in common with that discussion, here I approach in a different way the question about the origin of the taste for the noble in the learners. For other discussions of the role of pleasure in moral development and the connection between pleasure and character in general see Annas 1980; Van Riel 2000; Wielenberg 2000 and 2002; and Frede 2006.

Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good. Marta Jimenez, Oxford University Press (2020). © Marta Jimenez. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829683.003.0003

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  , ,  ,   

reorient our motivational tendencies so that we reliably prefer and take delight in the practice of virtue: Do we love what is good for ourselves or what is good absolutely? And is actual loving attended with pleasure, so that the loved object is pleasant, or not? For the two must be harmonized. [ . . . ] Excellence brings about this agreement, and the political art exists to make them agree for those to whom as yet they do not. . . . And one who is a human being is ready and on the road for this (for by nature that which is absolutely good is good to him), and man rather than woman, and the gifted rather than the ungifted; but the road is through pleasure; what is noble must be pleasant.⁴ (EE VII 2, 1236b34–1237a9)

The learners’ turn towards the noble, and their taking to heart the intrinsic value of noble actions, does not require that they ban all considerations about pleasures and pains, or that they renounce to pursue pleasures and benefits in general. Instead, the moral education allows learners to integrate these values in such a way that their desire for the pleasant or their wish for the advantageous are properly aligned with their love of the noble. In our early years, achieving that alignment will require that we curb our appetites for non-noble pleasures and our general aversion to pain, but it will also require that we cultivate our natural inclinations towards noble and admirable actions and our natural aversion against the shameful and despicable ones. Both developments complement one another, and both are part of the education through pleasures and pains. But how can our experiences of pleasure and pain teach us anything about the noble and the shameful, or about the advantageous and the harmful, when often those values seem in conflict with one another, particularly in the case of children and the young? Don’t we find doing virtuous actions generally painful in our early years, and don’t we often find pleasure in shameful things? How do young people learn through practice to enjoy virtuous actions for their own sake, i.e. to take pleasure in their nobility? And how is it possible within the Aristotelian framework for learners to taste the pleasures of virtue before they have formed the relevant dispositions of character? To answer these questions, a few authors defend what I call the “conditioning model,” where the tendency to take pleasure in the noble is achieved by associating the already-familiar appetitive pleasures or pains with the virtuous activities, and with the noble in general. In this model, as I discuss in Section 2.2, pleasures and pains initially work as external incentives (rewards and punishments) for learners ⁴ τὸ αὐτῷ ἀγαθὸν ἢ τὸ ἁπλῶς ἀγαθὸν φίλον, καὶ πότερον τὸ κατ’ ἐνέργειαν φιλεῖν μεθ’ ἡδονῆς, ὥστε καὶ τὸ φιλητὸν ἡδύ, ἢ οὔ. ἄμφω γὰρ εἰς ταὐτὸ συνακτέον· . . . καὶ τοῦτο ἡ ἀρετὴ ποιεῖ· καὶ ἡ πολιτικὴ ἐπὶ τούτῳ, ὅπως οἷς μήπω ἐστὶ γένηται. ** εὐθέτως δὲ καὶ πρὸ ὁδοῦ ἄνθρωπος ὤν (φύσει γὰρ αὐτῷ ἀγαθὰ τὰ ἁπλῶς ἀγαθά), ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἀνὴρ ἀντὶ γυναικὸς καὶ εὐφυὴς ἀφυοῦς, διὰ τοῦ ἡδέος δὲ ἡ ὁδός· ἀνάγκη εἶναι τὰ καλὰ ἡδέα.

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“      ”

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to engage in virtuous activities, and through association, those pleasures and pains are internalized and become reliable motivators. As I argue, this conditioning model is not Aristotle’s view and he has good reasons for rejecting it. Specifically, this model (which is a close cousin of the mechanical model discussed in Chapter 1) fails to provide continuity to the process and can offer no explanation of how we learn to appreciate the intrinsic value of virtuous actions. A second, more promising view is what I call the “familiarity account,” which attempts to correct some of the problems of the conditioning model. Here the tendency to take pleasure in the noble is achieved not by associating the alreadyfamiliar appetitive pleasures or pains with the virtuous activities, but instead, simply by practice. Here pleasures and pains are also external incentives (rewards and punishments) for learners to engage in virtuous activities, but instead of internalizing them through association, learners develop an unrelated capacity to enjoy virtuous activities as a result of repeating those activities and gaining familiarity with them. Although this view manages to avoid some of the problems of the conditioning model, it still does not explain the origin of the new pleasures of the noble or the reason why the learner is able to engage in the virtuous activities properly in the first place. An account that solves these problems is Burnyeat’s account of learning to be good, which I present and defend in Section 2.4. Burnyeat’s account is also based on the transformative power of practice, but it emphasizes something about the relevant practices that, unlike in the familiarity account, helps explain how the transformation is achieved. The idea is that learners develop through practice a taste for the pleasures intrinsic to virtuous activities, i.e. the “pleasures of the noble,” which are those that arise when we engage in such activities in the right way; moreover, by enjoying the intrinsic pleasures of the noble, learners gain access to first-hand knowledge of the noble and awareness of its value, so they can make progress towards virtue. One advantage of Burnyeat’s account over the conditioning view and the familiarity view is that it insists that proper habituation should teach us to aim at the noble from the beginning, without the intervention of mediating mechanisms of appetitive pleasures and pains. The relevant practices are those in which the learner experiences the enjoyable character of the activities “in themselves.” One peculiarity of Burnyeat’s account, that some critics see as a fundamental failure, is that it requires that the learner acts with a grasp of the nobility of the activity, an appreciation for the nobility of the activity, and performing it precisely on account of that nobility. Section 2.5 presents some of the main objections that have been raised against Burnyeat’s interpretation. Contrary to the critics, I think Burnyeat’s account is on the right track and can survive the criticisms. In Section 2.6 I argue, following a suggestion that Burnyeat himself makes, that moral development is not the acquisition of a taste for the pleasures of the noble, but a development, shaping,

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  , ,  ,   

and perfecting of the already-present capacity to enjoy nobility and be pained by the shameful—a development through which learners of virtue become better able to appreciate the comparatively superior value of nobility and praiseworthiness over mere bodily pleasures or mere material gains. In other words, my main point is that the taste for the noble does not appear in learners out of nowhere, or through an ascent where learners are first attracted only to mere appetitive pleasures (and external incentives in general) and later learn to appreciate the pleasures of the noble. Instead, learners have a proto-version of the taste for the noble from the start, just as they have a desire for pleasure and a desire for benefit. When Aristotle claims in NE II 3, 1104b30–32, that there are three objects of choice, “the noble, the advantageous, and the pleasant” (kalou sumpherontos hêdeos), and three objects of avoidance, “the shameful, the harmful, and the painful” (aischrou blaberou lupêrou), he is presenting us with three sets of goals and anti-goals that we can pursue or avoid independently from one another, even if we often find them intertwined.⁵ Thus, it is possible, as I argue in this chapter, that learners have in themselves from the start an initial raw motivation towards the noble (and away from the shameful) that serves as starting point for the process of learning how to appreciate properly the intrinsic value of the noble and how to enjoy it for itself. Moral upbringing is, then, the development and shaping of our natural (but imperfect) tendency to appreciate the noble (and be repelled by the shameful), and it is a process in which we integrate that appreciation of the noble with our desires for the pleasant and the advantageous (as well as we integrate our aversion towards the shameful with our aversion towards the painful and the harmful).

2.2 The Conditioning View: Transformation through Rewards and Punishments Let me start by stating what I think Aristotle’s theory of the role of pleasure in habituation does not say. Aristotle does not hold a conditioning view of moral learning where learners acquire a taste for virtuous activities and come to find them attractive or repulsive by associating them with rewards or punishments.⁶ ⁵ See Jimenez 2018 for a discussion of the three objects of choice and of the importance of having the kalon included as an independent object of choice on that list. ⁶ One version of this conditioning view is defended in Hardie 1968: “A person who starts by obeying a rule through fear of penalties, or hope of rewards, may end by obeying it, thinking it right and reasonable, for better reasons” (106). Also Pakaluk 2005 understands the process of habituation as based, at first at least, on punishments and rewards: “The first step in acquiring a virtue is typically that someone perform actions like those of people who have the virtue because he is directed to do so by some discipline or rule. This rule will attach rewards to observance and punishments to infractions. When we perform an action thus required by a rule because of the reward, we are taking pleasure in something other than the action, but which is accidentally attached to the action. After repeatedly performing actions of that sort, however, we can change so that we want to perform actions like that”

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Explanations through conditioning, or through association, which typically are based on mechanisms of punishment and rewards, conceive of the process of moral development as a ladder of pleasures, where learners start by being attracted to some activities on account of the pleasures that are familiar to them (i.e. rewards) and avoiding others on account of the pains that are familiar to them (i.e. punishments), and through practice they are able to ascend to the noble pleasures of the activities in themselves. In this account, at first, the pleasures and pains involved in rewards and punishments are typically “external” to the activities to which they are linked, and as a consequence, the association is due merely to their simultaneous (or correlated) exercise and not because there is any meaningful connection between them. However, the explanation goes, once shaped by this kind of training—i.e., once pleasures and pains have been appropriately associated with virtuous and vicious activities and internalized—the learner will have a new sense of noble joy and noble hatred. Learners will then be able to take pleasure in virtuous activities in themselves, and the new noble pleasures will be the guide and motive for their behavior, ensuring that they choose noble actions going forward.

2.2.1 MacIntyre’s Chess Example: A Case of Reward-Based Upbringing A familiar illustration of this view is Alasdair MacIntyre’s 1981 description of a process of initiating a child into the practice of chess for its own sake by first offering candy as a reward. The example is worth quoting at length: Consider the example of a highly intelligent seven-year-old child whom I wish to teach to play chess, although the child has no particular desire to learn the game. The child does, however, have a very strong desire for candy and little chance of obtaining it. I therefore tell the child that if the child will play chess with me once a week I will give the child 50 cents worth of candy; moreover I tell the child that I will always play in such a way that it will be difficult, but not impossible, for the child to win, and that, if the child wins, the child will receive an extra 50 cents worth of candy. Thus motivated the child plays to win. Notice however that, so long as it is the candy alone which provides the child with a good reason for playing (103–4). In a similar vein, Taylor 2006 uses behavioristic-sounding phrases such as “positive reinforcement” and “negative reinforcement” to explain Aristotle’s account of moral development: “While the details of the controversy go beyond the scope of the present discussion, it is clear that Aristotle’s insistence that correct education proceeds via pleasure and distress (1104b9–16) stresses the importance both of positive reinforcement of desirable character traits via pleasure and negative reinforcement of undesirable traits via distress . . . ” (81, n. 5). As discussed in Section 2.2.3 below, Curzer 2002 (also 2012) defends a modified version of the conditioning view, which I call the “internalized punishment view,” which focuses mainly on the role of pain and punishments rather than pleasure and rewards.

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  , ,  ,    chess, the child has no reason not to cheat, but every reason to cheat, provided that he or she can do so successfully. But, so we may hope, there will come a time when the child will find in those goods specific to chess, in the development of a certain highly particular kind of analytical skill, strategic imagination and competitive intensity, a new set of reasons, reasons now not just for winning on a particular occasion, but for trying to excel in whatever way the game of chess demands. (After Virtue, 1981, 188, my italics)

The child is expected to acquire a taste for the specific goods of chess (and a new set of reasons for action) by being initially attracted to the game mainly by the mere prospect of an external reward. MacIntyre’s hope is that after a sufficient number of repetitions, the child will be attracted to playing chess for its own sake, without the need of the extra reward of candy. In this model there is, however, a problematic discontinuity in the development of the child’s motivations. At first, the child plays chess for the sake of the candy, and later, for its own sake. This discontinuity presents an important obstacle for finding an explanation of how the process of conditioning through external rewards might lead the child to develop a taste for chess in itself. The only thing that we are offered in MacIntyre’s account is the “hope” that this association will have that effect on the child, perhaps due to some brute fact about human nature. In other words, the hope is that this transformation occurs because that is how our psychology works.⁷ This interpretation assumes that the mere association of external rewards with certain activities must be what does the transformative work in the learner’s motivational outlook. However, as I argue next in Section 2.2.2, there is no evidence in support of the idea that Aristotle thinks that mere association has that kind of power.⁸

2.2.2 Aristotle’s Rejection of Associative Learning The discussion of the relationship between pleasure and activity in NE X 5, including the crucial distinction between proper and alien pleasures, helps to show why MacIntyre’s candy method and, in general, conditioning through ⁷ This is precisely the problem that we saw raised by Hardie 1968 in our discussion of the mechanical view in Chapter 1, where Hardie complained that Aristotle simply indicates that “the thing does happen” without any explanation of how (see Chapter 1, Section 1.6.3 above). On this point see also Pakaluk 2005 quoted in note 6 of this chapter. ⁸ One might complain that this is an empirical question and that it might just be a fact about our psychology that repetition has indeed that power. The central problem with attributing this view to Aristotle, particularly in the case of learning virtue, is that it generates a lack of continuity. On this view, at least initially, the learners would be performing the corresponding actions mechanically; they would not be exercising the relevant features of the acting and feeling characteristic of virtue. But if they are not exercising the relevant features of virtue, it is hard to see how the relevant transformation can occur. This line of criticism is developed by e.g. Sherman 1989 and Broadie 1991.

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rewards and punishments, does not provide a good model for how the child might develop a genuine taste for chess in itself. The explanation arises from attending to the distinction between alien and proper pleasures while applying two general principles that Aristotle uses to explain the relationship between pleasures and activities: (a) the principle of inextricability and (b) the principle of covariance.⁹ (a) Inextricability Principle: Each of the pleasures is “bound up” (sunedseuchthai) with the activity that it completes: And whether we choose life for the sake of pleasure or pleasure for the sake of life is a question we may dismiss for the present. For they seem to be bound up together and not to admit of separation, since without activity pleasure does not arise, and every activity is completed by pleasure.¹⁰ (NE X 5, 1175a18–21)

(b) Covariance principle: Activities differing in kind are completed by pleasures differing in kind: For this reason pleasures seem, too, to differ in kind. For things different in kind are, we think, completed by different things (we see this to be true both of natural objects and of things produced by art, e.g. animals, trees, a painting, a sculpture, a house, an implement); and, similarly, we think that activities differing in kind are completed by things differing in kind. Now the activities of thought differ from those of the senses, and among themselves, in kind; so, therefore, do the pleasures that complete them.¹¹ (NE X 5, 1175b25–26)

With the kind of intimate connection between pleasures and activities expressed in these two principles, learning by association becomes impossible. For the idea of hooking certain pleasures initially derived from activities of one type onto a different type of activity is unintelligible once we take seriously that each pleasure is inextricably bound up with the corresponding activity and that pleasures are differentiated precisely by reference to the activity they complete. ⁹ My reading of NE X 5 relies on the detailed analysis in Strohl 2011 and the insightful comments in Strohl 2018. For a discussion of the inextricability principle (i.e. the idea that pleasures are “bound up” with the corresponding activities) and its relevance in moral development see e.g. Annas 1980. The label “covariance thesis” is used in Strohl 2018 to refer to Aristotle’s main claim in NE X 5, 1175b25–26. ¹⁰ Πότερον δὲ διὰ τὴν ἡδονὴν τὸ ζῆν αἱρούμεθα ἢ διὰ τὸ ζῆν τὴν ἡδονήν, ἀφείσθω ἐν τῷ παρόντι. συνεζεῦχθαι μὲν γὰρ ταῦτα φαίνεται καὶ χωρισμὸν οὐ δέχεσθαι· ἄνευ τε γὰρ ἐνεργείας οὐ γίνεται ἡδονή, πᾶσάν τε ἐνέργειαν τελειοῖ ἡ ἡδονή. ¹¹ Ὅθεν δοκοῦσι καὶ τῷ εἴδει διαφέρειν. τὰ γὰρ ἕτερα τῷ εἴδει ὑφ’ ἑτέρων οἰόμεθα τελειοῦσθαι (οὕτω γὰρ φαίνεται καὶ τὰ φυσικὰ καὶ τὰ ὑπὸ τέχνης, οἷον ζῷα καὶ δένδρα καὶ γραφὴ καὶ ἄγαλμα καὶ οἰκία καὶ σκεῦος)· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὰς ἐνεργείας τὰς διαφερούσας τῷ εἴδει ὑπὸ διαφερόντων εἴδει τελειοῦσθαι. διαφέρουσι δ’ αἱ τῆς διανοίας τῶν κατὰ τὰς αἰσθήσεις καὶ αὐταὶ ἀλλήλων κατ’ εἶδος· καὶ αἱ τελειοῦσαι δὴ ἡδοναί. φανείη δ’ ἂν τοῦτο καὶ ἐκ τοῦ συνῳκειῶσθαι τῶν ἡδονῶν ἑκάστην τῇ ἐνεργείᾳ ἣν τελειοῖ.

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  , ,  ,   

The main problem with the conditioning model is clear from the distinction between ‘proper’ (oikeiai) and ‘alien’ (or ‘foreign’, allotriai) pleasures and pains that follows from these principles.¹² For only “the proper pleasures” (tōn oikeiōn hēdonōn), which supervene on the activity “in virtue of its own nature” (kath’ hautēn), promote the performance of the corresponding activity, while what he calls the alien pleasures, hinder or “destroy” (phtheirousi) the exercise of an activity: So an activity suffers contrary effects from its proper pleasures and pains, i.e. from those that supervene on the activity in virtue of its own nature. And alien pleasures have been stated to do much the same as pain; they destroy the activity, only not in the same way.¹³ (NE X 5, 1175b20–24)

In the immediately preceding lines of NE X 5, Aristotle offers an example about flute-lovers that will help us see this point: This will be even more apparent from the fact that activities are hindered by pleasures arising from other sources. For people who are fond of playing the flute are incapable of attending to arguments if they overhear someone playing the flute, since they enjoy flute-playing more than the activity in hand; so the pleasure connected with flute-playing destroys the activity concerned with argument. This happens, similarly, in all other cases, when one is active about two things at once; the more pleasant activity drives out the other, and if it is much more pleasant does so all the more, so that one even ceases from the other.¹⁴ (NE X 5, 1175b1–10)

The point of the example is to show that the presence of external or alien pleasures alongside proper pleasures actually serves to distract agents from the performance of their activities, especially if those external pleasures are more familiar to the agents than pleasures arising from the activities themselves. More intensely, then, in the case of acquiring a taste for new activities, the presence of external pleasures, even in the form of rewards, will distract the learner from paying attention to the proper pleasures of the new activity.

¹² This distinction between proper pleasures and alien pleasures appears also in NE VII 12, 1153a19–23. ¹³ συμβαίνει δὴ περὶ τῆς ἐνεργείας τοὐναντίον ἀπὸ τῶν οἰκείων ἡδονῶν τε καὶ λυπῶν· οἰκεῖαι δ’ εἰσὶν αἱ ἐπὶ τῇ ἐνεργείᾳ καθ’ αὑτὴν γινόμεναι. αἱ δ’ ἀλλότριαι ἡδοναὶ εἴρηται ὅτι παραπλήσιόν τι τῇ λύπῃ ποιοῦσιν· φθείρουσι γάρ,πλὴν οὐχ ὁμοίως. ¹⁴ ἔτι δὲ μᾶλλον τοῦτ’ ἂν φανείη ἐκ τοῦ τὰς ἀφ’ ἑτέρων ἡδονὰς ἐμποδίους ταῖς ἐνεργείαις εἶναι. οἱ γὰρ φίλαυλοι ἀδυνατοῦσι τοῖς λόγοις προσέχειν, ἐὰν κατακούσωσιν αὐλοῦντος, μᾶλλον χαίροντες αὐλητικῇ τῆς παρούσης ἐνεργείας· ἡ κατὰ τὴν αὐλητικὴν οὖν ἡδονὴ τὴν περὶ τὸν λόγον ἐνέργειαν φθείρει. ὁμοίως δὲ τοῦτο καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων συμβαίνει, ὅταν ἅμα περὶ δύο ἐνεργῇ· ἡ γὰρ ἡδίων τὴν ἑτέραν ἐκκρούει, κἂν πολὺ διαφέρῃ κατὰ τὴν ἡδονήν, μᾶλλον, ὥστε μηδ’ ἐνεργεῖν κατὰ τὴν ἑτέραν.

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Therefore, contrary to what the defenders of the conditioning view assume, the simultaneous (or correlated) presence of alien pleasures and proper pleasure in the process of association (i.e. the reward method) would be counterproductive in Aristotle’s view.

2.2.3 An Alternative Conditioning View: “InternalizedPunishment” View Some commentators (such as Engberg-Pedersen 1983 and Curzer 2002 and 2012) have proposed that the Aristotelian account of moral upbringing appeals to the internalization of punishments, instead of rewards. Here are some passages representative of this position: [T]he mechanism that lies behind the efficacy of habituation is that the person who is being habituated is “forced” to do some particular act in order to avoid evils that he takes to be greater. (Engberg-Pedersen 1983, 183)¹⁵ How does performing virtuous acts over and over under the threat of pain induce the many to progress? Aristotle does not say. I suggest that the many progress through the familiar mechanism of internalizing the punishments. The many move from being punished for vicious acts to punishing themselves for vicious acts. (Curzer 2002, 159) On my interpretation, however, pain rather than pleasure drives moral development. Aristotle proposes to improve moral beginners (the many) through external punishments; he does not mention external rewards. (Curzer 2002, 162)

This proposal is similar to the rewards method and it generates a similar problem of discontinutiy. That is, also in this case there is not a clear explanation of how the repetition of actions done from fear of punishment yield dispositions to act for the sake of the noble.¹⁶ The main problem is that by making internalized fear of punishment the initial motive of the learners, this view precludes any link between the motive of the learners and the motive of virtuous agents, i.e. the noble. ¹⁵ See Hursthouse 1988 for a criticism of Engberg-Pedersen 1983 on this point: “There are many objections that could be made here; perhaps the most obvious is that on this account, even under the most generous interpretation, habituation will not yield much more than enkrateia. Aristotle does not claim that custom renders the painful positively enjoyable; but we are supposed to be able to account for the fact that the virtuous man enjoys acting virtuously; the virtuous act appears pleasant to him. But the deeper objection I am concerned with at the moment, is that the account is the account of a mechanism, a mindless process. It is a plausible description of horse-training, but not of the moral education of rational creatures” (210–11). ¹⁶ Engberg-Pedersen 1983 admits this problem: “Aristotle’s answer to this question consists in pointing to something that is taken as an empirical fact, viz. that things which are at first felt to be painful are no longer so “when they become customary” (1179b35–6)” (183).

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  , ,  ,   

Broadie 1991 expresses this objection against any punishment-based method as follows: However many times [the learner] does [virtuous things] against his will or under threat of punishment, he will not end by identifying himself with the action in the way characteristic of virtue. (108, my emphasis)

If the learners are doing virtuous actions because of the fear of punishment, then they will clearly not be engaging in the activities as the virtuous person does. And since in this view learners respond at first only to fear of punishment, it seems impossible for it to provide an explanation of how learners move from feeling the characteristic pains of (real or imagined) punishment to feeling the characteristic pains of the shameful. In this internalized-punishment method, just as in the rewards method, the threat of punishment will be an obstacle to the learners’ appreciation of the nobility of virtuous activities in itself—and an obstacle to the learners’ capacity to properly experience the pleasures characteristic of virtuous activities and the pains of failing to act virtuously. Here too, the presence of the threat of punishment distracts learners from paying attention to what is really relevant if they are to make moral progress, namely the considerations about the nobility and shamefulness of their actions. Curzer’s 2002 interpretation, where shame is cashed out in terms of internalized fear of punishment, reveals with even more clarity the problem. For his account does not leave space for the crucial contrast between fear of punishment and aversion to the shameful, which is a constant theme in the NE and is crucial to disentangle mediocre habituation from a good one.¹⁷ As we will discuss at the end of Chapter 3, and again in Chapter 6 below, Aristotle is adamant about the distinction between fear of punishment and our sense of shame because these two emotions lead people towards opposite developmental routes: while a sense of shame makes young agents avoid shameful actions on account of their ignoble nature, and thus puts them on the right path towards virtue, fear makes agents avoid wrongdoing merely to escape painful consequences, which is an improbable way to build a virtuous character.

2.2.4 The Problem with the Conditioning View In sum, both the reward method and the punishment method are inadequate models of the role of pleasure in moral upbringing because neither of them offers

¹⁷ See e.g. NE III 8, 1116a17–b3, and X 9, 1179b19–31. This contrast has appeared in our discussion of the proto-virtuous motivation of learners in Section 1.7.2, and is the main pillar of Chapter 3, Section 3.7.

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tools to lead learners towards enjoying the noble in the right way or in itself.¹⁸ One central problem with the conditioning view, in either the rewards or the punishments variants, is the lack of distinction between different kinds of pleasures. Aristotle clearly indicates that moral development crucially involves modulating the demands of the appetitive pleasures, and he constantly contrasts those who are able to attend to considerations about nobility and praiseworthiness with those who only attend their own appetitive pleasures and pains, so it is strange to think that moral development uses those pleasures and pains as the way to guide learners one way or another. But the main reason to reject this account is that the motivating role that it concedes to pleasure and pain is incompatible with both Aristotle’s account of the relationship between pleasure and virtuous actions and with his conception of what is involved in performing virtuous actions well. As repeatedly stated by Aristotle in NE II 1–4, the virtuous actions that lead to the acquisition of the corresponding dispositions of character are those that are performed “well,” in Aristotle’s terms, or “in the way characteristic of virtue,” in Broadie‘s expression (108). Only then there is continuity between the learners’ actions and the expected dispositions, and only then does it make sense to expect moral progress.

2.3 The Familiarity View: Transformation through Repetition and Becoming Familiar But perhaps someone might think it is not the association but, instead, the repetition that does the job. Aristotle seems to suggest this when he indicates in Rhet I 10 and 11 that becoming familiar with certain behavior does have the effect of making the behavior itself pleasant, or less painful. He says that “the familiar” (to sunêthes) and “the habitual” (to ethiston) “belong to the class of pleasant things; for there are many actions not naturally pleasant which people perform with pleasure, once they have become familiar with them” (Rhet I 10, 1369b16–18).¹⁹ The explanation offered a few lines below is that habits are pleasant “because as soon as something has become habitual, it is virtually natural” (Rhet I 11, 1370a6).²⁰ In general, then, becoming familiar with certain behavior does have the effect of making the behavior itself pleasant, or less painful. ¹⁸ See a similar verdict in Moss 2012: “Punishment can only give one the right extensional pains: it can make one averse to doing things that are in fact shameful, but not because they are shameful (not “on account of the shameful”); likewise, presumably, rewards and incentives can give one the right extensional pleasures but only these, making one want to do the things that are in fact fine but not because they are fine” (208). ¹⁹ ἔστιν δὲ καὶ τὸ σύνηθες καὶ τὸ ἐθιστὸν ἐν τοῖς ἡδέσιν· πολλὰ γὰρ καὶ τῶν φύσει μὴ ἡδέων, ὅταν συνεθισθῶσιν, ἡδέως ποιοῦσιν. ²⁰ καὶ γὰρ τὸ εἰθισμένον ὥσπερ πεφυκὸς ἤδη γίγνεται. Here Aristotle adds “habit is a thing not unlike nature; what happens often is akin to what happens always, natural events happening always, habitual events often” (ὅμοιον γάρ τι τὸ ἔθος τῇ φύσει· ἐγγὺς γὰρ καὶ τὸ πολλάκις τῷ ἀεί, ἔστιν δ’ ἡ μὲν φύσις τοῦ ἀεί, τὸ δὲ ἔθος τοῦ πολλάκις, 1370a7–9).

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  , ,  ,   

Given this connection between familiarity with something and learning to enjoy it, then it would seem that familiarity is a sufficient method for learning to be good, since rewards and punishments can entice learners to go through the moves enough times as to make those behaviors habitual and consequently pleasant. I think, however, that Aristotle’s views about the relationship between pleasures and activities forbid this move. The reason is that, for him, it does make a difference how the actions are done, and it is important that the habit involves not just the external behavior but also the corresponding movements of the soul. The familiarity model reveals something interesting and frightening about the dangers of pleasure. If the repetition of an activity can turn that activity into something pleasant for us, then we can learn to enjoy any kind of activity, noble or shameful, through mere repetition. It results, then, that we can be trained to enjoy anything out of sheer repetitive habit without developing a true taste for it or coming to appreciate it for itself. That is, when the repetition of the activity is what leads us to enjoy it, or at least to tolerate it, then we cannot be said to be learning or genuinely generating appreciation. The familiarity method is better than the conditioning one, in that it focuses on the development of the proper pleasures of virtuous activities and avoids appealing to association. However, this method still cannot explain why learners get to appreciate the activities for the right reasons or in the right way. In fact, Aristotle’s inextricability and covariance principles, together with his understanding of the effects of proper pleasures and alien pleasures in the corresponding activities, seem to count against the familiarity account. The reason is that it is important that the habit formed by the learner involves not just the external behavior but also that the learners perform the activities in the right way. This account tells a story about how through repetition we can generate pleasure, but does not explain how it is that learners learn to engage in the activities properly in the first place. In the case of moral development, there is a difference between generating a desire for the noble through mechanical repetition (i.e. through getting used and attached to it) and generating an appreciation for the noble in itself. As we are about to learn from Burnyeat’s analysis, mere familiarity can only get learners to take pleasure in the new activities, but not to enjoy them properly.

2.4 Burnyeat’s Account: Learning to Enjoy the Pleasures of the Noble Any explanation of the role of pleasure and pain in moral development then must, first, take into consideration the distinction between appetitive and noble pleasures, and then, account for how learners reorient themselves from being guided by their appetitive pleasures and pains to being mainly responsive to the pleasures of the noble and the pains of the shameful. The goal is that learners develop through

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practice an awareness of that difference, and cultivate a proper taste for the pleasures of the noble that is independent from appetitive pleasures and from considerations about gain. How does this hedonic transformation occur? As Burnyeat puts it, there is a difference between “learning to enjoy something properly” and “merely taking pleasure in it” (76), and moral development requires that we learn to enjoy noble activities properly: There is also such a thing as learning to enjoy something properly, where this contrasts with merely taking pleasure in it. This is a hard subject, but I can indicate roughly what I mean by a few examples of not enjoying something properly: enjoying philosophy for the sense of power it can give, enjoying a trip abroad because of the splendid photographs you are taking on the way, enjoying a party because you are meeting important people, letting a symphony trigger a release of sentimental emotion. Aristotle’s virtue of temperance is about the proper enjoyment of certain bodily pleasures having to do with taste and touch. These are things that any man or beast can take pleasure in, but not necessarily in the right way. (76)

Burnyeat’s model does not work through association or repetition (familiarity), but consists in developing a taste through a kind of practice and habituation that incorporates from the start the appreciation of nobility and disencourages learners from the start from engaging in virtuous activities for the wrong reasons. Through practice, learners get to enjoy virtuous actions properly, which includes appreciating the value of undertaking such actions for their own sake and not for any further goal. That is how, simultaneously, learners strengthen their appreciation for the value of the noble. Burnyeat expresses the transformation in terms of learning something for oneself, or “taking to heart,” which I think is a crucial way to capture what learning to enjoy something properly is: Accordingly, if learning to do and to take (proper) enjoyment in doing just actions is learning to do and to enjoy them for their own sake, for what they are, namely, just, and this is not to be distinguished from learning that they are enjoyable for themselves and their intrinsic value, namely, their justice and nobility, then perhaps we can give intelligible sense to the thesis that practice leads to knowledge, as follows. I may be told, and may believe, that such and such actions are just and noble, but I have not really learned for myself (taken to heart, made second nature to me) that they have this intrinsic value until I have learned to value (love) them for it, with the consequence that I take pleasure in doing them. To understand and appreciate the value that makes them enjoyable in themselves I must learn for myself to enjoy them, and that does take time and practice—in short, habituation. (78)

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  , ,  ,   

There are many ways of learning to take pleasure in something, but the proper way—the one that is relevant for moral upbringing—is inseparable from developing an awareness that what we are doing is something valuable in itself and from wholeheartedly embracing that value as one’s own.²¹

2.4.1 Pleasures of the Noble and the Dangers of Appetitive Pleasures An advantage of Burnyeat’s account, as opposed to both the familiarity view and the conditioning view, is that it distinguishes between different kinds of pleasures, and concretely between bodily pleasures and noble pleasures. This is another way of emphasizing that there is a discontinuity between the pleasures that children typically pursue (bodily pleasures) and the pleasures of the noble, and that we cannot use the former as a ladder towards the latter. When we talk about moral education’s goal of integrating or aligning the pleasant and the noble, we should not think about this alignment as one of simply collecting or merging, but instead as one of reshaping, where we learn to take pleasure in a different way. Aristotle clearly indicates that moral development crucially involves modulating our attraction to the bodily pleasures that occupy most of the attention of children, and he constantly contrasts those who are able to attend to considerations about nobility and praiseworthiness with those who only attend their own appetitive pleasures and pains, so it would be strange if moral development uses bodily pleasures and pains as the enticement to guide learners one way or another (as the familiarity and the conditional accounts do). For example, at NE X 9, 1179b13–16, a text that keeps coming back because it contains a crucial distinction concerning how we learn to be good, Aristotle contrasts agents who are responsive to the noble with those who only obey punishments and rewards. Now if arguments were in themselves enough to make people decent, then justly, as Theognis says, “Many and great would be the fees they earned,” and it would have been right to provide them. But as things are, while arguments seem to have

²¹ Brewer 2003 contains a deep and illuminating discussion of pleasure that I think expresses the core of Burnyeat’s proposal. I borrow from him the use of “wholeheartedness” to characterize one of the central features of proper pleasure. As Brewer explains, this notion of wholeheartedness is different from the one popularized by Harry Frankfurt (see e.g. Frankfurt 1999, 101–102), which “consists merely in an absence of any internal resistance to one’s own activities.” Instead, Brewer explains wholeheartedness as a “tendency to be drawn into what I am doing by a vivid impression of its value. Wholeheartedness involves a vivid awareness of what we are doing as valuable; if what we are doing is in fact valuable, it might be said to involve awakeness to value. Frankfurt’s recent writings on wholeheartedness lose track of this positive element, and this omission tends to obscure the place of wholeheartedness in a good human life” (158, n. 15, my emphasis).

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power to encourage and incite those of the young who are generous-minded, and to make a character that is well born and truly loves the noble, ready to be possessed by virtue, they are not able to encourage the many to nobility and goodness. For these are not disposed by nature to obey the sense of shame, but fear, and do not abstain from bad actions on account of their shameful character but through fear of punishment; living by passion they pursue their own pleasures and the means to them, and avoid the opposite pains, and have not even a conception of what is noble and truly pleasant, since they have never tasted it.²² (NE X 9, 1179b4–16)

When Aristotle says that young people must learn to properly enjoy and be pained by the right things, he means that, for instance, they should become able to enjoy the pleasures resulting from temperately abstaining from bodily pleasures more than they would enjoy the excess bodily pleasures themselves. Or that they should become able to be pained by the dangers and wounds of battle less than they would be pained by leaving their post in the wrong moment or for the wrong reason. The kinds of pleasures intrinsic to virtuous activity—i.e., the pleasures that the temperate person takes in refraining from excessive pleasures, and the pleasure that the courageous person takes in enduring pains—are the pleasures of the noble, while the other pleasures result from the exercise of bodily functions or from the activities of the senses.

2.4.2 Curbing One’s Appetites: Bodily Pleasures in Moral Development One important step for young people to learn to enjoy noble pleasures properly is to turn away from appetitive bodily pleasures when they compete with the exercise of virtue or to be less bothered by bodily pains when they are a consequence of virtuous activity. Aristotle underscores the fact that our sensitivity and weakness towards the pleasures of food and sex is something natural to all humans (EE III 2, 1230b17), and he often admits that to some degree the presence of these pleasures in our lives is unavoidable (e.g. NE II 3, 1105a1–3 and NE VII 13, 1153b25–31). These are, however, the pleasures (and pains) that lead most people astray: we all

²² εἰ μὲν οὖν ἦσαν οἱ λόγοι αὐτάρκεις πρὸς τὸ ποιῆσαι ἐπιεικεῖς, πολλοὺς ἂν μισθοὺς καὶ μεγάλους δικαίως ἔφερον κατὰ τὸν Θέογνιν, καὶ ἔδει ἂν τούτους πορίσασθαι· νῦν δὲ φαίνονται προτρέψασθαι μὲν καὶ παρορμῆσαι τῶν νέων τοὺς ἐλευθερίους ἰσχύειν, ἦθός τ’ εὐγενὲς καὶ ὡς ἀληθῶς φιλόκαλον ποιῆσαι ἂν κατοκώχιμον ἐκ τῆς ἀρετῆς, τοὺς δὲ πολλοὺς ἀδυνατεῖν πρὸς καλοκαγαθίαν προτρέψασθαι· οὐ γὰρ πεφύκασιν αἰδοῖ πειθαρχεῖν ἀλλὰ φόβῳ, οὐδ’ ἀπέχεσθαι τῶν φαύλων διὰ τὸ αἰσχρὸν ἀλλὰ διὰ τὰς τιμωρίας· πάθει γὰρ ζῶντες τὰς οἰκείας ἡδονὰς διώκουσι καὶ δι’ ὧν αὗται ἔσονται, φεύγουσι δὲ τὰς ἀντικειμένας λύπας, τοῦ δὲ καλοῦ καὶ ὡς ἀληθῶς ἡδέος οὐδ’ ἔννοιαν ἔχουσιν, ἄγευστοι ὄντες.

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  , ,  ,   

tend to err in the direction of caring too much or in wrong ways for the pleasures of food and sex, and for bodily pleasures in general. That is why often Aristotle recommends that we ought to “guard against” (philakteon) pleasure as a means of avoiding practical mistakes: Now in everything the pleasant or pleasure is most to be guarded against; for we do not judge it impartially. We ought, then, to feel towards pleasure as the elders of the people felt towards Helen, and in all circumstances repeat their saying; for if we dismiss pleasure thus we are less likely to go astray. It is by doing this, then, (to sum the matter up) that we shall best be able to hit the mean.²³ (NE II 9, 1109b7–13)

Aristotle often reminds us that people become bad by pursuing the excess in pleasures (NE VII 14, 1154a20–21), and that bad people pursue and avoid the wrong pleasures or pains, or they do so in the wrong way (tōi diōkein kai pheugein ē hōs mē dei ē has mē dei, EE II 4, 1222a1–2). For this reason, this tendency will have to be reoriented by a good upbringing. When he talks about the relation of the virtuous person to bodily pleasures in the context of the exercise of virtue, he often characterizes it as one of avoidance or refrain. For example, in NE VII 13 Aristotle claims that other animals and children pursue appetitive pleasures, and the self-indulgent pursue them to excess, while temperate people “avoid” (pheugei) appetitive pleasures and attend to their own temperate pleasures instead: We have said in what sense pleasures are good without qualification and in what sense some are not good. Now both the other animals and children pursue pleasures of the latter kind (and the practically wise person pursues tranquil freedom from that kind). They are the pleasures which imply appetite and pain, i.e. the bodily pleasures (for it is these that are of this nature) and the excesses of them, in respect of which the self-indulgent person is self-indulgent. This is why the temperate person avoids those pleasures; for the temperate person has his own characteristic pleasures as well.²⁴ (NE VII 13, 1153a29–35)

What are the pleasures of the noble, and how are they different from bodily or appetitive pleasures? In NE II 3, Aristotle makes use of the distinction between

²³ ἐν παντὶ δὲ μάλιστα φυλακτέον τὸ ἡδὺ καὶ τὴν ἡδονήν· οὐ γὰρ ἀδέκαστοι κρίνομεν αὐτήν. ὅπερ οὖν οἱ δημογέροντες ἔπαθον πρὸς τὴν Ἑλένην, τοῦτο δεῖ παθεῖν καὶ ἡμᾶς πρὸς τὴν ἡδονήν, καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τὴν ἐκείνων ἐπιλέγειν φωνήν· οὕτω γὰρ αὐτὴν ἀποπεμπόμενοι ἧττον ἁμαρτησόμεθα. ταῦτ’ οὖν ποιοῦντες, ὡς ἐν κεφαλαίῳ εἰπεῖν, μάλιστα δυνησόμεθα τοῦ μέσου τυγχάνειν. ²⁴ ἐπεὶ γὰρ εἴρηται πῶς ἀγαθαὶ ἁπλῶς καὶ πῶς οὐκ ἀγαθαὶ πᾶσαι αἱ ἡδοναί, τὰς τοιαύτας καὶ τὰ θηρία καὶ τὰ παιδία διώκει, καὶ τὴν τούτων ἀλυπίαν ὁ φρόνιμος, τὰς μετ’ ἐπιθυμίας καὶ λύπης, καὶ τὰς σωματικάς (τοιαῦται γὰρ αὗται) καὶ τὰς τούτων ὑπερβολάς, καθ’ ἃς ὁ ἀκόλαστος ἀκόλαστος. διὸ ὁ σώφρων φεύγει ταύτας, ἐπεὶ εἰσὶν ἡδοναὶ καὶ σώφρονος.

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pleasures of the noble and bodily pleasures to characterize the achievement of temperate and courageous people: For the person who abstains (apechomenos) from bodily pleasures and delights in this very thing is temperate, while the person who is annoyed at abstaining is selfindulgent. And the person who endures (hupomenōn) things that are terrible and delights in this or at least is not pained is courageous, while the one who is pained is a coward.²⁵ (NE II 3, 1104b5–8)

The kinds of pleasures involved in these cases—i.e., the pleasures that the temperate person takes in refraining from excessive pleasures, and the pleasure that the courageous person takes in enduring pains—are significantly different from the appetitive pleasures. Concretely, the pleasures intrinsic to abstaining from excessive appetitive pleasures of eating, drinking, or sex are the characteristic pleasures of the virtue of temperance. Similarly, courageous people enjoy (or at least are not pained by) enduring pains and dangers—they do suffer the pains of battle as pains, but they are not pained at enduring them. Instead, courageous people find the prospect of achieving the noble in their courageous actions pleasant, in a way analogous to how a boxer finds pleasant the prospect of winning the competition.²⁶ Thus, when Aristotle says that young people must become able to enjoy and be pained by the right things, he means that, for instance, they should become able to enjoy the pleasures resulting from temperately abstaining from bodily pleasures more than they would enjoy the excess bodily pleasures themselves. Or that they should become able to be pained by the dangers and wounds of battle less than they would be pained by leaving their post in the wrong moment or for the wrong reason. These are the pleasures of the noble, and they are intrinsic to the exercise of virtue, while the other pleasures result from the exercise of bodily functions. ²⁵ ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἀπεχόμενος τῶν σωματικῶν ἡδονῶν καὶ αὐτῷ τούτῳ χαίρων σώφρων, ὁ δ’ ἀχθόμενος ἀκόλαστος, καὶ ὁ μὲν ὑπομένων τὰ δεινὰ καὶ χαίρων ἢ μὴ λυπούμενός γε ἀνδρεῖος, ὁ δὲ λυπούμενος δειλός. ²⁶ On this point see NE III 9, 1117a32–b9: “It is for enduring what is painful, then, as has been said, that people are called courageous. Hence, also courage involves pain, and is justly praised; for it is harder to face what is painful than to abstain from what is pleasant. Yet the end which courage sets before it would seem to be pleasant, but to be concealed by the attending circumstances, as happens also in athletic contests; for the end at which boxers aim is pleasant—the crown and the honours—but the blows they take are distressing to flesh and blood, and painful, and so is their whole exertion; and because the blows and the exertions are many the end, which is but small, appears to have nothing pleasant in it. And so, if the case of courage is similar, death and wounds will be painful to the courageous person and against his will, but he will endure them because it is noble to do so or because it is shameful not to do so” (τῷ δὴ τὰ λυπηρὰ ὑπομένειν, ὡς εἴρηται, ἀνδρεῖοι λέγονται. διὸ καὶ ἐπίλυπον ἡ ἀνδρεία, καὶ δικαίως ἐπαινεῖται· χαλεπώτερον γὰρ τὰ λυπηρὰ ὑπομένειν ἢ τῶν ἡδέων ἀπέχεσθαι. οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ δόξειεν ἂν εἶναι τὸ κατὰ τὴν ἀνδρείαν τέλος ἡδύ, ὑπὸ τῶν κύκλῳ δ’ ἀφανίζεσθαι, οἷον κἀν τοῖς γυμνικοῖς ἀγῶσι γίνεται· τοῖς γὰρ πύκταις τὸ μὲν τέλος ἡδύ, οὗ ἕνεκα, ὁ στέφανος καὶ αἱ τιμαί, τὸ δὲ τύπτεσθαι ἀλγεινόν, εἴπερ σάρκινοι, καὶ λυπηρόν, καὶ πᾶς ὁ πόνος· διὰ δὲ τὸ πολλὰ ταῦτ’ εἶναι, μικρὸν ὂν τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα οὐδὲν ἡδὺ φαίνεται ἔχειν. εἰ δὴ τοιοῦτόν ἐστι καὶ τὸ περὶ τὴν ἀνδρείαν, ὁ μὲν θάνατος καὶ τὰ τραύματα λυπηρὰ τῷ ἀνδρείῳ καὶ ἄκοντι ἔσται, ὑπομενεῖ δὲ αὐτὰ ὅτι καλὸν ἢ ὅτι αἰσχρὸν τὸ μή).

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  , ,  ,   

The recommendation to refrain from appetitive pleasures does not mean, of course, that virtuous people do not pursue bodily pleasures at all. In NE VII 14 we confirm that all people, including virtuous people, pursue bodily pleasures; the difference is that virtuous people only do so “as they ought” (hōs dei), i.e. not just in the right amount but also, and more importantly, in the right way, and only insofar as those pleasures are necessary. What the virtuous person does is avoid excess in these pleasures, and she avoids the unnecessary ones altogether. Now there can be too much of bodily goods, and the bad person is bad by virtue of pursuing the excess, not by virtue of pursuing the necessary pleasures (for all people enjoy in some way or other dainty foods and wines and sexual intercourse, but not all do so as they ought).²⁷ (NE VII 14, 1154a15–18)

Similarly, learners have to learn to pursue appetitive pleasures in the right way and only insofar as they are necessary, just as the virtuous person does. Thus, the main way in which the learners’ relationship to appetitive pleasures is shaped is by learning to avoid excess pleasures and pleasures which are shameful or characteristic of bad people. The goal is not to eliminate appetitive pleasures altogether, but to limit them so that we only enjoy them in the right way: So too is it with the virtues; by abstaining from pleasures we become temperate, and it is when we have become so that we are most able to abstain from them. Similarly also in the case of courage; for by being habituated to despise things that are terrible and to endure them we become courageous, and it is when we have become so that we shall be most able to endure them.²⁸ (NE II 2, 1104a33–1104b3)

In sum, the role of appetitive pleasures in moral development is mainly negative, as for the learners these pleasures can only work as distraction from the noble pleasures intrinsic to virtuous activities.

²⁷ ἔστιν δὲ τῶν σωματικῶν ἀγαθῶν ὑπερβολή, καὶ ὁ φαῦλος τῷ διώκειν τὴν ὑπερβολήν ἐστιν, ἀλλ’ οὐ τὰς ἀναγκαίας· πάντες γὰρ χαίρουσί πως καὶ ὄψοις καὶ οἴνοις καὶ ἀφροδισίοις, ἀλλ’ οὐχ ὡς δεῖ. ²⁸ οὕτω δ’ ἔχει καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀρετῶν· ἔκ τε γὰρ τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι τῶν ἡδονῶν γινόμεθα σώφρονες, καὶ γενόμενοι μάλιστα δυνάμεθα ἀπέχεσθαι αὐτῶν· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς ἀνδρείας· ἐθιζόμενοι γὰρ καταφρονεῖν τῶν φοβερῶν καὶ ὑπομένειν αὐτὰ γινόμεθα ἀνδρεῖοι, καὶ γενόμενοι μάλιστα δυνησόμεθα ὑπομένειν τὰ φοβερά.

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2.4.3 The Proper Pleasures of Virtue and Learning to Enjoy Things in the Right Way Central to Burnyeat’s account is that the pleasures of virtue belong to the virtuous activities themselves when those activities are properly done. In other words, the proper enjoyment of a virtuous activity takes place when the activity is performed in the right way, which requires that the learner performs the action for its own sake, with the right appreciation of its nobility, as an exercise of some capacity or disposition that fits well to its noble object. Aristotle stresses that the pleasures of virtue are different from appetitive pleasures in that they belong to the virtuous activities themselves, when they are properly done. Aristotle raises this point about the intrinsic character of the pleasures of virtue in NE I 8, where he claims that virtuous life is pleasant “in itself ” (kath’ hauton) and virtuous actions are pleasant “in themselves” (kath’ hautas), and he explains that virtuous life does not have pleasure added to it “like some sort of ornament,” but pleasure is already “in” virtuous living (en heautōi): Their life is also in itself pleasant. For enjoying pleasure is something that belongs to the soul, and each person finds pleasant that of which he is said to be a lover (pros ho legetai philotoioutos). For example, not only is a horse pleasant to the lover of horses, and a spectacle to the lover of sights, but also in the same way just actions are pleasant to the lover of justice and, in general, virtuous actions to the lover of virtue. Now for most people their pleasures are in conflict with one another because these are not by nature pleasant, but the lovers of what is noble (tois de philokalois) find pleasant the things that are by nature pleasant; and virtuous actions are such, so that these are pleasant for such people as well as in their own nature. Their life, therefore, has no further need of pleasure as a sort of ornament, but has its pleasure in itself. For, besides what we have said, the person who does not rejoice in noble actions is not even good; since no one would call just someone who did not enjoy acting justly, nor would call liberal someone who did not enjoy liberal actions; and similarly in all other cases. If this is so, virtuous actions must be in themselves pleasant.²⁹ (NE I 8, 1099a7–21)

²⁹ ἔστι δὲ καὶ ὁ βίος αὐτῶν καθ’ αὑτὸν ἡδύς. τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἥδεσθαι τῶν ψυχικῶν, ἑκάστῳ δ’ ἐστὶν ἡδὺ πρὸς ὃ λέγεται φιλοτοιοῦτος, οἷον ἵππος μὲν τῷ φιλίππῳ, θέαμα δὲ τῷ φιλοθεώρῳ· τὸν αὐτὸν δὲ τρόπον καὶ τὰ δίκαια τῷ φιλοδικαίῳ καὶ ὅλως τὰ κατ’ ἀρετὴν τῷ φιλαρέτῳ. τοῖς μὲν οὖν πολλοῖς τὰ ἡδέα μάχεται διὰ τὸ μὴ φύσει τοιαῦτ’ εἶναι, τοῖς δὲ φιλοκάλοις ἐστὶν ἡδέα τὰ φύσει ἡδέα· τοιαῦται δ’ αἱ κατ’ ἀρετὴν πράξεις, ὥστε καὶ τούτοις εἰσὶν ἡδεῖαι καὶ καθ’ αὑτάς. οὐδὲν δὴ προσδεῖται τῆς ἡδονῆς ὁ βίος αὐτῶν ὥσπερ περιάπτου τινός, ἀλλ’ ἔχει τὴν ἡδονὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ. πρὸς τοῖς εἰρημένοις γὰρ οὐδ’ ἐστὶν ἀγαθὸς ὁ μὴ χαίρων ταῖς καλαῖς πράξεσιν· οὔτε γὰρ δίκαιον οὐθεὶς ἂν εἴποι τὸν μὴ χαίροντα τῷ δικαιοπραγεῖν, οὔτ’ ἐλευθέριον τὸν μὴ χαίροντα ταῖς ἐλευθερίοις πράξεσιν· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων. εἰ δ’ οὕτω, καθ’ αὑτὰς ἂν εἶεν αἱ κατ’ ἀρετὴν πράξεις ἡδεῖαι.)

