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Aristotle's 'Nameless' Virtues


Author(s): Paula Gottlieb
Reviewed work(s):
Source: Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science, Vol. 27, No. 1 (March 1994),
pp. 1-15
Published by: De Gruyter
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'Nameless'Virtues
Aristotle's
Paula Gottlieb

Itis a goodidea toexaminethenamelessvirtuesas wellas theothers.


one at a time,we will
Forifwe discussparticular
aspectsofcharacter
if
acquirea betterknowledgeofthem;and we surveythevirtuesand
see thatineachcasethevirtueis a mean,we willhavemoreconfidence
EN IV 7,1127al5,tr.
inourbeliefthatthevirtuesaremeans.(Aristotle,
Irwin)

Aristotle's
doctrineofthemeanis, at leastin part,theview thateach
standsin a meanbetweentwovices,one an excess
virtueofcharacter
Forexample,thevirtueofgenerosity
is in a
and theothera deficiency.1
theexcess,and stinginess,
the
meanbetweentwovices,wastefulness,
ofAristotle's
Therearetwopopularcriticisms
discussionof
deficiency.
Thefirst
is thatAristotle's
doctrine
ofthemeanhas
virtuesofcharacter.
Thesecondcriticism
no substantive
is that
consequencesofanyinterest.
is merelyparroting
theviews of his timeon thevirtues.A
Aristotle
combinesbothcharges:Insofaras
comment
by J.L.Ackrillsuccinctly
Aristotle'saccountsof particularvirtuesembodya particularmoral
outlook(and thatis,perhaps,notfar),thisis due rathertohisacquiescencein thevocabularyand outlookofhis timethanto his theoretical
commitment
to "thedoctrine
ofthemean".'2

1 Thedoctrine
is morecomplicated
thanthis,butforpresentpurposesitsuffices
to
occasionwhenvirtuous
behaviour
iscalledfor,therewill
saythatonanyparticular
inwhichonecanerr.
be morethanoneopposingdirection
2 J.L.AckrillAristotle's
Ethics(London:Faberand Faber,1973),22. See also 24 '...
Aristotleclearlyalignshimselfwithconventional
values and takesthemfor

APEIRONa journalforancientphilosophy
andscience
1-16$3.00Academic
& Publishing
0003-6390/94/2701
Printing

2 Paula Gottlieb

I aimtoshowthat
on Aristotle's
'nameless'virtues,
Byconcentrating
1 shallarguethatthenameless
are misplaced.3
bothofthesecriticisms
thantheirnamedcompanionsand thatif
virtuesareno lessimportant
ofthenamelessvirtues,
hisdoctrine
Aristotle
is rightabouttheexistence
discoveriesand so
of themeanwillhave resultedin some important
does have substantive
importafterall.41 shallalso arguethatthevery
discussioncastsdoubtonthe
ofnamelessvirtuesinAristotle's
existence
is simplyreporting
views.I hope to
idea thatAristotle
contemporary
show thatAristotleis more innovativethan has previouslybeen
thought.5
In sectionI I explainwhichvirtuesare 'nameless'and whattheir
namelessnessconsistsin. In thenexttwo sectionsI explainhow the
evenwithintheAristotelian
namelessvirtuesare controversial
corpus

that
Williamswhocomplains
Formoreon thefirst
charge,see Bernard
granted...'
andleastusefulpartsofhis
thedoctrine
ofthemeanis 'oneofthemostcelebrated
(Ethicsand theLimitsofPhilosophy
[Aristotle's]
system'and 'is betterforgotten'
MA:HarvardUniversity
Press,1985],36).Thesecondchargehasbeen
[Cambridge,
made most recentlyby GregoryVlastos (Socrates:Ironistand Moral Philosopher

CrownNY:CornellUniversity
Press,1991],179);NeilCooper('Aristotle's
[Ithaca,
Ethics
and
Urmson
22
[Oxford:
Virtue',
J.O.
(Aristotle's
193);
(1989),
Apeiron
ing
Blackwell,
1988],62).Thechargeis an old one.See e.g.,J.A.StewartNoteson the
ClarendonPress,1892),352.Noneof
vol.1 (Oxford:
Ethics
Nicomachean
ofAristotle,
Ackrill
namelessvirtues.
doesnot
authorsdiscussAristotle's
theabove-mentioned
Ethics
inwhichtheyappear.
translate
bookIV ofNicomachean
toargueagainstthesecriticisms
3 Thisis nottoclaimthatitis impossible
usingthe
associateswithnameless
othervirtues(especially
those,perhaps,whichAristotle
the
tothenamelessvirtuessinceI thinkthatinconsidering
vices).I restrict
myself
vividway. A
in a particularly
namelessvirtuesone can addressthecriticisms
ofthenamelessvicesliesbeyondthescopeofthispaper.
discussion
ofthe
ofthedoctrine
4 Thesubstantive
maynotbe whatthedetractors
consequences
arelookinginthewrongplace
thedetractors
meanareexpecting,
but,ifI amright,
areorshouldbe.
forwhatthesesubstantive
consequences
inancientGreeklifebut
areinherent
be objectedthatthenamelessvirtues
5 Itmight
hastwoparts.
nameless.
andtherefore
areunimportant
Myanswertothisobjection
thenamelessvirtueslook
First,I do not meanto claimthat,once articulated,
ofthenamelessvirtueswould
introduction
Ifthatwereso,Aristotle's
unfamiliar.
toparrotbeforeAristotle's
is thatthereis nothing
appearad hoc.AllI am claiming
I shallexplaintowardstheendofmy
ofthenamelessvirtues.
articulation
Secondly,
paperwhythenamelessvirtuesareno meredetails.

