Morals and Virtue

Philosophy Book Notes

Books used 

Seneca - Dialogues and Essays (Oxford)

Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford)

7 Notes selected

Cicero - Selected Works (Penguin)

8 Notes selected

Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics (Oxford)

Marcus Aurelius - Meditation (Oxford)

2 Notes selected

A History of Greek Philosophy v4 W. K. C. Guthrie

2 Notes selected

Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford)

2 Notes selected

Aristotle - The art of Rhetoric (Oxford)

1 Notes selected

The Sophists by W. K. C. Guthrie

1 Notes selected

Aristotle The Eudemian Ethics

1 Notes selected

Epictetus - Discourses, Fragments, Handbook (Oxford)

1 Notes selected

No Longer Human - Osamu Dazai

1 Notes selected

Diogenes the Cynic - Saying and Anecdotes (Oxford)

1 Notes selected

6 Notes selected

10 Notes selected

The human race is inquisitive about others people’s lives, but negligent to correct their own. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.1180)

Now let my heart tell you what it was seeking there in that I became evil for no reason. I had no motive for my wickedness except wickedness itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved the self-destruction, I loved my fall, not the object for which I had fallen but my fall itself. My depraved soul leaped down from your firmament to ruin. I was seeking not to gain anything by shameful means, but shame for its own sake. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.29)

And yet there is nothing that brings greater trouble on us than the fact that we conform to rumor, thinking that what has won widespread approves is best, and that, as we have so many to follow as good, we live by the principle, not of reason, but of imitation. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.85)

The great part of mankind, Paulinus, complains bitterly about the malice of Nature, in that we are born for a brief span of life, and even this allotted time bushes by so swiftly, so speedily, that with very few exceptions all find themselves abandoned by life just when they are preparing themselves to live. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.140)

Selfish

Delight

So pleasure is not the reward or the cause of virtue but a buy-product, and virtue does not give pleasure because it delights but, if it gives pleasure, it also delights. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.92)

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We have been born under monarchy: obedience to God is our liberty. (...) true happiness, therefore, resides in virtue. (Seneca)

Avoid the apparent Good

Structure

Social morals

Virtue 

Social morals

The Formula

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First, all human beings, however humble, must count for something, must have some inherent value themselves secondly, this spark of divinity supplies an unbreakable bond of kinship between one man and another, irrespective of state, race, or caste, in a universal Brotherhood of Man; and it is right and necessary that brother should receive decent treatment from one another. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.12)
Cicero, interpreting life as a complex of obligations to others as well as oneself, offers a splendid testimony to beliefs in human cooperation which he so enthusiastically confirmed from his reading of the Stoics, and yet tempered with his own undogmatic good sense. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.158)
If he avoids this pitfall, he will be doing his duty working for the interest of his fellow-men, and, I repeat once again, of the human community. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.169)
Belief in the gods being established by almost universal consent - which endows all men with the divine spark and makes them brother. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.13)

51WKc2255CL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Human beings have come into the world for the sake of one another; either instruct them, then, or put up with them. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.81)

 It is just as if the eye sought compensation for seeing or the foot for walking. For as these were made to perform a particular function, and, by performing in according to their own constitution, gain in full what is due to them, so likewise, a human being is formed by nature to benefit others, and, when he has performed some benevolent action or accomplished anything else that contributes to the common good, he has done what he was constituted for, and has what is properly his. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.92)

Foundation

A selection of notes to understand Social morals

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What would happen if everyone would behave like me? (A History of Greek Philosophy v4 W. K. C. Guthrie p.101)

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Man is a political creature and one whose nature is to live with others. (Plato)

 
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Human beings have come into the world for the sake of one another; either instruct them, then, or put up with them. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.81)

Help

Be there for the other

Virtue 

A selection of notes to understand virtue. 