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  , ,  ,   

As we know from the inextricability principle, each pleasure is “bound up” with the activity that it completes, and moreover, pleasures should not be understood as external to or added to the activities but, instead, as intrinsic aspects of them. This is particularly the case of the noble pleasures that belong to virtuous actions and to virtuous life in general. Aristotle links in this passage from NE I 8 enjoying justice and just actions with being a lover of justice, and in general, enjoying virtuous activities with being a lover of virtue and the noble. Even more generally, people find pleasant those things that they love, i.e. the things and activities that they desire and that fit best with their current condition. This claim seems to suggest that agents have to be in a certain condition from the start if they are to be able to appreciate the pleasures of the noble. If that is the case, then, would the account be circular? Burnyeat’s reading assumes that the learner acts with a grasp of the nobility of the activity, an appreciation for the nobility of the activity, and performing it precisely on account of that nobility. These assumptions weaken what Burnyeat says about the cognitive and motivational value of pleasure in moral development, since it seems that pleasure only follows motivation and awareness of value and therefore cannot be a source for them. This apparent circularity of the view is the target of the three common objections that we discuss in the next section.

2.5 Three Objections against Burnyeat’s View A common line of argument against Burnyeat’s view that learning to enjoy the noble is the key to moral development is that this view reverses the relationship between the learners’ grasp and appreciation of the value of the noble, on the one hand, and their ability to take pleasure in it, on the other. In other words, the worry is that it is impossible for the pleasure that learners take in the noble to be the source of their proper grasp of the noble and of their appreciation of its intrinsic value, but it has to be the other way around.³⁰ For Burnyeat’s critics, the ability to take pleasure in the noble is an achievement that follows from having had the relevant experience of the noble and having learned to appreciate its value. For that reason, they argue, the enjoyment of noble pleasures is the result and not the cause of the learners’ acquisition of a proper grasp of the noble, their capacity to value the noble adequately, and their ability to perform virtuous activities in the right way. Similarly, a further objection goes, the ³⁰ Brodie 1991 and Cooper 1996 raise different versions of this objection. See Curzer 2002 (and 2012) and Fossheim 2006 for more recent formulations. Burnyeat’s claim is that by learning to properly enjoy the pleasures of the noble, learners get to understand for themselves and truly take to heart its intrinsic value (1980, 78); in contrast, critics of his account hold that the order is reversed. In Fossheim 2006 words, “The liking, loving, or enjoying of the good and the noble that is supposed to be explained by Burnyeat’s sketch of a process of advice and practice seems, in fact, to be presupposed by it” (106).

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ability to take pleasure in the noble is an achievement that follows from having become virtuous, and thus the enjoyment of noble pleasures cannot play—as they think Burnyeat suggests—a guiding role in the process of becoming virtuous. Although the critics of Burnyeat’s view are right in insisting that the proper enjoyment of the noble presupposes a prior (imperfect) grasp of the noble, an initial love for the noble, and even an ability to perform virtuous activities in the right way and to exercise virtue, I think that Burnyeat’s picture can accommodate these demands. If, as I believe, enjoying the pleasures of the noble is not an all-ornothing ability, then this line of objection does not present an important challenge against Burnyeat’s model. In fact, if, as I argue (and I think Burnyeat 1980 suggests), learners have from the start a proto-version of such ability, then the challenge has less strength. In that case, then, learners will be able to enjoy at least occasionally the characteristic pleasures of the noble. This is what the proposal of shame as the proto-virtue of the learners—in Burnyeat’s terms “the semi-virtue of the learners”—is trying to solve. Let’s look at these objections separately (in 2.5.1, 2.5.2, and 2.5.3 below), and then I will propose the beginning of a solution to conclude this chapter.

2.5.1 First Objection: Priority of Awareness or “Grasp” over Pleasure One common objection against the dominant view is that by proposing that learners acquire a grasp of the noble by enjoying virtuous actions it seems to invert the order of priority between knowing the noble and being able to take pleasure in it. Cooper 1996 raises this objection in his discussion of the origin of our moral motivations. He points out that a minimal awareness and experience of the nobility of virtuous actions has to be prior to the discovery of the pleasure that arises from those actions: Here one should notice that in Burnyeat’s account (and the principal texts of the NE on which it is based).³¹ Aristotle says that a young person must become habituated to take pleasure not just in the doing of just actions (and others required by the virtues) but in these as “noble”—to take pleasure in these actions for the order, symmetry, and determinateness that is found in them, therefore. How are they to come to do that? Evidently they must first become aware of and experience the nobility and fineness of the actions required by the virtues, before discovering a pleasure in that nobility (and their experience of it). (277, my emphasis)

³¹ Cooper 1996 refers here to NE I 3, 1095a2-13, b12-13; and X 9, 1179b4-31 (277, note 37).

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  , ,  ,   

For Cooper, Burnyeat’s account fails to establish the proper order of priority between taking pleasure in the noble and grasping the noble: enjoying something as noble requires first having a previous minimal grasp of the noble. In Cooper’s terms, we cannot have the proper enjoyment of noble activities without first having awareness and experience of their nobility and fineness. For this reason, Cooper concludes, pleasure cannot be the basis for our initial grasp of the noble, or for our grasp of the goodness of virtue in general.

2.5.2 Second Objection: Priority of Love over Pleasure A second worry concerning priority is expressed by Broadie 1991, when she states that learners must already have love for the nobility of virtuous actions if they are to find pleasure in such actions. She appeals to Aristotle’s claims in NE I 8 and III 10 in support of this point: “to each person is pleasant that which he is said to be a lover of ” (hekastōi d’ estin hēdu pros ho legetai philotoioutos, NE I 8, 1099a8–9) and “each person delights in that of which he is a lover” (hekateros gar toutōn chairei, hou philētikos estin, NE III 10, 1117b29–30). These passages underscore that the agent needs to be already in a certain condition to be able to find certain activities or objects pleasant; concretely, the agent needs to be already attracted towards the relevant activities or objects if she is going to find them pleasant. In short, an agent’s condition of being a lover of X precedes, and does not follow from, that agent’s being able to take pleasure in X. Using this principle, Broadie concludes that Burnyeat’s account reverses the relationship between pleasure and love of the noble: it is not, as Burnyeat seems to defend, that learners have to come to “love [what is noble] because it is what is truly or by nature pleasant” (76), but rather that learners come to find pleasure in the noble only once the noble is a proper object of love or desire for them. Burnyeat must assume that there is a special pleasure in doing what one takes to be just; for the point is hardly that we learn to pay our debts spontaneously by coming to enjoy, through doing it, the handing over of banknotes, etc. But on that assumption the agent’s pleasure presupposes, hence cannot be thought to explain, the love of just dealing that is characteristic of the virtue. (122, note 46, my emphasis)

Broadie is correct that what is at stake here is the explanatory link between practicing virtuous actions and appreciating the value of virtuous actions. Her point is that pleasure cannot provide that link, because the ability of an agent to take pleasure in virtuous activity presupposes that the agent already has a capacity, and maybe even a tendency, to value virtue and the noble—i.e. it presupposes that the agent already has the love of the noble.

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2.5.3 Third Objection: Priority of Dispositions over Pleasure There is a third related objection, also raised by Broadie 1991 (and Fossheim 2006), that is important to us. The problem this time is that Burnyeat’s account attributes to learners an ability to take pleasure in the noble that is not available to them, insofar as pleasure presupposes an already established disposition: I depart from Burnyeat, however, in not postulating, as he does, enjoyment of the action as the explanatory link between doing it and coming to believe, of oneself, that this is the sort of thing it is noble to do. On this view, pleasure in performing, e.g., just actions leads to the stable disposition to act so; but Aristotle’s view of the relation between pleasure in acting justly and a just disposition seems to be that the pleasure is in the exercise of the already established disposition. (This fits in with his general view about pleasure: see, e.g., 1153a 14–15.) (Broadie 1991, 122, note 46, my emphasis).

In brief, the core of this objection is that established virtuous dispositions are prior to (or a requirement for) being able to access to the pleasures of the noble. Only agents who already have solid virtuous dispositions—Broadie argues— are able to enjoy the pleasures characteristic of virtue, while virtuous actions are typically painful to non-virtuous people; for that reason, learners cannot enjoy the pleasures of the noble, let alone use them as a starting point for learning to be good.³²

2.6 The Beginning of a Solution I think we can avoid the accusations of circularity if we reject the underlying assumption that the ability to enjoy the pleasures of the noble is an all-or-nothing condition—i.e. by using a similar strategy as the one we employed in Chapter 1 to

³² Curzer 2002 and 2012, and Fossheim 2006, raise a similar criticism against Burnyeat‘s view. Curzer puts his objection in more extreme terms than Broadie: “By definition, learners are not yet virtuous. In particular, they lack the right passions and the right tastes. They find some vicious acts pleasant and some virtuous acts unpleasant. Medial action is typically unpleasant for a person with excessive or defective passions and tastes. Standing fast in battle is unpleasant for anyone experiencing excessive or defective fear. Spending and giving the right amount of money is unpleasant for people who love money too little or too much. Eating the right amount is unpleasant for people whose appetites are too large or too small. And so on. “One cannot get the pleasures of a just man without being just” (1173b29–30). So learners do not learn that virtuous acts are pleasant by performing and enjoying them, because learners do not enjoy them. Indeed, virtuous action is painful for learners. It certainly does not positively reinforce the desire to perform virtuous acts” (149, my emphasis). Fossheim 2006 holds a similar line: “the enjoyment proper to good actions is not a motivating source until the learner, through practice, has reached some relative degree of perfection” (106).

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  , ,  ,   

deal with the motivationally-neutral view.³³ What sustains these priority objections is the assumption that learners lack a minimal grasp of the noble, lack love of the noble, and in general, lack the ability to appreciate the value of the noble. Since those capacities are requirements for enjoying the pleasures of the noble, it turns out that we cannot have access to them. However, as I argued in Chapter 1, it is perfectly possible for learners to have “something” of those conditions without having a fully formed version of them. Moreover, insofar as we are here talking about the pleasures that arise when someone properly performs a virtuous action, it cannot be surprising if we turn out to have a natural capacity to find such activity pleasant even before we have developed a stable disposition to reliably engage in virtuous activity in the right way. Aristotle’s conception of the relationship between pleasure and dispositions in NE X is in line with this solution. In some parts of the text Aristotle makes claims that sound like an endorsement of the “priority of disposition” requirement. For example, at NE X 3, 1173b29–31, he states that “one cannot get the pleasure of the just person without being just, nor that of the musical person without being musical, and so on”. However, he qualifies those statements a few paragraphs later, in NE X 5, at 1175a30–37, and claims that learners of music (and geometry, architecture, etc.) are able to experience the pleasures characteristic of music before they are musicians. In fact, he adds, those pleasures actually facilitate learning: For an activity is intensified by its proper pleasure, since each class of things is better judged and brought to precision by those who engage in the activity with pleasure. For example, it is those who enjoy geometrical thinking that become geometers and grasp the various propositions better, and, similarly, those who are fond of music or of building, and so on, make progress in their proper function by enjoying it. And the pleasures intensify the activities, and what intensifies a thing is proper to it, but things different in kind have properties different in kind. (NE X 5, 1175a30–37)

If learners of geometry, music, or construction are able to experience at least occasionally the pleasures characteristic of geometry, music, or construction before having the corresponding dispositions, then we should also expect that learners of virtue will be able to experience the pleasures characteristic of virtue before they possess virtuous dispositions. Thus, enjoying the proper pleasures of virtuous activities will allow learners to improve in their practices.

³³ I owe having arrived to this realization to Raphael Zillig, who helped me better understand my position in relation to Burnyeat’s view and to his critics, and who helped me find a better way of saying what I was trying to say.

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Just as in the case of learning music, or grammar, also in the case of learning virtue, learners can have access to the characteristic pleasures of the relevant activities, if they perform the actions well. With virtue, as with other activities, performing an activity well is what produces its characteristic pleasure, and one does not need to have a fully-formed disposition to be able to perform the relevant activities well. The peculiar in-between status of the learner of virtue, who has something of the ability to experience the pleasures of the noble without being yet at a level comparable to the virtuous person is, I think, in the spirit of Aristotle’s solution to the famous learning puzzle in NE II 4 that we discussed in Chapter 1: even if learners do not yet have stable dispositions to perform virtuous actions virtuously, they have to be able to perform virtuous actions sufficiently well if they are to make some progress toward virtue, and for that, they need to already possess “something of” the virtue that they aspire to acquire. Even if learners have no virtue, and have only a minimal grasp of the noble and an imperfect love for the noble, those starting points are sufficient for making learners capable of enjoying the pleasures of the noble, and consequently, for making moral progress. To conclude, then, Aristotle is aware that our natural tendency to go towards appetitive bodily pleasures and avoid pains often leads us away from noble activities, and for that reason he underscores the importance of the learners’ hedonic transformation, so that they become oriented towards the noble and its characteristic pleasures. The goal is that, through practice, learners develop an awareness of the intrinsic value of noble activities and learn to wholeheartedly embrace that value as their own; by doing so, they progressively harmonize their tendencies towards the noble and the pleasant. This hedonic transformation, however, is not what explains our initial grasp of the noble and our initial appreciation of its value, but presupposes them. For that reason, our investigation into the origin of the initial conditions in the learner that make moral development possible needs to continue in the next chapters with the aim of identifying some proto-virtuous condition that can guide learners towards the noble before they have fully formed virtuous dispositions.³⁴ We have established that although pleasure plays a crucial role in the process of becoming good, pleasure cannot guide the process because it presupposes the presence of a pre-habituated condition that equips learners with a minimal grasp ³⁴ This proposal is close to that made by e.g. Burnyeat 1980 with shame, Cooper 1996 and Richardson Lear 2004 with thumos, and Moss 2012 with pride. The thesis of Moss 2012 is clearly formulated in the following claim: “the character-shaping power of habituation lies in one type of passion which attends all virtuous activity, which is always pleasurable, and which furthermore is specifically a response to things qua fine: something close to what we would call pride” (207). I do not agree with the details of these authors’ views, but I coincide with them on the intuition that mere pleasure and pain are not sufficient to explain the process of moral development and that we need to appeal to a pre-existent emotional tendency that tracks the noble and can orient the learner towards the noble from the very first actions.

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  , ,  ,   

of and attraction towards the noble. The question that remains is, then, what element in Aristotle’s moral psychology is able to play that role. In the next chapter, we will explore several possibilities by looking at the various options that Aristotle discusses in his treatment of pseudo-courage in NE III 8, 1116a15–29, and EE III 1, 1129a11–1130a33. Chapters 4–6 will be devoted to establish that shame, the emotion directly related to our enjoyment of the noble and our hatred of the shameful, does the guiding job. For shame is an emotion available to non-virtuous agents that can be oriented in the right direction and that can function as a strong source of motivation towards virtuous activity.³⁵

³⁵ Parts of this chapter draw on sections from my paper “Aristotle on ‘Steering the Young by Pleasure and Pain’,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy 29.2 (2015): 137–64. I thank Penn State University Press for permission to reprint this material with important modifications. I am thankful to Julia Annas, Raphael Zillig, and an anonymous referee at Oxford University Press for pressing me on several difficulties found in previous versions and for helping me shape my position. I also thank Matt Strohl for helpful comments on the penultimate version of the chapter, and for his insightful work on Aristotle’s views on pleasure in Strohl 2011 and 2018.

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3 Pseudo-Virtuous Practices, Pseudo-Virtuous Conditions 3.1 Varieties of Pseudo-Virtue Why is the performance of courageous, temperate, or just actions sometimes not conducive to the development of the corresponding virtues? Merely doing the right things in the right circumstances is often not sufficient to become virtuous; instead, the repetition of courageous, temperate, or just actions turn people into merely well-mannered, practically savvy, or self-controlled. As we saw in Chapter 1, Aristotle’s explanation is that the differences in the resulting characters depend precisely on how (pōs) learners perform virtuous actions. People form good habits only when they do virtuous actions well (eu). When virtuous actions are not performed well, i.e. when they are not done virtuously, agents engage in what I call “pseudo-virtuous practices,” which result at best in pseudo-virtuous capacities and tendencies. The purpose of this chapter is to learn about the practices that generate true virtue by looking at a variety of failed cases where the practices are insufficient to produce genuine virtuous dispositions and produce pseudo-virtue instead.¹ To become virtuous, learners cannot do virtuous actions merely by accident or when merely coerced by external forces. Instead, their engagement in virtuous practices must be an exercise of their own deliberative capacities, their own affective tendencies, and, in general, of their own agency. To count as an exercise towards virtue, their actions must be not only virtuous but also done in a way that is relevantly close to how virtuous people act. That means, as argued in Chapters 1 and 2, that learners must perform virtuous actions not only with sufficient relevant knowledge, but also aiming at the relevant goal (i.e. the noble) and enjoying the actions for themselves. Although Aristotle gives us good reasons to reach this conclusion in NE II 4, 1105a17–b12, he however does not offer explicit criteria to distinguish between the ways of doing virtuous actions that are productive of genuine virtuous dispositions, or what I shall call “proto-virtuous

¹ This strategy is inspired by Williams 1995 and Hursthouse 1995 (commentary of Williams 1995), who in a different context propose that to learn about what counts as an action done di’auta we should first think about it negatively and start by clarifying what is an action done for the wrong reasons (Williams 1995, 17; Hursthouse 1995, 25–6).

Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good. Marta Jimenez, Oxford University Press (2020). © Marta Jimenez. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829683.003.0004

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- , - 

practices,” and those that are not. How must the learners act to produce genuine virtue? And what must they avoid if they do not want to turn into merely self-controlled people or into purely clever opportunists? To answer these questions, we shall now turn to the texts in NE III 8, 1116a15–1117a28, and EE III 1, 1229a11–1230a33, where Aristotle discusses a variety of cases of “pseudocourage.” His analysis will indirectly give us some hints regarding the ways of doing and feeling that learners must cultivate in their actions. Although the passages we are about to explore from NE III 8, 1116a15–1117a28, and EE III 1, 1229a11–1230a33, center exclusively on deviations from the particular virtue of courage,² I believe we can extend Aristotle’s analysis to the general framework of virtue, and use it for learning about pseudovirtuous practices and corresponding pseudo-virtuous conditions in the case of other character virtues as well. Just as in Aristotle’s pseudo-courage examples, people can do other virtuous actions such as generous actions (e.g. sending a substantial gift to someone in need), fair actions (e.g. dividing an inheritance into equal parts), or temperate actions (e.g. eating the right amount of pizza) out of shame, fear, mere experience, hope, or ignorance. They can also do virtuous actions simply because they are following orders, out of greed, due to excessive pride, following mere custom, and on account of a broad range of non-virtuous motives. In all these cases, the agents might appear to be generous, fair, or temperate when we attend to their actions, but they are not really so. These appearances of virtue are not significantly different from the problem that Aristotle is analyzing in NE III 8 and EE III 1, and, although there will be some variation between e.g. pseudo-generosity and pseudo-courage corresponding to the differences between the virtues, there will also be common features. Thinking about those features is particularly helpful in shedding light on the process of becoming virtuous by doing virtuous actions. If—as I argued in Chapter 1—there is continuity between the agents’ practices and the resulting dispositions of character, then by paying attention to the details discussed in NE III 8, 1116a15–1117a28, and EE III 1, 1229a11–1230a33, regarding how actions are done in cases of pseudo-courage, we can learn not only to differentiate between pseudo-virtuous and genuinely virtuous individuals, but also to identify proto-virtuous practices. Sections 3.3 to 3.7 explore Aristotle’s taxonomy of the ways in which agents can fail to fulfill the requirements for genuine courage. At the end of each section there is a brief discussion of the impact that each of these conditions and the corresponding practices might have in moral development and an assessment of why they might fail to produce genuine virtue. Before tackling that analysis, I offer in

² For a diverse range of perspectives on the special character of courage see Pears 1978 and 1980; Rorty 1986; Duff 1987; Leighton 1988; Rogers 1994; Ward 2001; Deslauriers 2003; Pearson 2009; and Young 2009.

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the next section some preliminary considerations about Aristotle’s general theory of the connection between actions and character.

3.2 Appearances of Goodness and Errors about Character In NE III 8, 1116a15–1117a28, and EE III 1, 1229a11–1230a33, Aristotle examines a variety of examples where agents seem courageous while not strictly being so. As we know, someone does not need to be virtuous to be able to perform virtuous actions, and virtuous actions are not always the result of virtue in the agent but can be the result of a variety of causes.³ In fact, non-virtuous agents can achieve noble outcomes in a variety of ways—sometimes by accident, sometimes when coerced by external threats, or sometimes while aiming at a further goal. When the result is accidental or when the agent is coerced, the actions do not count as courageous— indeed, many of these would not even count as voluntary in Aristotle’s terms.⁴ But there are also actions that are courageous strictly speaking, although the agents fail to do them in the right way, or as the virtuous person would do them—i.e. virtuously. Because it is possible for non-virtuous agents to perform virtuous actions in many different non-virtuous ways and on the grounds of a variety of capacities and tendencies different from virtue, there is a swarm of pseudo-virtues, and we need to be extra careful when making character judgments. We can never be sure of whether an action is an expression of good or bad character merely by looking at its external features. It is not surprising, then, that we tend to have a hard time attributing character to others in an accurate way. But because we know there is a strong connection between people’s characters and their actions, we often make quick attributions of character based on observed behavior, and this leads us astray. For example, if we see a person helping a neighbor or smiling at a stranger, we might swiftly attribute to her the qualities of being generous or being friendly, even when we lack relevant information to determine whether those actions emanate from reliable dispositions of generosity or friendliness. Aristotle is aware of this tendency and its dangers, and he warns us against it. In fact, what he presents in the pseudocourage passages are common cases of misattribution of character, where people mistakenly infer that agents are courageous by simply looking at their surface

³ See the relevant discussion of NE II 4 in Chapter 1. For the point that virtuous actions can be the result of a variety of causes see also NE V 6, 1134a17–23, V 8, 1135b11–25, and VI 12, 1144a13–17. ⁴ See NE III 1–5 and EE II 6–11 for the relevant discussions of voluntariness, action, deliberation, and Aristotle’s technical notion of “choice” or “deliberate commitment” (prohairesis). Classic discussions of the notion of action in Aristotle are Ackrill 1976; Charles 1984 and 1986; Freeland 1985; and Irwin 1986. More recent overviews of Aristotle on the voluntary are Meyer 2006, 2011, and 2014; Cooper 2013; Bobzien 2014; and Müller 2015.

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behavior and final outcome, without paying attention to the conditions in the agent or the ways in which the agent reads the situational context.⁵ To avoid these mistakes in character attribution, Aristotle invites us to pay attention to subtle details regarding the emotions, capacities, tendencies, and in general, conditions in the agent that produce the kind of behavior that often misleads observers into thinking that the agent is courageous—and, sometimes, even the agents themselves. I call them “conditions” because they are not exactly stable dispositions of character, but are instead, for example, innate aspects of temperament, learnt tendencies, commitments, or ways of seeing things that incline the agent to act in certain ways. Observation of these aspects of temperament, behavioral tendencies, or ways of seeing things may allow us to predict someone’s response to a given situation with a certain reliability, and yet we would be wrong to label them as virtue.⁶ This is why the analysis of pseudo-courage does not focus for the most part on actions that fail to be courageous; in fact, in most instances the actions are courageous actions in Aristotle’s terms (the agents confront true dangers fully aware of what they are doing and are not coerced).⁷ Instead, the analysis focuses on the conditions of the agents and on the ways in which they perform their actions as a result of having those conditions. The goal is to reveal the underlying causes of the different ways of doing something courageous. To this aim, Aristotle pays particular attention to details regarding how the courageous actions are

⁵ The phenomenon that I describe here is related to what contemporary social psychologists call “the fundamental attribution error”, which in the past decades has been used by philosophical situationists to label what they take to be the misguided belief in the existence of character traits. Concretely, philosophical situationists (e.g. Harman 1999 and 2000; Doris 1998 and 2002) argue that character traits do not exist because experiments in social psychology show that people’s behavior lacks the required “temporal stability” (the agent behaves in the same specific way in response to repeated encounters with the same fairly specific situation) and “cross-situational consistency” (the agent behaves in the same characteristic way in response to a diversity of specific situations, each of which is nevertheless relevant to the characteristic behavior in question). The point I am making here is that Aristotle is aware of the fact that many people’s behavior lacks the relevant temporal stability and crosssituational consistency characteristic of virtue, and that people have a tendency to attribute virtue to those who, on a closer look, are not virtuous. But Aristotle does not take these facts to be obstacles to his account of virtue of character—for him, those without the relevant temporal stability and the relevant cross-situational consistency in their conduct simply do not have virtue, even if they are often mistaken by others for virtuous individuals. Two defenses of Aristotle’s notion of character traits against the situationist attacks are Annas 2003 and Kamtekar 2004, who rightly argue that character traits and virtue, as Aristotle understands them, are more complex than the behavioral tendencies that social psychologists track in their experiments. ⁶ We also would be wrong to infer from their behavior that we know who they are, or that their actions reliably express who they are. This is why Aristotle says that prohairesis (choice, decision, deliberated commitment) expresses character better than action (praxis) (NE III 2, 1111b5–6, and suggests that the fact that someone does an action voluntarily does not suffice to assume a quality in the agent. ⁷ Commentators sometimes read these passages on pseudo-courage as if Aristotle identified the actions as non-courageous, but this is inaccurate, as shown in our preliminary discussion about what counts as a virtuous action in Chapter 1 (especially Section 1.6.1). One example of this mistake is in Pearson 2012: “in NE 3.8 Aristotle considers various types of pseudo-courageous actions, acts which may seem to be truly courageous acts, but which in fact are not” (134, my emphasis; see also 122).

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performed, including not only the external features of the agents’ behavior but also how the agents feel, how they deliberate, and how they are moved when they perform them. These details are essential to track the relationship between the quality of the performance and the conditions of the agent and to better understand the correlation between practices and underlying ways of being.

3.2.1 Six Kinds of Pseudo-Courage In NE III 8, 1116a15–1117a28, and EE III 1, 1229a11–1230a33, Aristotle identifies six common causes of the appearances of courage: shame (aidōs), fear (phobos), experience (empeiria), spirit (thumos), hope (euelpis), and ignorance (agnoia). Although those who act on account of these causes are not fully virtuous, their external behavior is often indistinguishable from that of courageous people, which makes it difficult to assess from mere observation. For example, when professional soldiers gracefully deal with the dangers of battle, people immediately tend to think that they are courageous; yet for Aristotle, strictly speaking, if the agents are aware that the risk they face is quite low, it does not count as genuine courage. Similarly, when soldiers truly risk their lives in battle out of fear of punishment, they might seem courageous to those who observe their behavior, but for Aristotle they do not count as courageous, no matter how much of a risk they run or how noble the external results of their actions. Even soldiers who risk their lives in battle because it is noble to do so—or because it would be shameful to flee—will not count as courageous for Aristotle if they do not have sufficiently reliable practical knowledge and instead have to rely on external guidance to determine whether the situation calls for such behavior. As the examples suggest, not only is being fully virtuous a high standard to achieve, but there are also a great number of individuals falling into a range of in-between categories. Some people have innate tendencies that make them more likely to do virtuous actions—e.g. those who possess the dispositions that Aristotle calls “natural virtue” (phusikē aretē) in NE VI 13, 1144b1–8. Others have acquired sensitivities or patterns of behavior that enable them to react appropriately in certain well-defined situations—e.g. those who have cleverness (deinotēs), those who have experience (empeiria), those who have become accustomed to follow the laws through fear or through respect of the law itself, and so on. Many cases of erroneous attribution of virtuous character occur when agents do the right thing but for reasons that are in tension with the characteristic motives of virtue, such as when someone does something courageous because they want to achieve some gain (e.g. a prize) or avoid some loss (e.g. a penalty). Because these cases are very common and familiar, and because doing things for the sake of the noble is so central to doing virtuous actions virtuously, commentators normally

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focus on the motivational aspects in their analysis of these passages.⁸ Motivation is, without doubt, a crucial factor (particularly in the context of moral development), but this focus on motivation, I think, can lead to an excessively narrow view of what is relevant for genuine virtue. While having the right motivation is undeniably crucial for virtue and for doing virtuous actions in the right way, agents can fall short of being virtuous or fail to perform virtuous actions in the right way due to other causes. And such failures can be more or less damaging for our moral development. If we focus only on motivational aspects, we might fail to notice that in cases of ignorance, skill, natural virtue, and political virtue the divergence from full virtue goes beyond questions about motivation. For example, for those who seem courageous on account of their ignorance, their main failure is clearly their lack of knowledge regarding the dangers of their situation. Their failure of motivation is a consequence of their lack of knowledge, and it would be misleading to think that those whom Aristotle characterizes as ignorant are simply being moved by the wrong motives. In this case the explanation for why such agents stand their ground in the face of danger is that they do not know what is going on. Similarly, in the case of those who seem courageous on account of their experience or because they are familiar with the situation at hand, an explanation that seeks mainly to track deviations from the motives of the virtuous person may fail to note that the apparently courageous character of their actions is due to a lack of fear caused by their expertise.⁹ Moreover, there are cases where people are moved to do the right thing by tendencies towards appropriate behavior that they possess innately—e.g. a natural inclination towards helping those in need or those who are suffering, or towards sharing one’s possessions, or defending those who are in a weak position, or in general, the kind of tendency that Aristotle calls natural virtue.¹⁰ In these cases, ⁸ For example, Taylor 2006 writes: “In this chapter Aristotle distinguishes from true courage five states which are ordinarily called types of courage, though strictly speaking they are not. They are ordinarily reckoned to be types of courage because they motivate (up to a point) the same kind of behavior as true courage, but are different from the latter in respect of their motivational content” (185). Other examples of this approach are Irwin 1999: “Aristotle has explained that bravery demands . . . the right motives; action must be for the sake of the fine. He now considers the appearances . . . ” (ad loc.); and Gay 1988,: “they produce what looks like the right conduct, but the motivation is not quite the right one” (258 n. 9). ⁹ As we will see below (Section 3.6), commentators are often confused by the example of the professional soldiers at NE III 8, 1116b3–8, and sometimes interpret Aristotle to be saying that they are mercenaries motivated by the pay that they receive for their services. (Cf. Irwin 1999, ad loc., where the emphasis is placed on the fact that the professional soldiers mainly care about the money they are paid for their services.) By focusing on the motive of the soldiers, we can miss the key point that Aristotle is making about how experience or expertise in the battlefield sometimes is mistaken for courage. ¹⁰ The main passage on the notion of natural virtue occurs in NE VI 13, 1144b1–8: “As practical wisdom is to cleverness—not the same, but like it—so is natural virtue to virtue in the strict sense. For everybody thinks that each type of character belongs to its possessors in some sense by nature; for from the very moment of birth we are just or temperate or courageous or have the other moral qualities; but yet we seek something else as that which is good in the strict sense—we seek for the presence of such

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agents simply follow their natural impulses to act in certain ways, and sometimes achieve noble results, but they typically do not act with much awareness. In fact, in NE VI 13 Aristotle says that agents with mere natural virtues do not yet act with “understanding” (nous, 1144b9) and, for that reason, they might easily get in trouble: After all, these natural dispositions are present in children and non-human animals, but without understanding these are evidently hurtful. This much, at any rate, is easy to see, that just as a strong body which moves without sight may stumble badly because of its lack of sight, so too it is in the case of the dispositions we are dealing with. But if someone acquires understanding, that makes a difference in action; and his disposition, while still like what it was, will then be virtue in the strict sense.¹¹ (NE VI 13, 1144b8–14)

Although considerations about motivation are not irrelevant to distinguishing these kinds of cases from true virtue, the language of motivation does not fully capture the distinction between natural and full virtue as Aristotle conceives it.¹² Often part of the problem with mere natural virtue is that people act without foresight or without understanding, and do not fully consider the relevant features of their situation.¹³ Sometimes they might simply fail to calculate how best to achieve a noble goal. Other times they may not have sufficient knowledge of the requirements of virtue in their circumstances, or they may lack the relevant grasp of the noble. Similarly, in the case of political virtue, where agents act well because they obey the laws and often do so because it is the noble thing to do, an exclusive focus on qualities in another way.” (καὶ γὰρ ἡ ἀρετὴ παραπλησίως ἔχει ὡς ἡ φρόνησις πρὸς τὴν δεινότητα—οὐ ταὐτὸ μέν, ὅμοιον δέ—οὕτω καὶ ἡ φυσικὴ ἀρετὴ πρὸς τὴν κυρίαν. πᾶσι γὰρ δοκεῖ ἕκαστα τῶν ἠθῶν ὑπάρχειν φύσει πως· καὶ γὰρ δίκαιοι καὶ σωφρονικοὶ καὶ ἀνδρεῖοι καὶ τἆλλα ἔχομεν εὐθὺς ἐκ γενετῆς· ἀλλ’ ὅμως ζητοῦμεν ἕτερόν τι τὸ κυρίως ἀγαθὸν καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα ἄλλον τρόπον ὑπάρχειν.) A second relevant passage appears in the discussion of thumos-courage at NE III 8, 1116b23–1117a9, analyzed in Section 3.5 of this chapter. ¹¹ καὶ γὰρ παισὶ καὶ θηρίοις αἱ φυσικαὶ ὑπάρχουσιν ἕξεις, ἀλλ’ ἄνευ νοῦ βλαβεραὶ φαίνονται οὖσαι. πλὴν τοσοῦτον ἔοικεν ὁρᾶσθαι, ὅτι ὥσπερ σώματι ἰσχυρῷ ἄνευ ὄψεως κινουμένῳ συμβαίνει σφάλλεσθαι ἰσχυρῶς διὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχειν ὄψιν, οὕτω καὶ ἐνταῦθα· ἐὰν δὲ λάβῃ νοῦν, ἐν τῷ πράττειν διαφέρει· ἡ δ’ ἕξις ὁμοία οὖσα τότ’ ἔσται κυρίως ἀρετή. ¹² Whether those with natural virtue have a motivation and a goal similar to the goal of virtuous people is a controversial issue. See Viano 2007 for a defense of the view that natural virtue aims at the same goal as full virtue (i.e. the noble); her view is is that natural virtue is “an impulse (ὁρμή) towards the καλόν without the support of reason” (28). ¹³ Aristotle makes this point clear in his discussion of the behavior caused by thumos in NE III 8, 1116b23–1117a9, where he says that those who act from thumos “rush on danger without foreseeing any of the perils” (πρὸς τὸν κίνδυνον ὁρμᾶν, οὐθὲν τῶν δεινῶν προορῶντα, 1116b35). See a detailed discussion of this passage in Section 3.5 of this chapter. If thumos is the natural virtue that corresponds to courage, as Aristotle indicates in NE III 8, then what Aristotle says about thumos in the context of pseudo-courage would count against the view presented in Viano 2007 that natural virtue and full virtue have the same goal.

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- , - 

questions about motivation might lead to a mischaracterization of the difference between true virtues and the tendencies that politically virtuous people have. For even if it is true that many people follow the law and do the right thing merely because they want to avoid punishment or receive rewards, some politically virtuous people—namely, those who are guided by their sense of shame, as I argue below in Section 3.7—aim at the noble and the praiseworthy in itself. For these citizens moved by their sense of shame, the issue is not that they fail to aim at the noble, but that they lack reliable knowledge of how to bring their noble goal to fruition, and consequently need to rely on the laws or on social systems of sanctions. In sum, although it is true that motivation is one of the crucial causes of why an agent might fail to perform a virtuous action virtuously, there are important variations in the agents’ knowledge and affective tendencies that also make a difference. In general, we should not neglect that, beyond motivation, there are two other requirements for virtuously performed virtuous action as presented in NE II 4, 1105a31–33, namely knowledge and stability, and those requirements can be imperfectly fulfilled in a variety of ways.

3.2.2 Pseudo-Virtuous Practices, Proto-Virtuous Practices, and Moral Development Although only virtuous people do virtuous actions virtuously, people who do virtuous actions from shame, fear, experience, spirit, hope, etc. approximate the practices of virtuous people to different degrees. Thus, what Aristotle says about the features of these different kinds of pseudo-courage will expand our knowledge of how the agents’ different conditions are related to the quality of their actions. It will also help us determine which of these conditions are most promising candidates to play a positive role in shaping the agent’s character. Some pseudo-courageous agents differ from truly courageous people in the degree of their knowledge or experience; others in their motivation; others in their sensitivity to the relevant features of the situation; others in the reliability of their responses, etc. Based on these differences, Aristotle indicates that some forms of pseudo-courage are closer to true courage than others, although none counts as courage strictly speaking. What is interesting is that, in each case, agents fulfill the requirements for genuine courage to a different extent: some have more knowledge than others, some have more consistency and stability than others, while some have a greater attachment to the noble. For example, agents with expertise in war (professional soldiers with experience) will be the ones with most knowledge, some of which will be relevant for true courage; they will fail, however, by not having the right motivation. Agents with “spirit” (thumos) will have great stability in their actions and will remain at

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their posts at all costs, although without sufficient knowledge and without aiming at the noble. And agents with a sense of shame will have a decent motivation and orientation towards the noble (through the honorable), will be relatively stable and unwavering in their actions, and will have enough awareness of what they are doing, despite not having sufficient expertise to reliably get things right. The different failings in the agents’ conditions and in their way of doing virtuous actions can offer some grounds to study the connections between the practices the resulting conditions or dispositions in each case. We can ask whether performing virtuous actions in a certain way is likely to lead to the right kind of disposition, and we can observe the kinds of capacities, skills, and affective tendencies at work. For example, through pseudo-courageous practices in which agents act on account of fear, on account of anger, or on account of desire for gain, they do not cultivate the kinds of skills, capacities, and affective tendencies that are conducive to virtue; instead, they form conditions that might be counterproductive for the acquisition of true virtue, such as mere self-control (enkrateia), excessive pride, or excessive love of self. There are, however, other pseudo-virtuous practices that are not contrary to virtue, but still are insufficient to produce genuine progress towards virtue on their own; for example, when agents learn to navigate practical situations successfully but without paying attention to considerations of nobility or baseness. This happens in cases where agents acquire a skill that promotes noble outcomes, but do not simultaneously learn to value those outcomes for themselves. Through these practices learners can become more efficient, but they will not make relevant progress towards virtue as long as their actions are not oriented towards the noble. For example, someone who learns how to optimize donations to charity so that less money manages to help more people, can acquire this skill without cultivating any sensitivity towards others’ needs or any true understanding of the value of giving; consequently, this learner would become better able to perform generous actions but would not thereby become any more generous. Finally, as is my contention in this book, there are still other non-virtuous practices—concretely, those due to shame—that exercise the capacities and tendencies that will eventually constitute virtue in the agent. These practices, although sometimes are called “pseudo-virtuous” in the sense that they might make agents appear virtuous when they are not yet so, are better labelled as “proto-virtuous,” since agents exercise “something of” virtue when they do them, and they are thus conducive to the formation of the genuinely virtuous dispositions. Even though the learners that engage in these practices are still not virtuous, and consequently do not fully meet the requirements for virtuouslyperformed virtuous action, they do virtuous actions in a way that contributes to the formation of the relevant knowledge of value, love of the noble, and firmness of character. In such cases, learners acquire a sense of the value of the noble and

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become aware of the fact that the noble is always preferable, even when one might not receive any gain or pleasure as a result. Let us turn now to the discussion of the different types of pseudo-courage from NE III 8, 1116a15–1117a28, and EE III 1, 1229a11–1230a33, and take them up one at a time: ignorance, hope, spirit (thumos), experience, fear, and shame.

3.3 Courageous Because of Ignorance: The Lowest Kind of Pseudo-Courage Often non-virtuous people might seem virtuous when, not knowing the relevant details of their situation, they accidentally do the right thing. The untrained observer may take this external behavior as enough ground not just to read the action as virtuous, but also to attribute a virtuous disposition to the agent. However, this is actually a common case of appearance of virtue due to the agents’ ignorance. It occurs when people act in ways that resemble virtue simply because they are not aware of what precisely they are doing. In the sphere of courage, non-courageous agents might appear to be courageous as a result of their inability to properly assess the relevant details of their situation—in this case, the danger. These agents confront dangerous situations not because they believe it is the noble thing to do, nor because doing so will bring any benefit, but simply because they misread what Aristotle sometimes calls “the particulars” (ta kath’ hekasta) of the action’s situation and thus are not aware of any danger:¹⁴ People who are ignorant also appear courageous, and they are not far removed from those who are hopeful. But the ignorant are inferior inasmuch as they have no worth, while the hopeful have. Hence also the hopeful hold their ground for a time; but those who were mistaken about the facts flee if they know or suspect that these are different from what they supposed, as happened to the Argives when they fell in with the Spartans and took them for Sicyonians.¹⁵ (NE III 8, 1117a22–27)

This category of “ignorant people” (hoi agnoountes) includes those who make mistakes; for instance, those who—as in Aristotle’s example—mistake their ¹⁴ The expression that Aristotle uses in NE III 1 is “ignorance . . . of the particulars of the action’s situation and the particular objects with which the action is concerned” (ἄγνοια . . . ἡ καθ’ ἕκαστα, ἐν οἷς καὶ περὶ ἃ ἡ πρᾶξις, 1110b33–1111a1). He defines voluntariness as “that of which the originating source is in [the agent] itself, when it knows the particulars of the action’s situation” (ἡ ἀρχὴ ἐν αὐτῷ εἰδότι τὰ καθ’ ἕκαστα ἐν οἷς ἡ πρᾶξις, 1111a23–24). ¹⁵ ἀνδρεῖοι δὲ φαίνονται καὶ οἱ ἀγνοοῦντες, καὶ εἰσὶν οὐ πόρρω τῶν εὐελπίδων, χείρους δ’ ὅσῳ ἀξίωμα οὐδὲν ἔχουσιν, ἐκεῖνοι δέ. διὸ καὶ μένουσί τινα χρόνον· οἱ δ’ ἠπατημένοι, ἐὰν γνῶσιν ὅτι ἕτερον ἢ ὑποπτεύσωσι, φεύγουσιν· ὅπερ οἱ Ἀργεῖοι ἔπαθον περιπεσόντες τοῖς Λάκωσιν ὡς Σικυωνίοις.

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opponent in battle for someone easier to handle and show confidence because they think there is no danger. But this category also includes those individuals who are inexperienced or incapacitated and misjudge their situation for that reason. In EE III 1, Aristotle mentions children and people with mental illnesses as paradigmatic examples of this kind of pseudo-courage: The third kind is due to inexperience and ignorance; it is that which makes children and people with mental illnesses face objects moving towards them and take hold of snakes. (EE III 1, 1229a16–18)¹⁶

These agents are not aware that they have anything to fear, so they may seem fearless in the face of dangers. Their apparent fearlessness, however, cannot be considered a positive attribute of the agent; instead, it is the result of their lack of experience and awareness. They simply do not know what they are doing, and consequently, no trait of character should be attributed to them on the grounds of their actions.

3.3.1 The Failures of Ignorance Aristotle mentions at least three failures characteristic of “those who act while ignorant” (hoi agnoountes): lack of knowledge, lack of “worth” (axiōma), and lack of stability. Lack of knowledge is of course the main feature of this kind of pseudo-courage. Indeed, the agents’ initial excessive confidence is due to the fact that they misread the relevant features of their situation. Aristotle’s example is the battle of Corinth (392 ), where the Argive soldiers mistook the fearsome Spartans for mild Sicyonians because they were carrying Sicyonian shields (Xenophon, Hell 4.4.10). In this example the Argives not only erred in their assessment of the enemy’s strength, but they did not even know who they were really fighting against—that is, in the technical terms of NE III 1, they did not know “what or whom [they] are acting on” (peri ti ē en tini prattei, 1111a4). Their apparent courage based upon an excess of confidence due to a misapprehension of the situation; however, once they grasp the actual details, their confidence disappears, they become afraid, and immediately escape. The second failure of ignorant people is, Aristotle says, a lack of worth. The Greek word that I translate here as “worth,” axiōma, is the expression normally ¹⁶ τρίτη δ’ ἡ δι’ ἀπειρίαν καὶ ἄγνοιαν, δι’ ἣν τὰ παιδία καὶ οἱ μαινόμενοι οἳ μὲν ὑπομένουσι τὰ φερόμενα, οἳ δὲ λαμβάνουσι τοὺς ὄφεις. There is also a reference to people with a similar ignorant condition in Pol VII 1, 1323a32–34, where Aristotle talks about those who “have a mind as foolish and prone to error as a child’s or an insane person’s” (ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὰ περὶ τὴν διάνοιαν οὕτως ἄφρονα καὶ διεψευσμένον ὥσπερ τι παιδίον ἢ μαινόμενον).

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used for “that of which one is thought worthy,” which might have the sense of “reputation” or “social position,” or might be simply a word to refer to one’s “worth.”¹⁷ Aristotle’s point is that those who act without clear awareness do not have the kind of self-reliance or reputation that would justify or support their confidence in the face of danger. This is why they are unable to stay at their post in a perilous situation. Their initial confidence is based on a mistake about the situation, but there is nothing in them that can provide strength to stay in battle once the mistake is corrected. This point about the agent’s axiōma reveals, I think, a crucial assumption of Aristotle’s regarding the relationship between an agent’s character, her biographical record, and the stability of her conduct. The assumption is that the more past actions one has to establish that one is a certain kind of person, the more pressure one will feel to act in line with that record. The strength to stay put at one’s post in dangerous situations often arises among those who have a life trajectory of selfreliance. Those who do not have such a trajectory and are unable to make significant connections between their character and their conduct are, Aristotle predicts, the first to run. The third point, closely related to the previous one, is that as a consequence of their lack of worth, there is no stability or reliability in these agents’ behavior. They perform courageous actions only because they are under a false impression, e.g. that it is a “fight with the weak Sicyonians” The moment they recognize the danger of their actual situation, they run away. Thus, those who do courageous things on account of their ignorance can persist only as long as they are not aware that the situation is dire; as soon as they realize the danger they immediately flee.

3.3.2 Actions Done on Account of Ignorance What is Aristotle’s view on the actions in this category of pseudo-courage? Insofar as agents are not aware of relevant particulars of their circumstances, their actions do not even count as voluntary in Aristotle’s terms. Indeed, although these actions are not compulsory or forced, they do not fulfill the second main requirement for voluntary action, namely that the agent has knowledge of “the particular circumstances of the action” (ta kath’ hekasta en hois hē praxis) (NE III 1, 1111a23–24).¹⁸ As a consequence, we can infer that these actions do not reveal anything about the ¹⁷ See ἀξίωμα (A.1–5) in LSJ. ¹⁸ In the discussion of voluntariness in NE III 1, Aristotle establishes that when actions are done “on account of ignorance” (di’ agnoian) they are “not voluntary” (ouch hekousion) (1110b18). See references for an analysis of Aristotle’s discussion of voluntariness in note 7 above. The two conditions for voluntariness established in NE III 1 are that the actions should not be forced, and that the agents should have sufficient knowledge of the particulars of the action’s situation. In this case, although the actions are not forced, the agents do not have relevant knowledge of the particulars, and consequently their actions cannot be considered to be voluntary.

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intentions or the character of the agent. For this reason, actions performed due to ignorance can only be coincidentally courageous—they are more like mistakes than like genuine actions—and not properly praiseworthy. Indeed, only voluntary actions and emotional reactions are appropriate candidates for receiving praise and blame (epainōn kai psogōn, 1109b30–31). Similarly, legislators only assign honors and punishments (tas timas kai tas kolaseis) to what is voluntary (to hekousion, 1109b33–35). This is because voluntary actions are those where the source of the movement is in the agents themselves, and consequently, it is only these actions that are an expression of something in the agent that can be praised or blamed. In contrast, actions done on account of ignorance do not express any quality of the agent.¹⁹ To sum up, the pseudo-courageous actions done by agents who do not know the particulars of the situation are (at least initially) merely externally similar to the actions that courageous people do. But since the agents lack knowledge of the relevant features of their situation, they are courageous actions only coincidentally, and the agents cannot truly be said to be doing something courageous voluntarily. For this reason, such actions do not add to the “worth” of the agent and do not offer any sign of reliability or integrity of character—no commitment to being a certain kind of person—that could be used to predict future behavior.

3.3.3 Ignorance-Courage and Moral Development The inefficacy of ignorant actions for moral development is not very controversial, at least in the context of Aristotle’s ethics. As we saw in Chapter 1, commentators often use similar reasons to reject the mechanical view of habituation, according to which habit is formed by simply “going through the motions” without paying attention to the details of the situation and of one’s action.²⁰ The objection is that for actions to be conducive to the formation of a virtuous disposition, agents need to at least have awareness of the relevant details of their situation. The analysis of ignorance-courage adds some extra content to that objection: agents need to be able to correctly assess the relevant features of their practical situation so that they can learn to properly regulate their reactions. Part of the reason why actions done without knowledge cannot be conducive to virtue is that they do not contribute to building any kind of reliability or stability in the agents’ conduct or in their way of seeing or feeling about things. This is at ¹⁹ The fact that voluntariness is necessary for the action to express the character of the agent does not mean that it is sufficient. As other cases of pseudo-courage show, and as I discuss in Section 3.2, there are many ways of doing virtuous actions voluntarily that do not imply virtue in the agent. ²⁰ For a list of defenders of the mechanical view and a sketch of its general lines see Introduction, Section 0.1 (esp. note 15) and Chapter 1, Section 1.2 (esp. note 7). A list of the critics of this theory can be found in Chapter 1, Section 1.2, note 8.

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least partially explained by Aristotle’s comment about the lack of worth of ignorant agents, which suggests that the agents’ self-conception, and their commitment to being certain a kind of person, or having a certain kind of character is an important factor for making progress towards virtue. The crucial point is not that someone who acts in ignorance will fail to acquire the relevant information about how to handle a practical situation (which of course is also the case, and important); rather, what matters is that they will not learn anything about how to properly relate to their situation and their action, and will therefore not exercise their agency in any relevant way.