Aristotle's'Nameless'Virtues 3

and yetwhythereis no reasonto excludethemfromAristotle's


itself,
listofvirtues.In sectionII I explainhow Aristotle's
introduction
ofthe
namelessvirtueconcerning
smallhonoursintheNicomachean
Ethics(a)
solvesa problemintheEudemian
Ethicswhicharisesbecausethevirtue
is notrecognisedthereand (b) explainswhythereis confusionabout
whatthevirtueis in thesphereofsmallhonours.As I show,boththe
arisefromfailingto applyAristotle's
docproblemand theconfusion
trineofthemeanintheproperway.InsectionIII I explainwhyAristotle
thinksthatthreeofthenamelessvirtuesdo notcountas virtuesin his
Eudemian
Ethicsand whyhe is wrongtodo so. In sectionIV I givesome
forincludingthe namelessvirtuesin the rosterof
reasons
positive
virtuesand I show how thenamelessvirtuestranscendtheparochial
Greekcultureof thefourthcenturyB.C.. In theconcludingsectionI
oftakingthenamelessvirtuesserisuggestsomefurther
implications
both
for
the
of Aristotle's
Ethicsand forestabously,
understanding
the
of
Aristotle's
works.
lishing chronology

I The NamelessnessoftheNamelessVirtues
Thereare fivevirtueswhichAristotlesays are namelessin his Mcomachean
Ethics
smallhonours,
(ENII 7).Thesearethevirtueconcerning
TcpaoTTjq
(mildness),6c^r|0ia
(truthfulness),
empam'kiaor 7u8ei;i6Tr|<;
and
SinceAristotle
refers
toallofthesevirtues
(wit) (piMoc
(friendliness).6
thenamelessness
ofthevirtuesclearlycalls
byname,exceptforthefirst,
forsome explanation.The explanationinvolvesnot only the terms
whichAristotle
uses to describehis virtuesbut also thenoveltyand
hencecontroversial
natureofthevirtuesthemselves.
uses todescribethe
First,intheirordinary
usage,thetermsAristotle
and also thetermsavailableformoderncommentators
touse to
virtues,

6 The translations
are Irwin's(Nicomachean
Ethics[Indianapolis:
Hackett,1985]).I
discussthembelow.Ackrill,
andRossalltranslate
thefirst
fouras follows,
Joachim
and 'readywit'.(J.L.Ackrill,
Aristotle's
'ambition',
'good temper','truthfulness'
Ethics;H.H. Joachim,Aristotle:The NicomacheanEthics,ed. D.A. Rees [Oxford:
ClarendonPress,1978];W.D. Ross translationofNicomachean
Ethicsreprintedin The
ed. J.Barnes,with reviCompleteWorksofAristotle:TheRevisedOxfordTranslation,

sionsbytheeditor[Princeton:
Princeton
Press,1984],Vol.2).
University

4 Paula Gottlieb

has in mind.For
translate
them,do notcaptureexactlywhatAristotle
that
the
term
himself
('mildness')
'Tcpaoxriq'
example,Aristotle
explains
ratherthanaccurately
to the
inclinestowardthedeficiency
referring
mean:
avoovouoi)5'6vto<;xo') 'legox),axeSov
5'ecrci'ieaoTr'qrcep!6pyd<;7ipaoTn<;
8e Kal xcovaKpcov,emto pioov rnv7cpa6xr|Ta
npbqxr'veAAeiyw
cpepo|iev,
a
otiaav
is
mean
with respect to
anoKkivovGOv,
avcovujLio'u
(Mildness
is
and
the
extremes
almost
so too,we
Since
the
mean
nameless,
anger.
in
it
inclines
toward
the
mildness
the
mean,
though
deficiency,
put
which is nameless (EN IV 5, 1125b26-9).)7

used by Aquinas and the


the Latinterm'mansuetudo'
Interestingly,
and 'gentletemper'),
not
'mildness'
translation
(or'gentleness'
English
'
theFrenchterm'placidite'
tomention
, havethesameunwelcomeconnotations.8
saysthathe willuse theGreekwordforfriendship
Again,Aristotle
and quarrelsomeness,
virtuebetweenflattery
nameless
for
the
'(plaice'
because thisvirtuemostresemblesfriendship,
althoughthereis an
the
two.
between
difference
Friendshiprequiresa special
important
does not(EN IV
one
is
the
for
with,friendliness
friendly
person
feeling
as usingthe
and
cite
Aristotle
Scott
Liddell
Indeed,
6, 1126bl9-28).
only
or'amiability'
term'cpiMa'withthesenseof'friendliness'
(p. 1934).Even
a
inaccurate.
To
be
is
'friendliness'
term
theEnglish
friendly
person,
buttoaccept
isnottobe indiscriminately
toAristotle,
friendly,
according
and toobjecttotherightthingsintherightway(EN IV 6, 1126bl6-17).
for
infinding
Therearealso difficulties
adequateEnglishexpressions
like
'wit'(and 'readywit'),
theothernamelessvirtues.The translation

'Nomen
inhiscommentary:
7 AquinasmakesAristotle's
linguistic
pointmoreexplicit
cumtamenex vi nominismagis
assumiturad signandummedium,
autemmansuetudinis
irae' (Lectio XIII of In Decem LibrosEthicorumAristotelisad
declinetad defectum
Nicomachum
Expositio).

