Single Idea 5856

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / A. Egoism / 1. Ethical Egoism]

Full Idea

One's own interest is a relative good, nobility a good absolutely.


'Nobility' is what is 'kalon', or fine or beautiful

Gist of Idea

Self-interest is a relative good, but nobility an absolute good


Aristotle (The Art of Rhetoric [c.350 BCE], 1389b37)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'The Art of Rhetoric', ed/tr. Lawson-Tancred,H.C. [Penguin 1991], p.175

A Reaction

The key idea in the whole of Greek moral theory is the concept of what we can call a 'beautiful' action. Such things, or course, tend to be visible in great actions, such as sparing an enemy, rather than the minutiae of well-mannered daily life.