Single Idea 4119

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / e. Honour]

Full Idea

People who aim at political honour tend to defeat themselves by making themselves dependent on those to whom they aim to be superior (what might be called the 'Coriolanus Paradox').

Gist of Idea

If you aim at honour, you make yourself dependent on the people to whom you wish to be superior


report of Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1095b25) by Bernard Williams - Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy Ch.3

Book Reference

Williams,Bernard: 'Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy' [Fontana 1985], p.39

A Reaction

This brings out Aristotle's point nicely. This is why aristocrats withdraw behind their fences, among small coteries of accolytes.