3.4 The Courage of Hopeful Individuals and Drunks A more interesting type of pseudo-courage is that of the “sanguine” or “hopeful people” (hoi euelpides). These individuals’ courageous behavior is caused by their euelpis or “good hope,” which gives them confidence in dangerous situations. They have good hope because they are in general disposed to have unfounded expectations of future goods; having been often successful in the past, or at least not having experienced failure, they think that also this time they will succeed. Although this attitude can have some advantages and can be particularly useful when the agent needs to keep striving, the confidence of the hopeful is often grounded on miscalculation and on the agents’ overestimation of their own powers.²¹ This is why courage based on hope is merely apparent courage. In Aristotle, just as in the tradition before him, elpis and euelpis have both positive and negative potential effects on people’s conduct.²² However, in the passages of pseudo-courage euelpis seems to include mainly negative cases like the foolhardy person and the drunk: Nor are hopeful people courageous; for they are confident in dangerous situations only because they have conquered often and against many adversaries. Yet they closely resemble courageous people, because both are confident; but courageous people are confident for the reasons stated earlier, while these are so because they think they are the strongest and can suffer nothing. (Drunken people also behave in this way; they become hopeful.) When their adventures do not succeed, however, they run away; but it was the mark of a courageous

²¹ See Gravlee 2000 for a detailed analysis of Aristotle’s treatment of hope and a discussion of the positive aspects of this emotion in relation to courage. ²² For a study of the uses of elpis in early Greek thought see Cairns 2016. Culbreth (unpublished manuscript) contains a thorough discussion of the ways in which Aristotle (and Plato) deviate from their predecessors.

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person to face things that are, and seem, terrible for a human being because it is noble to do so and shameful (aischron) not to do so.²³ (NE III 8, 1117a9–17) Another kind [of pseudo-courage] is due to hope, which makes those who have often been fortunate, or those who are drunk, face dangers—for wine makes them hopeful.²⁴ (EE III 1, 1229a18–20)

In Rhet II 12, Aristotle includes also young people and youthful characters amongst the hopeful. The young do not have many memories of success, but they have not yet met failure, and consequently they have a tendency to expect the best from their situations. Moreover, their physical condition contributes to their hopeful condition. Concretely, says Aristotle, their bodily temperature is often higher than normal, as if they were under the effects of wine, and this, together with their lack of experience of the evils of life, promotes their optimism in the face of adversity (Rhet II 12, 1389a18–24). Hopeful dispositions produce confidence insofar as hopeful agents tend to look expectantly at the future and imagine perpetually good results. This is one of the main characteristics of young people and youthful characters in Rhet II 12: Their hot tempers and hopeful dispositions make them more courageous than older people: the hot temper prevents fear, and the hopeful disposition produces confidence; for people cannot feel fear so long as they are feeling angry, and any expectation of good makes people confident. (Rhet II 12, 1389a25–28)²⁵

Finally, ungrounded expectation of good results is also characteristic of those who have social or physical privilege, or good fortune in general: It follows then that fear is felt by those who believe something to be likely to happen to them, at the hands of particular persons, in a particular form, and at a particular time. People do not believe this when they are, or think they are, in the midst of great prosperity, and are in consequence insolent, contemptuous, and reckless—the kind of character produced by wealth, physical strength, abundance of friends, power.²⁶ (Rhet II 5, 1382b33–1383a3) ²³ οὐδὲ δὴ οἱ εὐέλπιδες ὄντες ἀνδρεῖοι· διὰ γὰρ τὸ πολλάκις καὶ πολλοὺς νενικηκέναι θαρροῦσιν ἐν τοῖς κινδύνοις· παρόμοιοι δέ, ὅτι ἄμφω θαρραλέοι· ἀλλ’ οἱ μὲν ἀνδρεῖοι διὰ τὰ πρότερον εἰρημένα θαρραλέοι, οἳ δὲ διὰ τὸ οἴεσθαι κράτιστοι εἶναι καὶ μηθὲν ἂν παθεῖν. τοιοῦτον δὲ ποιοῦσι καὶ οἱ μεθυσκόμενοι· εὐέλπιδες γὰρ γίνονται. ὅταν δὲ αὐτοῖς μὴ συμβῇ τὰ τοιαῦτα, φεύγουσιν· ἀνδρείου δ’ ἦν τὰ φοβερὰ ἀνθρώπῳ ὄντα καὶ φαινόμενα ὑπομένειν, ὅτι καλὸν καὶ αἰσχρὸν τὸ μή. ²⁴ ἄλλη δ’ ἡ κατ’ ἐλπίδα, καθ’ ἣν οἵ τε κατευτυχηκότες πολλάκις ὑπομένουσι τοὺς κινδύνους καὶ οἱ μεθύοντες· εὐέλπιδας γὰρ ποιεῖ ὁ οἶνος. ²⁵ καὶ ἀνδρειότεροι (θυμώδεις γὰρ καὶ εὐέλπιδες, ὧν τὸ μὲν μὴ φοβεῖσθαι τὸ δὲ θαρρεῖν ποιεῖ· οὔτε γὰρ ὀργιζόμενος οὐδεὶς φοβεῖται, τό τε ἐλπίζειν ἀγαθόν τι θαρραλέον ἐστίν. ²⁶ ἀνάγκη τοίνυν φοβεῖσθαι τοὺς οἰομένους τι παθεῖν ἄν, καὶ τοὺς ὑπὸ τούτων καὶ ταῦτα καὶ τότε. οὐκ οἴονται δὲ παθεῖν ἂν οὔτε οἱ ἐν εὐτυχίαις μεγάλαις ὄντες καὶ δοκοῦντες (διὸ ὑβρισταὶ καὶ ὀλίγωροι καὶ θρασεῖς, ποιεῖ δὲ τοιούτους πλοῦτος ἰσχὺς πολυφιλία δύναμις).

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- , - 

Privilege and good fortune encourage people to expect that life is always going to smile at them, so they often behave as if they could not suffer any consequences. This condition leads them to be insolent (hubristai), contemptuous (oligōroi), and reckless (thraseis), three tendencies which sometimes can be confused with courage even though they are in fact very different.

3.4.1 Hopeful Agents’ Main Features The most salient feature of hopeful individuals is that they tend to have an aggrandized self-image that serves as the main source of their hope: they imagine that they are courageous, strong, and capable of dealing properly with dangerous situations—they believe that they are “the strongest and can suffer nothing” (kratistoi einai kai mēthen an pathein, NE 1117a13–14) — and this belief provides them with sufficient confidence to throw themselves into danger. But against their perception, they lack the conditions that would make them genuinely courageous. Their main failure is the lack of self-knowledge or self-awareness, which makes them embark upon dangerous ventures that are beyond their capabilities. In the terms used in the previous section, hopeful people’s failure is that they have an inadequate sense of their worth (axiōma). As Gravlee 2000 puts it, “the belief in one’s own strength is not well grounded in this case, because it lies not in any skills or training that the agent may have, but rather in mere induction from good fortune” (464). Later in NE IV 3 Aristotle claims that the hopeful agent is “foolish” or “vain” (ēlithios), as opposed to “properly proud” (megalopsuchos), insofar as they think themselves “worthy of great things” (megalōn auton axiōn axios), while in reality they are “worthy of little” (mikrōn axios) (1123a34–b8). Still, hopeful people’s sense of their own worth, although often excessive, has some positive effects. First, their grand self-conception sets certain behavioral expectations that push them to try to live up to higher standards. In other words, hope is the source of aspirations that can in turn at least sometimes result in admirable behavior. This is, I think, what Aristotle wants to capture by saying that hopeful people have “worth” (axiōma): they have the kind of high status that leads them (and others) to think that they are highly competent performers of their civic duties. This point suggests an interesting connection between having a memory of one’s great deeds and having a self-image or a sense of who one is that pushes one towards doing great deeds. (This could even continue to the point that one cannot imagine oneself acting otherwise.) Although people guided by hope often miscalculate their capacities, they are better than other kinds of pseudo-courageous agents—and, Aristotle says, “closely similar” (paromoioi) to the courageous person. This is, I think, because of their elevated sense of their own qualities, as well as a desire to embody such ideal qualities. Hopeful people, like courageous people, appeal to their own strength and

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their other (sometimes imagined) positive qualities as the source for their courage. In the case of hopeful people, their belief that they are worthy of great deeds (and high praise) makes them also alert to the moral requirements of their situations and responsive to practical demands. As a consequence, unlike the ignorant agents, hopeful people in fact care about being courageous and aspire to continue doing courageous deeds, even if their sense of what counts as courageous is also distorted. Thus, despite the clear differences, Aristotle admits a solid connection between hope and courage. This point is supported by the connection between hope and “having confidence” (tharrein) some lines above: The coward, then, is a despairing sort of person; for he fears everything. The courageous person, however, is the opposite; for having confidence is the mark of the hopeful person.²⁷ (NE III 7, 1116a2–4)

In both the hopeful and the courageous person, the agents’ confidence emanates from their conviction that they are able to live up to their standards of value. The difference is that, while the confidence of courageous people is based on their own good character—which guarantees that they have the required knowledge, motivation, and stability not to abandon their post when danger arrives—hopeful people’s beliefs about their own strength are often both unfounded and erroneous, and their confidence excessive. For this reason, although hopeful individuals have good aspirations, they are ultimately unreliable and, without any additional motivation, they lack real stability in their behavior. A second, related advantage of the hopeful agent’s exaggerated sense of selfworth is that it gives them a certain measure of stability or reliability in their actions. As Aristotle indicates in the section on ignorance-courage above, hopeful agents, in contrast with the simply ignorant, “hold their ground for a time” (menousi tina chronon), and, even if they realize there is danger, will stay in their posts at least initially thanks to a firm belief in their own capacity for success. Unfortunately, their reliability is the result of their inadequate self-reliance and their ungrounded confidence. An important part of the problem is, I think, that they have an erroneous conception of what it is to be courageous, since they think it consists in “being the strongest” (kratistoi einai), and a flawed understanding of courageous action, since they think it is about achieving a positive outcome in a difficult situation.²⁸ Consequently, their actions are misguided at a fundamental

²⁷ δύσελπις δή τις ὁ δειλός· πάντα γὰρ φοβεῖται. ὁ δ’ ἀνδρεῖος ἐναντίως· τὸ γὰρ θαρρεῖν εὐέλπιδος. ²⁸ In contrast, the confidence of the truly courageous person would not be because they expect any positive outcome; for example, as Duff 1987 persuasively indicates, the courageous person’s confidence “does not consist in any expectation of survival—she has none” (10).

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level, as they strive towards maintaining their apparent superiority rather than towards achieving true nobility. They do not perform noble actions for their own sake, but instead, because they expect that something advantageous is going to result.²⁹ Similarly, their reliability is very limited because their attitude is based on false assumptions; as soon as they realize their superiority is not real and they are unlikely to succeed, they run away. Thus, although hopeful agents are more reliable than the ignorant-courageous, they also are amongst the first to flee. Aristotle emphasizes the link between having misguided reasons for action and lacking behavioral reliability. He says that hopeful people differ from courageous people in that their reason for confronting dangers is not “because it is noble to do so and shameful not to do so” (hoti kalon kai aischron to mē), and he arrives at this conclusion from the fact that hopeful people flee when the dangers seem excessive, which is a sign that they are more afraid of death than of doing shameful things. In sum, the condition that characterizes hopeful people most precisely is their erroneously elevated sense of self-worth, which equips them with some tendencies that resemble those of courageous people, such as confronting a dangerous situation as dangerous (i.e. with knowledge of the relevant features of the situation), and holding to their post in moments of danger (with some degree of consistency and stability). Nonetheless this condition falls short of true courage in that it does not provide sufficient reliability and it equips agents only with superficial reasons for action.

3.4.2 Acting from Hope Although hopeful agents are partially deceived about their circumstances and about their own capacities, they are sufficiently aware as to have their actions count as voluntary. In fact, precisely because they think of themselves as strong and courageous, they confront risky situations wholeheartedly and with a clear sense that the situations are—at least by their own reckoning—dangerous. Moreover, because they focus on their own sense of worth and ground it in their memories of past success, they are reflective about their own agency and about how their actions affect who they are. Still, although they may perform courageous actions voluntarily and wholeheartedly, they do not do it in the right way. On the one hand, their motivation is significantly different from that of virtuous people. Their ultimate goal is not the nobility characteristic of courageous actions, but instead some gain or pleasant

²⁹ A passage from the discussion of utility friendship in NE VIII also suggests this aspect of hope: While explaining why many utility friendships dissolve quickly Aristotle says that some people only associate with others in the hope that they will get some benefit from the relationship (see 1156a22–30).

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outcome. On the other hand, their knowledge also deviates significantly from the knowledge of the virtuous person, since hopeful people have the erroneous view that courage is simply “being stronger” and that the value of doing courageous actions is to maintain one’s privilege and achieve material advantage.

3.4.3 Hope-Courage and Moral Development Some of the features of hope might appear to be potential seeds of virtue in the process of learning by doing, since despite its failures hope seems to be able to inspire individuals to be better and to strive for integrity of character and reliability of behavior. However, the hopeful people from our pseudo-courage passages seem to not to be able to make real progress in the acquisition of genuine courage. Indeed, Aristotle’s characterization of hope-courage makes it clear that the courageous doings that have led hopeful people to their condition are useless in relation to virtue acquisition precisely because they have failed to provide the kind of knowledge, motivation, or reliability that could bring these agents closer to the possession of virtue. First, Aristotle suggests that these agents do not have the kind of sensitivity to the requirements of their own situations that would allow them to see what the proper thing to do is; instead, he says that they jump into dangers simply because they think they can handle them without trouble. Further, their motivation to confront dangers seems to be based upon a mistaken self-conception of superior strength and the illusion of invulnerability; thus, they are far from acting for the sake of anything noble. Finally, although hopeful people have more consistency and stability than their ignorant counterparts, their stability is insufficient insofar as they turn into cowards whenever they realize that a situation is beyond their strength. It seems, then, that doing courageous actions in the way that hopeful people do is not a good way of cultivating courage, and that by doing so we can become at best “bold-cowards” (thrasudeiloi) or simply “bold” (thrasus), i.e. the kind of people who are “precipitate, and wish for dangers beforehand but draw back when they are in them.”³⁰ Habituation guided by hope on its own will not result in genuinely virtuous dispositions.

3.5 Thumos, Reactivity, and Natural Courage One traditional form of courage is the one due to thumos (spirit, temper, or impetuosity). Although thumos is a clear source of courage in Homer and many

³⁰ Cf. Aristotle’s discussion of rashness in NE III 7, 1115b24–1116a9.

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- , - 

other previous thinkers, including Plato,³¹ Aristotle includes it among the mere appearances of courage. Thumos is the name of the emotion associated with the intermediate part of the soul in Plato’s Republic. For Plato, this part of the soul (the thumoeides) is responsible for our desires for honor, victory, and good reputation, and is the origin of anger, shame, and related emotions. It sometimes takes the side of reason in conflicts between reason and the appetites (440e–441a, 441e–442a); perhaps most memorably, the thumoeides is the part that gets angry and scolds Leontius’ appetites when he wants to stare at the corpses lying at the executioner’s feet (439e–440a). Thus, at least in Plato’s Republic, therefore, thumos is closely related to shame and is said to be the “ally” of reason (441e6).³² Following the Platonic tripartite model of the soul and its functions, some commentators have proposed that our first acquaintance with moral value is due to our innate thumoeidetic desires towards the noble. They claim that, in Aristotle, our first experience of moral value is related to our innate thumoeidic desires towards the noble.³³ If this view is right, then, we would expect thumos to be a central element in moral development.

3.5.1 Thumos and the Noble: The Platonic Prejudice Cooper’s claim that Aristotle sees thumos as the source of our moral sense is a plausible proposal, and could be a good solution to our problem of the moral upbringing gap. Unfortunately the textual evidence does not support this move, and I think the suggestion is grounded on an unfounded projection of Platonic doctrine onto Aristotle. As I will argue, thumos has a much more limited role in Aristotle’s moral psychology than in Plato’s, partially because Aristotle, unlike Plato, separates shame from thumos and considers it as a different affective source of motivation. Cooper’s thesis is that thumos is what first motivates individuals to experience moral value and enables them to recognize its desirability:

³¹ See Hobbs 2000 (esp. ch. 2) and Wilburn 2015 for recent studies of the relationship between thumos and courage in Plato. ³² There are discussions of thumos in Plato as connected with honor and reputation, origin of shame, and ally of reason in e.g. Brennan 2012; Wilburn 2013; Singpurwalla 2013; and Moss 2005. Renaut 2014 offers a detailed study of Plato’s views on the role of thumos in moral education. ³³ Cooper 1988 and 1996; Richardson Lear 2004 and 2006; Grönroos 2007; and Moss 2012. See e.g. Richardon Lear 2006: “the practically wise person has learned to desire the kalon with his reason because earlier he desired it with his thumos desires” (279). Gay 1988 seems to have independently arrived at a similar conclusion, on the grounds of what Aristotle says about the relationship between thumos-courage and genuine courage in NE III 8 (258, n. 9). For a strong criticism of this view see Pearson 2012. Saenz 2018 also argues against the claim that the kalon is the object of thumos and offers an alternative account of the role of thumos in moral development.

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The specifically moral value, then—the value with which morally virtuous persons as such are specially concerned—is constituted by the order, fittingness and harmony, and determinateness of whatever possesses it. If I am right, this kind of value is for Aristotle the eventual object of one of the two types of nonrational desire that he thinks human beings are all endowed with, thumos. It is through thumos that people are first motivated to experience this kind of value, and so first enabled to know, though haltingly, what is valuable for us in it. (1996/1999: 113/279, my emphasis)

In this quotation, “moral value” stands in as equivalent to what Cooper calls “the fine” (to kalon, the noble). Cooper refers to the kalon as “the order, fittingness and harmony, and determinateness of whatever possesses it” (113/279), and he makes it the proper object of thumos. His view is that thumos, when it is properly oriented, enables those who are not yet virtuous to have awareness of the value of the noble and motivation to pursue it.³⁴ I am somewhat sympathetic to Cooper’s move. He rightly recognizes the need to equip the learner with at least a minimal motivation towards the noble and a minimal capacity to see its value, and he presents us with a reasonable story regarding how we can explain moral development as a continuous process. While thumos is not irrelevant for moral formation, insofar as it plays an important role in encouraging learners and facilitating their perseverance in difficult situations, I think thumos cannot be the guiding hand in moral development because of its reactive character and its lack of directionality. Cooper’s proposal rests on the assumption that for Aristotle the kalon is the proper object of thumos, i.e. that the kalon is the goal or the “that for-the-sake-ofwhich” (hou heneka) that thumos aims at. His support for taking the noble as the object of thumos comes from NE II 3, 1104b30–32, where Aristotle identifies the three objects of choice (the noble, the advantageous, and the pleasant). Cooper holds, following Burnyeat, that, Aristotle is referring to the three kinds of desire hypostatized by Plato in the Republic: thumoeidic, rational, and appetitive.³⁵ In fact, Burnyeat 1980, whom Cooper 1996 directly quotes, establishes a similar link between thumos and the noble to explain the aims and results of the good Aristotelian upbringing:³⁶

³⁴ According to Cooper 1996 this initial non-rational motivation towards the noble will continue to have effects in the agents once they have full virtue and are moved mainly by reason: “The morally virtuous person, in whom reason has taken control, has a reasoned understanding of this kind of value and so is motivated to pursue it simply on the basis of that understanding. But she continues to be motivated to pursue this value also by her thumos-desires, whose satisfaction, indeed, is necessary for her to experience it fully” (113, my emphasis). ³⁵ Cooper 1996, esp. note 21. ³⁶ Richardson Lear 2004 also assumes that Aristotle adopts the Platonic model in linking thumos to the kalon: “the Platonic account of moral education, adopted in its essential elements by Aristotle, depends on the connection between spirit and to kalon” (139).

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- , -  The fundamental insight here is Plato’s. For in discussing the development in the young of a set of motives concerned with what is noble and just, we are on the territory which Plato marked out for the middle part of his tripartite soul. The middle, so-called spirited part strives to do what is just and noble (Rep. 440cd), and develops in the young before reason (441a; cf. Ar. Pol. 1334b22–25). It is also the seat of shame: implicitly so in the story of Leontius and his indignation with himself for desiring to look on the corpses, explicitly in the Phaedrus (253d, 254e). The connection with anger, which we shall also find in Aristotle, is that typically anger is this same concern with what is just and noble directed outward toward other people (cf. NE 5.8, 1135b28–29). Aristotle owes to Plato, as he himself acknowledges in 2.3, the idea that these motivating evaluative responses are unreasoned—they develop before reason and are not at that stage grounded in a general view of the place of the virtues in the good life—and because they are unreasoned, other kinds of training must be devised to direct them on to the right kinds of object: chiefly, guided practice and habituation, as we have seen [ . . . ]. (79, my emphasis)

Burnyeat thus finds a way of connecting both shame and anger with the noble by appealing to the Platonic thumoeides. Cooper develops this idea and uses it to give a leading role to thumos in moral development in Aristotle. There are, however, important textual obstacles against this assimilation of Aristotle’s views to the Platonic framework.³⁷ One of these obstacles, as Cooper himself acknowledges, is that Aristotle never explicitly connects thumos with the noble.³⁸ The problem is not merely that the object of thumos in Aristotle is not easy to pin down because of a lack of textual evidence.³⁹ More than that, the textual evidence that we have seems to point in a different direction. Some passages associate thumos with revenge or retaliation (timōria),⁴⁰ while other passages link it with non-human animals. These appear to present thumos as a mainly reactive emotion.⁴¹

³⁷ See Pearson 2012 at 132–8 for an emphatic and in my opinion convincing rejection of Cooper’s proposal that the kalon is the object of thumos. ³⁸ This problem is acknowledged by Cooper 1996 at 279–80, who tries to overcome the obstacle by arguing that the connection between thumos and kalon might be evident for Aristotle’s contemporaries and for that reason Aristotle might not feel the need to offer an explicit acknowledgment of its existence. See also Grönroos 2007: “The attribution of τὸ καλόν to spirited desire is far from explicit in Aristotle” (261, note 25). Despite this problem, however, Grönroos continues following Cooper in his interpretation. For a criticism of this point see Pearson 2012 at 132–3. ³⁹ This more deflationary claim is made by Nussbaum 1978, for example, who says about this issue that “Aristotle nowhere gives a sufficiently clear analysis of the objects of thumos, of its relation to reason and to pleasure, and of its various types and manifestations” (206). ⁴⁰ E.g. NE VII 6, 1149a30–4. Pearson 2012 studies the connection between thumos and thumōria in ch. 5 (“Species of Desire II: thumos (retaliatory desire)”), 111–39. ⁴¹ E.g. NE III 8, 1116b31–1117a3, and EE III 1, 1229a20–29, discussed in detail below. See also NE III 1, 1111a24–26, III 2 1111b12–13. Another passage in support of the claim that thumos is a reactive emotion is NE V 8, 1135b25–7: “Hence acts proceeding from thumos are rightly judged not to be done

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More generally, the fact that thumos is present in non-human animals poses a problem of unity for Cooper’s proposal: if thumos is a type of desire that nonhuman animals can have, then the object of thumos must be something that nonhuman animals can desire, unless we are open to the possibility that thumos has different objects in non-human and human cases.⁴² The most important obstacle against Cooper’s view is that Aristotle says that thumos might even be lacking a proper goal (namely, NE III 8, 1117a4–5), as I discuss in detail in the next section (Section 3.5.2). In sum, while Cooper’s intuition that we need a non-acquired first motivating impulse towards the noble is, in my opinion, correct, he is wrong in identifying that first motivating impulse with thumos. NE III 8 offers an additional reason to reject thumos as the first motivating impulse towards the noble, a reason that is of highest relevance for our purposes and will be at the center of Chapters 4 and 6. The reason is that there is an emotional source that Aristotle explicitly relates to the noble and contrasts with thumos on various points, namely shame (aidōs). As we will see, the discussion of shame-courage at NE III 8, 1116a17–29, associates shame with desire for something noble, and thus gives us reasons to believe that shame is the right candidate to bridge the moral upbringing gap.

3.5.2 Thumos-Courage in NE III 8 and EE III 1 The main passages on thumos in the ethical treatises are NE VII 6, 1149a24–1150a7, which deals with akrasia in respect to thumos, and our two texts from the discussion of thumos-courage (NE III 8, 1116b23–1117a9, and EE III 1, 1229a20–29). In the extended passage from NE III 8 below, Aristotle discusses in some detail the effect that thumos has on the production of seemingly courageous actions, and he concludes that people who act from thumos do not possess genuine courage but have “something resembling it” (paraplēsion d’echousi ti, 1117a9): Thumos also is sometimes reckoned as courage. For those who act from thumos, like non-human animals rushing at those who have wounded them, are also thought to be courageous, because courageous people also are spirited (thumoeideis). For thumos above all things is ready to confront dangers, and hence of malice aforethought; for it is not the person who acts from thumos but he who enraged him that starts the action.” (διὸ καλῶς τὰ ἐκ θυμοῦ οὐκ ἐκ προνοίας κρίνεται· οὐ γὰρ ἄρχει ὁ θυμῷ ποιῶν, ἀλλ’ ὁ ὀργίσας.) The person who acts from thumos does not initiate the action, but merely reacts to the one who makes him angry. ⁴² See an extended version of this argument in Pearson 2012 at 134.

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- , - 

Homer’s “put strength into his thumos” and “aroused their spirit and thumos” and “hard he breathed panting” and “his blood boiled.”⁴³ For all such expressions seem to indicate the stirring and onset of thumos. Now courageous people act on account of the noble, but thumos aids them; while wild beasts act under the influence of pain; for they attack because they have been wounded or because they are afraid, since if they are in a forest they do not come near one. Thus they are not courageous because, driven by pain and thumos, they rush on danger without foreseeing any of the perils, since at that rate even asses would be courageous when they are hungry, for blows will not drive them from their food;⁴⁴ and lust also makes adulterers do many daring things. (Those creatures are not courageous, then, which are driven on to danger by pain or thumos.) The “courage” that is due to thumos seems to be the most natural, and to be courage if choice and goal be added. People, then, as well as animals, suffer pain when they are angry, and are pleased when they exact their revenge. Those who fight for these reasons, however, are pugnacious but not courageous. For they do not act on account of the noble nor as the rule directs, but on account of passion; they have, however, something resembling to courage.⁴⁵ (NE III 8, 1116b23–1117a9)

What is the source of the resemblance between thumos and genuine courage? And how does the condition of the thumoeidetic person approximate that of the genuinely courageous one? The main similarities are (a) a common readiness to confront danger, and (b) the pleasure that both thumos-driven agents and courageous agents feel in their activities, despite the risks and pains that those actions involve. Although these features are not sufficient to make thumos courage, they are two distinctive features of courageous people, and for that reason spirited individuals are sometimes viewed as paradigmatic examples of courage. What Aristotle says about these features of thumos is that they make it an important aid to courage, since it provides additional affective strength and thus adds to courage’s steadfastness.

⁴³ Il IX 11, XIV 151, XVI 529; V 470, XV 232, 594; Od XXIV 318f. Cf. Irwin 1999, ad loc. ⁴⁴ Il XI 557–62. Cf. Irwin 1999, ad loc. ⁴⁵ καὶ τὸν θυμὸν δ’ ἐπὶ τὴν ἀνδρείαν φέρουσιν· ἀνδρεῖοι γὰρ εἶναι δοκοῦσι καὶ οἱ διὰ θυμὸν ὥσπερ τὰ θηρία ἐπὶ τοὺς τρώσαντας φερόμενα, ὅτι καὶ οἱ ἀνδρεῖοι θυμοειδεῖς· ἰτητικώτατον γὰρ ὁ θυμὸς πρὸς τοὺς κινδύνους, ὅθεν καὶ Ὅμηρος “σθένος ἔμβαλε θυμῷ” καὶ “μένος καὶ θυμὸν ἔγειρε” καὶ “δριμὺ δ’ ἀνὰ ῥῖνας μένος” καὶ “ἔζεσεν αἷμα·” πάντα γὰρ τὰ τοιαῦτα ἔοικε σημαίνειν τὴν τοῦ θυμοῦ ἔγερσιν καὶ ὁρμήν. οἱ μὲν οὖν ἀνδρεῖοι διὰ τὸ καλὸν πράττουσιν, ὁ δὲ θυμὸς συνεργεῖ αὐτοῖς· τὰ θηρία δὲ διὰ λύπην· διὰ γὰρ τὸ πληγῆναι ἢ διὰ τὸ φοβεῖσθαι, ἐπεὶ ἐάν γε ἐν ὕλῃ [ἢ ἐν ἕλει] ᾖ, οὐ προσέρχονται. οὐ δή ἐστιν ἀνδρεῖα διὰ τὸ ὑπ’ ἀλγηδόνος καὶ θυμοῦ ἐξελαυνόμενα πρὸς τὸν κίνδυνον ὁρμᾶν, οὐθὲν τῶν δεινῶν προορῶντα, ἐπεὶ οὕτω γε κἂν οἱ ὄνοι ἀνδρεῖοι εἶεν πεινῶντες· τυπτόμενοι γὰρ οὐκ ἀφίστανται τῆς νομῆς· καὶ οἱ μοιχοὶ δὲ διὰ τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν τολμηρὰ πολλὰ δρῶσιν. [οὐ δή ἐστιν ἀνδρεῖα τὰ δι’ ἀλγηδόνος ἢ θυμοῦ ἐξελαυνόμενα πρὸς τὸν κίνδυνον.] φυσικωτάτη δ’ ἔοικεν ἡ διὰ τὸν θυμὸν εἶναι, καὶ προςλαβοῦσα προαίρεσιν καὶ τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα ἀνδρεία εἶναι. καὶ οἱ ἄνθρωποι δὴ ὀργιζόμενοι μὲν ἀλγοῦσι, τιμωρούμενοι δ’ ἥδονται· οἱ δὲ διὰ ταῦτα μαχόμενοι μάχιμοι μέν, οὐκ ἀνδρεῖοι δέ· οὐ γὰρ διὰ τὸ καλὸν οὐδ’ ὡς ὁ λόγος, ἀλλὰ διὰ πάθος· παραπλήσιον δ’ ἔχουσί τι.

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Aristotle also identifies three primary differences between true courage and thumos-courage. First, the source of movement is different: while courageous people act “on account of the noble” (dia to kalon) and for the sake of the noble, those with thumos-courage act “on account of pain” (dia lupēn, 1116b32). As it is later reformulated, those with thumos-courage act “not as reason directs but on account of passion” (oud’ hōs ho logos alla dia pathos) (1117a8–9). For this reason, while thumos may help courageous people in their actions, it is not what orients them towards the noble. Second, the degree of awareness of the relevant practical features is also different: those with thumos-courage act “without foreseeing any of the dangers” (outhen tōn deinōn proorōnta, 1116b35), while genuinely courageous people are aware of the dangers towards which they are heading. Finally, the absence of choice (prohairesis) and goal is an important sign that what spirited people have is different from the virtue of courage: thumos-courage does not involve “choice and that for-the-sake-of-which” (prohairesin kai to hou heneka, 1117a5), two crucial elements that differentiate those actions that are done from a stable character from those that are not.⁴⁶ The conflict between thumos and reason and the lack of foresight of thumos are similarly emphasized in the parallel passage from EE III 1, 1229a20–29, where Aristotle includes the kind of courage due to thumos under the general umbrella of courage generated “due to non-rational emotion” (dia pathos alogiston). Here again, Aristotle comments on the thumoeidetic person’s readiness to confront danger, but he emphasizes the irrationality of thumos and the unpredictable character of those who act from it: Another [pseudo-courage] is due to non-rational emotion, such as love or thumos. For someone in love is reckless rather than cowardly, and faces many dangers, as did the person who slew the tyrant in Metapontum or the legendary figure in Crete.⁴⁷ It is the same with anger and thumos. For thumos can make you abandon your senses. That is why wild boars seem courageous though they are not really so. They are like that when they abandon their senses, and in any event they are volatile, like the reckless. Still the courage of thumos is above all natural. It knows no defeat, which is why children are the best fighters.⁴⁸ (EE III 1, 1229a20–29)

⁴⁶ See e.g. NE V 8, 1135b11–25 for support of the claim that the fact that the action is chosen (as opposed to simply voluntary) indicates that the agent is in possession of a stable disposition (as opposed to simply doing something). ⁴⁷ Inwood-Woolf 2013 indicate that the first example may be Antileon (Plutarch, Moralia 760c), and the second may be Theseus (44, note 8). ⁴⁸ ἄλλη δὲ διὰ πάθος ἀλόγιστον, οἷον δι’ ἔρωτα καὶ θυμόν. ἄν τε γὰρ ἐρᾷ, θρασὺς μᾶλλον ἢ δειλός, καὶ ὑπομένει πολλοὺς κινδύνους, ὥσπερ ὁ ἐν Μεταποντίῳ τὸν τύραννον ἀποκτείνας καὶ ὁ ἐν Κρήτῃ μυθολογούμενος· καὶ δι’ ὀργὴν καὶ θυμὸν ὡσαύτως. ἐκστατικὸν γὰρ ὁ θυμός. διὸ καὶ οἱ ἄγριοι σύες

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- , - 

Sometimes commentators appeal to the text from NE VII 6, 1149a24–1150a7, to argue for a more intimate relationship between thumos and reason, since Aristotle claims that “thumos seems to listen to argument to some extent” (thumos akouein men ti tou logou, 1149a26). However, what we find in that text is that, although thumos seems to listen to reason, “it mishears it, like hasty servants” (parakouein de, kathaper hoi tacheis tōn diakonōn, 1149a26–27). That claim confirms the lack of foresight of thumos: thumoeidetic impulses lead agents to respond quickly and unreflectively to situations of offense (or danger, in the examples of NE III 8 and EE III 1), and the typical reaction is counterattack or revenge without taking into account the circumstances or the potential results of one’s actions—or as Aristotle puts it in our text from NE III 8, “without foreseeing the dangers” (outhen tōn deinōn proorōnta, 1116b35). Thus, the model that we find in NE VII 6, 1149a24–1150a7, together with the examples from our passages on pseudocourage, support the conclusion that thumos is a reactive emotion, and that it does not have a clear object or a clear relation to reason.

3.5.3 Thumos and Moral Development Revisited In light of Aristotle’s discussion of thumos-courage in NE III 8, 1116b23–1117a9, and EE III 1, 1229a20–29, the appeal to thumos to explain how our initial awareness of and sensitivity towards the noble no longer seems very promising. Although it is undeniable that thumos greatly contributes to courage, my view is that it is not by providing learners with an initial grasp of the noble or by orienting learners to pay attention to considerations about nobility. Instead, the contribution of thumos is that of supporting courageous agents by providing a readiness to approach dangers without considering the consequences—a readiness that can be harmful when not guided by a sense of the noble, but that adds strength to courageous individuals when they find themselves in difficult circumstances. Concerning the connection between thumos and the noble, one might think that the conflict between thumos and reason and the lack of foresight of thumos are not definitive indications against Cooper’s account of the role of thumos in moral development and of our first grasp of the noble. After all, it could be that thumos aims at and motivates us towards the noble, although it is unable to figure out on its own which things are genuinely noble, so it needs to listen to reason in order to be guided. This in fact seems like a plausible reading, and certainly one that fits well with Plato’s picture.⁴⁹ ἀνδρεῖοι δοκοῦσιν εἶναι, οὐκ ὄντες· ὅταν γὰρ ἐκστῶσι, τοιοῦτοι εἰσίν, εἰ δὲ μή, ἀνώμαλοι, ὥσπερ οἱ θρασεῖς. ὅμως δὲ μάλιστα φυσικὴ ἡ τοῦ θυμοῦ· ἀήττητον γὰρ ὁ θυμός, διὸ καὶ οἱ παῖδες ἄριστα μάχονται. ⁴⁹ I am grateful to one of the anonymous referees from OUP for this observation.

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This view might seem supported by the fact that both in NE III 8, 1116b23–1117a9, and EE III 1, 1229a20–29, Aristotle claims that thumos is the natural virtue that corresponds to courage. The characterization of thumos as “natural courage” initially might seem to support the view that thumos is a good candidate to be our first source for moral sensitivity. Moreover, the examples in these passages indicate that thumos leads agents to instinctively respond to dangerous situations with confidence, although this confidence is not guided by proper understanding. Taken as a whole, however, it seems to me that the texts from NE III 8 and EE III 1 lead us in the opposite direction. In fact, one of the differences between true courage and thumos-courage that Aristotle repeatedly indicates is precisely that thumos does not aim at the noble. Several times in NE III 8, 1116b23–1117a9 and EE III 1, 1229a20–29, Aristotle maintains that while the cause of the courageous person’s activities is the noble, the cause of the activities of thumos-driven individuals is not. To support this claim, he mentions as examples the thumos of non-human animals, which is due to pain, and that of adulterers, which is due to erotic passion. In these passages, thumos is even described as merely reactive and, in the case of animals, it causes that “they abandon their senses” (ekstōsi, EE 1129a26). These examples suggest that agents who typically follow their thumos are governed mainly by attitudes regarding certain pleasures and pains, and have no necessary concern for the noble. But perhaps thumos contributes to the development of true courage in a different way. In fact, despite its lack of rationality, its lack of foresight, and its frequently reactive nature, thumos is presented by Aristotle as a positive force. His claim is that courageous people act on account of the noble, but “thumos co-operates with them” (ho de thumos sunergei autois, 1116b31). The function of thumos is to encourage and promote courageous activities by adding to the strengths that courageous actions require, and thus thumos greatly contributes to the achievement of noble goals. Although the intervention of thumos does not help the agent to fulfill the cognitive or motivational requirements for virtuously-performed virtuous action, it does help to guarantee stability, especially in extreme situations. This stands as an indication that, although the activities associated with thumos-courage do not by themselves help agents make progress towards virtue, thumoeidetic impulses aid and encourage the virtue of courage once it has been acquired, and contribute to the performance of courageous actions.

3.6 Experience and Courage: The Case of Skilled Soldiers Experience-courage, i.e. the courage characteristic of those who have an expertise in matters of war, is also a mere appearance of courage. Aristotle argues in NE III

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8, 1116b3–23, and EE III 1, 1229a14–16 and 1230a4–16, that experience (empeiria), and concretely the expertise of skilled soldiers, is not sufficient for courage and indeed, is an inadequate way of making progress towards it.⁵⁰ This does not mean, of course, that experience is irrelevant in our path towards virtue, but it means that a focus on acquiring experience might make us miss other more relevant elements of moral education.⁵¹ There is no doubt that Aristotle considers experience as crucial for acquiring all kinds of knowledge. In Metaphysics I 1 and Posterior Analytics II 19, empeiria is one of the early building blocks of learning. It builds on perception, imagination (phantasia), and memory, and is the source of higher cognitive states such as skill (technē) and scientific knowledge (epistēmē). Those who have experience are able to make judgments about particulars and about certain regularities, and are able to make successful inferences from those observations. This makes experience an important possession to help us deal with practical situations, even though those who have mere experience are not able to explain the causes. Although it is inferior to the ways of knowing that are able to give an account, such as technē and epistēmē, Aristotle claims that empeiria is the key to success in practical contexts, and it is often more useful than argument when it comes to finding immediate practical solutions to problems (Metaph I 1, 981a12–15). In the practical context, experience is also the clear starting point for acquiring practical wisdom (phronēsis); it is what allows us both to read our practical situations correctly and to handle them successfully. For this reason, many passages in the NE underscore the role of experience as a key factor in moral development.⁵² Agents with experience are those who have acquired a robust sense of the typical regularities, and thus are able to make reliable predictions and deal successfully both with the common circumstances and with difficult practical situations. However, while Aristotle acknowledges that experience is important to ⁵⁰ In these passages Aristotle is responding (indirectly) to the question raised by Lysimachus and Melesias in Plato’s Laches: Does training in the technical aspects of battle (e.g. fighting in armor) contribute to the acquisition of courage? If so, how? Aristotle’s response in the pseudo-courage passages is that training in these sorts of technical skills contributes to courage only when it is accompanied by an acquisition of the right sorts of values and goals; otherwise, empeiria on its own does not help to turn learners towards the noble or to bring learners closer to virtue. See Hobbs 2000 (ch. 3) for a discussion of the treatment of this question in Plato’s Laches. ⁵¹ In Jimenez 2016 I present my interpretation of the role of experience in the practical sphere and argue that empeiria and good habits make different and complementary contributions to our moral development. Among the authors that emphasize the role of experience in moral upbringing, we find most notably Broadie 1993 and Annas 1995. See also the final section of Hasper and Yurdin 2014. A number of other commentators (such as Engberg-Pedersen 1983; Dahl 1984; Vasiliou 1996; Achtenberg 2002; Moss 2012) highlight the relevance of experience in moral development, but they often use the term experience as interchangeable with habituation in a way that is, I think, contrary to the distinction that Aristotle is making in NE III 8 and EE III 1. ⁵² See for example NE I 3, 1095a2–11 and NE VI 8, 1142a13–20, discussed in Section 3.6.1 immediately below. Commentators who discuss this point are Engberg-Pedersen 1983; Dahl 1984; Vasiliou 1996; McDowell 1996; Natali 2001; Achtenberg 2002; Salmieri 2009; Hursthouse 2011; Moss 2011 and 2012; Hasper and Yurdin 2014 (section 6).

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succeed in practical situations, he holds that it offers an insufficient foundation for doing courageous actions in the right way. The discussion of the courage of professional soldiers in NE III 8, 1116b3–23, and EE III 1, 1229a14–16 and 1230a4–16, reveals that experience alone is neither a sufficient nor a necessary feature of the acquisition of the seeds of virtue. Mere experience does not contribute to doing courageous actions for their own sake or to acquiring a proper sense of the noble and its value. Aristotle’s main proof is that professional soldiers, who are the paradigm of experts in matters of war, run away when they realize that their life is truly in danger. Although their experience equips them with the relevant kind of knowledge about how to handle dangerous situations, it does not provide the wholeheartedness about the noble characteristic of the virtuous person, and so fails to equip them with the relevant motivation and unwavering commitment of virtue.

3.6.1 Is Experience the Key to Moral Development? Aristotle often includes experience as one of the main requirements for being a good member of the audience of ethical discussions. While NE I 3, 1095a2–11, and VI 8, 1142a13–20 give slightly different answers, they present three main requirements for being receptive to ethical arguments: (a) “experience” (empeiria); (b) a life “according to reason” (kata logon), as opposed to a life “according to passion” (kata pathos); and (c) “conviction” (pistis) about at least some claims on practical matters. This claim establishes that experience is an important element in our moral development.⁵³ In fact, Aristotle often appeals in the NE to the lack of empeiria in young people as an explanation for their inability to engage arguments about ethical and political matters. For example, he claims that because a young person is typically “inexperienced” (apeiros) in the actions of life (NE I 3, 1095a3) and because “the young person lacks experience” (neos d’empeiros ouk estin, NE VI 8, 1142a15), young people are not only unable to be practically wise (phronimoi) but are also incapable of listening to arguments about practical issues. Aristotle clearly considers empeiria to be a requirement for acquiring phronēsis and for becoming receptive to arguments about the just and the noble. Now, although it is undeniable that experience has a central role in the development of the intellectual virtue of phronēsis, it does not play a direct role in the production of the virtues of character. Of course, phronēsis and character

⁵³ Many of the discussions of Aristotle’s account of moral development include references to the problem of the audience. Some noteworthy contributions to this debate are Burnet 1900 (esp. 19); Hardie 1968 (34–5); Burnyeat 1980; Sherman 1989 (esp. 194–6); Broadie 1991 (esp. 22–4; 367–71); Vasiliou 1996.

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- , - 

virtue are intertwined in ways that make it difficult to separate the contribution of experience, but Aristotle seems to think that empeiria’s contribution is limited to providing knowledge about means towards our goals, while the practice through which we develop our attachment to those goals is significantly different. The point is that empeiria alone does not turn us towards the noble in the way that we need if we are to become truly virtuous and so it does not produce the relevant transformation of our emotional and motivational outlook. For this reason, it does not put us in a position to engage in the right kind of practices towards virtue.

3.6.2 The Courage of Skilled Soldiers How should we think, then, about the courage of skilled soldiers, who are well trained to handle the violence and dangers of war? In NE III 8, 1116b3–23, Aristotle indicates that professional soldiers are not truly courageous, but instead they simply appear to be so in the eyes of those with less experience or knowledge of the typical situations that one encounters in battle: Experience with regard to particulars is also thought to be courage. This is why Socrates thought courage was knowledge. Some people exhibit this quality in other dangers, and professional soldiers exhibit it in the dangers of war. For there seem to be many empty alarms in war, and these people have seen them with their own eyes. They seem courageous because others do not know what such alarms are like.⁵⁴ (NE III 8, 1116b3–8)

Experienced agents have a kind of familiarity or knowledge about particulars that enables them to deal successfully with practical matters in the context of war. Concretely, they possess knowledge about the kind of behavior that is usually viewed as courageous in the particular circumstances, and they know how to apply that knowledge to action. For that reason, their actions are often externally indistinguishable from those of truly courageous agents. As such, skilled soldiers are able to identify the risk inherent to a particular circumstance, ponder the actual danger, and stand firm at their posts in situations that others, with less experience, would find terrifying. However, although skilled soldiers are best at dealing with these dangerous situations, Aristotle insists that this does not mean that they are the most courageous:

⁵⁴ δοκεῖ δὲ καὶ ἡ ἐμπειρία ἡ περὶ ἕκαστα ἀνδρεία εἶναι· ὅθεν καὶ ὁ Σωκράτης ᾠήθη ἐπιστήμην εἶναι τὴν ἀνδρείαν. τοιοῦτοι δὲ ἄλλοι μὲν ἐν ἄλλοις, ἐν τοῖς πολεμικοῖς δ’ οἱ στρατιῶται· δοκεῖ γὰρ εἶναι πολλὰ κενὰ τοῦ πολέμου, ἃ μάλιστα συνεωράκασιν οὗτοι· φαίνονται δὴ ἀνδρεῖοι, ὅτι οὐκ ἴσασιν οἱ ἄλλοι οἷά ἐστιν.

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Again, their experience makes them most capable in attack and in defense, since they can use their weapons and have the kind that are likely to be best both for attack and for defense. Therefore, they fight like armed people against unarmed or like trained athletes against amateurs. For in such contests too it is not the most courageous people that fight best, but those who are strongest and have their bodies in the best condition.⁵⁵ (NE III 8, 1116b9–15)

As Aristotle’s description reveals, their condition falls short of genuine courage in three main aspects: (a) reliability, (b) knowledge, and (c) motivation. The clearest indication of the defectiveness of their condition is that these experienced soldiers have very limited reliability. They are only steadfast when they control the situation sufficiently as to not feel danger, and insofar as their strength allows them to feel confident through many hardships; but when the battle presents a risk to their own survival, they quickly surrender or run away. Indeed, Aristotle acknowledges that should the fighting grow too dangerous before their expert eyes, professional soldiers are inclined to flee the battlefield with no regard for whether other considerations exist to keep them in the fight: Professional soldiers turn cowards (deiloi), however, when the danger puts too great a strain on them and they are inferior in numbers and equipment; for they are the first to flee.⁵⁶ (1116b15–18)

The best way to observe the limitations of the professional soldiers is by comparing them to citizen soldiers, who have no expertise in the battlefield, but have been educated under adequate laws to pursue and avoid the right things, if perhaps imperfectly. Aristotle describes how the trained soldiers flee when there is danger because “they fear death more than what is shameful” (ton thanaton mallon tou aischrou phoboumenoi, 1116b22). The citizen soldiers, by contrast, once they are persuaded of the nobility or goodness of an action, will hold steady to their course in the presence of even the worst danger. Thus, citizen soldiers are ready to die for a noble goal, while professional soldiers will swiftly turn cowards: Citizen soldiers die at their posts, as in fact happened at the temple of Hermes. For to the citizens flight is shameful (aischron) and death is preferable to safety in those cases. In contrast, the professional soldiers from the very beginning faced the danger on the assumption that they were stronger, so when they find out the ⁵⁵ εἶτα ποιῆσαι καὶ μὴ παθεῖν μάλιστα δύνανται ἐκ τῆς ἐμπειρίας, δυνάμενοι χρῆσθαι τοῖς ὅπλοις καὶ τοιαῦτα ἔχοντες ὁποῖα ἂν εἴη καὶ πρὸς τὸ ποιῆσαι καὶ πρὸς τὸ μὴ παθεῖν κράτιστα· ὥσπερ οὖν ἀνόπλοις ὡπλισμένοι μάχονται καὶ ἀθληταὶ ἰδιώταις· καὶ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς τοιούτοις ἀγῶσιν οὐχ οἱ ἀνδρειότατοι μαχιμώτατοί εἰσιν, ἀλλ’ οἱ μάλιστα ἰσχύοντες καὶ τὰ σώματα ἄριστα ἔχοντες. ⁵⁶ οἱ στρατιῶται δὲ δειλοὶ γίνονται, ὅταν ὑπερτείνῃ ὁ κίνδυνος καὶ λείπωνται τοῖς πλήθεσι καὶ ταῖς παρασκευαῖς· πρῶτοι γὰρ φεύγουσι.

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- , - 

truth, they flee, fearing death more than the shameful (tou aischrou). But the courageous person is not like that.⁵⁷ (NE III 8, 1116b18–23)

The comparison with citizen soldiers is crucial to reveal the weaknesses of courage as a skill. In relation to their knowledge, these agents possess sufficient expertise as to easily differentiate real dangers from apparent dangers, and as a consequence, they can handle all kinds of apparently dangerous situations insofar as they do not seem truly threatening to them. This is what Aristotle refers to in NE III 8, 1116b3–15 as the “empty alarms of war” (kena tou polemou): people with expertise in the art of war are able to identify false alarms and handle them, while others think that those empty alarms are true dangers. Aristotle’s point is, I think, that it would be strange to think that courage consists in handling empty alarms (or at least what the agent perceives as such), given that such a conception is in tension with our normal understanding of courage, where the aim is to deal with things that are in fact dangerous and not merely apparently so. The main reason why the expertise of skilled soldiers is insufficient to keep them reliably in battle is that they have not learned to align their values and goals in the way the virtuous person does it. Not having that proper alignment of values, they often prefer the advantageous and the pleasant over the noble, and they fear the harmful and the painful more than the shameful. The fact that they would prefer doing something dishonorable over suffering harm or death is a sign that their commitment to noble values is weak. This is their main failure—their inability to recognize and embrace as their own the value of the noble.

