Nicomachean Ethics

by

Aristotle

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A state is a disposition, formed through habituation, to act in a certain way. It is more than just a feeling or habit, though; it also involves desires and decision. All these factors, when rightly directed, produce virtues.

State Quotes in Nicomachean Ethics

The Nicomachean Ethics quotes below are all either spoken by State or refer to State. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Nature and Pursuit of Happiness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hackett edition of Nicomachean Ethics published in 1999.
Book 2 Quotes

First, then, we should observe that these sorts of states naturally tend to be ruined by excess and deficiency […] The same is true, then, of temperance, bravery, and the other virtues. For if, for instance, someone avoids and is afraid of everything, standing firm against nothing, he becomes cowardly; if he is afraid of nothing at all and goes to face everything, he becomes rash. Similarly, if he gratifies himself with every pleasure and abstains from none, he becomes intemperate; if he avoids them all, as boors do, he becomes some sort of insensible person. Temperance and bravery, then, are ruined by excess and deficiency, but preserved by the mean.

Related Characters: Aristotle (speaker)
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
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State Term Timeline in Nicomachean Ethics

The timeline below shows where the term State appears in Nicomachean Ethics. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
...exercise of virtues, too, the repetition of similar activities (habituation) rests upon and reinforces a state of character. So, then, performing activities rightly is very important, from one’s youth onward. (full context)
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
...good, it’s necessary to consider the correct ways of acting, since these result in the states we acquire. First, “actions should accord with the correct reason.” (full context)
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
States “tend to be ruined by excess and deficiency.” For instance, “excessive and deficient exercise ruin... (full context)
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
...argues that someone’s pleasure or pain following an action gives an indication of that person’s state. For example, if someone enjoys abstaining from pleasures, he’s moderate and levelheaded; if he’s grieved... (full context)
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
...virtues be done; the person who does the action must also be in the right state at the time—having decided to act accordingly and done the action “from a firm and... (full context)
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
...what virtue is. He says there are “three conditions arising in the soul”—feelings, capacities, and states—and that virtue must be one of these. Feelings are things that have elements of both... (full context)
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
...being capable of feelings. Because virtues are neither feelings nor capacities, then, virtues must be states. (full context)
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
Book 2, Chapter 6. Having established that virtue is a state, then, we have to inquire what sort of state it is. Every virtue causes the... (full context)
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
...is intermediate” in this way. When it comes to virtues of character, seeking the intermediate state—or “mean”—involves “having these feelings at the right times, about the right things, toward the right... (full context)
Book 3
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
...and a brave person are all concerned with the same things, then, they “have different states related to them; the others are excessive or defective,” but the brave person achieves the... (full context)
Book 6
The Nature and Pursuit of Happiness Theme Icon
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
Book 6, Chapters 3-6. Aristotle identifies five states in which the soul grasps the truth: scientific knowledge, craft knowledge, prudence, wisdom, and understanding.... (full context)
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
...whereas good deliberation must accord with what’s beneficial. Prudence is important because virtue is a state in accord with correct reason, and prudence is correct reason in the area of virtue. (full context)
Book 8
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
Virtue and Community Life Theme Icon
...8, Chapter 5-6. Aristotle also clarifies that while loving is a feeling, friendship is a state. Friendship requires decision, which comes from a state; and a virtuous person “[wishes] good to... (full context)
Book 10
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
Virtue and Community Life Theme Icon
...discuss the nature of happiness a bit further. First, happiness is an activity, not a state. It is choiceworthy in its own right, if nothing further apart from happiness is sought.... (full context)