MA:Harvard
translation
is Rackham's
8 'Gentleness'
Ethics,
(Eudemian
[Cambridge,
is MJ.
revised
1981]),
Press,
1952],
1935],
temper'
'gentle
reprinted
University
Woods' (Aristotle'sEudemianEthicsBooksI, II and VIII [Oxford:Clarendon Press,

translation.
and J.Y.Jolif's
Theyalso
1982]).'Placidite'is R.A.Gauthier
preferred
a Nicomaque
consider'la douceur'(Aristote:
[Paris:Louvain,1958],Vol II
L'Ethique
Pars1,301).

Aristotle's'Nameless'Virtues 5

theGreekterms'empane^a' and /87ci5e^i0Tr|(;//


conjureup mentaldexand implythatthepersonwiththisvirtuewillknoworbe ableto
terity
makeup manygoodjokesand be good at delivering
them.In fact,the
pointofthevirtueofwitis rathertoenableitspossessortobe sensitive
tohisaudienceand toknowwhena particular
jokewouldbe appropriatetomake(and also toappreciate)and whennot(EN IV 8, 1128a9-33).
as a translation
for'aA,r|0ia',
is simiFinally,theterm'truthfulness'
larlymisleading.It is apt to implythatthetruthful
personwillsimply
tellthetruthon all occasions.Aristotle's
accountofthevirtuehe calls
is moresubtle.His truthful
about
'aA,f|0ioc'
personis onewhois truthful
his own possessions,beliefsand abilitiesand who givesout theright
amountofinformation
on therightoccasions.Aristotle
is oftenthought
torestrict
to
statements
about
butthisis a
oneself,
truth-tellingexplicit
of
his
since
whenever
one
misunderstanding
position,
expressesan
a
one
is
claim
about
one's
own
abilities,
opinion
indirectly
making
the
to
back
the
is
one
especially ability
up
opinion
expressing.9
Not onlymusttheAristotelian
virtuousperson'sstatements
truthreflect
her
but
views
of
her
assessment
of
herself
must
also
herself,
fully
be right.The term'sincerity'
is
therefore
too
(Rackham'stranslation)
orself-deprecanarrow,sincethosewhohavethevicesofboastfulness
tionmayalso be quitesincerein theirassessmentofthemselves;
they
mayjustbe wrongabouttheirabilities.
incallinghisvirtues'nameless'because
Aristotle
is therefore
justified
theGreektermswhichexist,justliketheirmoderntranslations,
do not
fit
the
virtues
he
means
to
describe.10
as
Furthermore,mightbe
exactly
none
of
Aristotle's
nameless
virtues
are treatedas centralby
expected,
hisancientGreekpredecessors
and contemporaries.
The idea of therebeing fourcentralvirtuesseems to have been
popularinPlato'stime,althoughnoteveryonetreatedthesamevirtues
as central.Significantly,
none of Aristotle'snamelessvirtuesappear
wisdom(aoqnoc),
amongthecardinalvirtuesofPlato'sRepublic,
bravery
andjustice(8iKocioat)vr|)
(6cv5pe{a),
(acocppoauvri)
temperance
(e.g.,RepIV

9 I amgrateful
toJ.GoodwinandP. Mooneyforhelpfuldiscussionofthispoint.
10 One mightobjectthatthisis trueofAristotle's
namedvirtuestoo.Ifso,Aristotle
is
evenmoreinnovative
thanI am suggesting
here.

6 Paula Gottlieb

namelessvirtuesappearin anyoftheother
427E).Nor do Aristotle's
extantlistsoffour.11
and magnificence
Plato also mentionsgenerosity(etauGepioTnc;)
in
named
twomoreofAristotle's
virtues,
('ieyaXonpEnem),
prominently,
hisRepublic
(RepIII 402C,cf. RepVII536aandVI 487A).ThenearestPlato
namelessvirtuesis in hisdiscussionof
comesto discussingAristotle's
Sucha person,he says,
student(RepVI 487A).12
thegood philosophical
willbe,amongotherthings,
ataiGeiocq'
'yiXoqxemi GDyyevTic;
('gracious,
a friend
and kintotruth').13
Platowere groping
Even if,as appearsunlikelyfromthecontext,
andtruthfulness
withhis
virtuesoffriendliness
towardstheAristotelian
and truth,
he is clearlydiscussingthetemperamentionofgraciousness
virtues.
thanhisorherfull-blown
ment
rather
ofthestudent,
True,Plato
II
but
he seems
be
mild
must
that
his
375C-E),
(Rep
again,
says
guardian
in mind,forhe worriesabouthow sucha person
tohavetemperament
The qualityof beingmildhas a
can be bothmildand high-spirited.
thanitdoes in Aristotle's
ethics.That
broadersensein Plato'sRepublic
a virtueis
itmeans'quietness'oreven'passivity'and is notnecessarily