3.6.3 The Distinction that Aristotle Says Socrates Missed: Technical Training vs. Training for Virtue The comparison at NE III 8, 1116b18–23, between citizen soldiers who have received the kind of upbringing that provides respect for the laws and concern for one’s fellow-citizens, and skilled soldiers who have received professional training, aims, I think, at highlighting a crucial difference between training for virtue and technical training.⁵⁸ The contrast, as I see it, exemplifies the distinction between the acquisition of virtues and that of crafts that Aristotle presented in NE II 4, 1105a26–b12, and reminds us of the relevance of the habituation that focuses ⁵⁷ τὰ δὲ πολιτικὰ μένοντα ἀποθνήσκει, ὅπερ κἀπὶ τῷ Ἑρμαίῳ συνέβη. τοῖς μὲν γὰρ αἰσχρὸν τὸ φεύγειν καὶ ὁ θάνατος τῆς τοιαύτης σωτηρίας αἱρετώτερος· οἳ δ καὶ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἐκινδύνευον ὡς κρείττους ὄντες, γνόντες δὲ φεύγουσι, τὸν θάνατον μᾶλλον τοῦ αἰσχροῦ φοβούμενοι· ὁ δ’ ἀνδρεῖος οὐ τοιοῦτος. ⁵⁸ If I am right about this, then it is not relevant whether Aristotle is talking specifically in the passage about mercenaries or not (Cf. Irwin 1999, ad loc.). The point is to contrast two kinds of formation of courage: one of a predominantly technical kind, focused on acquiring knowledge about how to deal with dangers; and the other, practical, focused on getting right the relative values of safety and virtue.

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on getting learners to perform actions for their own sake and on cultivating an unwavering attitude about one’s practical commitments. Of the three conditions that learners of virtue are expected to exercise during their formation, the practices involved in professional training focus on just one: the learner’s knowledge. Professional soldiers receive military training and acquire skills and knowledge, yet their training, if it is merely technical, does not tackle considerations about the nobility or shamefulness of their actions, and in general, does not cultivate in them the right motivational tendencies. Thus, while they are able to use the appropriate weapons correctly, and while they can assume the correct poses on the battlefield, etc., they are not able to live up to the standards of courageous behavior. Aristotle’s conception of the relation between crafts and virtues is complex, and although he appeals often to the crafts in order to explain the virtues by analogy, he also outlines important differences between them. As we saw in Chapter 1, in our discussion of NE II 1–4, Aristotle appeals to the analogy between virtues and crafts to explain how we acquire the virtues of character. The learning of character virtues and of crafts is similar in that learners of virtue become virtuous by doing virtuous actions, just as learners of a craft become experts by performing the activities that are proper of that craft. In NE II 4, 1105b5–12 however, Aristotle indicates that there is also an important difference between character virtues and crafts: while “the knowing” (to men eidenai, 1105b2) is the central element in the acquisition of crafts—so that if one has a sufficient amount of the relevant knowledge, the productive action will be performed properly—in the case of the virtues, the knowing “has little or no force” (ouden ē mikron ischuei, 1105b2–3). The reason for this, I contend, is that the kind of knowledge that comes from teaching and from mere experience is not able to lead by itself to the performance of the adequate actions in the right way. This point will help explain a puzzling remark that Aristotle makes in NE III 8, in the first lines of our passage, where he associates the claim that courage is “experience about particular facts” (hē empeiria hē peri hekasta, 1116b3–4) with Socrates’ claim that “courage is knowledge” (epistēmēn einai tēn andreian, 1116b5). This appears to suggest that Socrates believed that experience of particulars (of the sort that trained soldiers have in relation to war) is the source of the kind of knowledge that, in his view, suffices for courage. This association is strange at first, since the kind of knowledge about particulars involved in empeiria as it is understood here is very different from the notion of knowledge expressed in Socrates’ epistēmē. Some commentators (e.g. Irwin 1999, Taylor 2006) complain that Aristotle is being careless by attributing to Socrates a view that is very different from the one we see him holding in Plato’s dialogues, especially in Laches and Protagoras.⁵⁹ ⁵⁹ Taylor 2006 claims that Aristotle’s reference to Socrates here is “careless” (187). Broadie 2002, in contrast, does not seem to see any conflict in her commentary: “That courage is expert knowledge

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- , - 

Their claim—which in principle seems justified—is that when in those dialogues Socrates argues that virtue (and specifically courage) is knowledge, the kind of knowledge that Socrates identifies with virtue is very different from the knowledge that empeiria about the particulars of war seems to provide in these passages from NE III 8 (and EE III 1)—i.e. very different from the expertise of the skilled soldier.⁶⁰ Why, then, does Aristotle make this claim? The source for this apparently odd association between Socrates’ claim that virtue is knowledge and people’s mistaken belief that virtue is experience is, in my opinion, that Aristotle thinks that both positions conflate technical knowledge with knowledge of value, and also conflate their respective modes of acquisition. The kind of experience that Aristotle discards in this passage as mere pseudocourage is the experience that enables those who have it to be better at problemsolving and at dealing with technical issues, but not necessarily better at making judgments of value or at having internalized the superiority of the noble over the merely advantageous and the merely pleasant. Although Socrates is talking about knowledge of value, since he focuses on “knowledge” (epistēmē) and seems to neglect our affective training, from the Aristotelian perspective he commits a similar mistake to those who think that mere empeiria, without habituation in the right feelings, can be sufficient for virtue. Although it is true that the kind of knowledge that Socrates identifies with virtue is more complex than Aristotle’s characterization allows, I believe the reference to Socrates is well brought up in this context.⁶¹ What Aristotle tries to emphasize is that Socrates does not properly understand the relationship of empeiria and knowledge with virtue. Socrates—as Aristotle sees it—seems to assume that the most courageous people are those who possess knowledge about danger, or the kind of expertise that enables them to successfully assess and handle dangerous situations. Against Socrates’ intellectualism, Aristotle points out that those who are best able to assess and handle dangers (i.e. those

(epistēmē) is Socrates’ position at Laches 194dff. and Protagoras 360b–361b.” See similarly the note in Inwood & Woolf 2013 regarding the parallel passage in EE III 1. ⁶⁰ See e.g. Taylor 2006: “Socrates defines courage at Lach 199a–b as knowledge of what is frightening and confidence-inspiring (tōn deinōn epistēmē . . . kai tharraleōn) and at Prt. 360d as wisdom concerning what is frightening and not (sophia . . . tōn deinōn kai mē deinōn). These formulae express the Socratic thesis that courage is identical with knowledge of what is good and bad for the agent overall. That knowledge is explicitly in the Laches and implicitly in the Protagoras distinguished from technical expertise, which is relative, not to the overall good of the agent, but to the performance of a specific task. In the former dialogue (193a–d) people who undertake dangerous activities without technical knowledge are said to be more courageous than the corresponding experts. Aristotle’s citing the Socratic thesis as supporting the identity of expert courage with true courage is therefore careless” (187). ⁶¹ The details of Aristotle’s attack on Socrates in these passages are complex and fascinating, and would take us too far from the task of this chapter, but as I hope to show in a different paper, I believe that Aristotle has in mind here the dispute about courage between Protagoras and Socrates in Plato’s Protagoras and that he sides with Protagoras.

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with a practical expertise in dangers, so to speak) are not necessarily the most courageous. As he puts it, professional soldiers, like professional athletes, might be better prepared to win, but they are not more courageous than those who risk their lives in situations which they do not fully know how to handle. Socrates’ emphasis on expertise, Aristotle suggests, misses the point of what is crucial for courage, namely the readiness to put one’s life at risk with an awareness of the fact that things might go wrong. Aristotle’s point is that such readiness is crucial for true courage and not something susceptible to be taught through professional training. It is acquired, instead, by proper habituation. The parallel text of EE III 1 emphasizes this point by presenting a distinction between a kind of knowledge that is properly practical and the knowledge that one acquires in technical training. The first kind of knowledge is, in the case of courage, about “the fearful things” themselves (ta deina), while the second kind of knowledge is about “the resources” that agents have to deal with the fearful:⁶² The second [pseudo-courage] is that of the skilled soldier. It is due to experience and knowledge, not (as Socrates said) of what is fearful, but of the resources they have to meet what is fearful.⁶³ (EE III 1, 1229a14–16)

The kind of knowledge that skilled soldiers have is about how to deal with dangers, or “how to help themselves in terrible situations” (including how to climb masts, a reference to Plato’s Laches), but they do not have the relevant knowledge about what is dangerous or truly frightening (i.e. what we ought to be afraid of): Similarly, all who face dangers owing to experience are not really courageous; this is what, perhaps, most soldiers do. For the truth is the exact opposite of what Socrates thought. He held that courage was knowledge. But those who know how to ascend masts are confident not because they know what is frightening but because they know how to help themselves in terrible situations. Nor is all that makes people fight more boldly courage; for then, as Theognis puts it, strength and wealth would be courage—“every person” (he says) “is daunted by poverty”. Obviously some, though cowards, face dangers because of their experience, because they do not think them dangers, as they know how to help themselves; and a proof of this is that, when they think they can get no help and the terrible situation is close at hand, they no longer face it.⁶⁴ (EE III 1, 1230a4–16) ⁶² I thank Jacob Stump for pointing out this correlation in his comments to an old cousin of this chapter. ⁶³ δευτέρα ἡ στρατιωτική· αὕτη δὲ δι’ἐμπειρίαν καὶ τὸ εἰδέναι, οὐχ ὥσπερ Σωκράτης ἔφη τὰ δεινά, ἀλλ’ ὅτι τὰς βοηθείας τῶν δεινῶν. ⁶⁴ παραπλησίως δὲ τούτοις καὶ ὅσοι δι’ ἐμπειρίαν ὑπομένουσι τοὺς κινδύνους, ὅνπερ τρόπον σχεδὸν οἱ πλεῖστοι τῶν στρατιωτικῶν ἀνθρώπων ὑπομένουσιν. αὐτὸ γὰρ τοὐναντίον ἔχει ἢ ὡς ᾤετο Σωκράτης, ἐπιστήμην οἰόμενος εἶναι τὴν ἀνδρείαν. οὔτε γὰρ διὰ τὸ εἰδέναι τὰ φοβερὰ θαρροῦσιν οἱ ἐπὶ τοὺς ἱστοὺς ἀναβαίνειν ἐπιστάμενοι, ἀλλ’ ὅτι ἴσασι τὰς βοηθείας τῶν δεινῶν· οὔτε δι’ ὃ θαρραλεώτερον ἀγωνίζονται,

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- , - 

The expertise of the skilled soldiers, then, is compatible with being a coward. Their experiential knowledge may make them successful in battle, but only insofar as they do not find themselves in truly dangerous situations and stay instead within the realm of what they already know how to handle. It is for this reason that this kind of experiential knowledge is not sufficient to produce the reliability necessary for genuine courage in learners. And that is why the skilled soldiers are inferior to the citizen soldiers regarding courage. To achieve that reliability one needs to be properly trained in the right ways of feeling about the noble and the shameful, and become able to properly grasp the relative value of present dangers. In other words, one needs to grasp the importance of remaining in battle and defending one’s army in the pursuit of a noble goal—or more generally, to grasp that the shameful is more frightening than death—which is something that cannot be learned by mere familiarity with the battlefield. In sum, Aristotle’s point is that the proper awareness of what is truly frightening is not acquired through technical training; instead it is acquired through the kind of training in virtue that a good upbringing and good laws are designed to achieve.⁶⁵

3.6.4 Experience and Moral Development Aristotle’s view on experience-courage in NE III 8, 1116b3–23, and EE III 1, 1229a14–16 and 1230a4–16, is that while professional soldiers have acquired abundant expertise on the technical aspects of war and can generally handle danger quite well, they have not had the proper shaping of their motivational tendencies. Thus, their motivation fails whenever the danger is truly great, and experience alone proves insufficient to keep them at their posts. This lack of reliability concerning true dangers is the clearest sign that the training of professional soldiers is insufficient. (And it also highlights, by comparison, the advantage of the citizen soldiers who have been initiated in a respect for the honorable and repulsion towards the shameful, and who are consequently unable to do anything shameful to gain benefits or avoid harms, including death.) When Aristotle compares professional soldiers to citizen soldiers, he says that the latter—even when they are utterly without prior experience on the battlefield—are able to hold their positions and refrain from fleeing when they τοῦτο ἀνδρεία. καὶ γὰρ ἂν ἡ ἰσχὺς καὶ ὁ πλοῦτος κατὰ Θέογνιν ἀνδρεία εἶεν· “πᾶς γὰρ ἀνὴρ πενίῃ δεδμημένος.” φανερῶς ἔνιοι δειλοὶ ὄντες ὅμως ὑπομένουσι δι’ ἐμπειρίαν· τοῦτο δέ, ὅτι οὐκ οἴονται κίνδυνον εἶναι· ἴσασι γὰρ τὰς βοηθείας. σημεῖον δέ· ὅταν γὰρ μὴ ἔχειν οἴωνται βοήθειαν, ἀλλ’ ἤδη πλησίον ᾖ τὸ δεινόν, οὐχ ὑπομένουσιν. ⁶⁵ Aristotle’s discussion of experience-courage in these passages can be used to tease out the different contributions of experience and good habits to our moral development, as I argue in Jimenez 2019.

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see that the danger is real. Thus, he acknowledges that it is possible to deal with danger in the proper way and be reliable in courage without having the relevant expert training or experience of the facts of war. This does not mean that experience does not contribute to the development of virtue. As experience is necessary for learning how to deal with practical situations, and consequently is an important source of phronēsis, learners will have to acquire experience if they want to develop a reliable virtuous disposition. However, while experience informs virtue and helps learners decide on the best course of action, insofar as it does not contribute to building the right attachment to virtuous goals, it is insufficient for performing virtuous actions in the right way. To summarize, experience by itself does not do the job of transforming learners into ethical agents, and consequently, is not likely to be the starting point for the acquisition of virtue of character.

3.7 Two Kinds of Political Courage and Two Methods of Civic Education Political courage, the courage characteristic of citizen soldiers, is the pseudocourage most controversial and most difficult to assess. Aristotle says that political courage is “most like” (malista gar eoiken, 1116a17) true courage, and seems to present it in a good light. By calling it “political” or “civic” (politikē) he indicates that it is the kind of courage that legislators try to instill through the laws, and it is the one that we find in functional political communities, where citizens are initiated in common values through habits aimed at making those values become second nature.⁶⁶ Although they are not virtuous properly speaking, these agents seem to approximate virtuous people in stability and motivation. Unlike in the other modalities of pseudo-courage (except for thumos), where agents fail one way or another at being sufficiently steadfast in the face of danger, citizen soldiers have strong reliability in the battlefield. Also unlike the other modalities of pseudocourage (except for occasionally hope), where agents fail to foreground considerations about the nobility or shamefulness of their actions, citizen soldiers aim at doing noble things, insofar as they are the noble things recommended or demanded by the law.

⁶⁶ The notion of “political courage” (politikē andreia) is also present in Plato’s Republic, 430c, and there is disagreement in the literature about whether the term has a similar sense in Aristotle’s NE. Some commentators (such as Joachim 1951, 120, and Stewart 1892) see a parallel between the uses. For example, Stewart 1892 points out that Aristotle is at one with Plato in regarding this courage as “a habit acquired by the πολίτης under the influence of νόμος” (292). Other commentators (such as Grant 1885 and, more recently, Hitz 2012) consider that while political courage is positive in Plato it is not so in Aristotle. My view is that Aristotle, like Plato, considers political courage as a second-best kind of courage, and his view is not negative.

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- , - 

The discussion of political courage at NE III 8, 1116a15–1116b3, is divided into two parts, corresponding to the two main ways in which the laws instill habits of courageous behavior in the citizens: the honor-and-shame method and the fear method (and, maybe, prizes, although Aristotle leaves rewards out in this discussion). Although both kinds of political courage are characterized by the fact that agents follow the command of the laws in their actions, they differ in their motivation and goal: citizen soldiers who obey their sense of shame do courageous actions moved by their love of honors and their aversion to reproaches, and their goal is to achieve the praiseworthy and the admirable in action, while they avoid the shameful; in contrast, those citizens who obey fear do the right thing moved by their aversion to punishment and, in general, pain, and their goal is to avoid potential material losses or painful consequences associated with disobeying the laws or breaking social rules. I think this distinction between motivational orientations into (a) being guided by considerations of nobility and shamefulness, and (b) being guided by considerations about pleasure and pain or gain and loss, is one of the fundamental pillars of Aristotle’s moral psychology, and he often uses it to explain the distinctiveness of the virtuous person’s motivations.⁶⁷ For this reason, I think we have reasons to resist deflationary readings that minimize the weight of this distinction in our passage from NE III 8, and hold instead that the failure of all those with political virtue, both shame-based and fear-based kinds, is that they all act with the wrong motive. Indeed, some commentators (such as Hitz 2012) are suspicious about the goodness of political courage and assume, in my opinion mistakenly, that both kinds of citizen soldiers aim at external incentives.⁶⁸ In this reading, citizens with fearcourage would aim at attaining external goods and avoiding harms, while citizens with shame-courage would aim at external recognition and honor understood as a kind of prize. For this reason, for these commentators both forms of political courage are equally inadequate as models for the proper upbringing of the youth. I believe these commentators are right that acting for the sake of external goods is incompatible with proper virtue.⁶⁹ I think, however, that their negative ⁶⁷ For a clear statement of the distinction between the three objects of choice see NE II 3, 1104b30–32. At e.g. NE III 4, 1113a31–3, we find the claim that the most distinctive feature of the good person is the ability to be right about the relative value of the pleasant and the noble: “Each state of character has its own set of things that are noble and pleasant, and perhaps the good person (ho spoudaios) differs from others most by seeing the truth in each class of things, being as it were the norm and measure of them.” ⁶⁸ For example, Hitz 2012 identifies those with political virtue (and, specifically, those who pursue honor) with the merely good people from EE VIII 3, who are said to be good and aim at virtue, although they conceive of virtue as mainly an instrument to obtain the goods of fortune. ⁶⁹ Contra Broadie 2005, who argues that those who aim at virtue only because it brings goods of fortune ought to be included among the virtuous properly speaking, because also they aim at the noble in some sense. Broadie’s view is that, although these agents fail to see the intrinsic value of the noble and only seek it for the sake of the resulting external goods, they can be said to choose virtuous actions for the sake of the noble while holding an erroneous view of the noble; in other words, they are right about what to aim at (noble actions), but wrong about why. Broadie 2005 offers an extensive defense of this

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assessment of political courage is mistaken, and that by tackling political courage as if it is a unified category, they fail to give sufficient weight to the distinction between the two main sub-categories of political courage that Aristotle presents in NE III 8. In contrast, I believe the distinction between acting from shame and acting from fear is one of the crucial moves in the whole discussion of pseudocourage, and—importantly for our purposes—it presents us also with the beginning of an answer to our question about the sources of moral development. If we miss this distinction, we might miss also an important route to answer our question about the seeds of virtue. There are, I think, good textual reasons for not deflating the distinction between the motive of shame and the motive of fear. The first one is that we find parallel distinctions in two crucial (although difficult) passages of his ethical treatises, NE X 9 and EE VIII 3—each of them respectively located at the very end of the NE and the EE. In NE X 9, which we will discuss extensively in Chapter 6, we find a similar contrast between (a) obeying one’s sense of shame and being a lover of the noble, on the one hand, and (b) merely following one’s appetitive impulses towards pleasure and away from pain, on the other. In EE VIII 3, 1248b16–1249a17, we find a distinction between nobility-and-goodness and mere goodness, where the difference resides in that noble-and-good agents are motivated by considerations about the intrinsic value of their virtuous actions, while merely good people are motivated by the achievement of external goods (i.e. by pleasure and gain).⁷⁰ A second text that highlights the distinction between acting from fear and acting from shame is the discussion of pseudo-courage in EE III 1, where political courage includes only the courage based on shame, while fear-courage is classified as part of the pseudo-courage based on “irrational passion” (pathos alogiston), together with pseudo-courageous cases due to appetitive drive and thumos (1229a20–29 and 1229b27–1230a4). Aside from these textual considerations, I think the main reason why commentators sometimes deflate the distinction between shame-courage and fear-courage is a mistaken prejudice about shame that leads them to conclude that both forms of political courage ultimately aim at external incentives.⁷¹ As I argue in Chapter 4 below, in contrast to those with mere fear-courage, citizen soldiers with shame do thesis (which is already present in Broadie 1991). I sympathize with Barney 2005, who shows skepticism about Broadie’s view and offers good reasons for why she thinks it might be exaggerated; see also Hitz 2012 for a criticism of Broadie 2005, and Whiting 1996 for a criticism of Broadie’s 1991 version. While I agree with Broadie’s suggestion that these citizens might become reliably decent people under the right laws, and that perhaps this is what Aristotle has in mind when he calls them agathoi at EE VIII 3, I agree with Whiting 1996, Barney 2005, and Hitz 2012 that Aristotle does not consider them to be virtuous strictly speaking. ⁷⁰ See Whiting 1996, Broadie 2005, Barney 2005, and Hitz 2012 for insightful discussions of these passages. ⁷¹ This mistaken prejudice about shame is discussed at length in Chapter 4. Commentators who hold the view that the object of shame is mere reputation or external recognition are e.g. Taylor 2006,

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not aim at external incentives but, instead, do courageous actions on account of their nobility and for their own sake, even if they depend on the external guidance provided by honors and reproaches from those around them, and in general, by the social system of praise and blame. In the section below, I offer a general characterization of the inferior kind of political courage (i.e. the one based on fear), emphasizing the reasons why one might think that it is a second-best form of quasi-courage. The political courage due to shame will be the object of Chapter 4, which aims to establish the ground for my thesis that shame is the proto-virtuous condition that equips us with the resources to become genuinely good.

3.7.1 Fear-Based Political Courage in NE III 8 Aristotle’s discussion of the inferior kind of political courage, which is due to fear, is brief, and it appears in the text as a coda to the discussion of the primary kind of political courage due to shame. Those who belong to this category of pseudocourage do courageous actions due to fear and in response to the threats expressed in the laws: One might rank in the same class even those who are compelled by their rulers; but they are inferior, inasmuch as they do what they do not from shame but from fear, and to avoid not what is shameful but what is painful; for their masters compel them, as Hector does: But if I shall spy any dastard that cowers far from the fight, Vainly will such a one hope to escape from the dogs.⁷² And those who give them their posts, and beat them if they retreat, do the same, and so do those who draw them up with trenches or something of the sort behind them; all of these apply coercion. But one ought to be brave not under coercion but because it is noble to be so.⁷³ (NE III 8, 1116a29–b3)

186; Schofield 2006, 316–17; Richardson Lear 2004, 154 n. 18; Broadie 1991 and 2002, comm. ad loc.; Irwin 1999, 213, and Hitz 2012. ⁷² Il II 391–3. ⁷³ τάξαι δ’ ἄν τις καὶ τοὺς ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρχόντων ἀναγκαζομένους εἰς ταὐτό· χείρους δ’, ὅσῳ οὐ δι’ αἰδῶ ἀλλὰ διὰ φόβον αὐτὸ δρῶσι, καὶ φεύγοντες οὐ τὸ αἰσχρὸν ἀλλὰ τὸ λυπηρόν· ἀναγκάζουσι γὰρ οἱ κύριοι, ὥσπερ ὁ Ἕκτωρ ὃν δέ κ’ ἐγὼν ἀπάνευθε μάχης πτώσσοντα νοήσω, οὔ οἱ ἄρκιον ἐσσεῖται φυγέειν κύνας. καὶ οἱ προστάττοντες, κἂν ἀναχωρῶσι τύπτοντες, τὸ αὐτὸ δρῶσι, καὶ οἱ πρὸ τῶν τάφρων καὶ τῶν τοιούτων παρατάττοντες· πάντες γὰρ ἀναγκάζουσιν. δεῖ δ’ οὐ δι’ ἀνάγκην ἀνδρεῖον εἶναι, ἀλλ’ ὅτι καλόν.

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He emphasizes the fact that fear-courageous individuals respond mainly to the threats of potential punishments, and act under compulsion. These agents, then, diverge from truly courageous individuals in two main ways: (a) since they seek to avoid punishment, they attend mainly to considerations about “the painful” or “the harmful,” instead of “the shameful,” and thus they do not do their actions for the sake of the noble; (b) they act under some sort of compulsion and only in response to external threats, and although their actions are voluntary, they cannot be said to follow from their character in the same way that the actions of virtuous people do. Given these deficiencies, Aristotle’s verdict is that this is the most imperfect of the kinds of political courage. In comparison to shame-courage, this kind of pseudo-courage is far from virtue. First, although these agents’ actions are externally similar to the ones that genuinely courageous agents perform, they differ in their ultimate goals. Indeed, people who act from fear of punishment do not do things “because it is noble” (hoti kalon). On the contrary, these agents do courageous things “on account of fear” (dia phobon), and the aim of their actions is to avoid “what is painful” (to lupēron). Moreover, Aristotle says these citizen soldiers act “under compulsion” (di’ anankēn). His claim does not imply that these citizens’ actions are involuntary. He does think that actions done from fear, just like actions done from emotion in general, are voluntary (unless it is fear of the kinds of pains and harms that no human can endure). But he seems to take the fact that these actions are coerced as an indication that he believes fear limits our agency, at least partially, and that when we act from fear we are not fully exercising our agency but being partially moved by external influences.

3.7.2 Fear of Punishment and Moral Development As we argued in our discussion of the conditioning method of education (in Section 2.2.3), performing actions that are to some degree forced and done from fear, or encouraged through rewards, are not a good model for learning by doing. This method not only fails to provide a clear explanation of how the repetition of actions done from fear of punishment can yield dispositions to act for the sake of the noble, but also is very likely to result in the formation of merely self-controlled individuals. And yet, this method can derive some seemingly good results, since agents who consistently do the right thing, even if for the wrong reason, can acquire certain skills and experience that might be useful in practical contexts. First, repetition of fear-inspired actions could lead learners to acquire knowledge about what kinds of things are required by the laws and thus make them more reliable and consistent in the performance of virtuous actions; second, it could provide them with

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relevant experience to deal with some practical situations more efficiently; and third, it can produce sufficient familiarity with the actions as to have them become second-nature through habit.⁷⁴ Although there is no doubt that agents who do virtuous actions regularly and acquire habits for doing so through practice are better than those who do not, this model is inferior because it does not sufficiently address the formation of the right motivational tendencies in the agents. Although these practices could prepare the learners to be obedient to the laws, they do not produce in them the conditions for performing virtuous actions in the right way, i.e. for themselves and independently of the presence of threats. A reasonable first impression is that Aristotle fully dismisses those who act from fear of punishment as lacking goodness, since they merely follow the commands of the law because of the benefits that doing so brings, and the harms that it avoids. Briefly, they ultimately aim at pleasure and gain. This type of agent, then, is clearly inferior to virtuous people, and also (although maybe less clearly) to those pseudo-courageous citizens who are instead guided by shame. And yet, it seems that Aristotle still thinks these politically virtuous individuals do not entirely fail at being virtuous. In fact, in the above-mentioned distinction between the good individual (agathos) and the noble-and-good one (kalokagathos) in EE VIII 3, 1248b16–1249a17, he seems to accept that politically virtuous individuals who pursue virtue for the sake of external goods have a good character, after all. He calls these agents “good” (agathoi), although he considers them inferior to those who choose actions for themselves and for the noble, who he calls “noble and good.” And since they do consistently obey the laws and social norms, they behave in a way that is externally indistinguishable from the virtuous person’s behavior. As I see it, however, Aristotle’s positive verdict concerning the inferior kind of political virtue is limited, and only applies when we compare these agents to those who have failed to acquire habits of good conduct. In comparison to the latter, fear-based political virtue is good, but in comparison to real virtue (or even to shame-based political virtue, as I argue in Chapter 4), they are not. The limitations of fear-based political virtue condemns these agents to never make progress on the path to true virtue, since they see things always in terms of gains and pleasures, and are unable to get a minimal sense of the noble. As Aristotle puts it sometimes, these agents who guide their actions by fear have not properly developed a taste for the noble and are not able to appreciate its value. In contrast, citizens with a sense of shame, when they receive a proper education through honors and reproaches, can achieve the superior kind of virtue from NE VIII 3, kalokagathia. This is because they are alert to considerations about the noble and the shameful ⁷⁴ A stronger view about the potential of this kind of condition to be genuine virtue, even if not fully similar to complete virtue, is defended by Broadie 2005.

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and pay attention to the quality of their actions and their character, so they are able to see the value of virtuous actions in themselves without having to be enticed by external incentives. As we are about to encounter in the next chapter, this second kind of political courage, motivated by the agents’ sense of shame, will enable agents to perform virtuous actions on account of their nobility and to avoid shameful consequences. For this reason, Aristotle considers it to be the pseudocourage most similar to real virtue. I will argue that this second sort of political courage makes it possible for those who do not have stable virtuous dispositions to perform virtuous actions in the right way, and thus, it makes them able to make progress towards virtue.

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4 Connecting Shame with Honor and the Noble 4.1 Shame’s Self-Reflectivity, Other-Relatedness, and Responsiveness to External Reasons Shame’s connection to honor, reputation, and praise often leads modern authors to consider it as a morally dubious emotion: heteronomous, superficial, and possibly rooted in the unchecked questionable customs of a stratified society. First, honor and reputation are always given by others, the worry of heteronomy goes, so if we take honor or reputation as the goal of our actions, we make our values and our behavior depend too much on the opinions of others.¹ Moreover, if the focus of our concern for reputation is just appearing to be good in the eyes of others, then this concern is hardly conducive to true goodness.² What is worse, being guided by honor might make us prey of the regressive or old-fashioned values of stratified societies that pay too much attention to status.³ Against these

¹ The view that shame and love of honor are a potential obstacle to autonomy, insofar as they are characteristic of those who measure their value by the opinions of others, goes back to Dodds 1951, who popularized in classical scholarship Ruth Benedict’s 1946 famous distinction between “shame-cultures” and “guilt-cultures” (see especially 17–18 and ch. 2) and characterized the Homeric society as a paradigm of shame culture. Among those who denounce the heteronomy of shame and love of honor are e.g. Adkins 1960 and 1972; Redfield 1975; and Nussbaum 1980 and 2004. For strong arguments against the alleged heteronomy of shame see e.g. Williams 1993; Cairns 1993 and 2011; Calhoun 2004; and Mason 2010, while more recent defenses of the autonomy of shame in contemporary terms can be found in Deonna et al. 2012, esp. ch. 4, and Kristjánsson 2007 and 2014. Maibom 2010 argues for the heteronomy of shame, but she presents it as a potentially positive feature. In the context of Aristotelian literature this worry is at the center of the discussions in Richardson Lear 2004 and Hitz 2012, and it is dealt with by Raymond 2017 at 147–50. ² The classic attack on shame (and “shame culture”) because of its superficiality can be found in Adkins 1960, esp. 154–6, where Greek culture previous to Socrates is portrayed as dominated by shame and consequently excessively concerned with “what people say.” We find arguments against the superficiality of shame in Williams 1993; Calhoun 2004; Mason 2010; and Deonna et al. 2012. Nussbaum 2004 acknowledges the existence of a “constructive shame” and claims that “the person who is utterly shame-free is not a good friend, lover or citizen” (216). An insightful discussion of the relevance of shame to both moral and political problems can be found in Lebron 2013 (16–26). For modern commentators who—in my opinion, wrongly—attribute to Aristotle the view that shame is both morally superficial and an obstacle to autonomy see Irwin 1999; Broadie 1993; Richardson Lear 2004; Taylor 2006; and Hitz 2012. ³ Berger 1970 argues that the notion of honor has become obsolete for these reasons. One of the authors that puts most pressure on this point (regarding the related notion of shame) is Nussbaum 2004, who emphasizes shame’s connection with the degradation and humiliation of socially deviant groups (see especially chs. 4–7).

Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good. Marta Jimenez, Oxford University Press (2020). © Marta Jimenez. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829683.003.0005

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worries, recent modern defenses of honor have presented it as a useful tool to produce positive moral change and as compatible with democratic values.⁴ As Appiah 2010 puts it, honor is “an engine, fueled by the dialogue between our selfconceptions and the regard of others, that can drive us to take seriously our responsibilities in a world we share” (178–9).⁵ Just as in these modern defenses of honor, for Aristotle, shame’s connection to honor, reputation, and praise, far from making it a heteronomous and superficial emotion, is what makes it the selfreflective and other-related emotion that puts us on the path towards true autonomy and virtue. Shame (including both aidōs and aischunē) is unquestionably connected to reputation (doxa) and honor (timē) in Aristotle. In fact, aversion to disrepute (adoxia), which goes hand in hand with love of honor (philotimia), is the heart of shame. But shame is not just a superficial fear of disrepute or a mere desire for a good reputation, and love of honor does not need to be satisfied with the mere appearance of virtue or the attainment of its rewards.⁶ While there are people who seek honor just as a mere acquisition, or as a tool for acquiring some gain, that is not what we normally mean when we say that someone has a “sense of shame” or a “sense of honor,” and that is also not what Aristotle means when he refers to the “shame-prone person” (aidēmōn). As I argue in this chapter, Aristotle’s treatment of shame establishes a solid connection between honor and the noble, an account in which acting from shame or for the sake of honor is not only compatible with acting for the sake of the noble, but is often conducive to it. But my interpretation of Aristotle’s views on shame does not intend to emphasize the connection of shame and honor to the noble by erasing shame’s attention to other people’ opinions or by denying shame’s other-relatedness; instead, ⁴ See e.g. Krause 2002; Appiah 2010; Sessions 2010; Cunningham 2013; Demetriou 2014; Olsthoorn 2015; Kumar and Campbell 2016, who claim that honor is “an integral part of morality” that “can be an engine of rational and progressive moral change” (147); and Sommers 2018. ⁵ Both Appiah 2010 and Kumar and Campbell 2016 offer evidence for the relevance of honor for moral change, and persuasively defend that appeals to reason, morality, or religion are not enough to produce social reform when such practices are deeply entrenched in custom; instead, as they argue, those practices are eradicated only when they come into conflict with honor. ⁶ Two insightful discussions of the broader range of senses that shame usually has in ancient Greek texts can be found in Cairns 1993 and Konstan 2006. Even among ancient Greek authors there are some uses of shame that restrict it to a mere fear of discredit or a mere desire of reputation, but as Cairns and Konstan show that sense is not the most frequent. This broader scope of shame and love of honor is, of course, not exclusive of ancient authors. For example, Kant distinguishes between striving for a reputation of honor, which is satisfied with the mere appearance of virtue, and proper love of honor, which can be seen as a virtue. For a discussion of love of honor as a Kantian virtue see Denis 2014, who shows that for Kant love of honor reflects a fundamental commitment to morality and is part of the moral perfection of a human being, which results from a free, morally-motivated, and active cultivation. In fact, Kant characterizes the love of honor as “the virtue that is opposed to the vices of lying, avarice, and servility” (Metaphysics of Morals 6:420, quoted by Denis 2014, 191). As Denis puts it, for Kant, “essential to love of honor is the concern that one’s conduct comport with the dignity of humanity in one’s own person—or more precisely, a negative concern not to be unworthy of humanity in one’s own person and a positive concern to be fully worthy of it” (195). For a modern Kantian view that works out some of these connections with Aristotle see Korsgaard 1986 and 1996.

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shame’s attention to other people’s views plays a crucial role in the development of the intellectual and affective conditions of autonomous moral agents precisely because we live in a social context where giving and taking reasons for one’s behavior and choices is part of moral life.⁷ Indeed, shame equips learners with a sensitivity to blame (and praise) which is the clear expression of a concern with moral issues and an aspiration to get things right. At various points in his ethical treatises, Aristotle indicates that proper love of honor (and aversion to the shameful) is grounded not on the superficial value of honor as external good, but instead on the fact that honor is the prize for virtue. This point is expressed most notably in the discussion of the political life at NE I 5, 1095b22–31, and in the discussion of our natural desire to be loved and honored at NE VIII 8, 1159a22–4, where those who receive honor take it as a confirmation of their own goodness or of their progress in doing things well.⁸ My defense of the connection between shame, love of honor, virtue, and the noble in this chapter proceeds in several steps. In Section 4.2, I offer a preliminary reading of the discussions of shame-courage in NE III 8, 1116a17–29, and EE III 1, 1230a16–21, to establish that at least in the first of those passages Aristotle explicitly links shame and the noble. I argue in Section 4.3 against a widespread interpretation of shame-courage, according to which citizen soldiers perform courageous actions merely because those actions bring with them honor and the avoidance of disrepute, where honor and disrepute function as merely external incentives or deterrents; instead, I provide reasons to expand our understanding of the love of honor as an expression of the agents’ aspirations to be genuinely praiseworthy and live up to social ideals of goodness. In Section 4.4, I defend my view that those who act from shame, and specifically the citizen soldiers from NE III 8 and EE III 1, are not superficially concerned with appearing courageous in the eyes of others; instead, they are directly concerned with performing courageous actions on account of their nobility and avoiding shameful ones on account of their shamefulness. They are concerned with how their actions appear, but mainly because they are aware that their actions are an expression of who they are, and their ultimate goal is to be good. They are even ready to sacrifice their lives in their attempt to achieve noble goals. If this interpretation of shame-courage is correct, then those who have a sense of shame already have the right kind of orientation towards the noble that, sustained by good laws, can allow them to make progress towards virtue. ⁷ This includes giving and taking praise and criticism or blame from those with whom we share a normative framework. This point is underscored by Calhoun 2004: “moral criticism has practical weight when we see it as issuing from those who are to be taken seriously because they are coparticipants with us in some shared social practice of morality” (139). See also Sher 2006 using a similar argument in support of the value of blame and its intimate connection to our commitment to morality: “the blame that we direct at wrongdoers and bad people is inseparable from our commitment to morality itself” (115). ⁸ The passages on “proper pride” (megalopsuchia, NE IV 3, 1123a34–1125a35) and on the nameless virtue about small-scale honors (NE IV 4, 1125b1–25) are relevant to this point as well.

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4.2 Shame, Love of Honor, Virtue, and the Noble The main texts about shame-courage are NE III 8, 1116a17–29, and EE III 1, 1230a16–21. Both passages describe how people who have a sense of shame are moved to perform good actions by their fear of reproach and their love of honor. How should we understand the claim that citizen soldiers perform courageous actions “on account of honors” (dia tas timas, 1116a19)? And how is the honor that citizen soldiers pursue related to the noble and to virtue? Most of the commentators who deal with the passages on shame-courage seem to understand shame and honor as superficial and fully separate from considerations of nobility, emphasizing Aristotle’s characterization of shame as “a kind of fear of disrepute” (phobos tis adoxias) in NE IV 9, 1128b11–12.⁹ They acknowledge that honor is connected to praise, but they think that it is only in a superficial way, since honor does not track the noble in a sufficiently reliable way as to have a solid connection to genuine virtue. I think, however, that these commentators miss something important about the relationship between shame and the noble by relying on an excessively narrow view of how honor functions as a goal of action (and how disrepute functions as anti-goal). While it is true that honor can be a superficial aim that reveals an inappropriate preoccupation with external goods and excessively relies on the unstable opinions of others, it can also be (and primarily is) the achievement of those who are concerned with doing the right thing and count on others for feedback on how to act. In fact, honors and reproaches can play a robust role in developing moral self-awareness and turning our attention to the goodness of our actions and the corresponding goodness of our characters, by turning our attention to how our actions are the window through which others see us and reflect who we are. Consequently, honors and reproaches, and praise and blame, can function as adequate guides and encouragement for learning to be virtuous. Let’s start with the passage on pseudo-courage from the EE, which in principle seems to support the negative view of honor and shame. As in other places, Aristotle here stresses the link between shame and disrepute to highlight the contrast between acting from shame and as the virtuous person does: But of all courageous people of this sort [i.e. pseudo-courageous people], it is those who face danger because of shame who would most seem to be courageous,

⁹ See Irwin 1999; Broadie 1991; Richardson Lear 2004; Taylor 2006; Hitz 2012; and Fussi 2015. Other passages where shame or love of honor are directly associated with fear of disrepute are NE III 6, 1115a13–14 and Rhet II 6, 1383b12–15, 1384a22. There is no doubt that Aristotle links shame with fear of disrepute; the question is how he understands the notion of disrepute itself. For a discussion of this point see Echeñique 2012, 66–8. Whiting 1998 offers good reasons against this understanding of honor and supports them (in her Section III) with an analysis of the megalopsuchos (the virtuous great-souled person) as philotimos (honor-lover).

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as Homer says Hector faced the danger from Achilles—“and shame seized Hector”; and, again, “Polydamas will be the first to lay a reproach on me”. Such courage is civic. But the true courage is neither this nor any of the others, but like them. [ . . . ] For a person ought to hold his ground though frightened, not because he will incur disrepute, nor through anger, nor because he does not expect to be killed or has powers by which to protect himself [ . . . ] but because it is noble.¹⁰ (EE III 1, 1230a16–22, 23–26, 32)

In general, the passage focuses on the defectiveness of this kind of pseudo-courage and aims at showing how it differs from genuine courage. He reminds us that these agents are not truly courageous because their main motive is fear of disrepute. Moreover, he stresses that the main difference between shame-courage and true courage is that truly courageous people do courageous actions “because it is noble” (hoti kalon, 1230a32), while those who act on account of shame are mainly concerned with the fact that they might incur disrepute. But Aristotle does not dismiss shame-courage as an inferior deviation from courage or as a merely false kind of courage not concerned with the noble. A sign of this is that he stresses that individuals who do courageous actions due to shame are the ones who “most seem to be” (malista phaneien) truly courageous, i.e. shame-courage is the best and least lacking form of pseudo-courage. Moreover, the fact that he uses the example of Hector facing Achilles suggests a positive view of this kind of pseudo-courage. Hector is, after all, one of the favorite Homeric heroes and it would be quite shocking to describe his decision to confront Achilles as non-courageous or as merely concerned with external approval. The allusion to Hector as a paradigm of shame-courage here may be an indication that Aristotle does not have in mind a sharp opposition between shame-courage and true courage, but sees shame-courage instead as continuous with genuine courage in relevant respects. A more clearly positive view of shame is expressed in NE III 8, 1116a17–29, where Aristotle explicitly establishes a connection between shame, honor, virtue, and the noble: First comes the courage of the citizen soldier, since it is most like true courage. Citizen soldiers seem to face dangers on account of the reproofs (epitimia)¹¹ ¹⁰ ἀλλὰ πάντων τῶν τοιούτων ἀνδρείων οἱ διὰ τὴν αἰδῶ ὑπομένοντες μάλιστα φανεῖεν ἀνδρεῖοι, καθάπερ καὶ Ὅμηρος τὸν Ἕκτορά φησιν ὑπομεῖναι τὸν κίνδυνον τὸν πρὸς τὸν Ἀχιλλέα· “Ἕκτορα δ’ αἰδὼς εἷλε·” “Πουλυδάμας μοι πρῶτος ἐλεγχείην ἀναθήσει.” καὶ ἐστὶν ἡ πολιτικὴ ἀνδρεία αὕτη. ἡ δ’ ἀληθὴς οὔτε αὕτη οὔτ’ ἐκείνων οὐδεμία, ἀλλὰ ὁμοία μέν. [ . . . ] οὔτε γὰρ ὅτι ἀδοξήσει, δεῖ μένειν φοβουμένους, οὔτε δι’ ὀργήν, οὔτε διὰ τὸ μὴ νομίζειν ἀποθανεῖσθαι, ἢ διὰ τὸ δυνάμεις ἔχειν φυλακτικάς· [ . . . ] ἀλλ’ ὅτι καλόν. The line on Polydamas’ reproach to Hector is from Il XXII 100 (see same quotation in NE III 8, 1116a23, quoted below in note 12). ¹¹ I translate epitimia as “reproofs” (following a discussion in Cagnoli Fiecconi 2019 about epitimēseis and epitimia), instead of Ross’ “penalties” (and instead of “sanctions,” as in Jimenez 2016), because I think that “reproofs” keeps better track of the fact that this kind of civic courage is

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imposed by the laws and the reproaches (oneidē) they would otherwise incur, and on account of the honors (dia tas timas). It is also for this reason that those among whom cowards are held in dishonor and courageous people in honor seem to be most courageous. This is the kind of courage that Homer depicts, e.g. in Diomedes and in Hector: “Polydamas will be the first to lay a reproach on me” and “For Hector one day amid the Trojans shall utter his vaulting harangue: ‘Afraid was Tydeides, and fled from my face’.”¹² (NE III 8, 1116a17–26)

People acquire and preserve shame-courage due to the fact that the laws of their poleis establish that some actions and some people deserve public praise in the form of ‘honor’ (timē), while others deserve public disgrace in the form of ‘reproofs’ (epitimia) or ‘reproaches’ (oneidē). Aristotle presents these practices of honoring and reproaching as common in many cities, and he seems to think that they are effective in shaping the character of citizens, since he claims that those communities where courageous individuals are held in honor tend to be most courageous (andreiotatoi).¹³ To support the claim that this kind of pseudo-courage is truly close to real courage, Aristotle offers as an example two moments in the lives of two favorite Homeric heroes, Diomedes and Hector. He offers quotations of the reasonings that these heroes use to persuade themselves that they ought to stay in battle: if they don’t engage in the fight, someone in the future will reproach them that they didn’t. Just as in the example of Hector in EE III 1, 1230a16–21, the motivation in these examples seems to be fear of reproach. However, just as above, it would be hard to believe that Aristotle is attributing a vulgar and superficial concern with

primarily connected with the honors and reproaches administered by the laws and social norms, in contraposition to punishments. I think “penalties” would be less accurate because it suggests that Aristotle may be talking here primarily about punishments, which is clearly not right, since this very section of the text (as well as NE X 9, 1180a6–9) establishes a strong contrast between people who act “on account of shame” and people who act “on account of fear,” i.e. who avoid wrong actions due to possible punishments or, as Aristotle puts it sometimes, because of “the painful” (to lupēron) (NE III 8, 1116a29–32). ¹² πρῶτον μὲν ἡ πολιτική· μάλιστα γὰρ ἔοικεν. δοκοῦσι γὰρ ὑπομένειν τοὺς κινδύνους οἱ πολῖται διὰ τὰ ἐκ τῶν νόμων ἐπιτίμια καὶ τὰ ὀνείδη καὶ διὰ τὰς τιμάς· καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἀνδρειότατοι δοκοῦσιν εἶναι παρ’ οἷς οἱ δειλοὶ ἄτιμοι καὶ οἱ ἀνδρεῖοι ἔντιμοι. τοιούτους δὲ καὶ Ὅμηρος ποιεῖ, οἷον τὸν Διομήδην καὶ τὸν Ἕκτορα· Πουλυδάμας μοι πρῶτος ἐλεγχείην ἀναθήσει· καὶ [Διομήδης] Ἕκτωρ γάρ ποτε φήσει ἐνὶ Τρώεσσ’ ἀγορεύων “Τυδείδης ὑπ’ ἐμεῖο.” ¹³ Contra Hitz 2012, who argues that shame-courage is “the product of a defective education” (270) and that Aristotle presents education through shame and honor as one kind of “training in a false end” (270, n.14). Hitz 2012 assumes, reasonably, that Aristotle believes most cities have deficient education systems and that, for that reason, he cannot be defending what cities normally do as a model. But I think we can accept this point and nonetheless see that Aristotle’s claim here is that some cities are better than others in this regard. As I see it, the distinction between superior and vulgar kinds of civic courage corresponds to two models of civic education between which there is a range of possibilities— one model focused on external incentives and another one focused on praiseworthiness and nobility.

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mere reputation to these heroes.¹⁴ Instead, I think these examples suggest a connection between fear of reproach and a genuine concern with nobility. The next lines of NE III 8 contain the strongest support of the connection between shame and virtue in the context of shame-courage: This kind of courage is most like that which we described earlier, because it is due to virtue; for it is due to shame and to desire of something noble (i.e. honor) and avoidance of disgrace, which is shameful.¹⁵ (NE III 8, 1116a27–29)

What does Aristotle mean when he claims that shame-courage is “due to virtue” (di’ aretēn, 1116a27)?¹⁶ And what exactly are the links of shame to the noble through honor that he expresses in this passage: “for” (gar) this kind of pseudocourage is “due to shame” (di’ aidō) “and due to desire of something noble (i.e. honor)” (kai dia kalou orexin (timēs gar), 1116a 28–29)?¹⁷ Although the nature of the connections between virtue, shame, the noble, and honor in these lines seems rather enigmatic at first, the passage offers—I think—an explanation of why Aristotle considers shame-courage to be closer to true courage and most like it. The reason is that the underlying conditions of this kind of pseudo-courage are tightly connected to virtue and the noble. Concretely, shame, love of honor, and concern with the social practices of praise and blame are features that we find in those who to some extent and in an imperfect way are already concerned with virtue and the noble. But the best textual evidence in support of the positive connection between shame and virtue occurs in other parts of NE III 8, where Aristotle contrasts shame-courage with other appearances of courage. First, to contrast people with shame-courage with those who act from fear, Aristotle says that they “are courageous not under compulsion but because it is noble” (ou di’ anakēn andreion einai, all’ hoti kalon, 1116b2–3). Second, when he contrasts shame-courage with those who act from experience (empeiria), he claims that citizens with a sense of ¹⁴ This is the kind of “silly mistake” that Bernard Williams warns against in Shame and Necessity: “The silly mistake is to suppose that the reactions of shame depend simply on being found out, that the feeling behind every decision or thought that is governed by shame is literally and immediately the fear of being seen. Suppose someone invites us to believe that Homeric Achilles, if assured he could get away with it, might have crept out at night and helped himself to the treasure that he had refused when it was offered by the embassy: then he has sadly misunderstood Achilles’ character [ . . . ].” (80–1) As Williams indicates, the mere fear of bad reputation without reference to nobility or virtue is particularly implausible in the case of the Homeric heroes. In agreement with this point see Cairns 1993, 432 (quoted in note 31 below). Among those who adopt some version of the reading criticized by Williams are Adkins 1960; Dodds 1951; and Redfield 1975. ¹⁵ ὡμοίωται δ’ αὕτη μάλιστα τῇ πρότερον εἰρημένῃ, ὅτι δι’ ἀρετὴν γίνεται· δι’ αἰδῶ γὰρ καὶ διὰ καλοῦ ὄρεξιν (τιμῆς γάρ) καὶ φυγὴν ὀνείδους, αἰσχροῦ ὄντος. ¹⁶ Reeve’s 2014 translation seems to deflate this reading by rendering hoti di’ aretēn ginetai as “because it seems to come about because of virtue” (NE, ad loc., emphasis added), but (as Raymond 2017 indicates) there is no basis for that qualification in the Greek. ¹⁷ It is not clear whether the kai in this sentence is epexegetical or not, but even if it is not, my point that Aristotle is establishing a link between shame and the noble through honor stands. Of course, the point is stronger if the kai is epexegetical.