51lZJZ0xMZL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

The two most beautiful things will follow us wherever we go, universal Nature and our own virtue. This, believe me, was the will of the great creator of the universe, whoever he was, whether a god with power overall or incorporeal reason. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.171)

Mystical origin

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Aidos Modesty and Dike Justice

Protagoras myth: Fearing that the whole world would be wiped out Zeus give two moral virtues to man Aidos (Complicated quality, it involves a sense of shame, modesty and respect for others conscience) and Dike (The sense of right or justice) (The Sophists by W. K. C. Guthrie p.66)

71H8PMi+r8L.jpeg

The means in life that have been described, then, are three in number (frindliness, truthfulness (about ones merits), and here ready wit), and are all concerned with an interchange of words and deed of some kind. They differ, however, in that one is concerned with truth, and the other two with pleasantness of these concerned with pleasure, one is displayed in jest, the other in general social intercourse of life. (Aristotles The Nicomachean Ethics p.78)

51lZJZ0xMZL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

It is, however, necessary to combine the two things, solitude, and crowd, and to have recourse to them alternately: the former will make us long for people, the latter for our selves, and the one will be a cure for the other: our distaste for the crowd will be cured by solitude, our boredom with solitude by the crowd. 
It is the example of others that destroy us: we will regain our health, if only we distance ourselves from the crowd. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.86)

Be there for the other

Virtue and vice are concepts invented by humans beings, words for a morality which human beings arbitrarily devised. (No Longer Human - Osamu Dazai. p.145)

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Virtue is not something in a man’s nature, nor instilled by teaching, but he who has it gets it by divine dispensation without intelligence. (A History of Greek Philosophy v4 W. K. C. Guthrie p.264)

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He set out to show that virtue can be taught, and that true nobility belongs only to the virtuous: that virtue suffices to ensure happiness, requiring nothing further apart from the strength of a Socrates. (Diogenes - Oxford p.118)

How to aquier

Structure

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According, you may be bold in declaring that the highest good is the harmony of the spirit; for virtues must reside where harmony and unity exist: discord is attendant on the vice. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p. 92)

Habit

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Moral virtues is not by nature in us, but by habit.

- we learn justice by doing just acts.

- This confirmed by what happens in states: for legislators make the citizens good by forming habits in them. (Aristotles The Nicomachean Ethics p.23)

Moral virtues, like the arts, is acuiried by repetition of the corresponding acts. (Aristotles The Nicomachean Ethics p.23)

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Virtue is the disposition considered in the abstract, and justice is the disposition considered in relation to one’s neighbour. (Aristotle The Eudemian Ethics p.55)

That how you act is of moral significance, and that the material on which you act is neither good nor bad in itself. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.66)

The action

So the first source of movement in moral actions is what is perceived, the second the perceiving power executing reason’s command. Now the executive power’s action already presupposes moral goodness or badness, for external action is only thought moral if it is voluntary: so when will is good the external action is good, and when evil. If the external act was deficient with some non-voluntary defect there would be no moral evil there at all: limping, for example, isn’t a moral fault but a natural one, and such a defect in the executive power totally or partially excuses us from moral fault. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.287)

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The intellectual virtues are then exelencess that make reason come out with truth. There are five states, Aristotles says, that have this effect; art (techne), science (episteme), wisdom (phronesis), understanding (sophias), and intelligence (nous). These states contrasts with other mental states such as belief or opinion (doxal) that may be true or false. (Aristotle The Eudemian Ethics p.XIX)

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Virtues are means “ intermediate way” - moral virtue: a state of charachter concerned with choice, lying in a mean, i.e. the mean relative to us, this being determined by reason, and by that reason by wich the man of practical wisdom would determine it. (Aristotles The Nicomachean Ethics p.xiv)

It is a Choice

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Virtue makes the target aimed at correct, and wisdom makes the means correct. (Aristotle The Eudemian Ethics p.87)

What influences the choice

A place among apparent advantages may certainly be claimed for sensual pleasures. Yet with right they have nothing in common. To the pleasure of such a kind, one concession only can be made - perhaps they add a certain spice to life, But they certainly provide no real advantage in life. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.201)

I hope this rule is now completely familiar to you: what appears advantageous can only be so if no wrong action is involved - if the contrary is the case, the action cannot be advantageous after all. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.190)

Panaetius: 1- Is a thing morally right or wrong? 2 - Is it advantageous or disadvantageous? 3 - if apparent right and apparent advantage clash, what is to be the basis for our choice between then? (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.160)

About the painting of Venus of Cos. No painter, said Rutilius, had ever been able to complete that part of the picture which Apelles had left unfinished since the beauty of Venu’s face made the adequate representation of the rest of her a hopeless task. Similarly, the quality of what Panaetius had written was so outstanding that nobody was to supply his omissions. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.162)

How to find out if it is right or wrong

 

Happiness

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Human good turns out to be an activity of the soul exhibiting virtue, and if there is more than one virtue, in accordance with the best and most complete (Happiness). (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.12)