butnotby name.
fourmainvirtuesNemIII 70ff,
11 Forexample,Pindarmentions
andpiousman')
as 'a temperate,
describes
just,courageous
Amphiaraus
Aeschylus
valour)for'ccyaBoq'
military
'courageous'(connoting
(Sept610).(On thetranslation
23 (1973)
see J.L.Creed 'MoralValues in Thucydides'time/ClassicalQuarterly
as thefourmain
listscourage,
wisdom,pietyandtemperance
213-31,
217).Isocrates
likePlato,hesubstitutes
inHelen(31),butinEvagoras,
virtues
justiceforpiety.Plato
On this,see J.
virtues
from
the
four
taken
his
have
Pythagoreans.
particular
may
Ch.
world
MoralValuesintheAncient
1958),especially
(London:Methuen,
Ferguson,
see H. North,Sophrosune
3. Formoreon thehistorical
[Ithaca,NY:
background,
Chs3-5.
CornellUniversity
Press,1966],especially
12 In a laterworkPlatogivesa similarlistforthequalitiesoftheyoungpersonwho
absent(LawsIV
willbe ruler,butthephrasequotednextaboveis conspicuously
nisgraciousness
709E-710A).
(Agesilaus
praisesAgesilausforxoei)xP1/
Xenophon
itseemstobe
namelessvirtues;
VIII),butthisisbroaderthananyoneofAristotle's
andmagnanimity.
truthfulness
ofAristotelian
a mixture
friendliness,
Interestingly,
in
the
time
inK.J.Dover'sbook,Greek
(Oxford:
ofPlatoandAristotle
Morality
Popular
for(piA,av9pamioc
BasilBlackwell,
1974),'friendliness'
onlyappearsas a synonym
(201-5).'A^r|0eiadoesnotappearatall.
andakintotruth
as 'gracious,
thesentence
13 Shoreypunctuates
friendly,
incorrectly
andCairns[NewYork:Bollingen
... ' (TheCollected
ofPlato,ed. Hamilton
Dialogues
Foundation,
1966],723).
reprinted

Aristotle's'Nameless'Virtues 7

in a
clearfromthepassagewherePlatonotesthatconvictedcriminals
Aris(RepVIII 558A).14Interestingly,
democracy
displaythisproperty
in deAnima(deAn I 1,
totlehimselflistsmildnessamongtheemotions
namelessvirtuesaretruevirtuesor
Aristotle's
403al7).Indeed,whether
is an important
question,whichI
merelya matterof temperament
addressbelow.
However,it is notnecessaryto go veryfarafieldto appreciatethe
namelessvirtues,
sincewhetherornotthenamenoveltyofAristotle's
even withinthe Aristotelian
less virtuesare virtuesis controversial
In
his
extant
Aristotle
itself.
Plato's
works,
corpus
early
onlymentions
and
cardinalvirtues,
wisdom,bravery,
temperance justice(Protrepticus
5 and 12 (Ross);Topics1 16,108al-3).In a passageinRhetoric
fragments
butincludesonlyone namelessvirtue,
Aristotle
listsa hostofvirtues,
herenamedas mildness(Rhet19, 1366bl-3).15
thepassage
Interestingly,
doctrine
ofthemean(orperhapsitmerely
seemstopredateAristotle's
reflects
foreachvirtue
ordinary
usage),sinceonlyoneviceis mentioned
1
9,
(Rhet 1366b3-20).
Themoststartling
however,isbetweentheNicomachean
discrepancy,
Ethicsand the Eudemian
Ethics.Four of the fivenamelessvirtuesof
NicomacheanEthics do not appear as virtues in EudemianEthics.In

Eudemian
thevirtueconcerning
smallhonoursis notmentioned
Ethics,
atall,andfriendliness,
andwitaresaidnottobe virtuesbut
truthfulness

14 Plato'smention
of7ipa6xr|<;
as passivity
is notunique.H. Northhas an interesting
discussionof theconnection
between7ipaoTr|<;
in Isocrates(e.g.,
(and (lexpioxric;)
Nicodes49) and thepoliticalideal of sophrosune
whichhereconnotesthequiet
and obedienceofsubjects(Sophrosune,
behaviour
147).
Isocratescomesnearestto describing
contemporary
examplesof thevices
associatedwiththenamelessmeansinAreopagiticus
47-54.Thetestimony
ofTheoHis Characters
is a satiredescribing
vicesnot virtues.
phrastusis inconclusive.
Sometimes
hisnamedvicesmatchAristotle's
andsometimes
theydo not,butwhen
histeacherAristotle.
theydo Theophrastus
mayjustbe following
15 Herethemanuscripts
I am usingKassel'stextwhichrelieson a manuscript
differ.
whichincludesmildness.
Ross,theeditoroftheOxfordClassicalText,followsthe
onemanuscript
whichdoesnotmention
thisvirtue.
His reading,
ifaccepted,
would
withinthe
onlystrengthen
myclaimthatthenamelessvirtuesare controversial
Aristotelian
corpusitself.

8 PaulaGottlieb
emotionalmeans(|xea6xr|xe(;..7ra0r|TiKa{)
instead(EE III 7,1233bl7-19).16
I shalldiscussthesecontroversial
virtuesinmoredetailbelow.