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shame are ready to “die at their posts” (menonta apothnēskei, 1116b18) if the circumstances require it, because “for them, flight is shameful and death is preferable to safety on those terms” (tois men gar aischron to pheugein kai ho thanatos tēs toiautēs sōtērias hairetōteros, 1116b19–20). This willingness to risk their lives to avoid a shameful action manifested by those who obey their sense of shame is the clearest sign that considerations about the noble and the shameful are central in their deliberations, and that they perform noble actions because of their nobility, just as virtuous agents do.¹⁸ The motivation of citizen soldiers, however, is often conceived as a superficial concern with external rewards, and they are often taken to be primarily worried with obtaining recognition. For this reason, my positive reading of the relationship between shame and virtue, and against the view that shame motivates through external incentives, still needs justification. To this aim, we need to fill in the details about the exact relationship between shame and the noble and explain to what extent people with shame are concerned with the nobility of their actions and are ready to sacrifice themselves to avoid the shameful. How do citizen soldiers aim at the noble in their actions? Do they simply happen to do noble actions because they aim at something different—namely honor—which also tends to belong to those actions that are noble? How should we understand the love of honor that Aristotle associates with shame? And how is the honor that citizen soldiers pursue related to the noble and to virtue? In what follows, I offer answers to these questions by exploring the details of the peculiar relationship of shame to virtue and the noble in two phases: first, I argue in Section 4.3 against the standard interpretation, according to which honor is a superficial value that has no real connection to the noble, and as a consequence, love of honor is a deviation from, rather than a first step towards virtue; and second, I present in Section 4.4 the main lines of my alternative view and argue for a solid link between honor and the noble.

4.3 The Standard View of Shame as Mere Desire for Reputation: Two Problems Most of the commentators who deal directly with the passages on shame-courage in NE III 8, 1116a17–29, and EE III 1, 1230a16–21, assume that the problem with being moved by shame is that its object, honor, is an object of desire independent

¹⁸ This condition of the citizen soldiers is something similar to what Williams 1993b calls a “moral incapacity,” or an incapacity “with which the agent is identified” (54). This happens when, just as our citizen soldiers in the example, agents are unable to perform an action (e.g. abandoning one’s fellow soldiers in the battlefield and fleeing) because doing so would be a betrayal of who they conceive themselves to be, both in relation to what they care about and to their ethical commitments. As Williams 1993b explains it, when agents say “I can’t” in this sense, they express something both about themselves and about what they take to be good or useful—and in the case of the citizen soldiers, noble.

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of considerations about nobility. Even more pessimistically, they assume that aiming at honor is incompatible with aiming at the noble. For this reason, they take Aristotle’s point in these passages to be that those citizens who act on account of shame are inclined to perform praiseworthy actions simply because they want to obtain reputation or external recognition from others, but are not interested in whether the actions are genuinely virtuous or not.¹⁹ This widespread account of honor and the resulting view of shame is, I think, incorrect. There are, in my opinion, two main problems with the view that those who act from their sense of shame pursue honor and recognition without being ultimately concerned with the nobility of their actions. The first problem is that this view incorrectly analyzes the relationship between aiming at a goal and recognizing that goal;²⁰ the second is that this view erroneously identifies ‘love of honor’ with mere desire for recognition, and thus disconnects honor from the agents’ desire to excel and become truly worthy of that recognition. Let me tackle these two problems separately.

4.3.1 Problem 1. Conflation of Two Distinctions: Aiming vs. Recognizing My first worry is that the standard view of the nature of shame does not sufficiently differentiate between the citizen soldiers’ defective knowledge of the noble and their defective motivation. In fact, this view assumes that since citizens who obey their sense of shame often need to rely on external recognition (and on the opinions of others in general) to determine what actions and characters are praiseworthy or noble, it follows that these honor-loving citizens do not aim at the noble—they aim instead at pleasing others so that they can attract their recognition. This point is revealed in the argument laid out by Irwin 1999 in the following explanation of the failure of the citizen soldiers: These citizen soldiers aim at honor, which is fine. But they do not aim at the fine, as the virtuous person does. If they aimed at the fine, they would recognize that the ¹⁹ Examples of authors who think that the exclusive goal of the person who acts on account of shame is mere external reputation and that the root of the divergence between shame-courage and true courage is having different motivation are Broadie 1991 and 2002, comm. ad loc.; Irwin 1999, 213; Richardson Lear 2004, 154 n. 18; Taylor 2006, 186; Schofield 2006, 316–17; Hitz 2012. Echeñique 2012 diverges from the standard reading and offers an explanation of shame as a good ethical motive; he argues that fear of disrepute is “a direct response to the public blame elicited by one’s failings,” and suggests an interpretation of the role of shame in line with the one I offer in this chapter. Hobbs 2000 also sees a clear connection between the goal of honor and the goal of virtue: “it is clear, however, from EN 1095b26–30 that Aristotle believes the goals of honour and virtue to be intimately connected” (137, note 104, my emphasis). ²⁰ A similar distinction between aiming and determining is made by Vasiliou 2007, although in a different context.

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action itself is fine whether or not it receives honor. On the inadequacy of honor, see 1095b23, 1159a22.²¹ (213)

Irwin correctly identifies that citizen soldiers, as honor-lovers, are often not able to recognize noble actions or characters unless those actions or characters are marked with the stamp of external recognition. However, he incorrectly deduces from the fact that citizen soldiers do not have the capacity to identify noble actions as such, that they have not yet developed a genuine love for the noble (or, as Irwin translates it in the quotation, ‘the fine’), and do not really aim at the noble but at the honor that follows it as its consequence. Irwin’s argument can be schematized as follows: 1. If citizen soldiers aimed at the noble, they would recognize that a noble action is noble whether or not it receives honor. 2. Citizen soldiers do not recognize that a noble action is noble unless it receives honor. 3. Therefore, citizen soldiers do not aim at the noble. As I see it, this reading conflates here two questions: (a) the question of whether one has knowledge about the noble, with (b) the question of whether one has a sincere desire to live according to nobility and virtue. The first question is about the agent’s knowledge, while the second is about the agent’s motivation.²² The error is to assume that the inability of citizen soldiers to recognize particular noble actions as such implies a lack of motivation towards the noble. As Irwin puts it, “If they aimed at the fine, they would recognize that the action itself is fine whether or not it receives honor” (1999, 213, my emphasis). I think, however, that we have good reasons to keep these two issues separate. It is true that, in Aristotle’s account, people who have full practical knowledge (i.e.

²¹ The first passage that Irwin quotes (i.e. NE I 5, 1095b22–26) seems to support the superficiality of love of honor: “But people of superior refinement and of active disposition identify happiness with honor; for this is, roughly speaking, the end of the political life. But [honor] seems too superficial to be what we are looking for, since it is thought to depend on those who bestow honor rather than on the person who receives it, but the good we divine to be something of one’s own and not easily taken from one.” (οἱ δὲ χαρίεντες καὶ πρακτικοὶ τιμήν· τοῦ γὰρ πολιτικοῦ βίου σχεδὸν τοῦτο τέλος. φαίνεται δ’ ἐπιπολαιότερον εἶναι τοῦ ζητουμένου· δοκεῖ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς τιμῶσι μᾶλλον εἶναι ἢ ἐν τῷ τιμωμένῳ, τἀγαθὸν δὲ οἰκεῖόν τι καὶ δυσαφαίρετον εἶναι μαντευόμεθα.) However, the very next lines of NE I 5, 1195b26–31, explain that the superficiality is often merely apparent. (See Section 4.3.2 below for a discussion of this move and below in this section for a discussion of the second passage quoted by Irwin, NE VIII 8, 1159a22–24). ²² I am indebted for this point to Kamtekar 1998b (see esp. 139), who insightfully disentangles two distinctions, namely (a) the distinction between having and lacking knowledge (or reliable beliefs) about the noble and the shameful, and (b) the distinction between having and lacking a sincere desire to live according to nobility and virtue. She uses them to characterize the Stoic contrast between aidōs and aischunē, but I think these distinctions are equally useful to clarify one of the ambiguities in the love of honor that Aristotle is concerned with.

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the phronimoi, who have full knowledge about the noble and the good) necessarily have a sincere desire to live virtuously. Moreover, it is also true that those who do not have a desire to live virtuously lack proper practical knowledge. However, none of this precludes that someone who does not have full knowledge of the noble and the good, or who does not have the cognitive ability to recognize the noble thing to do here and now, might nonetheless have a sincere desire to live according to nobility and virtue.²³ In fact, in the passage from NE VIII 8, we find further support against the heteronomy assumption that he includes as a note: Those who desire honor from decent people, and from those who know, are aiming at confirming their own opinion of themselves. They delight in honor, therefore, because they acquire conviction of their own goodness on the strength of the judgment of those who speak about them.²⁴ (NE VIII 8, 1159a22–4)

In this passage, honor-lovers rely on the opinion of others to confirm that they are on the right track in relation to their own goodness. The passage is most naturally read as saying that “those who desire honor” (oregomenoi timēs) aim ultimately at confirming their own virtue. The claim is that people who aim at honor seek the judgment of others for “believing” or “having conviction” (pisteuontes, 1159a24) about their own virtue. In other words, honor-lovers seek external recognition not as an end in itself, but as a means of confirming that they have achieved or are achieving their goal of being virtuous. They look at others for epistemic guidance, because they believe others have more experience and a better sense of what is good, but they do not merely seek to please them. The upshot of NE VIII 8, 1159a22–4, is, therefore, not—as Irwin suggests—that external recognition is the ultimate goal for honor-lovers, but rather that external recognition provides honor-lovers with a way of recognizing whether they are on the right track in relation to their achievement of virtue. Even though there might be some honor-lovers for whom honor is the ultimate aim, honor typically works as encouragement for good behavior and as confirmation that the agents are living up to some relevant social ideal.

²³ Cooper 2012 characterizes what he calls the ‘decent’ person (epieikēs) in similar terms, as someone who “has decent habits of feeling and behavior, but lacks the knowledge and understanding, and other refinements, of the truly good” (78). And he identifies this decent person with “the well brought up young (or youngish) men whom Aristotle thinks qualified for the study of ethics and politics,” of whom he says that they “are basically decent, young-adult, but still somewhat uninformed people” (78). One could infer that Cooper’s ‘decent’ person is the person with a sense of shame that I am describing, and I think the two characterizations are very close; however, there is an obstacle against this inference, namely that Aristotle explicitly argues against associating shame to the epieikēs in NE IV 9, 1128b21–33. See a discussion of this passage in Chapter 5, Section 5.3. ²⁴ οἱ δ’ ὑπὸ τῶν ἐπιεικῶν καὶ εἰδότων ὀρεγόμενοι τιμῆς βεβαιῶσαι τὴν οἰκείαν δόξαν ἐφίενται περὶ αὑτῶν· χαίρουσι δή, ὅτι εἰσὶν ἀγαθοὶ πιστεύοντες τῇ τῶν λεγόντων κρίσει.

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4.3.2 Problem 2. Ambiguity of Love of Honor: Love of Mere Praise vs. Love of the Praiseworthy The second main problem with the traditional interpretation arises from the way in which love of honor is typically cashed out, as a superficial love for any kind of praise without concern for its truth.²⁵ I think that we miss the mark if we depict the motivation of people with shame exclusively as a concern with whether their actions receive external recognition. This view neglects the positive function that honor can perform as a goal by disregarding the possibility that citizen soldiers desire to do what deserves honor, and not just what will bring them honor independently of whether they deserve it or not.²⁶ We find a confirmation of this point in the description of Hector‘s attitude in one of the passages from the Iliad that Aristotle quotes as an example of civic courage. At NE III 8, 1116a23, Hector is quoted as saying: “Polydamas will be the first to lay a reproach on me” (Il XXII 100). Here, the direct concern of Hector is focused upon Polydamas’ reproach for his actions. But what Hector feels shame about is not simply that Polydamas will have a bad opinion of him, but rather that Polydamas will be able to correctly reproach him that he has failed to protect the Trojans as he should. It is justified censure that Hector fears, and not simply his potential loss of status. And this is precisely because he is ultimately concerned with being good, so he worries about his status mainly insofar as that status is a sign of his own nobility and goodness. By not making this distinction between merely receiving honor and being rightly honored, and by reducing love of honor to mere desire for what receives honor, this interpretation unnecessarily (and incorrectly, in my opinion) limits the scope of love of honor and underestimates the power of the social practices of honors and reproaches. Although it is possible to perform actions that resemble virtuous actions only for the public honors that these actions receive, and ²⁵ Examples of this reading are in Irwin 1999; Broadie 1991 and 2002; Richardson Lear 2004; Taylor 2006; Hitz 2012; and Fussi 2015. As we saw in the above-quoted text, Irwin 1999 claims that the difference between the shame-courage of citizen soldiers and genuine courage is that people with shame-courage do not aim at the fine, but merely at receiving honor. Taylor 2006 also assumes that the central goal of the shame-courageous person should be characterized as external recognition and should be opposed to the goal of the virtuous person, which is the noble, independently of what other people think: “The primary motivations of the civically courageous person are the desire for honor and the desire to avoid disgrace, i.e. to be favorably regarded, or to avoid being unfavorably regarded, by others. [ . . . ] The courageous person cares above all about doing what he or she sees as fine, not what others see as fine, and similarly for avoiding what he or she sees as disgraceful” (186). Broadie 2002 equates acting from shame and acting “from fear of what others will think,” as opposed to “the moral person’s autonomous sense of what would be shameful” (comm. ad loc.); in her reading of shame, just as in Irwin’s view, the ultimate concern of the agents is, then, external recognition, something that falls far short of aiming at the noble. ²⁶ Whiting 1996 has a parallel distinction between considering honor to be a mere good of fortune vs. considering honor to be an expression of desert (190). Cairns 2011 uses a similar distinction to express Achilles’ stance in the Iliad: “Achilles’ grievances (in Books 1 and 9) turn on norms that are widely shared. His complaint is not just about disrespect, but about a denial of due respect that negates the reciprocity that should obtain among peers” (33, emphasis in the original).

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many people probably act simply for this reason, it is clear that the goal of the practices of honors and reproaches established by law should rather be that citizens become lovers of the noble actions for themselves. Thus, we should expect that, when things go well, citizens become attracted not only to the honors conceded by the laws, but also to the nobility and virtue to which those honors pay tribute.²⁷ This non-superficial kind of love of honor is, I contend, the main kind at play when Aristotle talks about acting on account of honor. Indeed, in NE I 5, Aristotle makes this point clear: Further, people seem to pursue honor in order that they may be assured of their goodness; at least it is by people of practical wisdom that they seek to be honored, and among those who know them, and on the ground of their virtue; clearly, then, according to them, at any rate, virtue is better. And perhaps one might even suppose this to be, rather than honor, the end of the political life.²⁸ (NE I 5, 1095b26–31)

Here those who seek honor, in reality think that “virtue is better,” and they truly seek virtue itself.²⁹ Therefore, Aristotle’s view is that the ultimate goal of those who love honor is to possess virtue, rather than merely to appear to possess virtue or “to stand well in the eyes of the others.”³⁰ ²⁷ Here I offer against the superficiality objection a reply similar to the one offered by Kamtekar 1998a regarding Irwin’s parallel view in relation to the virtue of the auxiliaries in Plato’s Republic: “Second, [Irwin] argues that well-educated auxiliaries would not be able to stand firm in the face of tests involving dishonor because they are at bottom honor-lovers and depend for their virtue on being honored. As evidence, he cites the case of the individual in a timocracy, who does not stick to true virtue, but succumbs to the timocracy’s standards of honor, because he lacks the ‘reason mixed with musical training’ which alone preserves virtue (232, cf. Republic 548b-50b) . . . However, the analogy between the auxiliary and the timocrat is inexact, since the auxiliary has been educated properly, but the timocrat’s education has been neglected (Republic 546d). Timocrats, Socrates says, secretly amass the wealth they are not allowed to possess openly, because they have been educated by force rather than persuasion (548ab). There is no doubt that bad education can corrupt an honor-lover raised in a degenerate society, but this does not show that an auxiliary, educated to value virtue, would be similarly corrupted should he find himself in an unjust society” (316–17). ²⁸ ἔτι δ’ ἐοίκασι τὴν τιμὴν διώκειν ἵνα πιστεύσωσιν ἑαυτοὺς ἀγαθοὺς εἶναι· ζητοῦσι γοῦν ὑπὸ τῶν φρονίμων τιμᾶσθαι, καὶ παρ’ οἷς γινώσκονται, καὶ ἐπ’ ἀρετῇ· δῆλον οὖν ὅτι κατά γε τούτους ἡ ἀρετὴ κρείττων. τάχα δὲ καὶ μᾶλλον ἄν τις τέλος τοῦ πολιτικοῦ βίου ταύτην ὑπολάβοι. ²⁹ Aristotle is making use here of the following means–ends principle that he formulates in NE VII 9, 1151a35–b2: “If anyone chooses or pursues this for the sake of that, per se he pursues and chooses the latter, but incidentally the former.” This is a familiar principle the gist of which is formulated by Socrates in his conversation with Polus in Plato’s Gorgias 467c4–6: “Do you think that when people do something, they want the thing they are doing at the time, or the thing for the sake of which they do what they are doing?” ³⁰ This is the expression used in Taylor 2006 (236) to characterize the goal of love of honor and shame. Contrary to what Taylor suggests, I think that love of honor does not have to be characterized as a mere concern with external recognition. I agree with the characterization that Cairns 1993 makes of the scope of the love of timē: “[ . . . ] to be concerned for one’s self-image in Greek is to be concerned for

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4.4 An Alternative View of Shame and Love of Honor If I am right in my criticisms of the traditional interpretation of shame, then some important consequences follow for our question about the role of shame in moral development. Concretely, the discussion in the previous section not only reveals that people who obey their sense of shame are primarily concerned with the nobility of their actions, but it also provides the beginning of an explanation for why this is so. I believe it shows that honors and reproaches are not only (or even mainly) goals and anti-goals for honor-lovers; they also function as guides and encouragements for character formation.

4.4.1 Praiseworthy Actions, Praiseworthy Characters To see the role of honors and reproaches in character formation, we must first pay attention to the fact that the practices of praise and blame affect citizens at two related levels: praise and blame are not just directed at their actions, but also at their dispositions of character. Aristotle indicates this point in the first lines of the passage from NE III 8, by claiming not only that people face dangers on account of the honors that courageous actions receive, but also that the practice of praising courageous individuals and shaming cowards has the effect of promoting courageous characters among the population. Here again is the relevant part of the text: [T]hose peoples seem to be most courageous among whom cowards are held in dishonor and courageous people in honor. (NE III 8, 1116a20–21)

He observes that the practices of praise and blame do not just produce behavioral transformation by providing a new goal (honor), or new rules about how it is to be distributed, but they also have an effect on character.³¹ This character one’s timē, but at no stage does this necessarily imply concern for one’s outward reputation to the exclusion of one’s image in one’s own eyes. The code of honour to which aidōs relates demands individual determination actually to possess an excellence, not merely that one should seem to others to possess it” (432). Cairns makes clear that it is important to emphasize the distinction between the good love of timē and the mere desire to be honored, and I think that the former is the primary sense for Aristotle. For a similar position on this point see Echeñique 2012, 64–8. ³¹ Many other passages of Aristotle’s ethical writings indicate that making citizens virtuous is the most important achievement of a good legislator, and that promoting virtuous character in the citizenry is the one goal that good laws achieve successfully. See, for example, NE II 1 where Aristotle claims that good laws aim at “making citizens good by forming habits of conduct in them”; and he adds that “this is the wish of every legislator, . . . and it is in this that a good constitution differs from a bad one” (1103b2–6). See also NE X 9, 1180a5–8: “This is why some think that legislators ought to stimulate people to virtue and encourage them by the motive of the noble, on the assumption that those who have been well advanced by the formation of habits will attend to such influences.”

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transformation is facilitated by the fact that the system of honors and reproaches assumes an intimate connection, on the one hand, between attributions of honor and nobility of actions, and on the other, between noble actions and virtuous characters. Attributions of honor are ultimately a way of signaling that the actions performed are noble, and that the agents performing the praised actions are themselves virtuous agents. Once again, heroes in Homeric societies provide here good illustrations of the effects that praise and blame exert upon people’s actions and character. In Aristotle’s examples, both Hector and Diomedes are determined to risk death to avoid the reproaches they would receive if they acted otherwise. The system of honors and reproaches provides these heroes with a framework to think about the demands of practical situations, as the praiseworthiness or blameworthiness of their actions is the central consideration in their deliberations. The social practices of praise and blame are precisely shaped by the social criteria of nobility and shamefulness, and they are for this reason a practical guide for those who need external input about the right things to do in the circumstances. As we saw in Chapter 4 (Section 4.3.2), there is something deeper than the mere love of honor and hatred of reproach that regulates the behavior of Homeric heroes. It is important to remember that honor and reproach are attributed respectively to stereotypically courageous actions and stereotypically cowardly actions, which in turn are supposed to be expressions of the agents’ courageous or cowardly characters. Thus, the second insight we can draw from these examples is that agents in societies where praise and blame are prevalent are aware that the nature of their actions reflects directly on how other people perceive their characters. Both Hector and Diomedes are afraid that if they perform stereotypically cowardly actions—for example, fleeing in battle—those actions will lead other people to think that they are cowards. The examples show that the systems of praise and blame assume a necessary link between types of actions and attribution of character—a link that every citizen is well aware of and that is constantly used in evaluations of oneself and others. For Hector and Diomedes are not only aware of the fact that if they do something stereotypically cowardly others might think they are cowards, but they are also afraid that if they perform stereotypically cowardly actions, they would then become cowards.³² As a result, praise and blame function as a practical guide by providing agents with information about what kinds of actions are noble and what kinds are shameful. Furthermore, by presupposing a connection between actions and character, they at the same time encourage those agents who already care about considerations of nobility and shamefulness. In other words, Aristotle accepts

³² As discussed in Section 1.2 above, Aristotle puts this awareness of the connection between one’s actions and one’s dispositions at the center of his account of the formation of character and it is one key principle in his argument about responsibility for character in NE III 5 (see especially 1114a4–7).

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that honor is not simply the goal of those who act from shame, but also a guide and encouragement for the performance of virtuous actions on account of their nobility. We have here, then, the dimension of honor that provides us with good reason to conceive shame not as mere fear of disapproval and desire for recognition, but as an emotion ultimately concerned with virtue and the noble. If I am right about interpreting shame in Aristotle in this way, then its role in moral development becomes clearer, and we are now better prepared to understand why Aristotle says that shame is a praiseworthy possession in young people, who do not yet have virtue. The reason is that shame can provide the learners of virtue with a desire for the noble and a hatred of the shameful under the form of a non-superficial love of honor and hatred of reproach. Learners with a sense of shame and with love of honor, then, can perform actions that are not only externally indistinguishable from those performed by virtuous people, but are also ultimately oriented towards the same noble goals and aspire to reflect the same noble character. For this reason, actions guided by the agents’ sense of shame are the right kind of practice towards the acquisition of virtue.

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5 The Mixed Nature of Shame 5.1 Shame’s Many Faces Shame is an emotion that inspires opposite reactions. It has ardent defenders and detractors among authors both modern and ancient. Among modern authors, as we have seen, although some acknowledge the benefits shame might bring, there is a clear consensus that shame can have a disastrous impact on our lives.¹ Among ancient Greek authors, we also find signs of the ambivalence surrounding shame. In Plato, for example, they appear in the contrast between Protagoras, who treats shame as a core social emotion on par with justice, and Callicles, who attacks shame as a tool for social manipulation and submission.² Another classical example is Euripides’ Hippolytus, where Phaedra struggles with the effects of two opposed senses of shame, namely a bad shame that is a kind of fear of conventional opinion and leads to unreflective social conformity, and a good shame that is equivalent to self-respect.³ For Aristotle, too, shame has a dual aspect, as we are about to see. But far from being a disadvantage, shame’s complex nature is precisely what makes it a crucial element in Aristotle’s conception of moral development. The goal of this chapter is to show that Aristotle emphasizes the peculiar nature of shame and offers explicit arguments to justify its intermediate character. In allowing their sense of shame to guide their actions, learners tread a middle path between merely following their affective tendencies and emotions on the one hand and acting from fully-formed virtuous dispositions on the other. In this way, they can make progress towards acquiring the virtues of character.

¹ Among the contemporary authors who emphasize the ambivalence of shame and its potential dangers, Nussbaum 2004 is a central case: she acknowledges that “shame can at times be a morally valuable emotion, playing a constructive role in development and moral change” (211); however, she mainly approaches shame as a dangerous emotional tool in the political sphere, where it can do more damage than good (see especially her ch. 6: “Protecting Citizens from Shame”). Deonna et al. 2012 offers in Part 1 an overview of the most common objections against shame. ² See Plato, Protagoras 320c–322d and Gorgias 482c–486d. Plato’s Charmides 160d–161b is a locus classicus for the ambivalence of shame, as carefully discussed in Raymond 2018. For an insightful overview of the uses of shame in the Platonic dialogues see Cairns 1993, 370–92. There are many recent illuminating discussions of shame in Plato’s Gorgias, e.g. Kahn 1983; Moss 2005; Futter 2009; Tarnopolsky 2010; Collobert 2013; and Candiotto 2014. ³ See especially vv. 373–430. On the ambivalence of shame in Euripides’ Hippolytus see especially Dodds 1925; Williams 1993 (Endnote 2, 225–30); and Cairns 1993 (314–40).

Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good. Marta Jimenez, Oxford University Press (2020). © Marta Jimenez. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829683.003.0006

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I focus on the in-between and mixed character of shame by paying particular attention to the reasons why shame is associated both with virtue and with a certain sort of moral deficiency—one that does not involve vice, but that instead is connected to young people’s capacity to improve. In some respects, shame might be seen straightforwardly as a virtue, and indeed this is how a big part of the tradition before Aristotle regards it. For Aristotle, however, despite the fact that shame serves to guide us towards virtuous activity in early life, it is not a virtue. Nor is it even an appropriate emotion for virtuous agents to feel—not appropriate, at least, in its occurrent form. Instead, shame is an emotion that is praiseworthy only in some agents and on some occasions— concretely, Aristotle claims that a sense of shame is a good thing to have during our youth.⁴ But Aristotle seems to waver about the status of shame. Sometimes he makes it sound as if he believes that shame is a good thing in general. For example, in NE III 6, he claims that “to fear some things is even right and noble, and it is base not to fear them—for example, disrepute (adoxian); the person who fears this is good (epieikēs) and prone to shame (aidēmōn), and the one who does not fear it is shameless (anaischuntos)” (1115a12–14).⁵ Yet his explicit view in NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, is that shame is praiseworthy only in young people, but blameworthy in the old. Indeed, Aristotle observes that it would be strange to admire wellfunctioning adults who act motivated by shame. Now, although shame is not a virtue, it is in sufficient proximity to the virtues to warrant being discussed among them in detail (in NE II 7, 1108a30–35, and NE IV 9, 1128b10–35). In fact, shame’s praiseworthiness is significant enough that leads Aristotle to carve out in his psychology the special category of the (non-virtuous) “praiseworthy emotional means.” Why does Aristotle resist giving to shame the status of virtue? And in what sense is shame nonetheless a praiseworthy mean? The reasons are, first, that despite the fact that shame is an emotion, it is a sui generis emotion which has the capacity to restrain other emotions, and it has a corresponding dispositional tendency, i.e. that of “the shame-prone person” (ho aidēmōn).⁶ Moreover, although shame itself is not a virtue, it is close enough to the virtues to reliably produce in young people behavior that is relevantly similar to the behavior of virtuous people. ⁴ The main passage in support of this claim is NE X 9, 1179b4–16, discussed in Chapter 6 below. There are other indications that this is Aristotle’s view in his characterization of shame in NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, and Rhet II 6, 1383b12–1385a15 and in his comparison between the characters of young and old people in Rhet II 12–13, 1388b31–1390a28. ⁵ ἔνια γὰρ καὶ δεῖ φοβεῖσθαι καὶ καλόν, τὸ δὲ μὴ αἰσχρόν, οἷον ἀδοξίαν· ὁ μὲν γὰρ φοβούμενος ἐπιεικὴς καὶ αἰδήμων, ὁ δὲ μὴ φοβούμενος ἀναίσχυντος. ⁶ For aidōs as an mean between kataplēxis and anaischuntia, and the aidēmōn as mean between the kataplēx and the anaischuntos, see EE II 3, 1221a1, EE III 7, 1233b26–27, and NE II 7, 1108a30–35. There is a discussion of these categories in the final section of Chapter 6.

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A clear confirmation of the quasi-virtuous character of shame is that its discussion in the NE comes in the context of the general study of the virtues of character. Shame is included in the list at NE II 7, 1108a30–35, of what Aristotle calls the mesotētes (singular mesotēs, usually translated as the “mean,” or sometimes “mean state,” between extremes), i.e. his list of virtues and quasi-virtues. Shame is taken up again in some detail when Aristotle treats the virtues one by one in the next three books,⁷ where it is the only non-virtuous mean to get its own lengthy discussion (at the closing of book IV, just before the long discussion of justice in book V). Although according to NE II 7 there are other “means in the emotions and concerned with the emotions” (en tois patēmasi kai peri ta pathē mesotētes, 1108a31),⁸ only shame and “righteous indignation” (nemesis) are explicitly mentioned,⁹ and only shame is discussed separately. This, I argue, is due to shame’s privileged role in moral development, which will be fully discussed in Chapter 6. Section 5.2 briefly discusses the reasons why many have thought that the central passages on shame in the NE conflict with one another. Section 5.3 presents the main ways in which commentators have distinguished different senses of shame to resolve some apparent tensions between the main passages in the NE. Commentators often try to solve what they take to be inconsistencies in the text by appealing to these different senses of shame (e.g. aidōs vs. aischunē, prospective vs.

⁷ See NE II 7, 1108a30–35 and IV 9, 1128b10–35, respectively. Shame is also included in the parallel list of virtues and quasi-virtues of EE II 3, 1220b38–1221a12 (at 1221a1), and is discussed at the end of the one-by-one treatment of the virtues and quasi-virtues of character in EE III (at III 7, 1233b26–29). However, in the EE III 7 shame is included among a longer list of praiseworthy emotional means and is not singled out as a special emotion beyond that. ⁸ For a detailed discussion of the praiseworthy emotional means that appear in NE II 7 and in two parallel passages in EE II 3 and III 7, see Fortenbaugh 1968 (repr. 2006) and Section 5.3 below. As indicated in the previous note, in the EE shame does not receive special treatment, and it is merely mentioned first among the praiseworthy means in general (in EE II 3) and later among various praiseworthy emotional means (in EE III 7). In both treatises shame is presented as a non-virtuous mean in the emotions, although the list of means is not the same in these two texts. In both EE II 3 and III 7 the list includes, in addition, “dignity” (semnotēs), which does not appear in NE, where it seems to be subsumed under friendliness; more puzzingly, the discussion in EE III 7 treats some of the dispositions that are treated as full virtues in NE as means in the emotions, specifically “friendliness” (philia), “truthfulness” (aletheia), and wittiness (eutrapelia). (See Section 5.3 below for more details on the praiseworthy emotional means). ⁹ The other praiseworthy emotional mean explicitly listed in NE II 7, “righteous indignation” (nemesis), is the mean between “envy” (pthonos) and “spite” (epichairekakias): “Righteous indignation is a mean between envy and spite, and these states are concerned with the pain and pleasure that are felt at the fortunes of our neighbours. The person who is characterized by righteous indignation is pained at undeserved good fortune, the envious person, going beyond him, is pained at all good fortune, and the spiteful person falls so far short of being pained that he even rejoices.” (νέμεσις δὲ μεσότης φθόνου καὶ ἐπιχαιρεκακίας, εἰσὶ δὲ περὶ λύπην καὶ ἡδονὴν τὰς ἐπὶ τοῖς συμβαίνουσι τοῖς πέλας γινομένας· ὁ μὲν γὰρ νεμεσητικὸς λυπεῖται ἐπὶ τοῖς ἀναξίως εὖ πράττουσιν, ὁ δὲ φθονερὸς ὑπερβάλλων τοῦτον ἐπὶ πᾶσι λυπεῖται, ὁ δ’ ἐπιχαιρέκακος τοσοῦτον ἐλλείπει τοῦ λυπεῖσθαι ὥστε καὶ χαίρειν, NE II 7, 1108a35–b6). Beyond this text, nemesis is not mentioned in the NE at all, and it receives as much attention as shame in EE III 7; we have to go to Rhet II 9, 1386b10–1387b20, for a more substantive discussion.

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retrospective) senses that Aristotle is clearly aware of. Against this tendency, I defend the view that throughout the NE, Aristotle deploys a unified notion of shame. The final section (Section 5.4), deals with one of the main sources of confusion in Aristotle’s treatment of shame: Aristotle’s resistance to including shame amongst the virtues. I argue that Aristotle has good reasons to maintain a conception of shame as an emotion (pathos) and not as a disposition (hexis), and consequently not as a virtue.

5.2 The Complexity of Shame and the Alleged Tensions between NE IV 9 and X 9 The first important obstacle to elucidating Aristotle’s account of shame in NE is the apparent tensions between NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, and X 9, 1179b4–16—the two major passages in which Aristotle explicitly expresses his views about shame.¹⁰ One of the passages, NE X 9, 1179b4–16, presents shame as a quasivirtue, a praiseworthy possession, and a necessary requirement for young people to properly engage in virtuous activity and be receptive to ethical arguments. The other passage, NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, argues that shame is far from being a virtue, holding that shame is not praiseworthy or even appropriate in virtuous people. A final significant discrepancy is that while NE X 9 suggests that the person with shame possesses already the seeds of virtue and the motivation for action of those possessing shame closely approximates that of virtuous people, NE IV 9 suggests that shame is incompatible with virtue. My view is that these apparent divergences do not reflect a real tension, much less the employment of two separate notions of shame, as some commentators suggest. Rather, these divergences are a consequence of the necessarily complex character that shame embodies as a protovirtuous emotion in the Aristotelian framework. Some commentators solve the apparent tension between these two passages by drawing a line between two different kinds of shame.¹¹ One kind of shame is praiseworthy and not in conflict with the possession of virtue, while the other kind

¹⁰ See e.g. Irwin 1999; Taylor 2006 and Hitz 2012, who think that there is a clash between these two central passages, as discussed in more detail below. ¹¹ See e.g. Gauthier and Jolif 1958–9 (322–3), Irwin 1999 (227), and Taylor 2006 (235). Konstan 2006 does not discuss NE IV 9 and X 9 directly in his chapter on shame (91–110), but he (a) suggests that Aristotle uses two different notions of shame that can be roughly identified with aidōs and aischunē, and (b) expresses concerns about the coherence of these notions (see especially Konstan 2006 at 93–6). Hitz 2012 also solves the apparent tensions by appealing to two senses of shame: “In the view I defend, shame is used ambiguously in the Nicomachean Ethics: it refers both to an undeveloped natural condition for virtue in 10. 9 and to a condition of internal pain at wrongdoing in a decent, wellhabituated person in 4.9” (270, note 14). Raymond 2017 discusses this strategy in relation to the interpretation of NE IV 9.

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is reprehensible and at odds with virtuous character. However, although the strategy of distinguishing between “good” and “bad” shame seems to help resolve some apparent tensions, it obscures the positive role that shame plays in young people. In my view, in contrast, NE IV 9 and X 9 do not present essentially different notions of shame.¹² Instead, they outline two aspects or “two faces” of shame, which Aristotle is consciously retaining as one concept, because only something with that kind of complexity can perform the mediating work that is required of shame in moral development. In other words, these two discussions refer to the same emotion, with simply a difference in perspective and emphasis. Whereas NE IV 9 mainly investigates the reasons why shame should not be considered a virtue, and highlights shame’s shortcomings by pressing on the differences between the person guided by shame and the virtuous person, NE X 9 focuses on the indispensable role that shame plays in moral development as a necessary condition for acquiring virtue. The latter characterization emphasizes shame’s positive features by highlighting the differences between the person with shame and the person who merely follows her immediate appetitive impulses. In sum, each of these passages deals with a different aspect of shame precisely because Aristotle is contrasting people who have a sense of shame with two different sorts of cases: with virtuous people in NE IV 9, and with people controlled by their fear of punishment and their appetites in NE X 9. Although these passages emphasize two different sets of features of shame, the features are not so irreconcilable that they require a distinction between two kinds of shame. They are better understood as two complementary sides of the same complex emotion.¹³ As I conclude in Section 5.4, not only are these two sides of Aristotelian shame compatible, but—crucially for our purposes—both are necessary if shame is to provide the relevant sort of continuity between the not-yet-virtuous learners and fully virtuous people. This crucial bridging role in the learners’ moral development can only be played by something such as shame that places learners in an intermediate position between those who merely follow their immediate affective tendencies and emotions and those who possess virtue.

¹² Cairns 1993 (424) explicitly agrees with this claim. Burnyeat 1980 (75–9) seems to agree with this claim as well, since he uses both passages as keystones for his account of shame and does not seem to think that there is any conflict between them. ¹³ The unity of the notion of shame in Aristotle is also defended by Cairns 1993. See particularly his discussion of Aristotle’s use of the terms aidōs and aischunē to refer to “distinguishable aspects of a single emotional concept” (415). Although I agree with much of what Cairns 1993 proposes, the view I present here differs from his account in that I try to establish a connection between the complexity of shame and its role in moral development, and thus to show that such complexity should not be taken as a difficulty but rather as a merit of Aristotle’s account of shame.

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5.2.1 Sources of the Tension: The Double Face of Aristotelian Shame The three most frequent complaints against Aristotle’s treatment of shame in NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, and NE X 9, 1179b4–16, are: (a) Aristotle uses two different terms to talk about shame, aidōs and aischunē, and he appears to alternate between distinguishing them and using them interchangeably; (b) Aristotle clearly seems to be aware of the distinction between prospective and retrospective shame, but does not always acknowledge that distinction and sometimes seems to derive general conclusions about shame from premises that use “shame” in only one of these senses; finally, (c) Aristotle’s classification of shame as an emotion seems to clash with his claim that shame is, at least in some cases, a praiseworthy possession. These three points will be discussed in Sections 5.3 and 5.4.

5.3 Two Kinds of Shame as Solution to Shame’s Tensions? One common strategy to deal with the tensions in Aristotle’s treatment of shame is to give up on the possibility of a unified account and propose instead a distinction between two kinds of shame. There are two versions of this “twokinds-of-shame” interpretation: one that underscores the different uses of the terms aidōs and aischunē; and one that focuses on the distinction between prospective shame and retrospective shame.

5.3.1 First Attempt at a Solution: Aidōs vs. Aischunē Some commentators have attempted to resolve the tension between NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, and NE X 9, 1179b4–16, by arguing that Aristotle makes different use of the two standard words for “shame” in Greek, aidōs and aischunē, to indicate a distinction between two kinds of shame. Aidōs is an older and more elevated term with poetic connotations, it is more aspirational, and has the positive connotations of “reverence,” “awe,” “respect,” “modesty,” and “sense of honor.” Aischunē, in contrast, is a more everyday term, it usually has a more negative sense, and is connected to failure, meaning something closer to “dishonor” or “disgrace.”¹⁴ Aristotle seems to use the terms aidōs and aischunē as ¹⁴ According to LSJ, the primary meaning of aidōs is “reverence, awe, respect for the feeling or opinion of others or for one’s own conscience, and so shame, self-respect, . . . sense of honor,” while the primary meaning for aischunē is directly “shame, dishonour.” The term aischunē is, then, closer to our modern notion of shame in English, while the term aidōs tends to be broader (see e.g. Woodruff’s 2001 study of the notion of “reverence,” which captures many of the aspects of aidōs that are often lost in our modern notion of shame). Cairns 1993 offers a detailed discussion of the broad meaning of these terms

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generally interchangeable, even though he occasionally seems to mark a difference in meaning between them.¹⁵ In the ordinary Greek of Aristotle’s time, however, aidōs and aischunē are synonyms in most cases, and although Aristotle occasionally makes use of these connotations to express the complexity of shame, he does not seem to take aidōs and aischunē as different emotions.¹⁶ Does Aristotle conceive aidōs and aischunē as two aspects of the same emotion or as two distinct emotions? The question about the relationship between aidōs and aischunē in Aristotle has no easy answer and there is substantial disagreement among interpreters. The text from NE IV 9 can be particularly disconcerting in this respect, since it appears to offer support for both the unified account of aidōsaischunē and the “two-kinds-of-shame view.”¹⁷ While Aristotle’s first argument that shame is not a virtue in NE IV 9 clearly depends on an identification of aidōs and aischunē, which are used interchangeably in that part of the text, the other arguments are often interpreted as making a point about aischunē but not about aidōs.

in his Introduction. In my analysis of these passages I will use the translations “aidōs-shame” and “aischunē-shame” to keep track of the potential differences between these terms. Some commentators establish a dividing line between good and bad shame along the lines of the distinction between aidōs and aischunē, the two Greek terms for shame, while others see the ambivalence of shame appear within the notion of aidōs as well. In fact, the interpretation of aidōs as a divided concept is omnipresent in the secondary literature. A clear example is Williams 1993, who distinguishes between “an aidōs that is timid, reactive, and conventional, and one that is steady, active, and (if need be) independent of merely conventional expectations” (Endnote 2, 229). See also Dodds 1925; von Erffa 1937; McKay 1963; and Edwards 2012. Classical passages typically adduced in support of the double aspect of aidōs are Homer, Odyssey 17.347 and Illiad 24.45; Hesiod, Works and Days 317; Euripides, Hyppolitus 385–6 and Erechtheus fr. 12; Democritus frags. 244 and 264 DK; and Plato, Charmides 160d–161b. ¹⁵ Among those who claim, rightly in my opinion, that Aristotle does not differentiate between aidōs and aischunē are Gauthier and Jolif 1958–9 (322); Grimaldi 1988 (105–07); Cairns 1993 (see previous note); and Raymond 2017 (131–8). An example of the opposite view is Konstan 2006 (95–6), who argues instead that Aristotle reserves aidōs for prospective or inhibitory shame while he uses aischunē in both senses, prospective and retrospective, such that sometimes aischunē may even appear to be an incoherent notion. Other authors who puzzle about the relationship between aidōs and aischunē in Aristotle are Irwin 1999 (227); Taylor 2006 (235); and Fussi 2015 (esp. 114–17). Also relevant is Williams 1993, who does not deal directly with Aristotle’s notion of shame, but rejects appeals to the distinction between aidōs and aischunē in what he calls “the Greeks,” and he claims that “[n]ot much turns on the distinction, for [his] purposes, and, in particular, many of the variations are diachronic” (194, note 9). ¹⁶ Cairns 1993 offers the following summary: “In ordinary Greek aidōs and aischunē are synonyms, except when the latter refers to a disgraceful state of affairs rather than the individual’s reaction to that state, but aidōs is the older and more poetic term, and it draws its claim to be considered as a virtue from its use in highly poetic contexts where something of the importance originally accorded the concept is preserved. Aischunē, on the other hand, is the regular prosaic word of Aristotle’s own day, the one which would generally be used to do the work of aidōs both as affect and as a trait of character, although as a trait of character aischunē does not bear the exalted connotations of aidōs” (415). ¹⁷ For a detailed discussion of the different interpretations of the role of aidōs and aischunē in NE IV 9 see Raymond 2017 (esp. 131–8).

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Throughout the whole discussion of shame in NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, Aristotle switches from one term to the other as if he takes them to refer to the same thing. He moves from talking about aidōs (1128b10) to talking about “people who feel aischunē” (hoi aischunomenoi, 1128b13), and then tacking back to “people prone to aidōs” (tous aidēmonas, 1128b19), before switching again to the terms “prone to aischunē” (aischuntēlos, 1128b20) and aischunē (1128b21), etc.¹⁸ And yet, despite their clear initial interchangeability, there are some (maybe apparent, maybe substantial) differences in the use of the two terms in the second part of the passage (NE IV 9, 1128b15–33). The first argument of NE IV 9 (at 1128b10–15), where Aristotle makes an analogy between shame and fear of danger, presents the clearest evidence of the interchangeability between aidōs and aischunē, since the analogy works only if we assume that aidōs and aischunē are the same thing:¹⁹ Aidōs-shame is not properly described as a virtue; for it is more like an emotion than a disposition. It is defined, at any rate, as a kind of fear of disrepute, and it produces an effect similar to that produced by fear of terrible things. For people who feel aischunē-shame (hoi aischunomenoi) blush, and those who fear death turn pale. Both, therefore, seem to be in a sense bodily conditions, which is thought to be characteristic of emotions rather than of dispositions.²⁰ (NE IV 9, 1128b10–15)

The reasoning here is that aidōs-shame, which is a kind of fear of disrepute (adoxia), is similar to the fear of terrible things (ta deina) such as the prospect

¹⁸ The many divergences between the translations of these passages also reveal some confusion about whether or not we should make a difference between aidōs and aischunē. While some translators—e.g. Ross-Urmson 1984, Irwin 1990, and Rowe 2002—use different terms to render different Greek words (“shame” for aidōs and “disgrace” for aischunē), others render both terms as “shame” at some points, or both as “disgrace.” See e.g. Crisp 2000: “We praise the young for being properly disposed to feel shame (αἰδήμονας), but no one would praise an older person for having a sense of shame (αἰσχυντηλός), since we think that he should do nothing to feel shame (αἰσχύνη) for. . . . And if not feeling shame (ἡ ἀναισχυντία) and disgrace (μὴ αἰδεῖσθαι) at doing disgraceful actions is bad, that does not make it good for someone to do them and then feel shame (αἰσχύνεσθαι)” (trans. of NE IV 9, 1128b18ff., 79). See also Taylor 2006: “being the sort of person who feels ashamed (αἰσχύνεσθαι) at doing something of that sort, and thinking oneself good on the strength of that is absurd” and “one is ashamed of what is voluntary” (ἐπὶ τοῖς ἑκουσίοις γὰρ ἡ αἰδώς,), etc. (trans. of NE IV 9, 1128b26–28, 57). ¹⁹ Grimaldi 1988 points out the argument in Rhet I 9, 1367a6–14, where Aristotle also seems to use the two terms fully interchangeably: “A similar exchange between aidōs and aischunē is found in Rhetoric, A 9, 67a6-14, where, speaking formally of aischunē, A. illustrates his point from two poets, both of whom use aidōs” (106). ²⁰ Περὶ δὲ αἰδοῦς ὥς τινος ἀρετῆς οὐ προσήκει λέγειν· πάθει γὰρ μᾶλλον ἔοικεν ἢ ἕξει. ὁρίζεται γοῦν φόβος τις ἀδοξίας, καὶ ἀποτελεῖ τι τῷ περὶ τὰ δεινὰ φόβῳ παραπλήσιον· ἐρυθραίνονται γὰρ οἱ αἰσχυνόμενοι, οἱ δὲ τὸν θάνατον φοβούμενοι ὠχριῶσιν. σωματικὰ δὴ φαίνεταί πως εἶναι ἀμφότερα, ὅπερ δοκεῖ πάθους μᾶλλον ἢ ἕξεως εἶναι. (I follow Ross’ translation and read with him καὶ ἀποτελεῖ τι instead of καὶ ἀποτελεῖται at 1128b12).

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of death, because they both produce similar bodily effects: those who fear danger turn pale, and “those who suffer aischunē-shame” (hoi aischunomenoi) blush. The argument would be fallacious if aidōs-shame and aischunē-shame were taken to be different things.²¹ The next section, 1128b15–33, however, suggests that there might be a distinction between the terms. Concretely, it seems that Aristotle prefers to use aidōs and its cognates when he talks about a positive trait. For example: “we think young people should be prone to aidōs-shame (aidēmones)” (1128b16–17), people are “restrained” from their errors “by aidōs” (1128b17–18), “we praise young people for being aidēmones” (1128b19), “we feel aidōs only for voluntary actions” (1128b28), “aidōs may be said to be conditionally a good thing” (1128b29–30). By contrast, he reserves aischunē and its cognates for negative cases: “no one would praise an old person for being prone to aischunē-shame (aischuntēlos)” (1128b20), “an old person should not do anything that need cause aischunē” (1128b21), “aischunē is not even characteristic of a good person” (1128b22), it is absurd to think oneself good just because one is constituted as to feel aischunēshame (aischunesthai) when one does something base (1128b26–28), “if shamelessness (anaischuntia), i.e. not feeling aidōs-shame (mē aideisthai) at doing base actions, is bad, that does not make it good to feel aischunē-shame (aischunesthai) of doing such actions” (1128b31–33). Thus, in this second and longest part of NE IV 9 there is an observable consistency in the choice of vocabulary between the arguments that proclaim the praiseworthiness of shame in younger people, where the preferred term is aidōs (1128b15–20), and the arguments that reject the appropriateness of shame in older people and, particularly, in virtuous people, where the preferred term is aischunē and its cognates (1128b20–23): This emotion is not fitting to every age, but only to youth. For we think young people should be prone to aidōs-shame because they live guided by their emotions and so make many errors, but are restrained by aidōs-shame. And while we praise young people who are prone to aidōs-shame, in contrast, no one would praise an older person for being prone to aischunē-shame, since we think he should not do anything that need cause aischunē-shame. In fact, aischunē-shame is not even characteristic of a decent person, since it is occasioned by bad actions (for such actions should not be done . . . ).²² (NE IV 9, 1128b15–23)

²¹ Irwin 1999 makes this point: “Aristotle’s argument . . . seems to depend on the identification of aidōs with aischunē” (227). See also Gauthier and Jolif 1958–9, 322–3. ²² οὐ πάσῃ δ’ ἡλικίᾳ τὸ πάθος ἁρμόζει, ἀλλὰ τῇ νέᾳ. οἰόμεθα γὰρ δεῖν τοὺς τηλικούτους αἰδήμονας εἶναι διὰ τὸ πάθει ζῶντας πολλὰ ἁμαρτάνειν, ὑπὸ τῆς αἰδοῦς δὲ κωλύεσθαι· καὶ ἐπαινοῦμεν τῶν μὲν νέων τοὺς αἰδήμονας, πρεσβύτερον δ’ οὐδεὶς ἂν ἐπαινέσειεν ὅτι αἰσχυντηλός· οὐδὲν γὰρ οἰόμεθα δεῖν αὐτὸν πράττειν ἐφ’ οἷς ἐστὶν αἰσχύνη. οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐπιεικοῦς ἐστὶν ἡ αἰσχύνη, εἴπερ γίνεται ἐπὶ τοῖς φαύλοις (οὐ γὰρ πρακτέον τὰ τοιαῦτα . . . ).