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So being good adds something real to exist. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.59)

For the whole point of these virtues is that they reject fear, rise above all the hazards of this life, and regard nothing that can happen to a human being as unendurable. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.199)

Great deeds are not done by strength or speed or physique: they are the products of thought, and character, and judgment. And far from diminishing, such qualities actually increase with age. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.220)

Courage

There was at that time an extremely powerful senator. He wanted as usual to use his influence to obtain something which by the laws was unlawful Alypius resisted. (...) Everyone was amazed at so exceptional a character who neither wished to have as a friend nor feared to have as his enemy a powerful person. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.103)

Rebuke (express sharp disapproval or criticism ) a wise man and he will love you. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.99)

Truth

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For the man who loves truth, and is truthful where nothing is at stake. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.76)

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If we were immortal and lived in unending bodily pleasure, with no fear of losing it, why should we not be happy? What else should we be seeking for? I did not realize that is exactly what shows our great wretchedness. For I was so submerged and blinded that I could not think of the light of moral goodness and of a beauty to be embraced for its own sake - beauty seen not by the eye of the flesh, but only by inward discernment. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.110)

‘Behold piety is wisdom’, and ‘ Do not wish to appear wise’. ‘Those who asserted themselves to be wise have been made foolish’. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.134)

The virtuous man

Virtuous man: wishes to live with himself: for he does so with pleasure since the memories of his past acts are delightful and his hopes for the future are good, and therefore pleasant. His mind is well stored too with subjects of contemplation. And he gives and rejoices, more than any other, with himself; for the same thing is always painful, and the same thing is always pleasant, and not one thing at one time and another at another; he has so to speak, nothing to regret. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p. 168)

Faithful

‘he who is faithful in little is faithful also in much’ (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.103)

 

Life according to nature

Besides, the Stoics ideal is to live consistently with nature. I suppose what they mean is this: thought our lives we ought invariably to aim at the morally right course of action, and in so far as we have other aims also, we must select only those which do not clash with such courses. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.163)

Dedication

The finest and noblest character prefers a life of dedication to a life of self-indulgence. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.167)

Man without Virtue

I hear that one of these pampered creatures - if “pampering” is a sufficient term for forgetting all one has learned about the habits of human life when he had been lifted by hands from the bath and placed in his sedan-chair, asked the question, “ Am I seated now?” (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.152)

Time

Days are not long in their eyes, but hateful. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.157)

Their very pleasures are fearful and troubled by alarms of different kinds; at the very moment of rejoicing the anxious thought occurs to them “ How long will this last?” This feeling has caused kings to weep over their own power; they have not experienced delight in the greatness of their fortune but the terror that it will someday come to an end. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.58)

Coward

“In wretched mortals’ life, the fairest day Is first to flee always” (...) The poet is talking to you about the day, about this very day runs away. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.149)

Your body

You may, therefore, increase your revenues and extend your boundaries, but never will you enlarge the bodies you have been given. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.174)

The duality inside a troubled mind

Everyone hopes to attain an advanced age; yet when it comes they all complain! So foolishly inconsistent and perverse can people be. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.215)

Sexual desire

Lust will drive men to every sin and crime over the sun. Mere lust, without any impulse, is the cause of rape, adultery, and every other sexual outrage. Nature, or a good, has given human beings a mind as their outstanding possession, and this devourer gift and endorsement has no worse foe than sensuality. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.228)

Sexual desire

But all philosophy with a serious claim to be respected as a wise moralist - Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, the Epicureans - were of one mind in the being impressed by its risks and danger and by the capacity of sexual desire to disrupt and even destroy the most rational of plans and intentions.

Augustine came to think it an ingredient in the misery of the human condition that the sexual impulse is so frequently disobedient (...) it all too easily become destructive of both friendship and self-respect. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.xviii)

Drinking

I myself, while I hated a true misery here, pursued a false felicity there. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.81)

There is no pleasure in eating and drinking unless they are preceded by the unpleasant sensation of hunger or thirst. Drunkards eat salty things to make their desire uncomfortable. As drinking extinguishes the desire, there is a delightful sensation. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.138)

Genius

I myself, while I hated a true misery here, pursued a false felicity there. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.81)