II The VirtueConcerningSmallHonours
In Aristotle's
Nicomachean
thepairofvirtues,
Ethics,
(etauGgenerosity
on a grandscale,and magnificence
dLieya^oepiornq)and generosity
are matchedby two virtuesconcernedwith honour,the
7ipe7iia),
withsmallhonoursand a virtueconcerned
namelessvirtueconcerned
withhonouron a grandscale,magnanimity
(ixeyaXo^xio).Although
Aristotlediscussesboth membersof the firstpair of virtuesin his
EudemianEthics,he onlymentionsone memberof the second pair,
I wishto suggestthatthereis a problemarisingin Arismagnanimity.
in Eudemian
Ethicswhichwould be
totle'sdiscussionofmagnanimity
virtue.
ofa newand distinct
solvedbythediscovery
In hisEudemian
Aristotle
is a mean
Ethics,
arguesthatmagnanimity
the
different
attitudes
one
have
towards
statebyfirst
describing
might
ofgreat
fourcharacters,
thepersonwhoisworthy
honours.He describes
so
the
who
is
and
thinks
himself
who
worthyof
worthy, person
things
think
but
not
himself
so
the
who
does
worthy, personwho
greatthings
and the
is worthyofsmallthingsand who thinkshimselfso worthy,
that
but
who
thinks
he
is
who
is
of
small
things
worthy
worthy
person
of greatones. By a processof eliminationusing the schemaof his
is a virtue
concludesthatmagnanimity
doctrineofthemean,Aristotle
and vanity
between the two vices of pusillanimitydniKpoyoxict)
themagnanimous
toAristotle,
(xocovornq).
person,theperson
According
who is worthyof greathonoursand who thinkshimselfso worthy,
ofgreathonoursbutdoesnot
comesbetweenthepersonwhois worthy
ofgreathonoursbut
thinkthathe is,and thepersonwhois notworthy
whothinksthathe is (EE III 5, 1233all-17).
So farso good. However,thisleavesout thepersonwho neitheris
There
northinkshimselfworthyofgreatthings(EE III 5, 1232b32-4).

Ethicsin omitting
thevirtueconcerning
16 TheMagnaMoraliafollowstheEudemian
smallhonours,but theauthorleaves it an open questionwhetherfriendliness,
ornot(MM 132,1193a37-9).
truthfulness
andwitarevirtues

Aristotle's'Nameless'Virtues 9

does notappeartobe a nicheforsucha personin Aristotle's


schema.17
Ifthispersonwerealso vicious,Aristotle
would be leftwitha tetrad,
ratherthana triad,ofvirtueand vices.Aristotle
notesthatone might
thinksucha persontheoppositeofthemagnanimous
person,butthat
thiswouldbe wrong,forsucha personis notblameworthy.
Moreover,
in
far
he is likethemagnanimous
so
as
he
has
the
correct
view
person
ofhisownworth(EE III 5, 1233al9-24).Aristotle
is atpainstopointout
thatsucha personis nottobe identified
withthepusillanimous
person.
Weregreatgoodstobecomeavailableto thepusillanimous
person,he
wouldnotacceptthem,whereasthefourth
sortofpersonwould.This
a
it
what
leaves problem,for is unclear
virtuethe fourthcharacter
exhibits.
Enterthevirtueconcerning
smallhonoursin theNicomachean
Ethics.18

In theNicomachean
EthicsAristotle
introduces
thevirtueconcerning
smallhonoursaftera discussionofthevirtuewhichis especiallyconcernedwithgreathonours,magnanimity.
Thetwoforma pairtomatch
thepairofgenerosity
and magnificence.
Aristotle
says,
... therewouldalso seemtobe a virtueconcerned
withhonourwhose
relationtomagnanimity
seemssimilarto therelationofgenerosity
to
magnificence.19

17 Aristotle's
exampleof theresidentalienshowsthatthepersonleftout maybe
not
butbecausehe is unqualified
unworthy becausehe is unfitforgreathonours,
toreceivetheminhispresent
situation.
18 True,in his discussionofmagnanimity
in Nicomachean
Aristotle
describes
Ethics,
thecharacter
whoisworthy
ofsmallthings
andthinks
himself
so worthy
as acbcppcov
SinceAristotle
has justarguedat lengththatacocppocruvri
is
(EN IV 3, 1123b5-6).
restricted
to physicalpleasures(EN III 10),'oaxppcov'
heremusthave
temperance
theordinary
Greekmeaningof 'sensible'ratherthanitsspecializedAristotelian
sense.Therefore,
thequestionofwhichvirtuesucha personexhibits
remains
open.
in Aristotle's
actualdiscussionof thenamelessvirtueconcerning
(Interestingly,
smallhonours,Aristotle
notesthat'we praisethepersonwho is indifferent
to
honouras measuredandococppcov'
HereagainAristotle
isgiving
[ENIV4,1125b5-6].
theordinary
Greekusage of 'acocppcov'
ratherthanhis own. 'We' refersto those
ancientGreekswhomAristotle
is abouttocriticise.)
ordinary
19 One mightobjectthattheparallelbreaksdownbecausealthoughthemagnificent
themagnanimous
personwillalsobe generous,
personwillnotalsohavethevirtue
smallhonours
becauseAristotle
concerning
saysthatthemagnanimous
personwill
disdainsuchhonours.The objectionfailsifAristotle
thinksof magnanimity
as

10 Paula Gottlieb
Foritabstains,
does,fromanything
greatbutforms
justas generosity
and justas the
therightattitudein us on mediumand smallmatters;
a
an
excess
and a defiadmits
of
and
of
mean,
taking giving money
than
and we
or
less
is
desire
honour
more
so
also
we
can
right,
ciency,
can desireit fromtherightsourcesand in therightway. (EN IV 4,
1125bl-8,tr.Irwin)

