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Ethics

Aristotle

Summary and Analysis Book IX: Chapter VIII - Self-Love

Summary

There are good and bad forms of self-love, depending on what sort of self it is that one loves. Lustful and greedy men, whose life is given over to the satisfaction of passion and desire (i.e., the irrational parts of their souls) are self-lovers in the bad sense. To be accurate, one might say that they do not really love themselves at all. The good man loves himself in the best and most virtuous way. Since his aspirations are noble and virtuous, his actions, though motivated by self-love, are often unselfish and self-sacrificing. The aim of the good man is to achieve the good and this usually involves the good of his community and those around him also.