There is no pleasure in eating and drinking unless they are preceded by the unpleasant sensation of hunger or thirst. Drunkards eat salty things to make their desire uncomfortable. As drinking extinguishes the desire, there is a delightful sensation. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.138)

Results will be shared here soon

Text Version:

1 Social moral

1.1 Foundation

What would happen if everyone would behave like me? (A History of Greek Philosophy v4 W. K. C. Guthrie p.101)

Man is a political creature and one whose nature is to live with others. (Plato)

1.2 Be there for the other

Human beings have come into the world for the sake of one another; either instruct them, then, or put up with them. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.81)

 It is just as if the eye sought compensation for seeing or the foot for walking. For as these were made to perform a particular function, and, by performing in according to their own constitution, gain in full what is due to them, so likewise, a human being is formed by nature to benefit others, and, when he has performed some benevolent action or accomplished anything else that contributes to the common good, he has done what he was constituted for, and has what is properly his. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.92)

First, all human beings, however humble, must count for something, must have some inherent value themselves secondly, this spark of divinity supplies an unbreakable bond of kinship between one man and another, irrespective of state, race, or caste, in a universal Brotherhood of Man; and it is right and necessary that brother should receive decent treatment from one another. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.12)

Cicero, interpreting life as a complex of obligations to others as well as oneself, offers a splendid testimony to beliefs in human cooperation which he so enthusiastically confirmed from his reading of the Stoics, and yet tempered with his own undogmatic good sense. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.158)

If he avoids this pitfall, he will be doing his duty working for the interest of his fellow-men, and, I repeat once again, of the human community. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.169)

Belief in the gods being established by almost universal consent - which endows all men with the divine spark and makes them brother. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.13)

It is, however, necessary to combine the two things, solitude, and crowd, and to have recourse to them alternately: the former will make us long for people, the latter for our selves, and the one will be a cure for the other: our distaste for the crowd will be cured by solitude, our boredom with solitude by the crowd. 

It is the example of others that destroy us: we will regain our health, if only we distance ourselves from the crowd. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.86)

1.3 Help

Human beings have come into the world for the sake of one another; either instruct them, then, or put up with them. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.81)

2 Virtue 

Virtue and vice are concepts invented by humans beings, words for morality which human beings arbitrarily devised. (No Longer Human - Osamu Dazai. p.145)

2.1 Mystical origin

The two most beautiful things will follow us wherever we go, universal Nature and our own virtue. This, believe me, was the will of the great creator of the universe, whoever he was, whether a god with power overall or incorporeal reason. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.171)

Aidos Modesty and Dike Justice

Protagoras myth: Fearing that the whole world would be wiped out Zeus give two moral virtues to man Aidos (Complicated quality, it involves a sense of shame, modesty, and respect for others conscience) and Dike (The sense of right or justice) (The Sophists by W. K. C. Guthrie p.66)

2.2 Structure

The means in life that have been described, then, are three in number (friendliness, truthfulness (about one's merits), and here ready wit), and are all concerned with an interchange of words and deed of some kind. They differ, however, in that one is concerned with truth, and the other two with the pleasantness of these concerned with pleasure, one is displayed in jest, the other in general social intercourse of life. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.78)

Accordingly, you may be bold in declaring that the highest good is the harmony of the spirit; for virtues must reside where harmony and unity exist: discord is attendant on the vice. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p. 92)

2.3 How to acquire

Virtue is not something in a man’s nature, nor instilled by teaching, but he who has it gets it by divine dispensation without intelligence. (A History of Greek Philosophy v4 W. K. C. Guthrie p.264)

He set out to show that virtue can be taught, and that true nobility belongs only to the virtuous: that virtue suffices to ensure happiness, requiring nothing further apart from the strength of a Socrates. (Diogenes - Oxford p.118)

2.4 The action

That how you act is of moral significance, and that the material on which you act is neither good nor bad in itself. (Marcus Aurelius - Meditation p.66)

Virtue is the disposition considered in the abstract, and justice is the disposition considered in relation to one’s neighbor. (Aristotle The Eudemian Ethics p.55)

So the first source of movement in moral actions is what is perceived, the second the perceiving power executing reason’s command. Now the executive power’s action already presupposes moral goodness or badness, for external action is only thought moral if it is voluntary: so when will is good the external action is good, and when evil. If the external act was deficient with some non-voluntary defect there would be no moral evil there at all: limping, for example, isn’t a moral fault but a natural one, and such a defect in the executive power totally or partially excuses us from moral fault. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.287)

2.5 Habit

Moral virtues is not by nature in us, but by habit.