Aristotle
claimsthatthereis a namelessmeanbetweentwo vices,an
excess,(pitamuioc
aqutamuioc
(indiffer(loveofhonour)anda deficiency,
to
ence honour).However,becausethemeanhas no name,peopleare
thatthevicesare thevirtues.Aristotle
misledintothinking
says,'But
when themean has no name,theextremeslook like rivalsforit,as
thoughit were unclaimed'(EN IV 4, 1125bl7-8,tr.Irwin).Aristotle
as ifhewerethe
peoplepraisethehonour-lover
explainsthatsometimes
virtuousperson.At othertimestheypraisetheindifferent
personas
virtue
of
the
nameless
The
introduction
virtue.
the
helps
exhibiting
on thetopic.
in people's thinking
explaintheapparentinconsistency
as follows:
Aristotle
dispelstheconfusion
When comparedwithlove of honour,it [sc. the namelessvirtue]
tohonour;whencomparedwithindifference,
appearsas indifference
itappearsas loveofhonour;andwhencomparedwithboth,itappears
in a wayas both.Thiswouldseemtobe trueoftheothervirtuestoo;
butinthiscasetheextreme
peopleappeartobe opposed[onlytoeach
becausetheintermediate
other]
personhasnoname.(ENIV4,1125b215,tr.Irwin)
It is thedoctrineof themean which shows thatthevirtuein any sphere
should come between (at least) two vices. This is what allows Aristotle
to explain that there is a virtue where people had not noticed one
before.

ona largescale,suchas beingaskedtoendowthearts,and


withhonours
concerned
withhonoursona moremundanescale,such
virtueas concerned
ofthecompanion
as beinggiventheappropriate
by someoneone admires.
respectin conversation
willbe inappropriThehonoursthemagnanimous
personwilldisdain,bycontrast,
fordecidingthecolourof
atesmallones,suchas beingaskedtochaira committee
celebration.
ata neighbourhood
thedecorations

Aristotle's'Nameless'Virtues 11

II The 'QuestionableMean-Dispositions'
In his Eudemian
Ethics,Aristotle
arguesthatthreeof theNicomachean
and
Ethics'
namelessvirtues,
6c?ir|0eia
cpi?iia
(friendliness),
(truthfulness)
six
conditions
which
are
not
to
be
classified
are
(wit) among
empaKEXia
as virtues
as virtues(EE III 7).20Theotherthree,whicharenotclassified
in Nicomachean
Ethicseither,
are vejieoi<;
oci8cb<;
(righteous
indignation),
Inbothethicalworks,Aristotle
(shame),andC[iv6xr'q
(dignity).21
argues
thatvirtueis a e^iq(a settleddisposition)
(andnotan emotion)ina mean
II
EE
rational
choice
Ethics
(EN 5-6; II 2-3).In his Eudemian
involving
that
none
of
the
above
conditions
'are
nor
Aristotle
virtues, are
explains
theopposingstatesvices,becausetheydo notinvolve7cpoa(peai(;
(raoftheemotions,
tionalchoice).Theyareall intheclassification
foreach
one is an emotion'(' ... lama 8e 7iavi'eaxlvev xaiq tSv 7ta9r||idTcov
xieoxiv')(EE III 7, 1234a25-7).
In
yapamcov7cd9o<;
8iaipeaeaiv kocgtov
his Nicomachean
Ethics,Aristotleholds the oppositeview; the three
namelessvirtueshavethestatusoffullvirtues.
Aristotle's
identification
of thenamelessvirtueswithemotionsin
AllthreestatesinvolvepowersofreasonEudemian
Ethicsis puzzling.22
Evenwit,whichmightseemtheleastpromising
inganddiscrimination.
in thisregard,involvessuchpowers.It is oftenthoughtthatAristotle

20 Although
thevirtuesinquestionarenamelessand,as I haveexplained,
thenames
Aristotle
touse Aristotle's
names
assignstothemdo notquitefit,I shallcontinue
becausethisis lesscumbersome
thangivinga description
ofeachvirtuewhenever
itis discussed.
21 On ve(j.eaiq
and cxi5(o<;,
see EN II 7, 1108a30-b6
and formoreon whyaiScbqis nota
EN IV 9, 1128blO-33.
is notmentioned
at all. (I hopetoprovidea
virtue,
1e'iv6tt'<;
detailedtreatment
ofall sixconditions
elsewhere.)
22 EvenW.W.Fortenbaugh,
who arguesthattheaccountin Eudemian
Ethicsis the
andtheQuestionable
correct
one('Aristotle
Transactions
Mean-Dispositions/
ofthe
American
Association
99 [1968]203-31),
concedesthatnoneofthenamePhilological
lessvirtues
areclearly
associatedwithanyparticular
emotion,
exceptforwit,which
associateswiththeaesthetic
emotion
of'finding
Fortenbaugh
something
laughable'
ifitexists,is notmentioned
himself.
For
(216),butsuchan emotion,
byAristotle
of thepresuppositions
of Fortenbaugh's
view,see R. Sorabji,
generalcriticism
'Aristotle
on theRoleofIntellect
inVirtue'inA.O. Rorty,
ed.,EssaysonAristotle's
Ethics
ofCalifornia
himself
Press,1980),210-11.Fortenbaugh
(Berkeley:
University
appearstohavechangedhismindaboutthenamelessvirtues
bythetimehewrote
hisbook;Aristotle
onEmotion
(London:Duckworth,
1975),90-1.

