Summary and Analysis Book VII: Chapter VI



Incontinence in anger is less reprehensible than incontinence in desire for pleasure. In fact, incontinent desire is so bad that it can be equated with vice without making any qualification. The reasons for this distinction are:

  1. Up to a certain point anger is amenable to reason, but excessive desire is not.
  2. Anger and bad temper are more common human frailties than desire for excessive and unnecessary pleasures.
  3. Anger is open and above board, but desire is crafty and secret, and craftiness is usually considered a very bad thing.
  4. A man always experiences painful emotions when he is angry, but does not suffer any pain when he acts incontinently. Moreover, if the wrongness of an act is measured by the degree of righteousindignation felt by its victim, incontinent desire is worse than anger since the victim of anger does not have to endure brutish treatment.