- we learn justice by doing just acts.

- This is confirmed by what happens in states: for legislators make the citizens good by forming habits in them. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.23)

Moral virtues, like the arts, is acquired by repetition of the corresponding acts. (Aristotles The Nicomachean Ethics p.23)

2.6 It is a Choice

Virtues are means “ intermediate way” - moral virtue: a state of character concerned with choice, lying in a mean, i.e. the mean relative to us, this being determined by reason, and by that reason by which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. (Aristotles The Nicomachean Ethics p.xiv)

Virtue makes the target aimed at correct, and wisdom makes the means correct. (Aristotle The Eudemian Ethics p.87)

2.6a What influences the choice

The intellectual virtues are then excellences that make reason come out with the truth. There are five states, Aristotles says, that have this effect; art (techne), science (episteme), wisdom (phronesis), understanding (sophias), and intelligence (nous). These states contrast with other mental states such as belief or opinion (doxal) that may be true or false. (Aristotle The Eudemian Ethics p.XIX)

2.6b How to find out if it is right or wrong

Panaetius: 1- Is a thing morally right or wrong? 2 - Is it advantageous or disadvantageous? 3 - if apparent right and apparent advantage clash, what is to be the basis for our choice between then? (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.160)

About the painting of Venus of Cos. No painter, said Rutilius, had ever been able to complete that part of the picture which Apelles had left unfinished since the beauty of Venu’s face made the adequate representation of the rest of her a hopeless task. Similarly, the quality of what Panaetius had written was so outstanding that nobody was to supply his omissions. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.162)

2.6c Avoid the apparent Good

A place among apparent advantages may certainly be claimed for sensual pleasures. Yet with right they have nothing in common. To the pleasure of such a kind, one concession only can be made - perhaps they add a certain spice to life, But they certainly provide no real advantage in life. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.201)

I hope this rule is now completely familiar to you: what appears advantageous can only be so if no wrong action is involved - if the contrary is the case, the action cannot be advantageous after all. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.190)

2.7 Happiness

Human good turns out to be an activity of the soul exhibiting virtue, and if there is more than one virtue, in accordance with the best and most complete (Happiness). (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.12)

So being good adds something real to exist. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.59)

We have been born under monarchy: obedience to God is our liberty. (...) true happiness, therefore, resides in virtue. (Seneca)

2.8 Delight

So pleasure is not the reward or the cause of virtue but a buy-product, and virtue does not give pleasure because it delights but, if it gives pleasure, it also delights. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.92)

2.9 Courage

For the whole point of these virtues is that they reject fear, rise above all the hazards of this life, and regard nothing that can happen to a human being as unendurable. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.199)

Great deeds are not done by strength or speed or physique: they are the products of thought, and character, and judgment. And far from diminishing, such qualities actually increase with age. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.220)

2.10 The virtuous man

Virtuous man: wishes to live with himself: for he does so with pleasure since the memories of his past acts are delightful and his hopes for the future are good, and therefore pleasant. His mind is well stored too with subjects of contemplation. And he gives and rejoices, more than any other, with himself; for the same thing is always painful, and the same thing is always pleasant, and not one thing at one time and another at another; he has so to speak, nothing to regret. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p. 168)

2.11 Truth

For the man who loves truth, and is truthful where nothing is at stake. (Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics p.76)

If we were immortal and lived in unending bodily pleasure, with no fear of losing it, why should we not be happy? What else should we be seeking for? I did not realize that is exactly what shows our great wretchedness. For I was so submerged and blinded that I could not think of the light of moral goodness and of a beauty to be embraced for its own sake - beauty seen not by the eye of the flesh, but only by inward discernment. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.110)

‘Behold piety is wisdom’, and ‘ Do not wish to appear wise’. ‘Those who asserted themselves to be wise have been made foolish’. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.134)

2.12 Courage

There was at that time an extremely powerful senator. He wanted as usual to use his influence to obtain something which by the laws was unlawful Alypius resisted. (...) Everyone was amazed at so exceptional a character whom neither wished to have as a friend nor feared to have as his enemy a powerful person. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.103)

Rebuke (express sharp disapproval or criticism ) a wise man and he will love you. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.99)

2.13 Faithful

‘he who is faithful in little is faithful also in much’ (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.103)

