Next we must consider what virtue is. Since things that are found in
the soul are of three kinds- passions, faculties, states of
character, virtue must be one of these. By passions I mean appetite,
anger, fear, confidence, envy, joy, friendly feeling, hatred,
emulation, pity, and in general the feelings that are accompanied by
pleasure or pain; by faculties the things in virtue of which we are
said to be capable of feeling these, e.g. of becoming angry or being
pained or feeling pity; by states of character the things in virtue of
which we stand well or badly with reference to the passions, e.g. with
reference to anger we stand badly if we feel it violently or too
weakly, and well if we feel it moderately; and similarly with
reference to the other passions.
Now neither the virtues nor the vices are passions, because we are
not called good or bad on the ground of our passions, but are so
called on the ground of our virtues and our vices, and because we
are neither praised nor blamed for our passions (for the man who feels
fear or anger is not praised, nor is the man who simply feels anger
blamed, but the man who feels it in a certain way), but for our
virtues and our vices we are praised or blamed.
Again, we feel anger and fear without choice, but the virtues are
modes of choice or involve choice. Further, in respect of the passions
we are said to be moved, but in respect of the virtues and the vices
we are said not to be moved but to be disposed in a particular way.
For these reasons also they are not faculties; for we are neither
called good nor bad, nor praised nor blamed, for the simple capacity
of feeling the passions; again, we have the faculties by nature, but
we are not made good or bad by nature; we have spoken of this
before. If, then, the virtues are neither passions nor faculties,
all that remains is that they should be states of character.
Thus we have stated what virtue is in respect of its genus.
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