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The distribution of labor between aidōs-terms and aischunē-terms in these lines could give the impression that Aristotle is trying to establish an intentional distinction between two types. In fact, some commentators have even suggested that Aristotle makes an illicit move by leaving aidōs outside of his main argument against attributing shame to the virtuous person at 1128b20–23. Their reading is that, in order to support his double conclusion that shame is not praiseworthy in older people and not appropriate in virtuous people, Aristotle appeals to a restricted sense of the term aischunē that does not fit well with the term aidōs in its positive sense.²³ In other words, if aischunē and aidōs are different emotions, then Aristotle’s argument here only shows that virtuous people will not have aischunē, but does not rule out the possibility that they might have aidōs. If we look at the passage in isolation, it is easy to form the impression that the arguments might be directed only against aischunē-shame in that restricted sense, and not against shame in general or against aidōs in particular. I think there are, however, good reasons to resist this interpretation and to reject such isolated reading of these lines. For the picture changes considerably if we take into consideration the second part of the passage as a whole (1128b15–33). In fact, the term aidōs is used several times in the final lines of the passage, as Aristotle keeps turning from one term to the other, just as in the first section: Moreover, it is characteristic of a bad person to be such as to do anything shameful (ti tōn aischrōn). To be in such condition as to feel aischunē-shame if one does such an action, and to think oneself decent for that reason, is absurd. For it is for voluntary actions that aidōs-shame is felt, and the decent person will never voluntarily do bad actions. But aidōs-shame may be said to be hypothetically a good thing: if someone were to do such actions, he would feel aischunēshame; but the virtues are not subject to such a qualification. And if lack of aischunē-shame—i.e. not to feel aidōs-shame of doing bad actions—is bad, that does not make it good to feel aischunē-shame of doing such actions.²⁴ (NE IV 9, 1128b25–33)

²³ See Taylor 2006, who claims to follow on this issue the anonymous commentator’s analysis according to which Aristotle fails to attribute aidōs to the virtuous agent because he shifts in NE IV 9 from discussing aidōs to discussing aischunē (204.7–11). Raymond 2017 discusses in detail Taylor’s objection and proposes a different reading of the anonymous commentator’s text. Moreover, we should note that if Taylor agrees with the commentator, as it seems he does, his position on this point would conflict with the treatment of aidōs-courage in Taylor’s own commentary to NE III 8, where he insists that the motivation involved in shame is mere desire for recognition. For, if aidōs is mere desire for recognition, then why should Aristotle attribute aidōs to the virtuous person here? ²⁴ φαύλου δὲ καὶ τὸ εἶναι τοιοῦτον οἷον πράττειν τι τῶν αἰσχρῶν. τὸ δ’ οὕτως ἔχειν ὥστ’ εἰ πράξαι τι τῶν τοιούτων αἰσχύνεσθαι, καὶ διὰ τοῦτ’ οἴεσθαι ἐπιεικῆ εἶναι, ἄτοπον· ἐπὶ τοῖς ἑκουσίοις γὰρ ἡ αἰδώς, ἑκὼν δ’ ὁ ἐπιεικὴς οὐδέποτε πράξει τὰ φαῦλα. εἴη δ’ ἂν ἡ αἰδὼς ἐξ ὑποθέσεως ἐπιεικές· εἰ γὰρ πράξαι, αἰσχύνοιτ’ ἄν· οὐκ ἔστι δὲ τοῦτο περὶ τὰς ἀρετάς. εἰ δ’ ἡ ἀναισχυντία φαῦλον καὶ τὸ μὴ αἰδεῖσθαι τὰ αἰσχρὰ πράττειν, οὐδὲν μᾶλλον τὸν τὰ τοιαῦτα πράττοντα αἰσχύνεσθαι ἐπιεικές.

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The frequent terminological back and forth in these lines speaks strongly against the two-kinds-of-shame interpretation. It indicates, I think, that Aristotle does not draw a sharp line between the two terms, and his arguments do not turn on this terminological distinction; rather, his arguments are about shame in general and assume a unified account, even if they focus on different aspects of the emotion. This is the approach also preferred by Cairns 1993, who claims that “Aristotle neither identifies aidōs and aischunē nor treats them as two distinct concepts; rather he uses the two terms, for the purposes of this passage, to refer to distinguishable aspects of a single emotional concept.”²⁵ Both terms denote the same emotion, then, although they do have different connotations. As Cairns 1993 observes, we can acknowledge that aidōs has a more positive meaning and tends to be used in a prospective and inhibitory sense and that aischunē has more negative connotations and tends to be used retrospectively, while at the same time admitting that they are not two different emotions, but merely different aspects of a single emotion. This point is important because, instead of explaining away the complexity of shame, it allows us to preserve it, so that we can understand more clearly its mediating role in our moral formation.

5.3.2 Second Attempt at a Solution: Prospective vs. Retrospective Shame A second group of commentators (such as Irwin 1999 and Taylor 2006) resolve the tension between NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, and NE X 9, 1179b4–16, by appealing to the distinction between prospective shame, i.e. a kind of shame that looks towards the future and restrains agents from performing bad actions, and retrospective shame, i.e. a kind of shame that is consequent on having done bad actions.²⁶ The view is, roughly, that Aristotle’s claim in NE IV 9 that shame is not appropriate in good people (1129b21–22) only refers to retrospective shame. As Irwin 1999 puts it: “Aristotle is concerned here with retrospective shame at actions we have done, and, reasonably enough, denies it to the virtuous person. He does ²⁵ Here is the gist of the analysis presented in Cairns 1993: “It is frequently suggested that this passage trades on an illegitimate identification of aidōs and aischunē, characterizing the former in terms proper to the latter. The situation, however, is not so straightforward, for Aristotle neither identifies aidōs and aischunē nor treats them as two distinct concepts; rather he uses the two terms, for the purposes of this passage, to refer to distinguishable aspects of a single emotional concept. In ordinary Greek aidōs and aischunē are synonyms, except when the latter refers to a disgraceful state of affairs rather than the individual’s reaction to that state . . . . Aristotle’s moves from aidōs to aischunē, then, are not in any way underhand—ordinary language, in fact, goes further than he does in this passage, in so far as it treats the two as synonyms” (415). ²⁶ This distinction is linked to the distinction between aidōs and aischunē but does not depend on it, so that one can hold that Aristotle is differentiating between prospective and retrospective shame while denying that he maintains a terminological distinction.

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not consider the anticipatory shame of 1115a16, where I am properly ashamed when I even think of the possibility of doing a wrong action. He need not be rejecting that type of shame here, since it will apparently be a motive for the virtuous person (though not one of his virtues)” (227).²⁷ Consequently, the apparently negative portrayal of shame only applies to retrospective shame and does not bear on prospective shame. Defenders of this view rely on the fact that Aristotle’s argument in NE IV 9, 1128b21–33, takes as a premise the claim that shame “occurs in the case of bad actions” (ginetai epi tois phaulois, 1128b22); they see this as an indication that Aristotle is referring only to cases of shame about past shameful actions, and thus, only shame in a retrospective sense. On this view, then, the argument from NE IV 9, 1128b21–33, just shows that retrospective shame cannot be appropriate in virtuous people, because retrospective shame is always about base things that the agent has done, and virtuous people do not do base things. In this reading, Aristotle’s argument at NE IV 9, 1128b21–33, is not that shame in general is inappropriate in virtuous people, but that what is inappropriate is shame in the restricted retrospective sense. Aristotle would be allowing that, even if retrospective shame is something that virtuous people should not experience, prospective shame might be compatible and aligned with virtue. However, in the text from NE IV 9 there is at least one sign that this interpretation is not on the right track. For while it is true that Aristotle places more weight on retrospective shame when he argues that shame is not appropriate in virtuous people at 1128b21–26, in a previous section of the passage he also talks about prospective shame, saying that this kind of shame is indeed praiseworthy in young people because, among other things, it helps them restrain from bad actions (1128b15–18).²⁸ Thus, again, when we take the argument as a whole it becomes ²⁷ The position of Taylor 2006 is very similar: “The claim that shame is not appropriate in older people, or in good people generally, assumes that shame is exclusively a reactive attitude to one’s own past misdeeds, thereby neglecting the notion of aidōs as a sense of shame, in which it is in effect an aspect of the wider notion of sōphrosynē as soundness of mind (cf. note on 1123b5). Aristotle is right to say that the reactive attitude cannot be a characteristic of someone who is by his standards completely good. But aidōs as a sense of shame is not that attitude; rather, it is a sense of restraint inhibiting possible future action, a sense that one would be ashamed to do something like that. Since sensitivity to what it would be fine or noble to do necessarily involves comparison with what it would be disgraceful or shameful to do, Aristotle’s insistence on that sensitivity as central to the motivation of the virtuous person ought to lead him to give a correspondingly prominent place to a sense of shame in that sensitivity. Cf. X 9, 1179b7–13” (235). ²⁸ Cairns 1993 also refers to this point. He claims—correctly, in my opinion—that although the argument from 1128b21–26 talks exclusively about shame in the retrospective sense, Aristotle also discusses the case of prospective shame earlier in NE IV 9 (at 1128b16–18): “In the present passage aischunē is used in an exclusively retrospective sense. That aischunē (and aidōs) can, by this time, have such a sense obviously helps Aristotle’s case, since he is able to use retrospective shame as a sign of imperfection of character—if someone is ashamed of what he has done, then he has done something aischron, something that the good man should never do. But the passage does not simply slide from prospective aidōs, the rejected candidate for consideration as a virtue, to retrospective aischunē, a sign of moral imperfection; rather Aristotle feels that each implies the other, and therefore feels justified in treating them as aspects of the whole. For it is clear that Aristotle has not simply failed to consider

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clear that Aristotle is deriving conclusions about “the emotion” in general, and not about a particular aspect of it. The same emotion, shame, which has both retrospective and prospective aspects, is said to be becoming in young people and not becoming in older people or in people with virtue.²⁹ If that is the case, then we should not deflate the strength of Aristotle’s claim that shame is not appropriate in virtuous people by concluding that his point is only about retrospective shame. On the contrary, we should pay attention to the limitations that this passage imposes on the positive role of shame, and consider the reasons why Aristotle claims in these passages that shame as a whole (i.e. including both retrospective and prospective shame) is not appropriate in the virtuous person, although it is still a praiseworthy possession for the young. But before we tackle the analysis of NE IV 9 in Chapter 6, let us consider the third preliminary consideration about Aristotle’s treatment of shame, namely the difficulty that for him shame is a praiseworthy emotion, at least in young people, and so has a special status in the general framework of Aristotle’s moral psychology.

5.4 Shame’s Special Status as a Praiseworthy Emotion In his general introduction to the discussion of the particular virtues of character in NE II 7, at 1108a30–b6, Aristotle classifies shame (aidōs), along with righteous indignation (nemesis), as one of the “praiseworthy emotional means,”³⁰ which he presents as “means” (mesotētes) that, in addition to being “about emotions” (peri ta pathē) like other praiseworthy moral means, are also peculiarly “in the emotions” (en tois pathēmasi, 1108a31). Similarly, in the parallel text of EE III 7, 1233b16–1234a34, shame is included amongst the “means” (mesotētes) that are “affective” (pathētikai) (1233b18), which he deems praiseworthy and morally relevant despite not being virtues. This category has been a source of puzzlement

prospective aidōs as a quality of real moral worth. The young, for example, live by pathos and so make mistakes, presumably because their emotional response to situations is not guided by the moral insight of the man of practical wisdom; but another aspect of their living by pathos is their propensity to aidōs, which can prevent their doing wrong (1128b16–18). Thus the aidōs that is disparaged as appropriate for youth but not for adults is prospective; it may actually inhibit the action that is aischron, but it is not therefore, according to Aristotle, an unqualified good. We must assume, then, that the mature adult, if he is ‘decent’, is no more prone to prospective aidōs than to retrospective” (414–15, my emphasis). ²⁹ Further support for a unified account is that in Rhet II 6, 1383b12–14, Aristotle defines shame (aischunē) not just retrospectively but as “pain or disturbance in regard to bad things, whether present, past, or future, which seem likely to involve us in discredit” (λύπη τις ἢ ταραχὴ περὶ τὰ εἰς ἀδοξίαν φαινόμενα φέρειν τῶν κακῶν, ἢ παρόντων ἢ γεγονότων ἢ μελλόντων). ³⁰ Fortenbaugh 1968 (repr. 2006) uses instead the phrase “emotional mean-dispositions.” I avoid using the term “disposition” because, as I argue in this chapter, I think that Aristotle creates the category of the (non-virtuous) praiseworthy emotional means precisely to avoid classifying emotions such as shame and indignation as dispositions (hexeis).

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among scholars, and has led some commentators to suspect that Aristotle’s treatment of these sui generis emotions does not fully cohere with the rest of his moral-psychological framework.³¹ My view is that Aristotle has good reasons to introduce this category of quasi-virtues, and that he aims to create with it a special intermediate space for emotions to have a positive role in the moral lives of those who are learning and do not have a fully formed character. In this section, I explore the category of praiseworthy emotional means, paying particular attention to its coherence with Aristotle’s broader scheme of psychic phenomena in the ethical treatises. I look also at Aristotle’s reasons for recognizing this kind of non-virtuous praiseworthy mean in addition to the virtues. I argue, first, that the non-virtuous but praiseworthy means constitute a fruitful category that is consistent with the rest of Aristotle’s moral psychology. Next, I show that the case of shame sheds light on the question of why Aristotle is interested in carving out space for this category of the praiseworthy emotional means in the first place. My view is that the mixed nature of these psychic phenomena, which are in many respects like virtues but can be present in nonvirtuous people, offers the advantage of allowing them to play an active role in moral development.

5.4.1 The Praiseworthy Emotional Means The main passage where Aristotle indicates that shame belongs to the special class of the (non-virtuous) praiseworthy emotional means appears in the preliminary discussion of the means at NE II 7: There are also means that are both in the emotions and about the emotions. For, to start, shame (aidōs) is not a virtue, and yet we praise (epainetai) the shameprone person (aidēmōn). Indeed, in these matters one person is said to be intermediate, and another one to exceed, as for instance the timid person (kataplēx) who is ashamed of everything; while the person who falls short or is not ashamed of anything at all is shameless (anaischuntos), and the intermediate person is the shame-prone.³² (NE II 7, 1108a30–35)

Commentators tend to find this category puzzling for two reasons: on the one hand, Aristotle does not offer any explicit explanation for why he distinguishes ³¹ See e.g. Fortenbaugh 1968 (repr. 2006) for an extensive discussion of this point. As I discuss in Section 5.4.3, Cairns 1993 is also puzzled by the apparent inconsistencies generated by the praiseworthy emotional means. ³² εἰσὶ δὲ καὶ ἐν τοῖς παθήμασι καὶ περὶ τὰ πάθη μεσότητες· ἡ γὰρ αἰδὼς ἀρετὴ μὲν οὐκ ἔστιν, ἐπαινεῖται δὲ καὶ ὁ αἰδήμων. καὶ γὰρ ἐν τούτοις ὃ μὲν λέγεται μέσος, ὃ δ’ ὑπερβάλλων, ὡς ὁ καταπλὴξ ὁ πάντα αἰδούμενος· ὁ δ’ ἐλλείπων ἢ μηδὲν ὅλως ἀναίσχυντος, ὁ δὲ μέσος αἰδήμων.

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this class of praiseworthy means from the rest, and, on the other hand, he offers different lists of its components in NE II 7, 1108a30–b6, and EE III 7, 1233b16–1234a23.³³ In the parallel passage from EE III 7, where Aristotle talks about praiseworthy emotional means, he includes in the list not only shame and righteous indignation, but also friendship (philia), dignity (semnotēs), truthfulness (alētheia), and wittiness (eutrapelia) (1233b16–1234a23). Yet in NE II 7, friendship, truthfulness, and wittiness are classified as virtues, and dignity is dropped completely, leaving only shame and righteous indignation on the list of praiseworthy emotional means. One problem is that Aristotle seems to be violating distinctions made in his own scheme of psychic phenomena at NE II 5, 1105b19–1106a13 (and EE II 2, 1220b10–20).³⁴ There, Aristotle distinguishes “emotions” (pathē) from the other two big categories of “things found in the soul” (ta en tēi psuchēi ginomena, 1105b20), namely “capacities” (dunameis) and “dispositions” (hexeis). He makes this distinction by appealing specifically to the fact that emotions are not praiseworthy or blameworthy. Yet here in NE II 7 and EE III 7 he seems to explicitly allow that some emotions, such as shame or righteous indignation, can be praiseworthy, at least in some circumstances. Why are emotions presented as being not praiseworthy in NE II 5? Does Aristotle relax this criterion in NE II 7 (and EE III 7), in relation to those emotions that play a significant moral role? If so, to what extent? And what is special about aidōs and nemesis? The texts from NE II 5 and EE II 2 clearly explain why emotions are not virtues and gives reasons for restricting praise and blame to capacities and dispositions. However, in his discussion of the praiseworthy emotional means, Aristotle relaxes this restriction while making their praiseworthiness relative to the agent’s age and condition—that is, he tells us that the emotions in question will only be praiseworthy in those agents who have no stable dispositions of character and yet are making progress towards virtue. My view is that while in general emotions are not praiseworthy or blameworthy, a few special emotions like shame and indignation have the potential to guide our actions in the right direction and to positively influence other emotions. As such, they become highly relevant to the production of virtuous action and even to the occurrence of the right emotional responses in those who have no virtue. ³³ See Fortenbaugh 1968 (repr. 2006) and 1975 (esp. at 90–1), Cairns 1993 (esp. 397–8), and Gottlieb 1994 for interesting discussions of the puzzling character of the praiseworthy emotional means in general, and of the corresponding divergences between EE and NE in particular. These divergences between the passages in EE III 7 and EN II 7 is what has led Fortenbaugh 1968 (repr. 2006), following Von Arnim 1927 and Dirlmeier 1962, to call friendship, dignity, truthfulness, and wittiness “the questionable mean-dispositions.” ³⁴ This problem is mentioned in Fortenbaugh 1968 (repr. 2006, 207/134–5) and Cairns 1993 (397–8), and I think is at the center of Aristotle’s motivation to make a special mention of these kinds of means in his general discussion. See this point developed also in Raymond 2017.

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5.4.2 Emotions vs. Dispositions in NE II 5 and EE II 2 In NE II 5, 1105b19–1106a13, and EE II 2, 1220b10–20, Aristotle explores the notion of virtue by looking at the distinction between dunameis (capacities), pathē (emotions), and hexeis (dispositions) of the soul. In both passages, he puts forward several distinguishing features of virtue that differentiate it from emotions or capacities, and he uses these features to conclude that virtues fall instead under the category of dispositions: (a) Only virtues are praiseworthy, while emotions and capacities are not. (NE II 5, 1105b31–1106a2; 1106a8–9) (b) What matters for virtue is the way in which agents are related to emotions or actions, while emotions and capacities are defined simply by our having them or not. (NE II 5, 1105b32–34) (c) Virtues involve prohairesis (choice, deliberated commitment),³⁵ while emotions and capacities do not. (NE II 5, 1106a2–4) (d) Emotions are about “being affected” or “moved” (kineisthai), while virtues are about “being disposed in a certain way” (diakeisthai pōs). (NE II 5, 1106a4–6; cf. EE II 2, 1220b14–15) (e) Virtues are acquired, while we have capacities “by nature” (φύσει). (NE II 5, 1106a9–10) (f) We have virtue “according to reason” (kata logon). (EE II 2, 1220b18–20) Of these six characteristic features, four are central to the distinction between pathē and virtues in NE II 5: Now neither the virtues nor the vices are pathē, [1] because we are not called good or bad on the ground of our pathē, but are so called on the ground of our virtues and our vices, and [2] because we are neither praised nor blamed for our pathē (for the person who feels fear or anger is not praised, nor is the person who simply feels anger blamed, but the person who feels it in a certain way), but for our virtues and our vices we are praised or blamed. Again, [3] we feel anger and fear without prohairesis, but the virtues are modes of prohairesis or involve prohairesis. Further, [4] in respect of the pathē we are said to be moved, but in

³⁵ I leave the term prohairesis untranslated in most cases, because it is a very difficult word to translate, but in the context of the present discussion (and maybe in general) I think it is best rendered as “commitment,” as Chamberlain 1984 proposes, or “deliberated commitment,” as Allen 2010 renders it. I think the term “commitment” or the phrase “deliberated commitment” capture important aspects the notion of prohairesis that are missed by the common translation as “choice” (e.g. commitment has an other-related character that is missing in choice). Allen 2010 offers a brief but fascinating study of the occurrences of prohairesis and suggests that “deliberated commitment” is the sense that the term adopts in Athenian politics after Aristotle.

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respect of the virtues and the vices we are said not to be moved but to be disposed in a particular way.³⁶ (NE II 5, 1105b28–1106a6)

The features that render emotions unfit candidates for being virtues are therefore at least the following four, which are intimately connected to one another: (1) Emotions are insufficient for goodness of character: while having virtue is sufficient to be considered a good person, and being virtuous is equivalent to having a good character, having emotions is not enough to “be called good or bad” (legometha . . . spoudaioi ē phauloi, 1105b29–30). Assessing the goodness of someone’s character involves looking not only at their affective reactions, but also at the reasons and stable dispositions that guide their actions. When individuals are moved to act exclusively by their emotions, those actions do not necessarily reflect their character, even though they are voluntary; to be truly expressive of an agent’s character, actions have to be not just voluntary, but chosen.³⁷ Part of the reason for this is that our emotional reactions are often provoked by some external source, and although they are ultimately attributable to the agent, they cannot be taken as indications of the agent’s general way of being.³⁸ (2) Emotions lack absolute praiseworthiness: while virtue always responds adequately to any practical situation, and possession of virtue is always a sufficient ground for praise, simply experiencing emotions is not in itself sufficient “to be praised or blamed” (out’ epainoumetha oute psegometha, 1105b32). Insofar as emotions can be felt adequately or inadequately in a

³⁶ πάθη μὲν οὖν οὐκ εἰσὶν οὔθ’ αἱ ἀρεταὶ οὔθ’ αἱ κακίαι, ὅτι οὐ λεγόμεθα κατὰ τὰ πάθη σπουδαῖοι ἢ φαῦλοι, κατὰ δὲ τὰς ἀρετὰς καὶ τὰς κακίας λεγόμεθα, καὶ ὅτι κατὰ μὲν τὰ πάθη οὔτ’ ἐπαινούμεθα οὔτε ψεγόμεθα (οὐ γὰρ ἐπαινεῖται ὁ φοβούμενος οὐδὲ ὁ ὀργιζόμενος, οὐδὲ ψέγεται ὁ ἁπλῶς ὀργιζόμενος ἀλλ’ ὁ πῶς), κατὰ δὲ τὰς ἀρετὰς καὶ τὰς κακίας ἐπαινούμεθα ἢ ψεγόμεθα. ἔτι ὀργιζόμεθα μὲν καὶ φοβούμεθα ἀπροαιρέτως, αἱ δ’ ἀρεταὶ προαιρέσεις τινὲς ἢ οὐκ ἄνευ προαιρέσεως. πρὸς δὲ τούτοις κατὰ μὲν τὰ πάθη κινεῖσθαι λεγόμεθα, κατὰ δὲ τὰς ἀρετὰς καὶ τὰς κακίας οὐ κινεῖσθαι ἀλλὰ διακεῖσθαί πως. ³⁷ When we are moved by emotions, our actions are voluntary and attributable to us, insofar as they are not done under compulsion and the source of movement is in the agent; however, if the actions are not chosen—i.e. if there is no prohairesi—then we cannot make conclusions about the agent’s character. NE V 8, 1135b19–25, establishes a distinction between actions that are voluntary but not chosen, which do not necessarily express the character of the agent, and actions that are chosen, which are always an indication of the agent’s moral character: “When someone acts with knowledge but not after deliberation, it is an act of injustice—e.g. the actions due to anger or to other passions necessary or natural to human beings; for when people do such harmful and mistaken acts they act unjustly, and the acts are acts of injustice, but this does not imply that the doers are unjust or wicked; for the injury is not due to vice. But when someone acts from choice, then he is an unjust person and a vicious person” (ὅταν δὲ εἰδὼς μὲν μὴ προβουλεύσας δέ, ἀδίκημα, οἷον ὅσα τε διὰ θυμὸν καὶ ἄλλα πάθη, ὅσα ἀναγκαῖα ἢ φυσικὰ συμβαίνει τοῖς ἀνθρώποις· ταῦτα γὰρ βλάπτοντες καὶ ἁμαρτάνοντες ἀδικοῦσι μέν, καὶ ἀδικήματά ἐστιν, οὐ μέντοι πω ἄδικοι διὰ ταῦτα οὐδὲ πονηροί· οὐ γὰρ διὰ μοχθηρίαν ἡ βλάβη· ὅταν δ’ ἐκ προαιρέσεως, ἄδικος καὶ μοχθηρός). ³⁸ In this regard, NE V 8 is illuminating again: “Hence acts proceeding from anger are rightly judged not to be done of malice aforethought; for it is not the person who acts in anger but the one who enraged him that starts the mischief” (1135b25–27).

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situation, they are not in themselves praiseworthy. Or, as Aristotle puts it in EE II 2, 1220b14–15, “quality does not depend on them; they are just experienced” (kai kata men tauta ouk esti poiotēs, alla paschei). Praise and blame are typically reserved for those who are related to their affective tendencies or emotions “in a certain way” (pōs), where the reference to the “how” or “a certain way” presupposes, at least for the most part, a state or disposition (hexis) of the agent. (3) Emotions are non-prohairetic: emotions do not occur by dint of choice or by deliberative commitment (prohairesis)—in our passage’s terms, they are “non-prohairetic” (aprohairetōs, 1106a3). We can see this from the fact that children and other animals have emotions and are moved by them, but lack the deliberative capacities required to make choices or proper commitments. In contrast, virtues of character are “some kind of proharesis” (1106a3), or at least “not without prohairesis” (1106a3–4); moreover, prohairesis is the most reliable indicator of someone’s character. We can also express this distinction by indicating that an agent acting on mere emotion is not committed to being that kind of person, but an agent acting on prohairesis is.³⁹ (4) Emotions’ occurrent nature: emotions are episodes on account of which agents “are moved” or “move” (kineisthai, 1106a6)—that is, emotions are occurrent as opposed to dispositional, and they are more like things that happen to the agent, as opposed to being expressions of the agent’s agency. Virtue, by contrast, is something on account of which agents “are disposed in a certain way” (diakeisthai pōs, 1106a6); in other words, virtue is something that belongs to the agents in a relatively stable way and that determines the ways in which they act and feel. In NE II 5 (and EE II 2) Aristotle offers these criteria as distinguishing features of emotions, but some of them seem to be in conflict with the features of the praiseworthy emotional means. Why do the praiseworthy emotional means fail to fit perfectly with Aristotle’s own considered description of the features of emotion? Is this conflict a sign of inconsistencies in Aristotle’s view? My view is that with the category of the praiseworthy emotional means Aristotle carves out space

³⁹ I am grateful to Inara Zanuzzi for suggesting this way of expressing this point, which fits well with the proposed way of translating prohairesis (as deliberative commitment). Whether the agent is committed or not to the expressed behavior is particularly relevant for shame, since often part of what shame is trying to do is to separate the agent from the shameful action to avoid the painful self-image—shame is also responsible for the pain suffered when we see ourselves linked to unwanted behaviors or feelings with which the agent does not want to be linked. Allen 2010 observes that in postAristotelian Athenian political texts “prohairesis entails the observable, external manifestation of something internal” (92), which suggests an interesting connection between prohairesis and the notion of shame I attribute to Aristotle.

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for a kind of emotion that is closer to the virtues than the rest and so he challenges the existence of a strict distinction between emotion and disposition.

5.4.3 Shame as a Sui Generis Emotion and the Problem with the Emotional Means The peculiar nature of the praiseworthy emotional means is clear in the case of shame—in particular, it is clear from the difficulties that arise in squaring this category with the tripartite division of psychic phenomena into emotions, capacities, and virtues. Although shame seems to fit relatively well with some of the requisite features that NE II 5 attributes to emotions, it clearly fails to meet some of them. Contra criterion (4), at least sometimes, shame seems to have a dispositional character, or at least be an expression of the agents’ commitments regarding the kind of person they want to be. Contra criterion (2), sometimes, shame is clearly presented as praiseworthy. Of course, insofar as we can find shame in children and young people whose deliberative capacities are not fully developed, it is clear that shame does not involve prohairesis, or at least not in the fully developed form present in mature individuals. Thus, shame is like an emotion at least in the sense that it is aprohairetōs (criterion (3)).⁴⁰ For similar reasons, having a sense of shame—even a highly responsive and well-trained one—is not a sufficient sign that the agent has a good character (criterion (1)). Indeed, good character is mainly about our reliable considered behavior, and about our reasons to act and be one way or another, rather than our mere emotional reactions. Moreover, even if Aristotle is committed to the claim that people prone to shame are better than the shameless, he insists that shame is not a virtue and that it lacks the kind of reliable goodness that virtue provides. Shame stands in a complex relation to the occurrent nature of emotions, i.e. criterion (4). It is not clear whether shame is occurrent, like the rest of the emotions, or if it is dispositional.⁴¹ Sometimes Aristotle seems to present shame as dispositional, depicting it more like a tendency than like an episodic emotional ⁴⁰ This argument does not rule out that individuals such as learners and agents with imperfect virtue, who can at least imperfectly exercise their deliberative capacities, can have something that approximates prohairesis even before they have a fully formed character. They do have deliberate commitments and make deliberate choices, although in an imperfect and not fully reliable way, and those deliberate commitments and choices are expressed in the way in which they feel shame. If this point is right, which I am tempted to believe, then this would be another important way in which shame is a sui generis emotion. ⁴¹ I think that Cairns 1993 (397ff.) is correct in holding that Aristotle’s pathē are occurrent affects, as opposed to dispositions: “A pathos is an affect, and it is always occurrent, but behind pathē lie capacities (dunameis), and settled states (hexeis), both of which may involve some kind of non-occurrent disposition towards the various emotions” (398). The relevant passages for this point are in NE II 5 and EE II 2.

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reaction, and shame is definitely an expression of a person’s commitments in relation to who they are or who they want to be. Although I am not convinced that shame should be considered as merely occurrent (as discussed below), I think, however, that Aristotle has good reasons to maintain that shame is not a stable disposition or “state” (hexis) and that, if it is dispositional, it is so in the weak sense of being a general tendency (diathesis).⁴² Some reservations about the merely occurrent nature of shame stem from several passages where Aristotle talks about the aidēmōn (i.e. the “moderate person” or the “person with a sense of shame”).⁴³ This figure seems to be someone with a tendency to fear disgrace or disrepute on the right occasions, in the right amount, etc.⁴⁴—as opposed to the shy or timid person who excessively fears disrepute on the one hand, and to the shameless individual who does not fear disgrace even when it would be appropriate to do so on the other. The characterization of the aidēmōn in these terms makes it appear that shame is a relatively stable disposition to be afraid of disgrace in an adequate manner (as opposed to fearing it too much or too little), not something that agents merely suffer occasionally. Other potential evidence in support of the dispositional nature of shame is the division that Aristotle establishes in NE X 9, especially at 1179b11–13, between young people for whom it comes naturally “to obey their sense of shame” (aidoi peitharchein), and young people for whom it does not. This distinction adds to the impression that what is possessed by those who obey or listen to their sense of shame is a tendency—a tendency that the shameless lack. These passages thus raise reasonable doubts as to whether Aristotle understands shame as merely occurrent, and they suggest instead that shame should be understood in a dispositional sense. However, Aristotle has stronger reasons to resist the view that shame is a stable disposition. For if—as he argues in the second part of NE IV 9—shame belongs properly only to young people, then, when things go well, shame is expected to ⁴² For the distinction between diathesis and hexis see the discussion of the category of quality in Categories 8, where Aristotle reserves hexis for tendencies that are highly stable and difficult (or impossible) to change: “A state differs from a condition in being more stable and lasting longer” (διαφέρει δὲ ἕξις διαθέςεως τῷ μονιμώτερον καὶ πολυχρονιώτερον εἶναι, 8b27–28); while he proposes to use diathesis to refer to tendencies that are more easily modified: “a state differs from a condition in that the one is easily changed while the other lasts longer and is harder to change” (διαφέρει ἕξις διαθέςεως τῷ τὸ μὲν εὐκίνητον εἶναι τὸ δὲ πολυχρονιώτερόν τε καὶ δυσκινητότερον, 9a8–10). Although Aristotle does not make explicit use of this distinction in the ethical treatises, the fact that he makes it somewhere else and it is available to him offers support to the claim that the triple division between capacities, emotions, and dispositions (hexeis) in NE II 5, 1105b19–1106a13, might be less exhaustive than is often thought. See Oele 2012 for a reading of the relationship between pathos and hexis in the context of Categories 8. ⁴³ See NE II 7, 1108a30–35; III 6, 1115a12–14; IV 9, 1128b16–20. See also EE III 7, 1233b29. ⁴⁴ The puzzling character of the figure of the aidēmōn is revealed by the divergences in translations. Aidēmōn tends to be translated as “person prone to shame” (see Ross 1984 (ad loc.); Cairns 1993 (455); Irwin 1999 (ad loc.); Rowe 2002 (ad loc.)), but some translators render it as “properly disposed to feel shame” (Crisp 2000 (ad loc.)) or “modest” (Taylor 2006 (ad loc.)). Note that these alternative translations strongly suggest that the aidēmōn is someone who has a certain tendency or disposition. See Cairns 1993 (399–428) and Raymond 2017 (116–17) for other discussions of this puzzle about the status of the aidēmōn.

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disappear, or become inactive, once those people grow into mature (virtuous) individuals. This means that shame cannot be a hexis (stable disposition) as the virtues are, since hexeis, once fixed, are extremely stable, and difficult or impossible to modify.⁴⁵ Thus, even if Aristotle sometimes sounds as if he is talking about a ‘tendency’ to feel shame, the temporal limits of this tendency do not allow us to regard shame as a stable disposition of the soul in the relevant sense. For most critics, the true source of trouble concerning the status of shame in Aristotle’s scheme is its relation to criterion (2): the fact that emotions are not praiseworthy or blameworthy in themselves. This claim is in tension with one of the central characteristics of shame as presented in NE IV 9, namely shame’s praiseworthiness.⁴⁶ Aristotle is not unaware of this tension. After all, shame and righteous indignation are the only two pathē included in the discussion of praiseworthy means between extremes in NE II 7, 1108a30–b6, a passage where shame is explicitly characterized as not a virtue and yet praiseworthy (1108a32). It is also remarkable that shame is the only pathos to receive its own independent treatment, following the discussion of the different virtues of character.⁴⁷

⁴⁵ See Categories 8, especially 8b27–9b10. ⁴⁶ The claim in NE IV 9 is that, even though aidōs is not a virtue, it is a praiseworthy possession for some people—concretely, he says that “we praise it” (ἐπαινοῦμεν, 1128b29) when we find it in young people. See also the passages about the praiseworthy mean dispositions from NE II 7, 1108a30–b6, and EE III 7, 1233b16–1234a34, discussed in Section 5.4.1 above. ⁴⁷ D. S. Hutchinson has suggested to me in conversation that is possible that the discussion of righteous indignation was written by Aristotle and lost in a later moment of the transmission of the text. It is indeed strange that Aristotle includes it in the list of means between extremes but, unlike all the other cases, he does not offer any discussion of it. Note that NE IV 9, about shame, ends abruptly, and it is immediately followed by NE V where Aristotle makes a fresh start with the discussion of justice. Cf. EE III 7; Rhet II 6, 9–10. Stewart 1892 offers the following reasons in support of this view: (1) “The Fourth Book, as we have it, ends without even mentioning νέμεσις. It seems probable that the accident which deprived us of the Nicomachean books answering to v, vi, vii, deprived us of the last part of iv, treating of νέμεσις (iv.9.8 is perhaps an editor’s interpolation)” (369). It is equally probable, adds Stewart, that the same accident also deprived us of part of the present section about shame. (2) “It is to be noted that there is no mention of the ἀναίσχυντος and καταπλήξ as extremes, where the αἰδήμων μέσος. . . . At the same time, we cannot feel sure that it was Aristotle’s intention here to represent the αἰδήμων definitely as μέσος. So far as the discussion goes, αἰδώς appears merely as a provisionally good feeling, admirable only in the young: whereas in the EE and MM the αἰδήμων is evidently regarded as a mature man, no less than the φίλος, ἀληθής, and εὐτράπελον—as the man who has just the right amount of self-assurance, who is not either regardless of what people think of him, or too shy and sensitive to put himself forward at all. See MM 1.29.1193 a. 1 sqq. [i.e. it is definitely one of the ἀρεταί, so-called, of ‘one’s deportment in society’]. See also EE 3.7.1233b26 sqq” (369). However, we find in Aquinas’s commentary to the NE (ad loc.) a no less plausible explanation for the brevity of the section about shame and the absence of discussion of righteous indignation: “We must take into account that the Philosopher previously treated the praiseworthy passion of righteous indignation (nemesis), and that here he does not mention it because it is not his intention to treat these passions on this occasion. This matter pertains rather to rhetoric, as it is clear from the second book of the Rhetoric (Ch. 9, 1386b9sq.). Hence, neither does he here consider shame except to show that it is not a virtue. He leaves the same thing to be understood about righteous indignation.” In favor of Aquinas’ explanation, it is worth noting that Aristotle says in NE II 7 that there will be an opportunity of describing the means in the passions “elsewhere” (ἄλλοθι, 1108b6–7).

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One more reason to think that Aristotle thinks about shame as praiseworthy more generally is that in NE III 6 Aristotle equates the “decent person” (epieikēs) and the “shame-prone person” (aidēmōn), and he says that fear of disrepute (adoxia) is right and noble: [F]or to fear some things is even right (kai dei) and noble (kai kalon), and not to fear them is shameful (aischron)—e.g. disrepute (adoxia). The person who fears it is decent (epieikēs) and shame-prone (aidēmōn), and the one who does not fear it is shameless.⁴⁸ (NE III 6, 1115a12–14)

Some commentators (e.g. Cairns 1993) regard these tensions in the conception of the praiseworthy emotional means as a defect of Aristotle’s theory. One way to express the problem, as Cairns 1993 frames it, is that the praiseworthiness of shame introduces doubts about the classification of shame as a pathos. If aidōs (shame) is praiseworthy and emotions in general are not, then aidōs “cannot (simply) be a pathos” (412). Cairns 1993 describes the tension as follows: [Aristotle] seems not to have faced up to the contradiction between his insistence that aidōs is a pathos and his denial that a pathos can be praiseworthy, and so a suitable candidate to be a mean. Aidōs, it seems, can be both a pathos and a praiseworthy mean, even though the formal requirements of the elements of this classification conflict. (413)

The problem that Cairns foregrounds is that Aristotle seems to be neglecting his own formal requirements for being a pathos, and thus he concludes that Aristotle does not manage to establish the status of aidōs as a pathos in a sufficiently convincing manner, even in the very terms of the NE. This is because, briefly, if shame is praiseworthy, then it must be a disposition (hexis), given that only hexeis are appropriate objects of praise.⁴⁹ Cairns is correct in that, if we strictly attend to the division of psychic phenomena into capacities, emotions, and dispositions in NE II 5, 1105b19–1106a13, and if we consider it to be both exhaustive and rigid, then Aristotle’s classification of shame as a praiseworthy emotion is in tension with his general scheme. If Aristotle wants to maintain a strict tripartite division, then he should simply admit that shame is a ⁴⁸ ἔνια γὰρ καὶ δεῖ φοβεῖσθαι καὶ καλόν, τὸ δὲ μὴ αἰσχρόν, οἷον ἀδοξίαν· ὁ μὲν γὰρ φοβούμενος ἐπιεικὴς καὶ αἰδήμων, ὁ δὲ μὴ φοβούμενος ἀναίσχυντος. ⁴⁹ As Cairns 1993 puts it: “Aristotle’s attempt to deny aidōs the status of hexis is unsuccessful; even on his own account aidōs emerges, malgré lui, as a state of character, as an appropriate object of praise; in particular, his observations that aidōs involves “being in such a condition as to aischunesthai were one to do something aischron” (1128b26–7) in itself requires a hexis which is related to aidōs and aischunē, and Aristotle should accommodate ordinary Greek usage in designating this hexis as aidōs.” (428)

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state (hexis).⁵⁰ Moreover, if the tripartite division admits of no flexibility, then the whole category of the praiseworthy emotional means contradicts the text of NE II 5. There is, however, a second possible approach. Instead of taking for granted that the tripartite division is unbending, allowing for no mixed or overlapping cases, we can suppose that Aristotle genuinely wishes to find a proper space for the praiseworthy emotional means. From there, we can conclude that he must be open to introducing some flexibility into his tripartite division and admitting degrees within some of the criteria. If he has good reasons to propose that some quasivirtuous emotions occupy an in-between or mixed category, then it is entirely reasonable for him to relax the division to make room for them. This, I think, becomes most plausible in the case of shame.

5.4.4 The Advantage of Shame’s Mixed Nature Shame is in some regards like a disposition and in other regards like an emotion. As such, it has what I call a “mixed nature,” insofar as it does not fit neatly into any of the categories from NE II 5, 1105b19–1106a13, and EE II 2, 1220b10–20. Not only does Aristotle have the conceptual tools to locate shame (and perhaps other moral emotions like righteous indignation) in an intermediate space between merely occurrent phenomena and stable dispositions, but in my opinion he also has good reasons for doing so. My analysis in the next chapter will show that the peculiar “mixed” character of shame is necessary if shame is to be able to help young people make progress towards virtue and yet disappear once they have become virtuous. In short, it is a good strategy for Aristotle to resist calling shame a hexis (disposition). If it was a disposition, it would be part of the stable repertoire of a person’s way of being and it would be something that belongs to the agent in such a way that it is difficult or impossible to get rid of it—a result that Aristotle clearly wants to avoid in the case of shame. The fact that shame is not a hexis does not represent a failure for Aristotle’s theory, as Cairns 1999 contends. Instead, it is the result of Aristotle’s attempt to provide an account of the psychological tools that enable young people to aim at the noble and perform actions well prior to possessing fully formed virtuous dispositions of character. The basic idea is that shame is very much like an emotion because it lacks the stability or fixity of a disposition, because it does ⁵⁰ On this point Cairns 1993 also quotes Alexander of Aphrodisias (Ethical Problems 21, 142. 14 Bruns = Sharples 1990, 55–6), who “agrees that Aristotle should concede that aidōs is that particular sort of diathesis which is a hexis” (428, note 255). Alexander’s puzzlement goes beyond the question of whether shame is a disposition or not; in his discussion at Ethical Problems 21, he suggests that in Aristotle’s own terms, older people should be more fearful of shameful things than the young (Sharples 1990, 56).

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not involve choice (prohairesis), and because, at least sometimes, it is more like something that happens to us (something that “moves” us) rather than an expression of our agency. Shame is also in some sense like a virtue because, like the virtues, it is praiseworthy (at least in the case of young people), because it is something that puts us in a certain relation to other emotions and actions, and because to some degree, even if it cannot be fully prohairetic, it is an expression of a person’s commitments in relation to who they are or who they want to be. These features enable shame to be, on the one hand, a temporary motivator, and on the other, a motivator that leads in the right direction. The sui generis character of shame, then, is a positive aspect of Aristotle’s theory.

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6 Shame as the Proto-Virtue of the Learners 6.1 Moving Non-Virtuous Agents towards Virtue: Aristotle’s Positive View of Shame The purpose of this final chapter is to explore the main texts that discuss shame in the NE, IV 9, 1128b10–35, and X 9, 1179b4–16, to show that Aristotle has a positive, consistent, and unified view of shame. My analysis will confirm the conclusion that shame is a crucial proto-virtuous emotion because it enables learners of virtue to properly engage in the kinds of practices through which they will become virtuous individuals. Aristotle enjoins us to see shame as a necessary element in our moral development, without which we are condemned to remain merely self-controlled or fearful followers of the law. NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, offers the most in-depth discussion of shame to be found in Aristotle’s ethical treatises.¹ Although this treatment of shame is not very long—only twenty-five Bekker lines—it gives the reader a sense of shame’s complex role in Aristotle’s moral psychology. While Aristotle explicitly claims that shame is not a virtue, shame is presented as an emotion that can reliably generate behavior similar to that of virtuous agents. Young people who obey their sense of shame avoid doing shameful things, aiming instead at the noble in action. Their sense of shame not only restrains them from the shameful, but also encourages them towards the noble and the praiseworthy. This role of shame, as restraining from the shameful and turning agents towards the noble and the praiseworthy, occurs in several other passages in the NE. For example, it appears in the passages about the shame of citizen soldiers (discussed in Chapters 3 and 4), and in NE X 9, 1179b4–16, where having a sense of shame is said to already involve a grasp of the noble and an appreciation for the pleasures of the noble, and it comes with a readiness to listen to arguments about the noble and the good.

¹ The parallel discussion in EE III 7 includes only a brief comment on shame as an emotional mean at 1233b26–29, where shame does not seem to be a special emotion amongst other praiseworthy emotions or emotional means (including righteous indignation, friendliness, dignity, truthfulness, and wittiness). The treatment of shame in Rhet II 6 is longer, but it consists on a compilation of resources about shame, how to produce it, and how to use it in the context of rhetorical speeches, which is very different in character from the normative discussion that we find in the NE.

Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good. Marta Jimenez, Oxford University Press (2020). © Marta Jimenez. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829683.003.0007

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My present goal is to defend that the two central passages on shame from the NE offer support for our account of shame as a kind of love of the noble and hatred of the shameful, informed and reinforced by the social practices of assigning honors and reproaches, praise and blame. These texts, I argue, confirm a conception of shame as an emotion that orients learners towards the noble and leads learners of virtue to attend in their actions to considerations beyond the resulting pleasantness or painfulness, or the resulting gains or losses. Sections 6.2 and 6.3 offer a detailed analysis of NE IV 9 and X 9 respectively, highlighting some of the features that contribute to the proto-virtuous character of shame. In particular, Section 6.2 focuses on Aristotle’s reasons for considering shame praiseworthy in young people, due to its restraining power and its relationship with potential moral error. Section 6.3 shows that those who obey their sense of shame fulfill the cognitive, motivational, and reliability requirements needed for performing virtuous actions in the right way. In NE X 9 Aristotle clearly identifies shame as an essential and positive element in moral development: young people who have a sense of shame have the capacity for moral progress because they have already something like the seeds of virtue, whereas people who merely act from fear of punishment do not. Section 6.4 presents a final defense of shame and contrasts the condition of shame-prone agents with the timid and the shameless.

6.2 Praiseworthy Shame and Young People in NE IV 9 So far I have argued that in NE IV 9 the moral role of shame provides a solid explanation for why Aristotle accords it such a peculiar character: shame is not a virtue, but an emotion, and yet it is praiseworthy because it guides young people along the path towards virtue. What are the grounds for the praiseworthiness of shame? Why do we praise those who feel shame appropriately? And when is shame appropriate? Let me answer these questions by taking up the central tenets of NE IV 9 separately, following the order in which they appear in the text. (a) Shame is not a virtue. (b) Shame is more like an emotion (pathos). (c) Shame is nonetheless a praiseworthy possession in young people, who are not yet virtuous, because (c1) it enables them to restrain their morally inappropriate passions, and (c2) it helps them deal with the practical errors they might commit out of immaturity or inexperience. Shame is, however, (d) not praiseworthy in mature individuals. Our analysis will work towards developing a first explanation of (e) why shame is a proto-virtuous emotion, and why Aristotle nonetheless rejects the idea that shame could be a valuable possession in the old.

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6.2.1 Shame is Not a Virtue The passage on aidōs opens with a clear statement about the status of this emotion in Aristotle’s moral psychology: “Aidōs should not be described as a virtue”² (NE IV 9, 1128b10). As some commentators have noted, when Aristotle argues that aidōs is not a virtue, he is breaking, at least partially, with a long Greek tradition.³ Indeed, the conception of aidōs as virtue can be traced back to the Homeric and Hesiodic poems, and it is masterfully represented in Plato’s Protagoras, where Protagoras’s “Great Speech” (320c–322d) advances the view that aidōs is one of the two virtues, together with dikē (justice), sent by Zeus to enable humans to live in society.⁴ In all these cases, the scope of aidōs is broader than the scope of our notion of shame, but the term maintains its connections with love of honor and aversion of reproach. Although Aristotle also sees aidōs as a positive trait, he has important reasons to deviate from the traditional view that it is a virtue, because he has established a number of theoretical constraints on what counts as a virtue of character— constraints which do not leave room for shame as Aristotle understands it. In Aristotle’s framework, as we have seen in Section 5.3 of the previous chapter, shame is in some of its positive aspects like a virtue, but it seems to differ in several important respects: shame lacks the perfection and stability of virtue, it lacks the intimate relationship with deliberated commitment (prohairesis) and practical wisdom (phronēsis) that all virtues of character enjoy, and it has an emotional rather than dispositional character. The first and most clear reason why shame is not a virtue, according to NE IV 9, is that while Aristotle conceives of virtues as perfections, people who are guided by their sense of shame are open to error in action. Specifically, as Aristotle puts it, shame occurs “in connection with bad actions” (epi tois phaulois, 1128b22)—i.e. shame is a reflective emotional response to one’s own bad actions, or to one’s temptations to commit them. Secondly, shame does not have the same relationship with prohairesis and phronēsis that virtues of character have. Aristotle famously states in NE VI 2, 1139a22 that “character virtue is a stable disposition concerned with choice (prohairetikē)”, and in NE VI 13, 1144b30–32, he claims that virtue is

² Περὶ δὲ αἰδοῦς ὥς τινος ἀρετῆς οὐ προσήκει λέγειν. ³ I thank Rachana Kamtekar for bringing the relevance of this point to my attention in conversation. See Irwin 1999: “Though he sometimes commends shame (1115a14, 1179b11), he denies that it is a virtue. He thereby rejects a long Greek tradition (see also EE 1233b27)” (347); also Nielsen 2007 holds that when Aristotle denies that shame is a virtue, he is “breaking with Greek tradition” (277). I think, in contrast, that Aristotle might be trying to introduce only some slight changes in the traditional notion of shame to fit it to his theory of virtue and moral development. ⁴ The conception and role of aidōs expressed in Protagoras’ myth represents a whole tradition that takes respect for acquired reciprocal obligations in particular, and for the laws of the city in general, to be one of the first things that should be cultivated by the person who aspires to virtue.