2.14 Life according to nature

Besides, the Stoics ideal is to live consistently with nature. I suppose what they mean is this: thought our lives we ought invariably to aim at the morally right course of action, and in so far as we have other aims also, we must select only those which do not clash with such courses. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.163)

2.15 Dedication

The finest and noblest character prefers a life of dedication to a life of self-indulgence. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.167)

2.16 The man without virtue

I hear that one of these pampered creatures - if “pampering” is a sufficient term for forgetting all one has learned about the habits of human life when he had been lifted by hands from the bath and placed in his sedan-chair, asked the question, “ Am I seated now?” (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.152)

2.16a Time

Days are not long in their eyes, but hateful. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.157)

Their very pleasures are fearful and troubled by alarms of different kinds; at the very moment of rejoicing the anxious thought occurs to them “ How long will this last?” This feeling has caused kings to weep over their own power; they have not experienced delight in the greatness of their fortune but the terror that it will someday come to an end. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.58)

2.16b Coward

“In wretched mortals’ life, the fairest day Is first to flee always” (...) The poet is talking to you about the day, about this very day runs away. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.149)

2.16c Your body

You may, therefore, increase your revenues and extend your boundaries, but never will you enlarge the bodies you have been given. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.174)

2.16d Selfish

And yet there is nothing that brings greater trouble on us than the fact that we conform to rumor, thinking that what has won widespread approves is best, and that, as we have so many to follow as good, we live by the principle, not of reason, but of imitation. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.85)

The great part of mankind, Paulinus, complains bitterly about the malice of Nature, in that we are born for a brief span of life, and even this allotted time bushes by so swiftly, so speedily, that with very few exceptions all find themselves abandoned by life just when they are preparing themselves to live. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.140)

The human race is inquisitive about others people’s lives, but negligent to correct their own. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.1180)

Now let my heart tell you what it was seeking there in that I became evil for no reason. I had no motive for my wickedness except wickedness itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved the self-destruction, I loved my fall, not the object for which I had fallen but my fall itself. My depraved soul leaped down from your firmament to ruin. I was seeking not to gain anything by shameful means, but shame for its own sake. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.29)

2.16e 

I directed my mind to understand what I was being told, namely that the free choice of the will is the reason why we do wrong and suffer your just judgment. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.113)

2.16f The duality inside a troubled mind

Everyone hopes to attain an advanced age; yet when it comes they all complain! So foolishly inconsistent and perverse can people be. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.215)

2.16g Sexual desire

But all philosophy with a serious claim to be respected as a wise moralist - Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, the Epicureans - were of one mind in the being impressed by its risks and danger and by the capacity of sexual desire to disrupt and even destroy the most rational of plans and intentions.

Augustine came to think it an ingredient in the misery of the human condition that the sexual impulse is so frequently disobedient (...) it all too easily become destructive of both friendship and self-respect. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.xviii)

Lust will drive men to every sin and crime over the sun. Mere lust, without any impulse, is the cause of rape, adultery, and every other sexual outrage. Nature, or a good, has given human beings a mind as their outstanding possession, and this devourer gift and endorsement has no worse foe than sensuality. (Cicero - Selected Works - Penguin - p.228)

2.16h Drinking

I myself, while I hated a true misery here, pursued a false felicity there. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.81)

There is no pleasure in eating and drinking unless they are preceded by the unpleasant sensation of hunger or thirst. Drunkards eat salty things to make their desire uncomfortable. As drinking extinguishes the desire, there is a delightful sensation. (Saint Augustine - Confessions (Oxford) p.138)

2.16i The Genius

For whether we share the Greek poet's belief that ‘sometimes it is a pleasure even to be a madman’ or Plato’s that ‘ the man in control of his senses knocks in vain on poetry’s door,’ or Aristotle’s that ‘no great genius has never existed without a dash of lunacy’ - whatever the truth only the ind that is roused can utter something momentous that surpasses the thoughts of other men. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.139)

When it has despised the vulgar and the ordinary, and, imbued with holy inspiration, has risen far on high, that is the moment when it utters a strain too magnificent for mortal lips. It cannot attain to any sublime and forbidding hight as long as it is left to itself: it must quit the common path, it must be driven wild and bite its bit, whirling its rider away and carrying him off to a height it would have feared to scale by itself. (Seneca - Dialogues and Essays Oxford p.139)