Summary and Analysis Book III: Chapter XII



Self-indulgence is motivated by pleasure while cowardice is motivated by pain. Pain upsets and destroys the nature of a man experiencing pain, but pleasure does not, so self-indulgence is classified as more voluntary than cowardice and more reprehensible. The acts of a self-indulgent man are always voluntary. Cowardice is voluntary also, but there are certain situations in which specific cowardly acts can be considered as having taken place under constraint and thus being involuntary. The acts of a self-indulgent man are due to desire, but no one desires to be a coward. Besides. resistance to self-indulgence does not involve danger, while resistance to cowardice in a fearful situation may be dangerous.

Wanton self-indulgence in adults is similar to the naughtiness of children. In both instances life is governed entirely by appetite and desire, unrestrained by a rational principle.