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intrinsically connected with the possession of practical wisdom (phronēsis). Yet the fact that children and young people can have a sense of shame and be moved by it shows that shame can be present without the capacity for choice, i.e. it is not prohairetikē. For the same reason, having a sense of shame is no indication that one has phronēsis. On the contrary, shame often works as a substitute for phronēsis, in that it makes young people, whose deliberative capacities are not fully developed, receptive to the advice of those who are more experienced and have more knowledge of practical matters. Finally, virtues are stable and reliable dispositions (hexeis) to choose the right activities for their own sake. That means that once virtue is acquired, it stays forever without risk of disappearing, and the goodness of the virtuous agent’s behavior, motivation, and general approach to practical matters is guaranteed. In contrast, shame is not a disposition but an emotion (pathos). Even at its most stable, it is an emotional tendency that is expected to disappear in mature individuals. All these features make it clear that Aristotle cannot simply declare shame to be a virtue. On the contrary, he insists on maintaining shame’s emotional status, even as he acknowledges that it is an emotion of a special kind. The sui generis emotional nature of shame is the main focus of the next section of our text.

6.2.2 “Shame is more like a pathos than like a hexis” The next few lines of NE IV 9 support the view that shame is not a virtue by suggesting that it is a different kind of thing altogether: For it is more like an emotion than a disposition. [a] It is defined, at any rate, as a kind of fear of disrepute, and [b] it produces an effect similar to that produced by fear of danger. For those who feel shame (hoi aischunomenoi) blush, while those who fear death turn pale. Both, therefore, seem to be in a sense bodily, which is thought to be characteristic of emotion rather than of a disposition.⁵ (NE IV 9, 1128b11–15)

Despite its sui generis nature, here Aristotle claims that shame closely resembles an emotion. As evidence for this claim, he reminds us (a) that his general definition of shame holds that it is “a kind of fear” (phobos tis), and specifically a fear “of disrepute” (adoxias).⁶ In addition, he adds (b) that shame is like a ⁵ πάθει γὰρ μᾶλλον ἔοικεν ἢ ἕξει. ὁρίζεται γοῦν φόβος τις ἀδοξίας, καὶ ἀποτελεῖται τῷ περὶ τὰ δεινὰ φόβῳ παραπλή σιον· ἐρυθραίνονται γὰρ οἱ αἰσχυνόμενοι, οἱ δὲ τὸν θάνατον φοβούμενοι ὠχριῶσιν. σωματικὰ δὴ φαίνεταί πως εἶναι ἀμφότερα, ὅπερ δοκεῖ πάθους μᾶλλον ἢ ἕξεως εἶναι. ⁶ The characterization of shame as a good kind of fear goes back to Plato’s Laws I 646e, and it is used by Aristotle in NE III 6, 1115a12–14, where he argues that while fear of danger is often an obstacle

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passion because “in a sense” shame, like other passions, is “bodily” (sōmatika pōs, 1128b14), as shown by shame’s intimate connection with blushing. Still, we should not overlook the fact that in this passage Aristotle never directly states that shame is not a disposition. Instead, he says that it is “more like a passion than like a disposition” (pathei gar mallon eoiken ē hexei, 1128b11). I think that it is no accident that Aristotle puts his claim in these cautious terms.⁷ The reason for his careful formulation is that shame, as argued in the previous section, is a sui generis kind of emotion with a special status in Aristotle’s moral psychology, and it has some features that bring it closer to virtue than other emotions.

6.2.3 Shame is Praiseworthy in the Youth, but not Appropriate in Mature Individuals In the second part of NE IV 9, 1128b15–35, Aristotle insists on the peculiar and restricted character of shame’s praiseworthiness. His argument, once again, has two subparts. First, Aristotle shows that shame is fitting in young people, and explains why. Then he argues that shame is not fitting in older people, who are expected to guide their lives by reason rather than emotion, and to be sufficiently experienced in practical matters so as not to need external guidance. Why is shame praiseworthy in young people? The first reason Aristotle offers is that, although young people live mainly according to their passions, their obedience to shame confers upon them an ability to listen to arguments and restrain their passions accordingly. The second reason is that, while young people are prone to practical errors due to their lack of emotional maturity and practical experience, shame enables them to react appropriately to those errors. Thus, shame is associated with the presence of certain deficiencies that can only be compatible with praise when the agents are still young and learning. For these reasons, Aristotle concludes, shame should not be actively present in virtuous people. against virtue and we ought to keep it under control, the kind of fear that makes us averse to disgrace or disrepute is in general a good thing. ⁷ The sentence can also be translated as “resembles a passion rather than a disposition.” In any case, what matters for our purposes here is that Aristotle does not say directly that shame is a passion rather than a disposition. I think that the expression μᾶλλον ἔοικεν indicates that Aristotle is trying to be careful here, signaling the fact that the classification of shame is not straightforward. Another interesting place where Aristotle uses the expression μᾶλλον ἔοικεν for a hard-to-classify case is the passage about mixed actions at NE III 1, 1110b6, where he claims that mixed actions are “more like voluntary actions” (μᾶλλον δ’ ἔοικεν ἑκουσίοις) (cf. also NE III 1, 1110a11–12: ἐοίκασι δὲ μᾶλλον ἑκουσίοις). See also NE III 12, 1119a21: “self-indulgence is more like a voluntary state than cowardice” (Ἑκουσίῳ δὲ μᾶλλον ἔοικεν ἡ ἀκολασία τῆς δειλίας); VII 9, 1151b13–15: “the opinionated . . . are more like the incontinent than like the continent person” (μᾶλλον τῷ ἀκρατεῖ ἐοίκασιν ἢ τῷ ἐγκρατεῖ). In all of these examples, the thing classified falls between the options at hand insofar it is in a sense like one option, but in another sense like the other.

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(a) Shame as Restraint Shame is praiseworthy in young people because of its restraining function: it keeps them away from potential bad feelings and actions. But only young people ought to need restraint for their passions, and only they should be guarded against wrong actions by shame. Those who are older should live according to reason and thus should never be tempted to do anything shameful: This passion is not becoming to every age, but only to youth. For we think young people should be prone to aidōs-shame because they live by passion and therefore commit many errors, but are restrained by aidōs-shame. And we praise young people who are prone to aidōs-shame, but an older person no one would praise for being prone to aischunē-shame, since we think he should not do anything that need cause aischunē-shame.⁸ (NE IV 9, 1128b15–21)

Shame is good, then, insofar as those who “live by passion” (dia to pathei dsōntas) can “be restrained” (kōluesthai)⁹ by it from the many possible errors that their appetites and passions might lead them into. One thing that this claim suggests is that the person with shame has not yet fully shaped her appetites and passions to accord with her reason, and therefore she has to keep them in check. Since young people’s deliberative capacities are not fully formed and reason is not yet sufficiently authoritative for them, shame plays the role of restraining the other passions in a way that is harmonious with reason—reason, that is, broadly understood to include the law, the advice of those with greater knowledge of practical matters, etc. This is a perfectly good mechanism to have in place for young people, who require external guidance while they develop their deliberative capacities. Although the restraining function of shame could be taken as a sign that learners with aidōs live merely by passion,¹⁰ Aristotle’s claim actually has the opposite implication. For the idea is that those who obey their sense of aidōs are already thereby prepared to keep in check and redirect the commands of their passions when they may lead them astray, and in this regard, they cannot be said to live by passion alone, or at least not in the usual sense. ⁸ οὐ πάσῃ δ’ ἡλικίᾳ τὸ πάθος ἁρμόζει, ἀλλὰ τῇ νέᾳ. οἰόμεθα γὰρ δεῖν τοὺς τηλικούτους αἰδήμονας εἶναι διὰ τὸ πάθει ζῶντας πολλὰ ἁμαρτάνειν, ὑπὸ τῆς αἰδοῦς δὲ κωλύεσθαι· καὶ ἐπαινοῦμεν τῶν μὲν νέων τοὺς αἰδήμονας, πρεσβύτερον δ’οὐδεὶς ἂν ἐπαινέσειεν ὅτι αἰσχυντηλός· οὐδὲν γὰρ οἰόμεθα δεῖν αὐτὸν πράττειν ἐφ’ οἷς ἐστὶν αἰσχύνη. ⁹ The fact that Aristotle uses here the verb kōluō is important, since it is a verb that is often used to characterize the relationship between reason and the appetites, or between the rational and the nonrational. Cf. Plato’s passage from Rep 4 (439a7–439d1) about the distinction between reason and appetite. In this passage Plato associates kōluō with reason and keleuō with appetite, and calls them respectively “the thing that restrains” (τὸ κωλῦον, 436c6) and “the thing that commands” (τὸ κελεῦον). For an analysis of this passage with special attention to the terms kōluō and keleuō see Pedriali 2008, 64–5. See also Plato, Timaeus 70a2–c1, quoted by Pedriali 2008, 66. ¹⁰ See e.g. Burnyeat 1980 (78–9).

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Indeed, although shame properly belongs only to those whose deliberative capacities are still under development, those who have a sense of shame do not follow their passions wherever they take them. On the contrary, despite being a passion, the sense of shame is a mean between two vicious extremes that makes agents responsive to considerations of nobility and shamefulness. For this reason, young people are praiseworthy when they obey their sense of shame, because shame restrains their other passions and leads them to perform the kinds of actions that are recommended by the law or by the advice of those who have more practical experience or knowledge. Although this restraint has in a sense external sources and uses external criteria (such as the commands of the law or social norms), we should not think about it as the result of merely external impositions, as if learners who act from shame are somehow coerced. Instead, those who act from shame, as opposed to those who act from fear, exercise their agency by having fully present their own practical ideals, their commitments, and considerations about the kind of individuals they want to express in their actions—ideals that of course will be in great part a reflection of those that they find around them.¹¹ The restraint is not externally imposed, as in the case of fear of punishment. Even if, given their immaturity and lack of experience, learners with shame might sometimes be conflicted or unsure about the right thing to do, their actions are fully voluntary and are an exercise of their own agency.¹²

(b) Shame and Error A second consideration in favor of the claim that shame is praiseworthy in young people but not in virtuous agents is that shame is associated with the possibility of error in action: For aischunē-shame is not even characteristic of a good person, since it occurs in connection with bad actions (for such actions should not be done; and if some actions are truly shameful, while others are shameful only according to common opinion, this makes no difference; for neither class of actions should be done, so

¹¹ The debate about whether the shame that is important and positive in our moral lives responds mainly to how one appears (a) in one’s eyes exclusively (as defended by e.g. Kekes 1998), (b) in the eyes of those whom one respects (as defended by e.g. Williams 1993), or (c) more generally in others’ eyes, including those whom one might disagree with (as defended by Calhoun 2004) is relevant to this point. See Calhoun 2004 for an illuminating review of the alternative positions and a persuasive defense of the latter strategy. My view is that in Aristotle’s ethics the relevant shame attunes agents not only to how they look in relation to their own criteria of what is noble and good, but also (and mainly) in relation to other people’s critmeria, and specially to the opinions of those whom one respects. ¹² Hitz 2012 objects to honor-driven and shame-based education on the grounds that it is guided by external incentives and can at best produce negative constraint of our appetites but not positive orientation towards the noble; however, as I argued in Chapter 4, those who act on account of shame take into account considerations about nobility and shamefulness in their actions and, although they appeal for guidance to the laws and social norms, they do aim at doing noble actions and avoiding shameful ones.

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that no shame should be felt). And it is a mark of a bad person even to be such as to do any shameful action.¹³ (NE IV 9, 1128b21–26)

Shame does not belong to virtuous people because it “occurs in connection with bad actions” (epi tois phaulois, 1128b22). Aristotle’s point is that the kind of shameful actions that trigger feelings of shame should be no part of the behavioral repertoire of mature individuals; conversely, the kinds of failings in practical reasoning that lead to shameful actions are forgivable only in young people. Whenever a mature agent, with fixed habits of being and doing and with fully formed deliberative capacities, commits or thinks about committing a shameful action, that is a clear sign that she is probably a lost cause as far as virtue is concerned. In response to this passage, some commentators (such as Irwin 1999 and Taylor 2006) hold that Aristotle has no good reason to deny that virtuous people could be “properly ashamed when [they] even think of the possibility of doing a bad action.”¹⁴ I think, however, that this response excessively weakens Aristotle’s conception of the virtuous person, and neglects the fact that a virtuous person always obeys the commands of her reason and has no temptations to act otherwise. It also fails to capture what I think the main role of shame is, namely to be alert to potential misalignments between the agent’s attitudes towards the pleasant, the advantageous, and the noble. Virtuous people do not need to be alert to the possibility that their sense of the pleasant or the advantageous might come into conflict with their sense of the noble, so they do not need shame even in the prospective sense. The next and final section of NE IV 9 reminds us that virtuous people cannot truly consider the possibility of doing bad actions voluntarily, and as a consequence, they cannot have shame even proleptically.

6.2.4 Conditional Character of Shame Aristotle concludes his discussion of shame with an explanation of the reasons why it cannot be part of the repertoire of the virtuous person: To be so constituted as to feel aischunē-shame if one does such an action, and for this reason to think oneself good, is absurd. For it is for voluntary actions that aidōs-shame is felt, and the good person will never voluntarily do bad actions.

¹³ οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐπιεικοῦς ἐστὶν ἡ αἰσχύνη, εἴπερ γίνεται ἐπὶ τοῖς φαύλοις (οὐ γὰρ πρακτέον τὰ τοιαῦτα· εἰ δ’ ἐστὶ τὰ μὲν κατ’ ἀλήθειαν αἰσχρὰ τὰ δὲ κατὰ δόξαν, οὐδὲν διαφέρει· οὐδέτερα γὰρ πρακτέα, ὥστ’ οὐκ αἰσχυντέον)· φαύλου δὲ καὶ τὸ εἶναι τοιοῦτον οἷον πράττειν τι τῶν αἰσχρῶν. ¹⁴ See discussion of this objection in Section 5.3.4 above.

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But aidōs-shame may be said to be conditionally a good thing; if a good person does such actions, he would feel ashamed (aischunoit’ an); but the virtues are not subject to such a qualification. And if shamelessness—not to be ashamed (aideisthai) of doing shameful actions—is bad, that does not make it good to be ashamed (aischunesthai) of doing such actions.¹⁵ (NE IV 9, 1128b26–33)

It is absurd to think that “being so constituted” or “being in such condition” (to d’outōs echein) as to respond appropriately to one’s moral failings makes one good. Clearly, the problem is that if one has such failings in the first place, then one is not truly good. Although responding with shame to one’s actual or potential moral inadequacies is a good thing for those who are learning and whose character traits are still being formed, shame considered simply as such—and thus shame in mature individuals—is not compatible with goodness of character, because it signals that the agents have somehow failed to acquire virtue and are still vulnerable to failures in their perception or assessment of the relative value of the pleasant, the advantageous, and the noble. Aristotle’s quick and cryptic explanation of why it is absurd to think that the good person could feel shame appeals to the fact that shame is felt “for voluntary actions” (epi tois hekousiois), and “the good person will never voluntarily do bad actions” (hekōn d’ ho epieikēs oudepote praxei ta phaula, 1128b28–29). Why is voluntariness the relevant feature here? Since the only cases in which it is imaginable that a virtuous person would do something bad or shameful are mistakes, misadventures, or forced actions, all of which are involuntary,¹⁶ shame would not be pertinent for them. This is not just because virtuous people have only well-adjusted emotions that fully respond to reason, but also because they have sufficient experience and knowledge of the practical sphere so as not to make or even contemplate bad decisions, unless it is by mistake, due to terrible luck, or due to coercion. Shame is a response to bad actions done either (a) following passion or (b) under a mistaken conception of what is noble or good. In both cases, the actions

¹⁵ τὸ δ’ οὕτως ἔχειν ὥστ’ εἰ πράξαι τι τῶν τοιούτων αἰσχύνεσθαι, καὶ διὰ τοῦτ’ οἴεσθαι ἐπιεικῆ εἶναι, ἄτοπον· ἐπὶ τοῖς ἑκουσίοις γὰρ ἡ αἰδώς, ἑκὼν δ’ ὁ ἐπιεικὴς οὐδέποτε πράξει τὰ φαῦλα. εἴη δ’ ἂν ἡ αἰδὼς ἐξ ὑποθέσεως ἐπιεικές· εἰ γὰρ πράξαι, αἰσχύνοιτ’ ἄν· οὐκ ἔστι δὲ τοῦτο περὶ τὰς ἀρετάς. εἰ δ’ ἡ ἀναισχυντία φαῦλον καὶ τὸ μὴ αἰδεῖσθαι τὰ αἰσχρὰ πράττειν, οὐδὲν μᾶλλον τὸν τὰ τοιαῦτα πράττοντα αἰσχύνεσθαι ἐπιεικές. ¹⁶ NE V 8, 1135a23–b25, presents a clear classification of different ways of acting wrongly: (a) forced actions are clearly involuntary, since the agent is not the source of the action, and in these cases Aristotle says that the agents acts wrong only coincidentally; (b) mistakes and misadventures are also involuntary, because the agent lacks the relevant knowledge of the particular features of the practical situation; (c) actions done from passion are voluntary, but not attributable to the agent’s character; and (d) chosen actions are the only ones that are not only voluntary, but also an expression of the character of the agent.

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are voluntary, since they are neither forced nor performed from a lack of knowledge of the relevant details of the practical situation. In the first case, agents allow their appetites and passions to overcome their considered thoughts about what to do, and allow their attraction to the merely pleasant trump their imperfect aspirations to the noble; in the second case, agents go off track from their practical deliberations and reach erroneous conclusions typically by misrepresenting the nobility or shamefulness of an action. In both cases, then, shame is appropriate. But both cases are unavailable to virtuous individuals who (a) act from reason, not from passion, and (b) have phronēsis and consequently do not have erroneous conceptions regarding the noble and the good. Although Aristotle claims that shame is “conditionally a good thing” in our passage, this does not mean that a virtuous person could in fact have shame if she were to perform a bad action due to passion or due to ignorance about the noble. Instead, Aristotle’s point is that shame is a good thing as a reaction to (and sometimes as a means of preventing) those kinds of errors, but such errors are not possible in the case of virtuous people.

6.2.5 Shame is a Proto-Virtuous Pathos The account of shame in NE IV 9 is mostly negative, because the goal of the passage (or what we have of it) is to establish a clear contrast between shame and virtue. However, Aristotle is also interested in showing the ways in which shame is a sui generis emotion—and by doing that, he also reveals some of its positive traits. On the one hand, having an active sense of shame allows agents to keep their other emotions from leading them astray. On the other hand, since agents with a welloriented sense of shame experience shameful and base activities as painful, shame hinders potential wrongdoing—either by anticipation, or by confirmation of the painfulness of an action or way of being. Beyond these two mainly negative functions presented in NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, shame also has a positive role in the process of becoming good, which is stressed mainly in the text from NE X 9, 1179b4–16. Shame’s most important positive feature for young people is that it introduces them to considerations of honor and disrepute, and ultimately to considerations of nobility and shamefulness, thereby distancing agents from narrow considerations of pleasure and gain. Even when young people with a sense of shame are morally imperfect, and struggle to improve their understanding of and feelings about ethical matters, they are already properly oriented towards the noble; they simply need adequate guidance to become good. In fact, shame provides the seeds for our initial love of the noble, and helps cultivate those seeds by contributing to the alignment of the pleasant, the advantageous, and the noble for us. That is how, acting from shame, learners can orient their values and goals like the virtuous person does.

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6.3 Three Positive Aspects of Shame in NE X 9 The clearest defense of the positive aspects of shame appears in NE X 9, 1179b4–16, a passage concerned mainly with moral education and with the requirements for being a good listener when attending lectures on ethics. Aristotle praises young people who obey their sense of shame, not just on the grounds that they are able to restrain their appetitive or selfish impulses in favor of noble ones (as in NE IV 9), but also on the grounds that they see the nobility of their actions as a central consideration and as a goal. To highlight the positive aspects of shame, in NE X 9 Aristotle contrasts those who obey their sense of shame with those who obey their fears or their appetitive desires, i.e. those who are only concerned with “their own” pleasures and pains. This contrast between those who attend to considerations about the noble and the shameful and those who live merely by their passions (including not only fear, but also greed, appetites, etc.) is, I think, the most crucial step in Aristotle’s explanation of not only why some people are receptive to arguments about the noble and the good while others are not, but also why some people can get closer to virtue and nobility through their practices while others cannot. In NE X 9 the contrast is expressed in terms of both the ultimate goals of the agents and the kinds of considerations that ground their actions. The attention that agents with a sense of shame pay to the actions’ shamefulness, rather than to their painfulness or disadvantageousness, reveals that they are aware of and responsive to a kind of value that those who merely obey fear have no access to—a kind of value that is at the center of ethical arguments: Now if arguments were in themselves enough to make people decent (epieikeis), then justly, as Theognis says, “Many and great would be the fees they earned,”¹⁷ and it would have been right to provide them. But as things are, while, on the one hand, arguments seem to have power to encourage and incite those of the young who are generous-minded, and to make a character that is well born and truly loves the noble ready to be possessed by virtue, on the other hand, they are not able to encourage the many to nobility and goodness. For these are not disposed

¹⁷ Theognis Elegiae 433. The passage 429–440 is: “To beget and rear a mortal is easier than to put good sense / Inside him. No one yet has ever contrived a way / To make the senseless sensible and good men out of bad. / If the sons of Asklepios had this gift from the god, / To work a cure on badness and men’s infatuate wits, / Many and great would be the fees they earned. / And if understanding could be fashioned and placed in a man, / Never would a good man’s son have turned out bad, / By heeding the words of sensible counsel. But as it is, no teaching / Will ever serve to make the bad man good” (trans. Miller 1996). (Φῦσαι καὶ θρέψαι ῥᾶιον βροτὸν ἢ φρένας ἐσθλάς/ἐνθέμεν· οὐδείς πω τοῦτό γ’ ἐπεφράσατο,/ ὧι τις σώφρον’ ἔθηκε τὸν ἄφρονα κἀκ κακοῦ ἐσθλόν./εἰ δ’/Ἀσκληπιάδαις τοῦτό γ’ ἔδωκε θεός,/ἰᾶσθαι κακότητα καὶ ἀτηρὰς φρένας ἀνδρῶν,/πολλοὺς ἂν μισθοὺς καὶ μεγάλους ἔφερον./εἰ δ’ ἦν ποιητόν τε καὶ ἔνθετον ἀνδρὶ νόημα,/οὔποτ’ ἂν ἐξ ἀγαθοῦ πατρὸς ἔγεντο κακός,/πειθόμενος μύθοισι σαόφροσιν· ἀλλὰ διδάσκων/οὔποτε ποιήσει τὸν κακὸν ἄνδρ’ ἀγαθόν./Νήπιος, ὃς τὸν ἐμὸν μὲν ἔχει νόον ἐν φυλακῆισιν,/τῶν δ’ αὐτοῦ ἰδίων οὐδὲν ἐπιστρέφεται.)

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by nature to obey their sense of shame, but fear, and do not abstain from bad actions on account of their shamefulness but through fear of punishment; living by passion they pursue their own pleasures and the means to them, and avoid the opposite pains, and have not even a conception of what is noble and truly pleasant, since they have never tasted it (ageustoi ontes).¹⁸ (NE X 9, 1179b4–16)

The initial question in NE X 9, 1179b4–16, then, is about how to make people good. Aristotle claims, following Theognis, that arguments are not sufficient for turning people towards virtue, because there are certain preliminary requirements that people need to fulfill if arguments are to have any effect on them at all. What are those preliminary requirements? In other words, what makes young people receptive to arguments concerning the noble and the good? Aristotle’s response is that only the “generous-minded” among the youth and those who are “true lovers of the noble” will be adequately receptive to ethical arguments. To explain why this is so, he turns to the contrast between agents who obey their sense of shame and those who act from fear. The advantage that learners with shame have is that they are on the right track with respect to their motives for action and their grasp of the relevant moral features of their situations, even though they are not yet virtuous or practically wise. They have the right sense of the relative value of the pleasant, the advantageous, and the noble, and are able to subordinate mere pleasure or advantage to nobility. Because they care about their actions’ nobility and want to avoid doing shameful things, young people with a sense of shame are well-prepared to listen to arguments about the noble and the good. In contrast, those arguments are useless in the case of those who merely follow their appetites and fears (as Aristotle, following Theognis, says), because those individuals do not grasp the true value of the noble. Using the contrast between fear and shame, Aristotle discerns three intimately related factors that render learners with a sense of shame susceptible to being encouraged and motivated by arguments about the noble and the good. These intimately connected factors are: (1) the orientation towards the noble: loving the noble and being repulsed by the shameful; (2) the basic grasp of the noble: having a conception of what is noble and truly pleasant; and (3) the access to noble pleasures: taking pleasure in the noble.¹⁹ As I see it, these are the three main aspects of shame

¹⁸ εἰ μὲν οὖν ἦσαν οἱ λόγοι αὐτάρκεις πρὸς τὸ ποιῆσαι ἐπιεικεῖς, πολλοὺς ἂν μισθοὺς καὶ μεγάλους δικαίως ἔφερον κατὰ τὸν Θέογνιν, καὶ ἔδει ἂν τούτους πορίσασθαι· νῦν δὲ φαίνονται προτρέψασθαι μὲν καὶ παρορμῆσαι τῶν νέων τοὺς ἐλευθερίους ἰσχύειν, ἦθός τ’ εὐγενὲς καὶ ὡς ἀληθῶς φιλόκαλον ποιῆσαι ἂν κατοκώχιμον ἐκ τῆς ἀρετῆς, τοὺς δὲ πολλοὺς ἀδυνατεῖν πρὸς καλοκαγαθίαν προτρέψασθαι· οὐ γὰρ πεφύκασιν αἰδοῖ πειθαρχεῖν ἀλλὰ φόβῳ, οὐδ’ ἀπέχεσθαι τῶν φαύλων διὰ τὸ αἰσχρὸν ἀλλὰ διὰ τὰς τιμωρίας· πάθει γὰρ ζῶντες τὰς οἰκείας ἡδονὰς διώκουσι καὶ δι’ ὧν αὗται ἔσονται, φεύγουσι δὲ τὰς ἀντικειμένας λύπας, τοῦ δὲ καλοῦ καὶ ὡς ἀληθῶς ἡδέος οὐδ’ ἔννοιαν ἔχουσιν, ἄγευστοι ὄντες. ¹⁹ Burnyeat 1980 distinguishes these three main factors in his reading of this passage, although he only refers to loving the noble and does not explicitly mention being repulsed by the shameful: “He [the noble nature described in NE 1179b4–31] is someone who already loves what is noble and takes pleasure in it. He has a conception of what is noble and truly pleasant which other, less well brought up people lack because they have not tasted the pleasures of what is noble. This is what gives his character a kinship to virtue and a receptiveness to arguments directed to encouraging virtue” (75, my emphasis).

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that explain its positive role in moral development. Indeed, these three aspects of shame allow learners to be receptive to external advice, and they also enable learners to perform in the right way the kinds of actions that will eventually lead them to achieve virtuous dispositions. Concretely, loving the noble and having a conception of the noble, however basic, situates learners in the right position to fulfill the minimal motivational and cognitive requirements for virtuous actions, while having a tendency to take pleasure in the noble and be pained by the shameful serves as confirmation that agents with shame have already made progress and developed a better relationship with their passions. In what follows, I explain these points in more detail by separately examining each of the three roles that the sense of shame plays in the good learner.

6.3.1 Shame and Love of the Noble While NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, emphasizes the fact that shame is a response to our moral failings, the passage in NE X 9, 1179b4–16, celebrates shame’s positive role by pointing out its connection to the noble. Aristotle associates the young person with shame with the generous-minded and with the one who is a “true lover of the noble” (hōs alēthōs philokalon, 1179b8–9), reminding us of the intimate connection between love of the noble and hatred of the shameful. In general, Aristotle does not want to restrict people with a sense of shame to merely being enemies of the shameful; rather, he takes young people with a sense of shame to be individuals who also care for and are strongly attracted to the noble.²⁰ As the contrast with those who merely fear punishment indicates, shame makes agents pay attention to considerations about the noble and the shameful in their actions, instead of considerations about immediate pleasures and pains or gains and losses.²¹ In the text’s terms, those who obey their sense of shame move away from shameful or base actions “on account of the shameful” (dia to aischron, 1179b3), as opposed to abstaining from such acts only “on account of the punishments”—(dia tas timōrias, 1179b3–4). As a “lover of the noble” (philokalon, 1179b9), the person with a sense of shame is attracted to noble actions precisely on account of their nobility, while other agents are attracted to noble

²⁰ See e.g. Curzer 2000 for a similar observation: “In this passage, habituation has a different role [than in Book 2]; it provides the learner with a love of the noble and hatred of the base. What Aristotle means by ‘the noble’ and ‘the base’ is not obvious. . . . In any event, ‘loving what is noble’ surely includes desiring to perform virtuous acts for their own sake” (146). ²¹ The idea that shame allows agents to act contrary to the demands of their first-natural inclinations is discussed in detail in Velleman 2001 in relation to the myth of the initial chapters of the book of Genesis, and by Moss 2005 in the context of Plato’s Gorgias and Republic. Burnyeat 1980 also suggests that for Aristotle shame provides a source of motivation different from our innate love for appetitive pleasure; the present discussion confirms this point and spells out in what way shame does that.

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actions because they expect in general to receive rewards and to satisfy their appetitive desires for pleasure. Of those without a sense of shame, Aristotle remarks, “living by passion they pursue their own pleasures and the means to them, and avoid the opposite pains” (1179b13–14). Lacking shame, these agents have no resources for attending to considerations about what is noble or shameful, unless those considerations affect their economy of pleasures and pains in the form of rewards and punishments. In contrast, shame enables a different source of motivation, which consists in an aversion to shameful actions as such and a love for noble actions as such. In terms of the tripartite division of values from NE II 3, 1104b30–32, I think Aristotle’s point here is that young people without a sense of shame aim merely at pleasure or advantage (in the sense of gain), while people with shame aim at the noble. Of course, from the perspective of virtuous people there is no conflict between these values, since they always see the noble as pleasant and advantageous (NE III 4, 1113a31–3), but for those who are not virtuous the distinction is operative and they have to choose. Moreover, people who obey their sense of shame—unlike those who merely pursue their own pleasure and avoid their own pains—are able to mute the pleasant or painful consequences of their actions (or at least compensate for them). What they feel instead are the requirements regarding the nobility and shamefulness of their actions, to which they have been introduced by the social practices of praise and blame.²² Thus, we should expect learners with shame to be capable of preferring noble actions even in cases where noble actions might involve painful consequences (e.g. most courageous actions), or where noble actions might involve renouncing certain pleasant consequences (e.g. temperate actions). The reason is that agents with a sense of shame pursue a different kind of value: the noble. And this value, while always pleasant in itself and for those who are good, is independent from pleasure. Agents guided by shame are similar to virtuous people in that also they aim at the nobility of their actions and avoid the shameful. However, because of their youth and lack of practical experience, their ability to get things right is limited in comparison with virtuous people. This is a point that the passage in NE X 9 does not emphasize because its main goal is to establish a clear distinction between young people with the potential to become virtuous, and those who are condemned by their shamelessness to obey their passions without restraint and be controlled only by fear. The central point in this context is that the ultimate goal of learners who obey their shame is the nobility of their actions, and (as we saw in the case of the citizen-soldiers) their love of the noble cannot be altered by competing appetitive pleasures or gains. ²² This general view of the effects of having a sense of shame is very similar to the view that Moss 2005 attributes to Plato.

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6.3.2 Shame and the Learner’s Basic Grasp of the Noble A second positive aspect of shame underscored by this passage is that those who have shame are able to appreciate the true value of the noble and possess a basic grasp of the noble that opens their eyes to seeing the world in a different way. People without a sense of shame, in Aristotle’s words, lack a “conception” (ennoian) of “the noble and truly pleasant” (tou de kalou kai hōs alēthōs, 1179b15). They are not able to understand what people mean when they talk about the noble and the good, and they typically translate it in terms of pleasure or gain. In contrast, those with shame not only have a conception of the noble as different from the merely pleasant and the merely advantageous, but they also have a sense that noble things are truly pleasant and superior to other pleasures or other benefits, so they give primacy to the noble in their practical lives. Of course, the conception of the noble held by those with a sense of shame must be different from the knowledge of the noble possessed by the virtuous person, who has practical wisdom. Thus also in relation to their grasp of the noble, the learners with shame find themselves in an intermediate position between fully virtuous people and those who merely obey appetitive pleasures and pains. Shame’s distinctive cognitive advantage is not that it equips agents with a reliable way of identifying the right thing to do in practical circumstances. After all, many of those who merely follow their hedonic whims, and have never tasted the pleasures of the noble, can nonetheless often recognize the right thing to do in a given situation.²³ Likewise, those who fear punishments also possess (at least indirectly, insofar as they understand the commands of the laws and know how to apply them) the capacity to recognize which particular actions are noble and just, as long as they have been educated under the right laws. Indeed, punishmentavoiders typically are very good at detecting noble and just actions—if they are associated with the avoidance of punishments! So the distinctive conception of the noble possessed by the person with a sense of shame cannot simply be an ability to detect noble and just actions. Instead, shame’s advantage is that it endows learners with a proper understanding of the relevance of nobility, and enables agents to grasp the preferability of the noble over what is merely pleasant or merely advantageous. In other words, shame equips agents with the capacity to grasp that a reason for preferring a noble action is precisely that it is noble. This is why Aristotle warns us in NE X 6 against trusting the value criteria of “those who have not tasted” (ageustoi ontes) pure and ²³ Here I do not exclude the possibility that the person with shame might be better at detecting the right thing to do than the person who merely fears punishment—and this especially in cases where the situation is new for the agent, so that she has to figure out by herself what to do. A classic example of someone whose sense of shame enables him to better identify the right thing to do and avoid being persuaded by tricky arguments is Neoptolemus in Sophocles’ Philoctetes. For a discussion of the case of Neoptolemus see Nussbaum 1976–7. See also Cagnoli Fiecconi 2018 (at 248–9).

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liberal pleasures (1176b19), and claims in NE X 9 that “those who have not tasted” (ageustoi ontes, 1179b16) noble pleasures will be unable to understand the arguments about the noble and the good. As we saw in the discussion of civic courage in Chapters 3 (Section 3.7) and 4 (Section 4.2), those citizens who have been raised under adequate laws have some awareness of the noble thing to do. But there is a difference between the citizen with a sense of shame and the citizen who merely obeys through fear of punishment. Although both of them feel compelled to perform actions that are externally identical, they do it for different reasons, and they pay attention to different features of those noble actions. Consider, for example, the case of desertion from the battlefield. The citizen with an appropriate sense of shame will see an act of desertion as shameful, and that assessment will be enough to decide against it. In contrast, the citizen without shame but who instead responds directly to fear of punishment will see desertion as unlawful, and her main reason to avoid it would be the potential punishment she could incur. Following social customs or the law, both agents will be able to identify the same action as not-to-be-done, while characterizing them very differently and deciding to avoid them on very different grounds. For those with a sense of shame, the conception of the noble amounts to more than the ability to detect noble actions. It also involves some sensitivity to the noble as such—i.e. a grasp of what makes the noble valuable. In fact, although their ability to detect noble actions sometimes depends on external advice, their capacity to understand and be encouraged by such advice depends on possessing a grasp of the noble as such, and not just on seeing nobility as a mere reflection of what the law establishes or what people say. This grasp or “notion” of the noble, as the text suggests, is related to having gotten a taste of the noble in their practices: not only have they performed noble actions, but they have directly experienced their nobility. In contrast, although those without a sense of shame might also have the ability to detect noble actions, they are not able to appreciate their valuable character as such, since they have not experienced noble actions properly. What is salient for those lacking a sense of shame is the fact that one might get punished if caught behaving in the wrong way; or, conversely, that one might receive a reward if one acts in the right way. On the other hand, unlike virtuous people, those who guide their actions by their sense of shame do not have practical wisdom and, consequently, they have a limited knowledge of the noble and a limited ability to deal with hard cases where laws or common advice are insufficient. Although people with a sense of shame have an orientation towards the noble, they sometimes fail to recognize the nobility of certain actions. Because of their lack of experience and practical knowledge, these agents need to be guided and encouraged by external advice. That is why they need the external aid of the practices of praise and blame, which is what Aristotle refers to when he mentions the lawgivers’ practices of

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“encouraging citizens through the motive of the noble” (protrepesthai tou kalou charin) at NE X 9, 1180a7.

6.3.3 Shame and the Proper Pleasures of the Noble The third positive aspect of shame that makes learners receptive to ethical arguments and prone to perform virtuous actions in the right way is the ability to enjoy the proper (true) pleasure of the noble. This, as we saw in Chapter 2, is a variety of pleasure that people without a sense of shame have not experienced. In our text, Aristotle says that they “have not tasted” (ageustoi ontes) these pleasures (1179b15–16). People with an adequate sense of shame are sensitive to pleasures and pains that are significantly different from those that children and people without shame have access to for the most part; moreover, they have an awareness that these pleasures are in some sense superior to others. For example, someone with a sense of shame will be able to find greater—or perhaps simply better—pleasure in giving half of her lunch to someone who needs it, rather than in eating it all by herself. Or she will experience greater—or perhaps just worse—pain in watching something unjust occur without intervening, than she would in being hurt (and, in some extreme cases, even killed) if she intervenes. The difference between these examples of pleasures and pains is not simply a difference in quantity but in kind. The kind of pleasures and pains to which the person with shame has access, i.e. the pleasures arising from noble activities and the pains arising from base ones, are of a different kind than those which arise from obtaining or not obtaining the objects of our appetites. This new sort of pleasure—pleasure in the noble, which is an integral part of virtuous activity—is a pleasure that shame can make accessible to learners before they have virtue, but that learners are able to reliably have only once they have gone through a certain transformation in their attitudes towards the noble. While in the case of virtuous people these pleasures always accompany virtuous activity, people without shame are not even aware of their existence (“have not tasted them”), and people with a sense of shame occupy a middle position insofar as they are at least able to appreciate them on occasion. As we saw in Chapter 2, these pleasures are a sign that learners are on the right track, and they serve for them as an encouragement to continue on their path towards virtue.

6.4 Young Lovers of the Noble vs. the Shameless, the Virtuous, and the Timid The texts from NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, and X 9, 1179b4–16, complement each other to build a complex but consistent account of shame. When we look at them as

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convergent rather than as in tension with one another, these two passages together support that shame-proneness situates young people in the in-between ground that is characteristic of learners. The resulting account is one in which shameprone young agents occupy an intermediate position between virtuous people and those who do not care about virtue but follow their immediate passions instead. The intermediacy of shame presented in NE IV 9, 1128b10–35, and X 9, 1179b4–16, is in harmony with our conclusion in Chapter 1 that learners are never blank slates for Aristotle, but always have “something of” the knowledge, skill or, in general, the disposition that they are aiming to acquire.²⁴ In NE X 9—as I showed in the previous section—the “something of” virtue that shame-prone learners already have is a certain combination of love of the noble, knowledge of nobility, and an ability to enjoy the pleasures of the noble (or suffer the pains of the shameful). This triple condition, although not sufficient for virtue, situates shame-prone agents far ahead of those who merely obey their unrestrained passions in two important respects: their ability to be receptive to arguments about the noble and the good, and their propensity to perform virtuous actions well. By giving young people these advantages, shame functions as the protovirtuous emotion that enables them to progress towards becoming good. But because shame is a proto-virtue and not a virtue, it is linked to the presence of certain deficiencies or lacks that learners will have to overcome by engaging in the right practices and by acquiring adequate experience and knowledge. For this reason, in NE IV 9 Aristotle insists in differentiating the condition of shame-prone young people from that of virtuous individuals. Having a sense of shame enables young agents without virtue to engage in virtuous practices in the right way and to pay attention to the relevant details in their practical environment; however, shame without virtue does not guarantee right action or full awareness of what is morally relevant on each occasion. The main difference is that shame-prone young people have both passions to restrain and erroneous views to keep in check, while virtuous people lack these limitations. Although shame offers a relatively reliable guide for behavior and for the evaluation of practical situations, and is doubtlessly a much better guide than other passions, virtue offers more reliability, and greater knowledge, than shame. What learners with shame have in common with virtuous people is that they act for the sake of the noble, although they differ in that their notion of nobility depends on the external guidance received through the social practices of praise and blame. But it is not only that shame situates young people in that intermediate position between not having anything of virtue and being fully virtuous individuals. More than that, shame itself is an Aristotelian mean between the two vicious extremes of ²⁴ See my discussion of Aristotle’s response to the paradox of learning from Metaph IX 8, 1049b29–1050a2, in Chapter 1, Section 1.7.3.

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shamelessness and timidity. The fact that Aristotle contrasts shame not only with shamelessness but also with “excessive shame” or timidity opens a path to dealing with one of the main obstacles to a positive account of shame. Indeed, shame’s opposition to timidity reveals that shame does not involve mere obedience to others’ opinions; rather, Aristotle’s view requires that agents with shame take an active role in selecting the kind of people and the kind of opinions that have most weight in their decisions. To appreciate the quasi-virtuous aspects of shame, then, it is important to clearly differentiate shame-prone learners not only from the shameless but also from the timid. In doing this, we can see that the process of becoming good to which shame is so crucial is not a process of being indoctrinated, but rather a process of coming to properly grasp the content of virtuous activity. Despite the relevance of habituation and external guidance to the process of moral development, learners maintain a significant degree of autonomy precisely because learning virtue involves coming to properly appreciate and understand the values of nobility and goodness that they are aspiring to make fully their own, and not simply learning to reproduce the opinions of others concerning the noble and the good.

6.4.1 Shame and the Origin of Virtue Aristotle has a pluralist response to the classic question about the origin of virtue; habituation is clearly the main focus of his account, but he also attributes significant roles to nature and teaching. In general, we are made good by the conjunction of all three factors:²⁵ Now some think that we are made good by nature, others by habit, others by teaching. Nature’s part evidently does not depend on us, but as a result of some divine causes is present in those who are truly fortunate. Argument and teaching, we may suspect, are not powerful with everyone, but the soul of the learner must first have been cultivated through habits for noble joy and noble hatred, like earth which is to nourish the seed. For the person who lives as passion directs will not hear any argument that dissuades him, nor understand it if he does; and how can we persuade one in such a state to change his ways? And in general passion seems to yield not to argument but to force. The character, then, must somehow be there already akin to virtue, loving what is noble and hating what is shameful. (NE X 9, 1179b20–31)²⁶ ²⁵ Close versions of these three factors reappear in other passages, e.g. Pol VII 13, 1332a38–40; Pol. VII 15, 1334b6–28; and EE I 1, 1214a14–25. ²⁶ γίνεσθαι δ’ ἀγαθοὺς οἴονται οἳ μὲν φύσει οἳ δ’ ἔθει οἳ δὲ διδαχῇ. τὸ μὲν οὖν τῆς φύσεως δῆλον ὡς οὐκ ἐφ’ ἡμῖν ὑπάρχει, ἀλλὰ διά τινας θείας αἰτίας τοῖς ὡς ἀληθῶς εὐτυχέσιν ὑπάρχει· ὁ δὲ λόγος καὶ ἡ διδαχὴ μή ποτ’ οὐκ ἐν ἅπασιν ἰσχύει, ἀλλὰ δεῖ προδιειργάσθαι τοῖς ἔθεσι τὴν τοῦ ἀκροατοῦ ψυχὴν πρὸς τὸ καλῶς

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Nature is one of the relevant factors in the process of becoming good. He explicitly claims, however, that we do not possess the virtues of character “by nature” (phusei), except in some fortunate cases and in cases of divine intervention. Instead, as he indicated in NE II 1 we “are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit” (1103a25–26), which implies that some of our natural capacities and tendencies function as a basis for habituation. My contention is that shame is one of these natural tendencies. There are, on the one hand, the pre-habituated natural tendencies that some people have of being temperate, courageous, and so on—which Aristotle sometimes calls “natural virtue” (phusikē aretē) (see e.g. NE VI 13, 1144b3). Children and animals have these tendencies, but they have to be molded through habit and teaching to become truly useful. In Politics VII Aristotle develops this idea of the natural traits that people can have as to make moral development easier, and he emphasizes courage and intelligence as the main relevant traits.²⁷ On the other hand, Aristotle also claims that children “have from the start a natural affection and a tendency to obey” (prouparchousi stergontes kai eupeitheis tēi phusei, 1180b6–7) their parents. This natural emotional tendency to respond with affection and deference to those in our close social circle is, I think, precisely the beginning of a sense of shame. And if I am right, then, shame is found first as part of that initial emotional endowment, and it needs to be properly guided to result in a well-oriented sense of shame. Teaching is a second crucial factor for the acquisition of virtue. Again, while Aristotle admits the importance of teaching and arguments for moral upbringing, he indicates that learners of virtue need to be first prepared through practice. Concretely, he claims that for teaching to be effective, the learner needs to go first through the kinds of practices that involve the appreciation of nobility and shamefulness: “the soul of the learner must have been cultivated through habits for noble joy and noble hatred”²⁸ (NE X 9, 1179b24–26). Good habits, then, are the necessary part of moral development that, on the one hand, properly shapes the learner’s natural capacities and tendencies, and on the other, prepares learners to receive arguments and reasons. In our passage from NE X 9, Aristotle claims that the relevant kind of preparation consists in becoming “akin to virtue” (oikeion tēs aretēs) through practices that promote “loving what is

χαίρειν καὶ μισεῖν, ὥσπερ γῆν τὴν θρέψουσαν τὸ σπέρμα. οὐ γὰρ ἂν ἀκούσειε λόγου ἀποτρέποντος οὐδ’ αὖ συνείη ὁ κατὰ πάθος ζῶν· τὸν δ’ οὕτως ἔχοντα πῶς οἷόν τε μεταπεῖσαι; ὅλως τ’ οὐ δοκεῖ λόγῳ ὑπείκειν τὸ πάθος ἀλλὰ βίᾳ. δεῖ δὴ τὸ ἦθος προϋπάρχειν πως οἰκεῖον τῆς ἀρετῆς, στέργον τὸ καλὸν καὶ δυσχεραῖνον τὸ αἰσχρόν. ²⁷ Especially Pol VII 7, 1327b18-38. See Leunissen 2012, 2013, and 2017 for a thorough treatment of the role of nature in the development of virtue. ²⁸ δεῖ προδιειργάσθαι τοῖς ἔθεσι τὴν τοῦ ἀκροατοῦ ψυχὴν πρὸς τὸ καλῶς χαίρειν καὶ μισεῖν.

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noble and hating what is shameful” (stergon to kalon kai duscheraion to aischron). This occurs, as I have argued, when learners come to align properly their relationship to the pleasant, the noble, and the advantageous by learning to appreciate the special value of nobility and its superiority over mere pleasures or gains. In this process, then, shame is crucial, as the emotion that directly responds to nobility and shamefulness. On the one hand, our natural tendency to respect the advice of our parents (and, in general, of those in our social circle that seem more competent than us), opens us to listen to their guidance about the noble and the shameful in practical contexts. On the other hand, the learners with a natural sense of shame have already the tools to restrain some of their passions and their impulses towards pleasure and gain, and thus be more able to attend to considerations about nobility and praiseworthyness, and more receptive to practical arguments.

6.4.2 Shame as Proto-Virtue: Between Shamelessness and Virtue Throughout NE X 9, 1179b4–16, Aristotle contrasts the learner who has been properly prepared and has a proper sense of shame with the person who merely “lives as passion directs” (ho kata pathos zōn). Concretely, the contrast established in NE X 9 is between (a) the “generous-minded” (tous eleutherious) among the youth, who are able to “be encouraged towards nobility and goodness” (pros kalokagathian protrepsasthai) through “arguments” (logoi)—or maybe, simply, through “words”—; and (b) “the many” (tous de pollous), who are not susceptible to such encouragement. Aristotle’s explanation—introduced by the Greek particle gar—is that the many lack receptivity to arguments about “nobility-and-goodness” (kalokagathian) because they are disposed by nature to obey fear instead of shame,²⁹ and they abstain from bad actions only “because of the punishment” (dia tas timōrias), and not “because of the shameful” (dia to aischron) (1179b10–13). The aim of this contrast is to underline the ethical importance of shame and to reveal the negative impact that shamelessness has in people’s moral life. If shame is the motor of moral progress, shamelessness is a great obstacle to it. In NE II 6 “shamelessness” (anaischuntia) is named among the emotions that are always bad, about which there is no possible mean: But not every action nor every emotion admits of a mean. For some have a name that already imply badness, e.g. spite, shamelessness, envy, and in the case of actions adultery, theft, murder. For all of these examples, and similar ones, imply

²⁹ Note the word pephukasin at 1179b11: the tendencies to obey fear or shame at issue here are “natural” not in the sense that they are innate, but in the sense that they have been acquired in the person’s natural development or in her upbringing.

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by their names that they are themselves bad, and not the excesses or deficiencies of them. It is not possible, then, ever to be right with regard to them; one must always be wrong.³⁰ (NE II 6, 1107a8–17)

There are two ways in which shamelessness manifests itself. On the one hand, there are those people who put their safety above anything else and would not take any risks, not even to protect those things they value most in their lives, i.e. the ones that run away from any sort of danger or avoid disadvantage at any cost. On the other hand, there are those who put their own profit before everything. The paradigmatic group that embodies the connection between these two tendencies is what Aristotle calls “the many”, the majority of people, who pursue the immediate fulfillment of their appetites and try to avoid all kinds of pains. In the many, the lack of receptivity to arguments about the noble and the good reveals, first, the defective motivational makeup of agents without a sense of shame, i.e. the fact that arguments about nobility and goodness are unable to move them; and second, it also reveals the shortcomings of their cognitive abilities, since, as Aristotle says some lines below, the many do “not even understand” (oud’ . . . suneiē) those arguments (1179b27).³¹ Their lack of shame makes them unaware of the relevant kinds of considerations that would enable them both to care for and understand arguments about the noble. For this reason, the many are only able to be moved by “their own pleasures” (tas oikeias hēdonas) and “the opposite pains” (tas antikeimenas lupas), i.e. bodily pleasures and pains, and are unable to grasp the notion of the noble or even to experience the true pleasures of the noble. In contrast, a shame-prone young person differs from the shameless (and from those who obey only fear) both in having a grasp of the noble and an ability to enjoy the pleasures characteristic of the noble. That is why the shame-prone individual is associated with those who are “generous-minded” (eleutherious) and is said to be a “true lover of the noble” (ōs alēthōs philokalon), and “ready to be possessed by virtue” (katokōchimon ek tēs aretēs). Of course, this kind of learner is not yet virtuous and has only an imperfect version of the virtuous conditions necessary for living and doing things as the virtuous person does. Concretely, their love and grasp of nobility are imperfect in at least two interrelated ways: on the one hand, because they are still in the process of aligning their ³⁰ οὐ πᾶσα δ’ ἐπιδέχεται πρᾶξις οὐδὲ πᾶν πάθος τὴν μεσότητα· ἔνια γὰρ εὐθὺς ὠνόμασται συνειλημμένα μετὰ τῆς φαυλότητος, οἷον ἐπιχαιρεκακία ἀναισχυντία φθόνος, καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν πράξεων μοιχεία κλοπὴ ἀνδροφονία· πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα λέγεται τῷ αὐτὰ φαῦλα εἶναι, ἀλλ’ οὐχ αἱ ὑπερβολαὶ αὐτῶν οὐδ’ αἱ ἐλλείψεις. οὐκ ἔστιν οὖν οὐδέποτε περὶ αὐτὰ κατορθοῦν, ἀλλ’ ἀεὶ ἁμαρτάνειν· οὐδ’ ἔστι τὸ εὖ ἢ μὴ εὖ περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐν τῷ ἣν δεῖ καὶ ὅτε καὶ ὡς μοιχεύειν, ἀλλ’ ἁπλῶς τὸ ποιεῖν ὁτιοῦν τούτων ἁμαρτάνειν ἐστίν. ³¹ I am indebted to the discussion on this issue in Vasiliou 1996, where the author calls attention to the fact that Aristotle claims in several passages that “a proper upbringing is a necessary prerequisite for understanding the Ethics” (772, my emphasis).

