Plato & Aristotle Plato and Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The rulers correspond with the mind/soul- just as the mind directs the body in the individual, the rulers direct the body of the state (i.e. The guardians and workers.)

Part Two: Aristotle on Pride

Aristotle claims that pride is not a vice, but a major moral virtue. He opens his argument by saying that the word pride itself implies gratness, and therefore a proud man is one who considers hiomself-worthy of great things- in contrast to a moderate man who is worth little and considers himself worthy of like amount, or the foolish man, who thinks himself more worthy than he actually is. Aristotle also distinguishes the humble man, as the one who does not consider himself worthy of his own good fortunes. The point is that the proud man claims what he deserves, and nothing more, whereas other sorts claim either more or less than is to their credit.

The proud man is a recipient of rewards in accord with his measures, and the best part of those rewards is offered up to the gods as sacrifice. Those who sacrifice the greatest amount receive the greater honor. Therefore, honor is one of the yardsticks by which proud men measure themselves. According to Aristotle, the proud man prizes his honor highly, but does not claim more than his fair share of it. He again contrasts this behavior with that of the vain man (who claims more than he deserves) and the "unduly humble" man (who claims less than what he has received).

Aristotle asserts that the proud man deserves the most, and as a consequence must also be of high moral fiber to deserve it. His logic dictates that the proud man is the most virtuous man of all, being brave in the face of danger and fair in his dealings with people. Again, Aristotle stresses that the proud man concerns himself mostly with matters of honor and dishonor. However, the only honors that have value to the proud man are those bestowed by good people- any other casual or excessive praise is undeserved, and therfore a dishonor. The proud man is also distinguished by his moderation in the face of hardship as well as bounty- he isn't made overly happy by good fortune or overly sad by bad fortune.

While those who have the good fortune to be wealthy or powerful through birth may seem proud, they are not virtuous, states Aristotle. Pride implies goodness and virtue- to possess power and wealth is nothing without virtue, and one who is not virtuous cannot truly be said to have pride. Any pride they feel is false, while the good or virtuous man is truly deserving of the title by way of their nature in addition to their wealth.

Aristotle takjes great care to show pride as a sense of moderation and balance, rather than a state of extremes. By his accounting, pride is the virtue that underlies all other social graces, and will be manifest in a man's behavior. In general, Aristotle's definition of pride as a social virtue shows a divergence from what is generally considered proud in public opinion. Rather than overt arrogance, pride is meant to be a display of modesty in deeds and in demeanor.

Pride is also evident in those who possess it in the form of a relaxed calm that no manner of excitement can shake. The walk of the proud man is slow and steady, and his mannerisms serious but calm. He mainatins his cool demeanor under any circumstances.

Aristotle concludes his discussion by stating that the proud man is the only truly virtuous one, for "the man who falls short of him is unduly humble, and the man who goes beyond him is vain."

But these characteristics, while not the ideal virtue, are not considered bad because they are not intentional or malicious.

Aristotle protrays for us a pride that is internal in its primary function. He equates pride with honor on several points. In addition, pride is always a balanced approach in Aristotle's view- what we might call too much pride, he considers vanity, and not pride in the true sense of the word.


Aristotle, Nichomachean ethics, book4, chapter 3.

Oct 2000. Internet Classics Archive: MIT. 26 May 2005.

Plato. The Republic: Books 1, 2, & 3. 4 Oct 2000. Internet Classics Archive: MIT. 26 May 2005.

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