12 Paula Gottlieb

abusejustas a matteroftaste.A
approvesinnuendooverout-and-out
that
morelikelyexplanation
is
innuendoinvolvesmorereasoningthan
out-and-out
abuse,and it also requiresand invitesmentalagilityin
no reasonto
response,whereasthelatterdoes not.Thereis therefore
denythesevirtuestheirdue.
classifiesthesevirtuesas
Still,thequestionremainswhyAristotle
Ethics.The idea thattheyjustare
'emotional... means'in his Eudemian
emotionswillnotholdup,althoughemotionsproperaretobe foundin
the triadsof the otherconditionswhichdo not countas full-blown
virtuesineitherwork.Envyand shame,forexample,justareemotions,
theyarenotsettledstatesin virtueofwhichwe
accordingto Aristotle;
on
emotions
particularoccasionsin particularways. The
experience
thethought
thatwitand
Aristotle
should
evenentertain
is
problem why
likethese.I suggestthatAristotle
was worried
friendliness
areemotions
andfriendliness
arematters
oftemperament
rather
thatwit,truthfulness
are describedin
thanvirtue.In fact,thewayin whichtheseconditions
Eudemian
Ethicsmightlendsupportto theidea thatsomeonetemperabluntwoulddo justas wellas the
ortemperamentally
mentally
friendly
Ethics.In his NicomacheanEthics,Arisvirtuousperson in Nicomachean

ofsheertemperament
totlesees thatthesevirtuesareno morematters
Ethics
thanare anyoftheothers.It appears,then,thattheNicomachean
containsthesuperioraccount.
IV IncludingtheNamelessVirtues
thecontroverIn theprevioussectionsI arguedthatdespiterecognising
sial natureof the namelessvirtuesas virtues,Aristotleprovidesno
conclusivereasonnottoconsiderthemvirtues.I now wishto consider
thelistofvirtuestoincludethem.
thepositivereasonsforextending
Aristotle
ofNicomachean
Atthebeginning
Ethics,
presentsan importantargumentrelatinghumanhappinessand the virtuesto human
human
outdistinctively
nature(EN 17). Happinessconsistsincarrying
it
also
with
virtue
in
accordance
i.e.,
well,
(and
requiresthe
activity
itis reasonabletoexpecttheparticular
todo so). Therefore
wherewithal
virtuesto allow theirpossessorsto makegood use oftheirspecifically
as humanbeings.Alltheethical
and hencetoflourish
humanattributes
buttheyeachpick
a centralhumanactivity,
virtuesinvolvereasoning,
The nameless
nature
as
well.
human
of
on
other
aspects
particular
up
Mildnessconcernstheemotionofanger.The
virtuesareno exception.
smallhonoursconcernsthedesireforapprovalor
virtueconcerning
Thethreeothernamelessvirtuesconcernspeech
a
scale.
small
on
respect

Aristotle's'Nameless'Virtues 13

and thesenseofhumour(besidesaction),whicharealso specialcharacteristics


ofhumananimalsaccordingtoAristotle.23
and
concernhumanrelationships
The namelessvirtuesspecifically
boththewaysin whichtheagentshouldpresenthimself
community,
and treatotherpeople,and theways in whichhe shouldaccepttheir
ofhim.Thesevirtuestherefore
deal witha mostimportant
treatment
aspectof humannature,the social.As Aristotlepointsout,'human
(EN IX
beingsarepoliticalanimals,tendingbynatureto livetogether'
9, 1169bl8-19cf.EN 1 7, 1097bll).
The namelessvirtuesarejustas important
as theirnamedcompanions,notonlybecausetheyrelatetoimportant
aspectsofhumanactivity,
butalso becausetheyarenecessaryforanyhumancommunity
toexist
as a community.
conditions
for
a
human
comTheyprovidenecessary
and
that
to
flourish
are
of
itself.
munity
part
flourishing Althoughtheir
differ
from
to
are notparexpression
may
place place,theythemselves
ticularto anyplaceor timeoreven,despiteAristotle's
occasionalcommentstothecontrary,
classand sex.In thecase ofthenamelessvirtues,
itis particularly
clearthattheytranscend
theparochialGreekcultureof
thefourth
B.C.
century
One mightobjectthattheexerciseof thenamelessvirtuesis made
redundant
forexample,
bytheexerciseofthenamedvirtues,
especially,
but
The
not
because
the
nameless
virtuesonly
justice.
objectionfails,
concernprivatelifewhereasthenamedvirtuesconcernlifeinthepublic
Rather,itfailsbecauseifone lacksthevirtueofmildness,for
sphere.24

23 On therelation
tospeechandlanguage,see Pol12,1253a9-18
andTop14,102a20-2;
on laughter,
see PA III 10,673a8and 673a28.
24 Gauthier
andJolif
friendliness
andwitconcern
lifeinsociety
arguethattruthfulness,
wherethisexcludespubliclifeand business,whichtheyclaimis theprovinceof
a Nicomaque,
Vol II,pars1,304-5).Thisrestriction
on the
justice(Aristote:
L'Ethique
The namelessvirtuesare useful,
scope of thenamelessvirtuesis unwarranted.
indeedespecially
inthepublicsphere,forexample
useful,forhumanrelationships
forthediplomat
whoisnegotiating
a treaty
orfortheadvertiser
sellingwares.True,
Aristotle
deniesthatcdr|0eiacoverscontracts
whicharethe
(EN IV 7, 1127a33-4)
ofjustice,
butAristotle
neednotbe contrasting
thepublicspherewiththe
province
he is contrasting
whatis coveredbythelawsofthecityand what
private.Rather,
is not.Virtuousconductin abidingbya contract
is theprovinceoflaw. Virtuous
conductinentering
intothecontract
inthefirst
placeis not.Bothtypesofconduct
areinthepublicsphere.