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senses of the pleasant, the beneficial, and the noble, they might sometimes struggle to put the noble first; on the other hand, because of their lack of experience and practical knowledge, learners need to be guided and encouraged by external advice. But the contrast with the shameless allows us to better understand the consequences of the other-relatedness of shame. The problem with shameless people is that they do not listen to the opinions of others because they are following their own appetitive impulses and their greed. In contrast, the learners with shame pay attention to the opinions and arguments of others precisely because they are trying to get things right in relation to virtuous practice and to the achievement of nobility. That is why in NE X 9 Aristotle connects shame’s other-relatedness not to heteronomy, or to being obedient and submissive, but to the receptivity to arguments about the noble and the good. Learners with a sense of shame listen to the opinions and arguments of others about themselves and about ethical matters, not primarily because they are seeking external recognition, but because listening to such opinions and arguments is an important aid in their paths towards goodness.

6.4.3 Shame, between Shamelessness and Timidity: Solving the Heteronomy and Superficiality Problems One of the main criticisms directed against shame’s possible good influence in our moral lives is—as we saw in Chapter 4—that shame seems to limit people’s autonomy, and even make them heteronomous in their actions and decisions about what to do, because it makes people rely excessively on the opinions of others. A second criticism is that shame makes people be insincere or inauthentic by leading agents to pay more attention to how things look than to how things really are, and that consequently the transformation that this emotion is able to produce in people is mostly superficial. The potential heteronomy and superficiality of shame is what, in the eyes of many modern commentators, makes this emotion a dangerous tool, as they hold that shame can be used to make people uncritically conform to social rules, independently of the value of those rules. But Aristotle has resources to respond to these concerns. On the one hand, Aristotle distinguishes between being a shame-prone person (aidēmōn) and uncritically conforming to the opinions of others, which he identifies with the vice of timidity (kataplēxis). On the other hand, he clarifies that not attending at all to the opinions of others is a sign of moral deficiency, which he identifies as shamelessness (anaischuntia). He himself thinks it is a sign of moral deficiency when someone uncritically conforms to the opinions of others (and consequently, when a society pushes its members to uncritically conform to rules of behavior) because of mere fear of disapproval. To address this point, he

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makes shame a praiseworthy mean between the two defective extremes of shamelessness and timidity (or shyness). Being shame-prone (aidēmōn) is the mean between shamelessness and timidity because it involves the right amount of concern with the opinions of others: On the one hand there is the excessive case, like the timid person (ho kataplēx), who is ashamed of everything; on the other hand, the one who falls short or is not ashamed of anything at all is the shameless person (anaischuntos), and the intermediate one is the shame-prone person (aidēmōn).³² (NE II 7, 1108a33–35)

In the parallel passage from EE III 7, Aristotle more explicitly expresses the relationship between shame, shamelessness, and shyness in terms of the range of opinions that agents respond to: Aidōs-shame is a mean between shamelessness (anaischuntias) and shyness (kataplēxeōs). For the person who does not care about anyone’s opinion is shameless (anaischuntos), he who cares about the opinions of all people alike is timid (kataplēx), while he who thinks only of the opinions of those who seem decent is the shame-prone person (aidēmōn).³³ (EE III 7, 1233b26–29)

In contrast with the merely timid, those who are properly shame-prone care about the opinions of others with measure, and although their behaviors and ways of evaluating practical situations are influenced by what others praise and despise, they do have their own criteria to decide whether an opinion is worth of consideration. Because they are concerned with doing what is praiseworthy and avoiding what is blameworthy (instead of merely doing what is praised and avoiding what is the object of reproach), agents with a properly oriented sense of shame do not embrace all opinions equally, but focus mainly on those which facilitate the achievement of true nobility and praiseworthiness. While the two defective extremes introduce different threats to autonomy, proper shame guarantees its preservation at the same time that it complicates what autonomy requires by underscoring the relevance of paying proper attention to the opinions of those with whom we live. What I think both extremes have in common is a lack of self-reliance and a sort of aimlessness that is the result of thinking that what is good can be found out by relying either on one’s whims or on the opinions of others. The “shameless person” (ho anaischuntos) is someone who is both a slave of his passions and unable to appreciate the opinions of others. This

³² ὃ δ’ ὑπερβάλλων, ὡς ὁ καταπλὴξ ὁ πάντα αἰδούμενος· ὁ δ’ ἐλλείπων ἢ μηδὲν ὅλως ἀναίσχυντος, ὁ δὲ μέσος αἰδήμων. ³³ αἰδὼς δὲ μεσότης ἀναισχυντίας καὶ καταπλήξεως· ὁ μὲν γὰρ μηδεμιᾶς φροντίζων δόξης ἀναίσχυντος, ὁ δὲ πάσης ὁμοίως καταπλήξ, ὁ δὲ τῆς τῶν φαινομένων ἐπιεικῶν αἰδήμων.

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   -   

leads to a life of constant changes in one’s preferences and ideals and to a general lack of accountability. As a result, shameless individuals do not have reliability in their actions or integrity, and it is not clear that they have a character that is their own and that somehow guides their actions or decisions. On the other extreme, the “timid” or “shy” person (ho kataplēx) puts too much weight on the opinions of others and is ashamed on most occasions, even when shame is not the right response. For this reason, timid or shy people are subject to the whims of others and clearly have a limited capacity for autonomy. As in the case of shamelessness, timid individuals lack integrity and reliability in their actions, and they too lack a character of their own that guides their actions. In contrast, young agents with a sense of shame, at least in the account that we have found in Aristotle, are mainly concerned with noble actions and noble outcomes insofar as they see those actions as reflection of their characters, and they rely on the opinions of others only insofar as those opinions can better orient them towards the noble or can confirm that they are on the right track. As a consequence, we can say that in the absence of virtue, being properly prone to shame is a necessary condition for doing and feeling in ways that preserve one’s true self-determination. As opposed to the shameless and the timid, who are respectively subject to the whims of self and others, shame-prone individuals are in charge of the character of their actions and of their own character. They are self-ruling and not heteronomous at least in the sense that, while they rely on other’s feedback and encouragement, they do so in a way that is consistent with a goal that they reliably pursue—a goal that gives stability and integrity to their decisions. Shame is precisely the emotion that guarantees that they aim at preserving their own agency even in the most extreme circumstances.

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Conclusion: Shame, Love of the Noble, and Moral Development My goal in this book has been to argue that, for Aristotle, one of the crucial conditions for successful habituation and one of the fundamental elements in our becoming good is shame, a proto-virtuous emotion that makes us receptive to considerations of nobility from our early days. Young learners who respond to shame and are receptive to praise and blame are well equipped to make progress and become better through virtuous practice. Their responsiveness to shame, I have argued, makes them ready to perform virtuous actions in the right way, loving the noble and hating the shameful, reflecting on how their actions are expressions of their character, and being receptive to moral arguments; as a consequence, they are able to make continuous progress towards virtue. I began my inquiry with a potential problem in Aristotle’s account of moral development. This problem concerns the continuity between the actions of the learners of virtue and the virtuous dispositions that those actions are expected to produce. My analysis of Aristotle’s account of the learning-by-doing process in the first part of NE II revealed that unless we think of the actions of the learners as somehow exercising the capacities for cognition, motivation, and stability that, when perfected, constitute virtue, our account of habituation would fail to exhibit the relevant sort of continuity. Our initial inquiry into the details of habituation in Chapter 1 pointed to a number of problems in contemporary readings of the Aristotelian account of moral upbringing. By assuming that we cannot attribute to the learner an initial orientation towards the noble, these readings tend to leave a gap between the learners’ actions and the dispositions that those actions are meant to produce. In the central chapters of this book I have paved the way for an alternative account of moral development that enables us to bridge this gap by identifying shame as the proto-virtuous emotion that helps learners orient themselves towards the noble; with this account, we are able to preserve Aristotle’s fundamental conception of moral development as learning-by-doing, while also honoring his principle that there should be continuity in the process. Inspired by Aristotle’s own model of learning-by-doing in Metaphysics IX 8, I have found and developed an alternative explanation of how learning can happen in the special case of character virtue. The central insight of the model

Aristotle on Shame and Learning to Be Good. Marta Jimenez, Oxford University Press (2020). © Marta Jimenez. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829683.003.0008

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: ,    ,   

from the Metaphysics is that learners are not blank slates, but instead are able to engage in the activities that are characteristic of a disposition precisely when they have already “something of” that disposition. In the specific case of virtue acquisition, what this means is that learners can properly engage in the relevant kinds of practices because they are able to fulfill sufficiently the relevant cognitive and motivational conditions. To see how this is possible, I have argued, we should turn our attention to the role that shame, as our early source of love of the noble and aversion for the shameful, plays in the process of becoming good. To make my case for shame, I have argued that shame should not be understood as mere fear of external disapproval, or as a superficial tendency to find pleasure in the noble and pain in the shameful; it should be understood instead as the emotion that equips learners with the ability to identify noble actions and objects as noble, as well as the ability to place considerations about nobility and shamefulness at the center of their reasons for action. Our sense of shame not only equips us with restraining powers that help us avoid practical mistakes, but also plays a positive role in actively turning us towards the noble and providing a connection between our desire to be appreciated and our desire to be good. Thus, shame equips learners with the seeds of motivation-towards-the-noble and engagement in practical thinking that, when fully developed, constitute virtue of character. This defense of the centrality of shame in moral development does not imply a denial of the relevance of other important elements in moral progress, such as experience, thumos, hope, or the initiation of the learners in non-appetitive aesthetic pleasures through music and imitation through play. Aristotle leaves open the possibility that the process of moral upbringing is made successful by a confluence of factors. What our study of the nature and developmental role of shame has shown is that our sense of shame is a fundamental resource that needs to be oriented to and cultivated from early age, since it distinguishes those who are able to make moral progress from those who cannot. The crucial point, then, is that in the Aristotelian account of moral learning, shame does the important job of providing learners with an initial orientation towards the noble that enables them to perform virtuous actions in a way that is conducive to virtue; moreover, crucial too is that shame makes learners alert to the fact that our grasp of the noble is at least initially guided by what others in our social environment think and do. Shame, then, makes learners responsive to external reasons, without making them superficially concerned with others’ opinions. Because the ultimate goal of those with a well-oriented sense of shame is the noble, and not merely empty honor, learners who have shame and respond to considerations of praisesworthiness and blameworthiness tend to rely on the moral guidance of those in their communities who can help them make progress; they do not simply accept all opinions uncritically. Shame thus enables young agents to modify (and improve) their sense of what is valuable by attending to the

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criteria presented by the laws and by those with more practical experience, and as a consequence, they can become virtuous individuals and good citizens. It might seem strange that the emotion that makes us responsive to the opinions of others is at the same time the emotion that promotes the most robust sense of agency. But Aristotle’s insight is that we become true agents by coming to realize that we have a hand in deciding the kind of people we are and by consciously engaging in the kinds of practices that make us better while avoiding those that make us worse.

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Whiting, J. (1996), “Self-Love and Authoritative Virtue: Prolegomenon to a Kantian Reading of EE viii.3,” in S. Engstrom and J. Whiting (eds.), Aristotle, Kant, and the Stoics: Rethinking Happiness and Duty (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press), 162–99. Whiting, J. (2002), “Eudaimonia, External Results and Choosing Actions for Themselves,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (2), 270–90. Wielenberg, E. J. (2000), “Pleasure as a Sign of Moral Virtue in the Nicomachean Ethics?,” Journal of Value Inquiry 34, 439–49. Wielenberg, E. J. (2002), “Pleasure, Pain, and Moral Character and Development,” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 83, 282–99. Wilburn, J. (2013), “Moral Education and the Spirited Part of the Soul in Plato’s Laws,” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 45, 63–102. Wilburn, J. (2015), “Courage and the Spirited Part of the Soul in Plato’s Republic,” Philosophers’ Imprint 15 (26), 1–21. Williams, B. A. O. (1993), Shame and Necessity (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Oxford: University of California Press). Williams, B. A. O. (1993b), “Moral Incapacity,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society New Series 93, 59–70. Williams, B. A. O. (1995), “Acting as the virtuous person acts,” in Heinaman (1995), 13–23. Witt, C. (2003), Ways of Being: Potentiality and Actuality in Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press). Woodruff, P. (2001), Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Woods, M. (trans. and comm.) (1992), Aristotle: Eudemian Ethics, Books I, II & VIII (Oxford: Clarendon Press). Young, C. M. (1988), “Aristotle on Temperance,” Philosophical Review 97, 521–42. Young, C. M. (2009), “Courage,” in G. Anagnostopoulos (ed.), A Companion to Aristotle (Oxford: Blackwell), 442–56.

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Index of Texts ALEXANDER OF APHRODISIAS Ethical Problems 21.142 158n50 ARISTOTLE Eudemian Ethics (EE) I 1, 1214a14–25 178n25 II 1, 1220a22–6 25n20 II 1, 1220a29–34 10, 24n16 II 2, 1220b10–20 150–1, 158 II 3, 1220b38–1221a12 137n6, 138n7 II 4 1222a1–2 66 II 6–11, 1222b15–1228a19 6 III 1, 1229a11–1230a33 41, 50, 78–9, 81, 86 III 1, 1229a14–16 103, 105, 111–12 III 1, 1229a16–18 87 III 1, 1229a18–20 91 III 1, 1229a20–29 13, 98n41, 101–3, 115n70 III 1, 1229b27–1230a4 115n70 III 1, 1230a4–16 103–5, 111–12 III 1, 1230a16–21 6, 13, 65, 76, 122–5 III 1, 1230a22–33 6, 123–4 III 7, 1233b16–1234a34 6, 17, 137n6, 148, 150, 155n43, 156nn46–47, 160n1, 162n3, 183 VII 2, 1236b34–1237a9 52 VIII 3, 1248b16–1249a17 39n37, 115, 118 VIII 3, 1248b34–37 23n11 Metaphysics I 1, 981a12–15 104 IX 5, 1147b31–35 48n52 IX 8, 1049b29–1050a2 19, 46–8, 177n24, 185–6 Nicomachean Ethics I 3 1095a2–11 71n31, 104n52, 105–6 I 5 1095b22–26 129n21 1095b26–31 122, 129n21, 132 I 8 1099a7–21 69–72 II 1 1103a14–18 18–9 1103a23–26 18, 20, 40, 50, 179 1103a26–32 20n4, 47–8 1103b2–6 133n31

1103b6–13 26 1103b13–21 27 1103b21–23 24 II 2 1103b29–31 10n21, 24 1104a27–33 10n21, 24–25 1104a33–b3 25–6, 68 II 3 1104b5–8 67 1104b11–12 51 1104b19–21 10n21, 24 1104b30–32 12, 54, 97, 114n67, 173 1105a1–3 65 1105a15–16 10 II 4 1105a17–b12 19–49, 75, 77 1105a17–21 20, 28 1105a21–26 29–31 1105a26–b12 20, 31–33, 37, 84, 108–9 II 5 1105b19–1106a13 150–5, 157–8 1105b28–1106a6 152–5 II 6 1107a8–17 180–1 II 7 1108a30–35 6, 17, 137–8, 148–50, 155n43, 156, 183 1108a35–b6 138, 148–50, 156 1108b6–7 156n47 II 9 1109a24–b7 36 1109a24–30 38 1109b6–7 39 1109b7–13 66 III 1 1109b30–35 89 1110b18 88n18 1110b33–1111a1 86n14 1111a4 87 1111a23–24 86n14, 88 1111a24–26 98n41 III 2 1111b5–6 80n6 1111b12–13 98n4 III 4 1113a31–3 114n67, 173

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ARISTOTLE (cont.) III 5 1114a4–7 10n21, 25, 134n32 1114a9–10 25 III 6 1115a12–14 123n9, 137, 157, 163n6 III 7 1115b13 42 1115b23–24 23n11 1116a2–4 93 III 8 1116a15–1117a28 41, 50, 78–9, 81, 86 1116a15–b3 39n37, 43, 114 1116a15–29 6, 13, 43–4, 76, 99, 113, 123–6, 133 1116a20–21 133 1116a29–b3 44, 116, 126 1116b3–23 103–6, 108–9, 112 1116b3–8 106 1116b9–15 106–7 1116b15–18 107 1116b18–23 107–8, 127 1116b23–1117a9 13, 83n13, 99–103 1117a9–17 90–2 1117a22–27 86–88 III 9 1117a32–b9 67n26 III 10 1117b29–30 72 IV 1 1120a23–25 23n11 1120a27–29 23n11 IV 2 1122b6–7 23n11 1123a24–27 23n11, 43 IV 3 1123a34–b8 92 1123a34–1125a35 122n8 IV 4 1125b1–25 122n8 IV 6 1127a8–10 43 IV 7 1127a27–b9 43 IV 9 1128b10–35 6, 17, 137, 139–148, 160–169, 176–8 1128b10–15 143–4, 162–164 1128b10 162–3 1128b11–15 163–164 1128b11–12 123, 164 1128b14 164 1128b15–33 143–6, 164

1128b15–23 144–5, 147–8, 165 1128b21–33 130n23, 147 1128b21–26 166–7 1128b22 162 1128b25–33 145–6, 167–8 V 1 1129b21–22 146 V 8 1135b19–25 152n37 1135a23–b25 168n16 1135b25–7 98n41, 152n38 1135b28–29 98 VI 2 1139a22 162 VI 8 1142a13–20 105 VI 12 1144a13–17 28n25 VI 13 1144b1–8 81, 82n10, 179 1144b8–14 83 1144b30–32 162–3 VII 6 1149a24–1150a7 102 VII 12 1153a29–35 66 1153b25–31 65 VII 14 1154a15–18 68 1154a20–21 66, 68 VIII 8 1159a22–4 122, 129n21, 130 X 1 1172a20–21 51 X 3 1173b29–31 74 X 4 1175a18–21 57 X 5 1175a30–37 74 1175b1–10 58 1175b20–24 58 1175b25–26 57 X 6 1176b19 174–5 X 9 1179b4–16 6, 17, 43–5, 65, 137n4, 139, 141, 146, 160–1, 169–73, 176–8, 180–1 1179b11–13 155, 180 1179b15–16 174–6 1179b20–31 178 1179b24–26 179 1179b27 181 1180a6–7 176, 179

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   Politics VII 1, 1323a32–34 87n16 VII 7, 1327b18–38 179 VII 13, 1332a38–b11 18n1 VII 13, 1332a38–40 178n25 VII 15, 1334b6–28 178n25 VII 15, 1334b22–25 98 VIII 3, 1338b4 21n7 VIII 5, 1340a15–17 51n2 Posterior Analytics II 19 104 Rhetoric I 9, 1367a6–14 143n19 I 10, 1369b16–18 61 I 11, 1370a6 61 I 11, 1370a7–9 61n20 II 5, 1382b33–1383a3 91 II 6, 1383b12–1385a15 5–6, 137n4, 156n47 II 6, 1383b12–15 123n9, 148n29 II 6, 1383b29–1384a4 5 II 6, 1384a22 123n9 II 6, 1384b17–20 5 II 9, 1386b10–1387b20 138n9 II 12–13, 1388b31–1390a28 137n4 II 12, 1389a18–24 91 II 12, 1389a25–28 91 EURIPIDES Hippolytus 136 HOMER Iliad 131 II.391–3 116n72 V.470 100n43 IX.11 100n43 XI.557–62 100n44 XIV.151 100n43

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XVI.529 100n43 XV.232 100n43 XV.594 100n43 XXII.100 124–125, 124n10, 125n12, 131 Odyssey XXIV.318f. 100 PLATO Charmides 160d–161b 136n2, 142n14 Gorgias 172n21 467c4–6 132n29 482c–486d 136n2 Laches 104n50, 109–110 394d 109–10n59 Laws I, 646e 163n6 II, 653b6–c4 1n2, 5 Meno 70a 18n1 Phaedrus 253d 98 254e 98 Protagoras 109–10 320c–322d 136n2, 162 360b–361b 110nn59–61 Republic III, 401e1–402a4 51n2 IV, 430c 113n66 IV, 439a7–439d1 165n9 IV, 439e–440a 96 IV, 440c–d 98 IV, 440e–441a 96, 98 IV, 441e–442a 96 THEOGNIS Elegiae 429–40 64, 111, 170–171, 170n17

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Index of Names Achtenberg, D. 9n17, 104nn51–2 Ackrill, J. L. 79n4 Adkins, A. W. H. 1n1, 4n10, 120nn1–2, 126n14 Aldrich, V. C. 1n1 Alexander of Aphrodisias 158n50 Allen, D. 151n35, 153n39 Annas, J. 57n9, 80n5 Appiah, K. A. 1n1, 3–4, 121, 121nn4–5 Arneson, R. J. 1n1 Barney, R. 115nn69–70 Baron, M. 4n9 Benedict, R. 120n1 Berger, P. 120n3 Blank, D. 9n18 Bobzien, S. 79n4 Brennan, T. 96n32 Brewer T. 64n21 Broadie, S. 9n17, 11n25, 21n5, 21n8, 34n30, 60–1, 72–3, 114–16nn69–71, 118n74, 120n2, 123n9, 128n19, 131n25 Bronstein, D. 46n49, 47n51 Brüllmann, P. 14n27 Burnet, J. 105n53 Burnyeat, M. F. 2n4, 9–12, 18n1, 21n6, 21n8, 49n54, 53–4, 62–4, 69–73, 75n34, 97–8, 105n53, 140n12, 165n10, 171n19, 172n21 Cagnoli Fiecconi, E. 14n27, 124n11, 174n23 Cairns, D. L. 1n2–3, 11n26, 13–14, 90n22, 120n1, 121n6, 126n14, 131n26, 132–3n30, 136n2–3, 140–2nn12–16, 146, 147n28, 149n31, 150n33–4, 154n41, 155n44, 157–8 Calhoun, C. 1n1, 3n6, 5n13, 120nn1–2, 122n7, 166n11 Campbell, R. 121nn4–5 Candiotto, L. 136n2 Chamberlain, C. 151n35 Charles, D. 79n4 Collobert, C. 136n2 Coope, U. 9n17 Cooper, J. 2n5, 9n17, 13, 22n8, 49n54, 70n30, 71–2, 75n34, 79n4, 96–9, 102, 130n23 Crisp, R. 2n5, 143n18, 155n44 Culbreth, A. J. 90n22 Curzer, H. D. 9n17, 11n26, 12, 21n5, 41n40, 55n6, 59–60, 70n30, 73n32, 172n20

Deigh, J. 1n1, 3n7–8 Demetriou, D. 121n4 Democritus 142n14 Denis, L. 121n6 Deonna, J. A. 1n1, 2n4, 3n6, 3n8, 120nn1–2, 136n1 Deslauriers, M. 78n2 Dirlmeier, F. 150n33 Dodds, E. R. 120n1, 126n14, 136n3, 142n14 Doris, J. M. 80n5 Dow, J. 9n17 Duff, A. 78n2, 93n28 Echeñique, J. 123n9, 128n19, 133n30 Edwards, A. T. 142n14 Elster, J. 1n1, 3n6, 3n8 Engberg-Pedersen, T. 9n17, 59, 104nn51–2, 121n7 Euripides 136, 142n14 Fisher, N. R. E. 1n2 Fortenbaugh, W. W. 9n17, 10n23, 138n8, 148–9nn30–1, 150nn33–4 Frankfurt, H. G. 64n21 Frede, D. 51n3 Freeland, C. 79n4 Fossheim, H. J. 9n17, 14n27, 42n41, 49n54, 70n30, 73 Fussi, A. 1n1, 123n9, 131n25, 142n15 Futter, D. B. 136n2 Gauthier, R. A. and J. Y. Jolif. 22n10, 37n34, 139n11, 142n15, 144n21 Gay, R. 82n8, 96n33 Gottlieb, P. 150n33 Grant, A. 21n7, 113n66 Gravlee, G. S. 90n21, 92 Grimaldi, W. 142n15, 142n19 Grönroos, G. 11n26, 13, 96n33, 98n38 Hampson, M. 14n27, 40n39, 49n54 Hardie, W. F. R. 22, 40, 54n6, 56n7, 105n53 Harman, G. 80n5 Hasper, P. S. and J. Yurdin. 104nn51–2 Hesiod 142n14, 162 Hirji, S. 42n43

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   Hitz, Z. 11nn25–6, 14, 113n66, 114n68, 115nn69–71, 120nn1–2, 123n9, 125n13, 128n19, 131n25, 139nn10–11, 166n12 Hobbs, A. 96n31, 104n50, 128n19 Homer 1n2, 11, 13, 95, 99, 120n1, 124–6, 134, 142n14, 162 Hurka, T. 36n32 Hursthouse, R. 4n9, 9n17, 22n8, 35n31, 59n15, 77n1, 104n52 Inwood, B. and R. Woolf. 10n21, 101n47, 110n59 Irwin, T. H. 2n5, 11nn24–5, 28n26, 30n28, 34n30, 35–6, 79n4, 82nn8–9, 100nn43–4, 108n58, 109, 116n71, 120n2, 123n9, 128–30, 131n25, 132n27, 139nn10–11, 142n15, 143n18, 144n21, 146–7, 155n44, 162n3, 167 Joachim, H. H. 21n7, 22n10, 113n66, Kahn, Ch. 136n2 Kamtekar, R. 80n5, 129n22, 132n27, 162n3 Kant, I. 121n6 Kekes, J. 1n1, 4n9, 166n11 Konstan, D. 1n2, 121n6, 139n11, 142n15 Korsgaard, C. 121n6 Kosman, A. L. 9n17, 10n23 Krause, S. 121n4 Kraut, R. 2n5, 9n17, 42n43, 42n44, 43 Kristjánsson, K. 9n17, 10n23, 120n1 Kumar, V. 121nn4–5 Lawrence, G. 9n17 Lebron, C. 1n1, 3–4, 4n9, 120n2 Leighton, S. R. 9n17, 78n2 Leunissen, M. 179n27 Lorenz, H. 9n17 MacIntyre, A. 55–6 Mason, M. 1n1, 120n1, 120n2 McDowell, J. 9n17, 21n8, 104n52 McKay, K. J. 141n14 Meyer, S. S. 42n43, 79n4 Milton, B. S. 3n7 Miller, A. M. 170n17 Morison, B. 37n34 Moss, J. 9n17, 49n54, 61n18, 75n34, 96nn32–3, 104nn51–2, 136n2, 172n21, 173n22 Müller, J. 79n4 Natali, C. 104n52 Nehamas, A. 9n18 Nielsen, K. M. 162n3

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North, H. 1n1 Nussbaum, M. C. 1n1, 3n6, 3n8, 4n10, 9n17, 98n39, 136n1, 120n1, 174n23 Oele, M. 155n22 Olsthoorn, P. 121n4 Owens, J. 2n5 Pakaluk, M. 40n38, 54n6, 56n7 Pears, D. F. 78n2 Pearson, G. 78n2, 80n7, 96n33, 98n37, 99n42 Pedriali, F. 165n9 Piers, G. 3n7 Plato 9n18, 11, 13, 18n1, 90n22, 96–8, 102, 113n66, 136, 142n14, 165n9 Ramirez, E. 1n1 Rapp, C. 9n17 Raymond, C. 11n26, 14, 120n1, 126n16, 136n2, 139n11, 142n15, 142n17, 145n23, 150n34, 155n44 Reeve, C. D. C. 126n16 Redfield, J. M. 120n1, 126n14 Renaut, O. 96n32 Richardson-Lear, G. 2n5, 11n25, 13, 49n54, 75n34, 96n33, 97n36, 116n71, 120n1, 123n9, 128n19, 131n25 Rogers, K. 2n5, 78n2 Rorty, A. O. 78n2 Ross, W. D. 5n14, 10n20, 22, 34–5, 36n32, 48n52, 124n11, 143n18, 148n20, 155n44 Saenz, V. 96n33 Sartre, J. P. 3n7 Schofield, M. 116n71, 128n19 Scott, D. 47n51 Segvic, H. 9n18, 39n37 Sessions, W. L. 121n4 Sharples, R. 158n50 Sher, G. 5n13, 122n7 Sherman, N. 3n7, 4n9, 9n17, 9n19, 9–11, 10nn22–3, 21nn6–7, 21n8, 22n9, 46, 56n8, 105n53 Singpurwalla, R. 96n32 Sommers, T. 121n4 Sophocles 174n23 Sorabji, R. R. K. 9n17, 21n8 Stewart, J. A. 21n7, 22, 113n66, 156n47 Striker, G. 9n17 Strohl, M. 57n9, 76n35 Susemihl, F. 10n21 Tangney, J. P. 3n6, 3n8 Tarnopolsky, C. H. 1n1, 4n10, 136n2

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Taylor, C. C. W. 11n25, 21n5, 32–3, 55n6, 82n8, 109, 109n59, 110n60, 115n71, 120n2, 123n9, 128n19, 131n25, 132n30, 139n10–11, 142n15, 143n18, 145n23, 146, 147n27, 155n44, 167 Taylor, G. 1n1, 3n6, 3n8 Theognis 111, 170–1 Thomason, K. K. 1n1, 1n2, 3n6, 3n8, 4n10 Urmson, J. O. 10n20, 143n18 Van Riel G. 51n3 Vasiliou, I. 9n17, 22, 30n28, 34n30, 37n33, 39n37, 104n51, 104n52, 105n53, 128n20, 181n31 Velleman, J. D. 3n7, 172n21

Viano, C. 49n54, 83n12, 83n13 Von Erffa, C. E. 1n2, 141n14 Ward, L. 78n2 Whiting, J. 42n43, 115n69, 115n70, 123n9, 131n26 Wielenberg, E. J. 51n3 Wilburn, J. 96n31, 96n32 Williams, B. A. O. 1n1, 1n2, 3n7, 3–4, 22, 35n31, 77n1, 120n1, 120n2, 126n14, 127n18, 136n3, 141n14, 142n15, 166n11 Witt, C. 47n41, 48n52 Woodruff, P. 141 n14 Young, C. M. 38n35, 78n2

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Index of Subjects Achilles 124, 126n14, 131n26 action (praxis) passim and disposition 5–8, 9–10, 12, 15–16, 19, 23–6, 59, 73, 79, 133–4 and habituation 18–49, 77–86 as expression of character 2–3, 5, 8, 11, 77–86, 133–5, 166 (see also character: misattribution of ) virtuous vs. virtuously done (see virtuously done virtuous action) vs. external behavior 8, 21–2, 31–4, 37, 56, 59–62, 79–84, 86 vs. prohairesis 79–81 See also blame: for both actions and character; motivation; voluntariness activity (energeia), also exercise or actualization and capacity 25, 46–8 and dispositions 24–34, 47–9 and pleasure 15, 51–76 and pleasure: inextricability and covariance principles 57–8, 62, 69–70 prior to possession 20n2, 24, 46–8, 77, 85 (see also priority problem: activity prior to disposition) See also habituation: as learning by doing advantageous (sumpheron) aligned/misaligned with the noble and the pleasant 12–13, 41, 52–4, 94, 108, 110, 118, 167–9, 171, 174, 180–2 (see also moral development: as alignment between the three objects of choice) as goal of hopeful individuals 95 as goal of merely good people vs. the nobleand-good 114n68, 115 as object of choice (see choice (hairesis): three objects of ) vs. the harmful (blaberon) 13, 54, 108, 118 ageustos (not having tasted) 171, 174–6 See also pleasure; taste animals and pleasure and pain 66, 100 and thumos 83, 98–9, 103 lack prohairesis 153 axioma (worth) and commitment 88–90, 92 hope and over-inflated 92–4

ignorance and lack of 87–90 autonomy and shame 4–5, 120–1, 178 threatened by timidity and shamelessness 182–184 See also heteronomy blame (psogos) and moral commitment 122, 122n7 and praise as social practices for moral guidance 13, 16, 116, 122, 126, 133–4, 161, 175, 177, 186–7 for both actions and character 2, 133–4 not for emotions 150–3 vs. blameworthy 131–4, 183 See also praise; responsiveness: to praise and blame; reproach; voluntariness and capacity (dunamis) and pleasure 15, 69, 73–6, 176–7, 181, 186 vs. emotion and disposition 14, 150–7 See also activity character expressed in action (See action: as expression of character) expressed in prohairesis (See prohairesis: as manifestation of character) misattribution of 79–86, 134 responsibility for 25, 134n32 See also disposition; habituation; moral development; virtue choice (hairesis) three objects of 12, 54, 97, 114n67 citizen soldiers and courage 113–19, 123–31 and Williams’ moral incapacity 127n18 vs. professional soldiers 81–2, 82n9, 105, 107–8, 112–13 craft or skill (technē) analogy with virtue 26, 28–31, 46–8 and the paradox of learning 46–8 disanalogy with virtue 31–4, 108–9 experience as source of 104 vs. virtue in Aristotle vs. Socrates 108–12 See also experience (empeiria)

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cleverness (deinotēs) 81–2 commitment (moral) hope and (unstable) 92 ignorance and lack of 88–9 mere experience and lack of 105, 108–9 shame as expression of 154–6 (See also citizen soldiers: and Williams’ moral incapacity) See also axioma and; blame and; prohairesis continuity principle 7–8, 10, 12–13, 15, 19–27, 30, 33, 39–40, 42, 46, 49, 53, 56, 61, 78, 89, 140, 185 courage (andreia) and pleasure 67–8 and pseudo-courage 77–119 and the “how” 26–7, 43 and virtue in general 78 and virtuous motive in the learner 43–5 based on shame 123–7 See also experience; hope; fear; ignorance; political courage; thumos Diomedes 124–6, 134 disposition (hexis) and pleasure 73–5 (see priority problem: disposition prior to pleasure) and praise 157 virtue as 20, 22–49, 151–2 vs. emotion 17, 139, 150–6, 162–3 vs. tendency (diathesis) 154–8 See also action: relation to disposition; activity and; emotion; capacity: vs. emotion and disposition disrepute (adoxia) feared by the epieikēs 137, 157 shame as fear of 120–8, 137, 155–7, 163 emotion/passion (pathos) and moral development 9–11, 19, 158–9 as non-praiseworthy 152–3 as non-prohairetic 101, 151, 153–4 as ocurrent vs. dispositional 153, 137 characteristic features of 151–3 reactive vs. with foresight 98–102 vs. virtue 152–4, 162–9 See also capacity: vs. emotion and disposition; disposition: vs. emotion; mean (mesotēs): emotional vs. virtuous; virtue energeia. See activity epieikēs (decent person) and arguments 179 and the shame-prone person (aidēmōn) 130n23, 157, 183 has no shame 144–5, 147–8n29 See also disrepute: feared by the

experience (empeiria) and pseudo-courage 16, 41, 81–2, 103–13 and receptivity to arguments 105–6 as insufficient for virtue 103–13 as source of craft and science 104 as source of practical wisdom 104–5, 113 teaches about means, not about goals 104n50, 105–6, 108, 113 vs. habit 108–12 fear (phobos) and pseudo-courage 114–19 of danger 87, 93, 107–8, 11 of punishment 4, 43, 60, 81, 116–19, 140, 166 vs. shame 115–19, 140, 160–1, 170–5 See also disrepute: shame as fear of and disrepute: feared by the epieikēs for the sake of (hou heneka). See goal gain (kerdos) See advantageous goal (telos) 6–8, 22, 38–49, 51–4, 63, 69, 120–35, 170–3, 182–4 and “for the sake of” (hou heneka) 38–9, 97 double nature of 39n37 in the doctrine of the mean 38–9 vs. external result 19, 32–3, 38–9, 56, 59, 79–81, 117–18 See also kalon: as characteristic goal of virtue guilt as a self-reflective emotion 2–3 -culture vs. shame culture 120n1 habit (ethos) and familiarity 61–3 and moral development 18–23, 115, 117–18, 178–80 and the law 83–4, 113–19, 132, 133n31, 166n12, 175–6 makes things second nature and pleasant 61–2, 113 vs. nature 18, 20, 40, 49–50, 179 vs. teaching 18–19, 109–12 See also habituation; moral development habituation (ethismos) as alignment of the three objects of choice 15, 51–76, 169, 180 as hedonic reorientation 51–76 as learning-by-doing 6–10, 15, 18–50, 95, 185–7 Burnyeat’s account 9–10, 12, 21n6, 53–4, 62–76 conditioning view of 12–13, 52–6, 58–62 deflationary views of 8, 19–22, 30, 34–42, 48

OUP CORRECTED AUTOPAGE PROOFS – FINAL, 17/11/2020, SPi

   familiarity view of 8, 53, 61–2 internalized-punishment view of 21n7, 55n6, 59–60 mechanical view of 7–8, 10, 21–2, 39–40, 53, 56nn7–8, 59n15, 62, 89 motivationally-neutral view of 7–8, 19, 34–41, 49, 74 See also action; habit; moral development; virtuously done virtuous action: three requirements; punishment; rewards hedonic reorientation (see habituation as) heteronomy and aiming vs. recognizing 128–30 and timidity 182–3 of shame (objection) 2–5, 11, 16, 120–2, 127–30, 176–84 vs. other-relatedness 4–5, 182–3 Hector 116, 124–6, 131, 134 Homeric heroes 120n1, 123–6, 134 and shame culture 120nn1–2 and thumos 99–100 See Achilles, Diomedes, Hector, Polydamas honor (timē) and moral development 120–30, 133–5 and reputation and praise 2, 12, 121, 123, 126, 128–30 and shame 16, 44–5, 114, 118, 120–35, 162, 169 and the noble 12, 44, 114, 121, 124–30, 169 as a marker of goodness 129–35 as mere external good 43, 122, 127, 186 as more than external reward 121–2, 124, 127–8, 131–5 as non-heteronomous 120, 123, 129–30 as non-superficial 122–3, 127, 132 vs. disrepute or reproach 43–5, 121–5, 131–5, 162–4, 169 See also heteronomy; love of honor hope (euelpis, elpis) and courage 81, 86, 90–95 and lack of self-knowledge 92 and past success 90–1 See also axioma and; commitment: hope and (unstable) ignorance (agnoia) and courage 81, 86–90 and voluntariness 79–90 three failures of 87–8 imitation 14, 186 Intellectualism 9–10, 108–12 intermediate (meson) (in action) regarding the goal of action 38–9 vs. mean (see mean vs. intermediate)

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knowledge and experience 104–8 as requirement for virtuously done virtuous action 6–7, 21n5, 32–4, 77 (see also virtuously done virtuous action: three requirements) of the particulars 86–9, 109 technical vs. practical 108–12 vs. ignorance and inexperience 82–3, 87–9 kalon (noble) and honor 123–35 and shame 2, 11–12, 120–35, 169–87 and the learner’s motivation 42–5 and thumos: the Platonic prejudice 96–9 and thumos in Aristotle 99–102 as characteristic goal of virtue 2, 2n5, 6, 8, 23n11, 51–2, 135, 160–1, 172–3 as intrinsically valuable 5–9, 19–23, 36, 42–3, 48–51, 77, 101, 124, 132, 170–6 taking pleasure in 51–4, 62–76, 170–6 (see also pleasure: noble) vs. pleasure and advantage/gain 2, 8, 12, 38–9, 41, 47, 51, 54n5, 64, 94, 108, 167, 169, 173, 180–1 (see also choice: three objects of ) See also lover of the noble; nobility-andgoodness learners in-between condition of 10, 14, 17, 47, 75, 136, 140, 158–9, 174, 177 not blank slates 7, 15, 46–7, 74–5, 85, 177, 186 love of honor (philotimia) and commitment to morality 121 and love of the noble 120–35 Kant on 121n6 lover of the noble (philokalos) and pleasure in the noble 69–70 vs. the ageustos 170–6 vs. the shameless and the timid 176–82 luck/chance (tuchē) 30, 28–9, 91–2, 168 megalopsychia (proper pride, magnanimity) 92, 122n8, 123n9 mean (mesotēs), also mean state emotional vs. virtuous 149–50, 154–8 praiseworthy 138, 149–58, 182–4 shame as 17, 137n6, 138, 151–8 vs. intermediate (meson) 38n35 moral development and external guidance 128–35, 164–6, 171–2, 186–7 and musical education 14, 186 and the moral upbringing gap 6–9, 12, 16, 18–19, 36–42, 50, 96, 99, 185

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moral development (cont.) as alignment between the three objects of choice 12, 15, 52, 54, 64, 108, 167, 169, 180–1 cognitive and affective aspects of 7–17, 19, 21n8, 77, 84–5, 122 vs. learning a craft 23–34, 48, 74–5, 108–13 See also continuity principle; habituation; honor; learners; pleasure and; priority problem; shame motivation as requirement for virtuously done virtuous action 6, 21n5, 32–4, 77 (see also virtuously done virtuous action: three requirements) based on fear includes pleasure, gain, pain and loss 114–15, 161, 173 based on shame vs. fear 114–19, 161, 166, 173 by internal vs. external incentives 4, 19, 31–3, 41–6, 51–61, 69, 115–16, 127 of the learner vs. virtuous person 8, 34–6 See also for the sake of; goal; habituation; moral development; pleasure nature (phusis) and moral development 18, 40, 48–50, 178–9 and natural tendency 8–9, 13–16, 18–19, 40, 48–54, 75–6, 122n8, 139n11, 155, 178–80 See also virtue: natural nemesis (righteous indignation) 2, 138, 148, 150, 158 Neoptolemus 174n23 nobility-and-goodness (kalokagathia) and acting for the sake of the noble 23n11, 178, 180 vs. mere goodness 39n37, 115, 118 noble. See kalon Phaedra 136 pleasure (hēdonē) 114, 170–6 and wholehearted activity 64 (esp. 64n21), 75 appetitive or bodily vs. noble 51–5, 61–2, 64–70, 108, 169–70, 176, 180–2 as prior to disposition (see priority problem: pleasure) as sign (sēmeion) of goodness 5, 130–2, 162 proper vs. alien 56–9, 62, 64n21, 74 temperance as abstaining (apechesthai) from 25–6, 65–8 vs. the noble as object of choice 2, 12, 22, 45, 47, 52–4, 63, 114, 172–3 (see also habituation: as alignment of the three objects of choice)

See also activity and: inextricability and covariance principles; habituation: as hedonic reorientation; motivation: by internal vs. external incentive political or civic (politikē) virtue and external incentives 114–16 and mere goodness vs. nobility-and-goodness in EE 115, 118–19 and pseudo-virtue vs. proto-virtue 82–4 based on fear 116–19 based on shame 113–16, 123–7 in Plato vs. Aristotle 113n66 political courage as 16, 113–19 two kinds (in the NE) 39n37, 114–19 Polydamas 124–5, 141 practical wisdom (phronēsis) 9, 82n10, 129–32, 162–3, 169, 174–5 and learning-by-doing 34 and virtuous motive 45n48 experience as the source of 104–6, 113 praise (epainos) and recognition 125, 131–2 as social practice that guides and encourages good action 13, 16, 89, 116, 125–6, 133–4, 161, 175, 177 vs. praiseworthy 122, 131–9, 148–58, 161, 164, 182–3 See also honor; kalon; shame pride as (possible) proto-virtuous tendency (Moss) 49–50n54, 75n34 as pseudo-virtuous condition 78, 85 as a self-reflective emotion 2–3 See also megalopsychia priority problem activity prior to disposition 19–51 and the “something of” solution 46–8, 75, 85, 177, 185–6 pleasure prior to disposition 73–5 See also action; disposition; virtue prohairesis (choice, commiment) as manifestation of character 80n6, 153 emotions and lack of 151–3 learners and 154 (esp. 154n40) not required for virtuous action 34–5n30, 42n41 required for virtue and virtuously done actions 33, 101, 151–2 shame and 153–9, 162–3 thumos and lack of 101 translation of 151n35, 153n39 See also action vs.; commitment (moral)

OUP CORRECTED AUTOPAGE PROOFS – FINAL, 17/11/2020, SPi

   proto-virtue as productive of virtue 40–4, 77–86, 113, 126–7, 136 shame as 1–2, 6–7, 9–14, 71, 116, 123–7, 160–87 vs. pseudo-virtue 77–80, 85 vs. semi-virtue 2n4 See also pride: as (possible) proto-virtuous tendency; thumos: as (possible) proto-virtuous tendency pseudo-virtue and ignorance 86–90, 93–5 and pseudo-courage 16, 44, 39n37, 41, 50, 86–119, 123–7 as result of pseudo-practices 77–86 externally similar to virtue 2, 7–8, 16, 21–2, 34–6, 40–1, 62, 77–81, 117 punishment (kolasis/timōria) 28, 41, 44–5, 81–4, 89, 114, 117–18, 174 See also fear: of punishment; habituation: conditioning model reproach (oneidos) and Hector’s genuine concern with his character 131–2 as guide for actions 116–18, 133 virtue and avoidance of 44, 114–15, 123–6 reputation (doxa) and self-reflectivity, other-relatedness, and desire for 3–5, 121–2 mere reputation vs. acknowledgment of one’s goodness 131–2 See also disrepute: shame as fear of responsiveness (of shame) to ethical considerations 1, 8, 12, 14, 44–5, 60–1, 64, 114, 118, 127–8, 134, 161, 166–87 to praise and blame 4–5, 11, 16, 123, 126, 133–4, 161, 173, 177 restraint, restraining (kōluesthai) from bad actions through shame 146–7, 161, 186 from other passions through shame 144, 161–6, 179–80 not present in the shameless person 173, 177 rewards 8, 21, 39, 43–5, 52–62 and the candy example 55–6 not mentioned in the discussion of civic courage 59, 114 See also habituation: conditioning view; punishment

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shame (aidōs, aischunē) and abstaining (apechesthai) from bad things 65, 144–7, 161, 166, 171–2, 180, 186 (see also shame: relation to failure) and other-relatedness 2–5, 120–2, 163, 182–4 and receptivity to moral arguments 2–4, 6, 45, 139, 163, 170–2, 177, 180–2, 185 and self-reflectivity 2–5, 120–2, 134, 162, 184 as a moral emotion 2–3, 14, 17, 114, 135, 138, 148–54, 169–76 as a praiseworthy emotion 148–59 as a sui generis emotion 137–9, 148–9, 154–9, 163–4, 169 as a tool for social manipulation 1, 120, 136, 182 as bodily 163–4 as not a virtue 2, 137, 142, 149–54, 156, 160–3, 177 as proto-virtue of the learner 1–2, 7, 9–14, 16, 19, 43–5, 49, 71, 75, 77, 84–5, 117, 160–85 mixed nature of 1, 16, 120–2, 136–59 aidōs vs. aischunē 129n22, 138, 139n11, 140n13, 141–6 good vs. bad 1, 136, 140, 141–2n14 prospective vs. retrospective 138–9, 141–2, 146–8, 167 objections against its moral relevance (see heteronomy: of shame; superficiality: of shame) relation to exposure 3, 126n14, 127–33, 136–7, 141, 163–4, 169 relation to failure (moral error) 1, 3, 144, 161, 164–8, 169–70, 186 relation to pleasure and pain 52–3, 60, 64–5, 68, 161, 169–84, 186 See also courage: based on shame; epieikēs (decent person); fear: vs. shame; mean: shame as; prohairesis: shame and; shamelessness; shame-prone person; timidity; virtue and; proto-virtue: shame as shamelessness, shameless person (anaischuntia, anaischuntos) 17, 137, 155, 168, 180–3 and fear 173, 181 and greed 181–2 obey their passions without restraint 173 shame-prone person (aidēmōn) and dispositional sense of shame 137

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shame-prone person (aidēmōn) (cont.) as mean between timid and shameless 121, 137, 149, 157, 161, 177 vs. the shameless 181–2 vs. the timid 182–84 See also epieikēs (decent person) and Socrates 9–10, 108–11 spirit. See thumos stability and virtue 93, 153, 158, 162–3 as requirement for virtuously done virtuous action (see virtuously done virtuous action: three requirements) experience and limited 107, 112 hope and limited 93–5 ignorance and lack of 87–8 shame and 153–4, 160, 177 thumos and strong 84, 103 superficiality and appearance vs. reality 79–86, 96, 120–1, 131–2 and concern with external rewards 127 and praised vs. praiseworthy 131–2, 183 vs. self–reflectivity, reliability, and integrity 5, 182–3 taste 15, 51–8, 62–4, 171, 174–6 for new activities 56–8 appreciating something’s intrinsic value vs. associating pleasure 62–4 perfecting vs. acquiring 53 See also ageustoi; pleasure timidity (kataplēxis) 17, 142n14, 149–50, 155, 161, 176–8, 182–4 thumos (spirit) and courage 16, 81, 83n13, 84, 95–103 and moral development 2, 13, 49n54, 75n34, 97–9, 102–3, 186 and the kalon 96–9, 102–3 as natural virtue 82–3n10, 102–3

as not courage 98–9, 101–2 as (possible) proto-virtuous tendency 13, 49n54, 96–9 in Plato vs. in Aristotle 95–9 vs. shame 13, 99 See also animals virtue (aretē) and shame 5, 7, 11, 44, 121–7, 137–9, 154–8, 160–184 modes of acquisition (nature, habit, and reason) 18–9, 178–80 natural (phusikē) 81–3, 179 (See also thumos) non necessary for virtuous action 5–7, 30, 77–9 See also habituation; honor; proto-virtue; pseudo-virtue; shame; virtuously done virtuous action: three requirements virtuously done virtuous action and the “how” (eu vs. kakōs) 23–7, 31–4, 60–2, 77–8, 80–1, 94–5, 109 three requirements for 7, 15–16, 20, 31–3, 37, 49, 84, 95, 103, 107, 109, 152, 161, 172 (see also knowledge; motivation; stability) vs. merely virtuous 6–8, 12, 15–16, 21n5, 26–7, 31–45, 77–9, 82–6, 94–5 See also action; prohairesis: required for virtue and virtuously done actions voluntariness 79–80, 86–9, 94, 116–17 and knowledge of particulars 84, 86–9 and praise and blame 89 vs. necessity (anankē) 116–17 vs. prohairesis (see action: vs. prohairesis) young people praised for their sense of shame 14, 137, 147–8, 155–6, 164–9 as inexperienced 105 as living by pathos 148n28 See also learners; shame