44 pages 1 hour read


Nicomachean Ethics

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | BCE

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Books 4-6Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Book 4 Summary

In Book 4, Aristotle further examines other virtues and non-virtues. He begins with generosity, which is sandwiched between the two vices of ungenerosity and wastefulness. The generous person takes money from the right places and gives liberally. A wasteful person, however, takes money from any source to enable a habit of constant spending. An ungenerous person, on the other hand, hoards money. Aristotle suggests that when a person begins to dip into the vices of generosity, that person experiences pain. He suggests that pain is a tool the individual uses to direct action toward good. Aristotle then examines the virtue of magnificence, which he states is dependent upon generosity. Magnificence refers to doing something great with one’s life, and that greatness is often interlinked with generosity and wealth.

Similarly, magnanimity is also tied to greatness. Magnanimity describes a person who “thinks himself worthy of great things and is really worthy of them” (66). Aristotle defines the qualities of a magnanimous person as openness and a lack of concern about what is popular.