14 Paula Gottlieb

example,onewillalsolackthepresenceofmindtobejust,and similarly
withtheothervirtues.In otherwords,theobjectionfailsin thefaceof
Aristotle's
claimthatone cannothave anyone virtuefullyunlessone
has all therest(EN VI [=EE V] 13,1144b30-1145a2).25
Aristotle's
thesisabouttheunityofthevirtuescomesin
Admittedly,
Ethicsand the EudemianEthics
a book common to both theNicomachean

where,as we have seen,someofthenamelessvirtuesdo notcountas


EthicsthatArisfull-blown
virtues.However,itis onlyin theEudemian
willcontribute
to
totlesuggeststhatthenamelessvirtueoftruthfulness
an intellectual
virtuewhichis
wisdom((ppovr|(ji<;),
thevirtueofpractical
Hencea nameless
essentialtoall theethicalvirtues(EE III 7,1234a34-5).
virtuewouldappeartobe at theheartofAristotle's
system.
V TakingtheNamelessVirtuesSeriously
in thenamelessvirtuesas such,modern
Despitetheirlackofinterest
of an Aristotelian
oftentreatmildnessas theparadigm
commentators
meanat work.Notonlyis thevirtuenameless,butitis theonlyvirtue
as well(EN
whoseassociatedvicesarebothcallednamelessbyAristotle
II 7, 1108a6).Perhaps,then,thenamelessvirtuesmayprovidespecial
viewson thenatureofthevirtues.26
intoAristotle's
insight
ofthenamelessvirtuesmayrevealmuch
careful
examination
Indeed,
all
virtues.
Forexample,theprinciples
about
the
ofinterest
employedin
small
honours
virtue
the analysisof the
apply to all the
concerning
in
nameless
virtue(EN IV
the
case
of
the
butareespeciallyclear
virtues,

claimabouttheunityof thevirtuesmuchmorefully
25 I shalldefendAristotle's
elsewhere.
or
thevirtuesare'corrective'
26 I also thinkitwillcastlighton thequestionwhether
value'. The idea thattheyare is now very
'remedial'or 'have onlyconditional
andVicesand
influential.
See,forexample,P. Foot,'Virtuesand Vices',in Virtues
California
of
OtherEssaysinMoralPhilosophy
Press,
1978),8,
University
(Berkeley:
and Kanton theSourceof Value',Ethics96 (1986)
11; C. Korsgaard,'Aristotle
and theIdeal
'Aristotle
G. Lawrence,
486-505,
494-5)and mostrecently
especially
of
I thinkthattheexistence
Review
102(1993)1-34.Verybriefly,
Life',Philosophical
unless
thenamelessvirtuescastsdoubton theidea thatthevirtuesarecorrective,
The
countas defectstobe corrected.
havingemotionsand beingsocialcreatures
issuesherearecomplexanddeservea separatepaper.

Aristotle's'Nameless'Virtues 15

ofthe
4, 1125b21-5,
quotedabovein sectionII). Indeed,an examination
virtues
out
the
nameless
of Aristotle's
innovative
brings
significance
triadicview of thevirtuesand vices embodiedin his doctrineof the
mean. As Aristotlehimselfsays, 'It is a good idea to examinethe
namelessvirtuesas wellas theothers.
Forifwe discussparticular
aspects
ofcharacter
one at a time,we willacquirea betterknowledgeofthem;
andifwe surveythevirtuesandseethatineachcasethevirtueisa mean,
in ourbeliefthatthevirtuesare means'
we willhave moreconfidence
(IV 7 1127al5,tr.Irwin,myemphasis).
I hope to have shown thatthe namelessvirtuesare at least as
as theirnamed companionsand thatstudyingthemcasts
important
new lighton thepointof thedoctrineof themean,especiallyon the
idea thateach virtuehas morethanone associatedvice. Not onlyis
Aristotle's
treatment
ofthenamelessvirtuesimportant
in confirming
his doctrineof the mean,but it shows veryclearlythatAristotleis
moreinnovative
thanhas oftenbeenthought.
As an added bonus,my
discussionof the namelessvirtueconcerningsmall honourslends
Ethicsis the more
supportto the view thatAristotle'sNicomachean
maturework.27Althoughthe namelessvirtuesare nameless,they
shouldnotbe consignedto anonymity.28
ofPhilosophy
Department
ofWisconsin
University
5185H.C. WhiteHall
600NorthParkStreet
Madison,WI 53706
U.S.A.

27 A.J.P.Kenny,whochallenges
thisviewinhisbook,TheAristotelian
Ethics:
A Study
betweentheEudemianand NicomacheanEthicsofAristotle(Oxford:
oftheRelationship

OxfordUniversity
Press,1978)doesnotdiscussthenamelessvirtues.

28 Especialthanksto T.M.I.Penner,C. Meinwaldand N. Shermanforveryhelpful


discussion
andcriticisms
ofanearlierdraft.
I havealsobenefited
from
thequestions
ofC. Card,B. Enc.,M. Munn,H. Newell,E. Sober,J.VanOphuijsen,
L. Weitzman
and K. Yandell.I shouldlike to thanktheCenterforHellenicStudiesforthe
tocomplete
thispaper.
opportunity