ADVANTAGES

Book VII makes the point that pleasures interfere with each other, andso even if all kinds of pleasures are good, it does not follow thatall of them are worth choosing. One must make a selection amongpleasures by determining which are better. But how is one to make thischoice? Book VII does not say, but in Book X, Aristotle holds that theselection of pleasures is not to be made with reference to pleasureitself, but with reference to the activities theyaccompany. “Since activities differ with respect to goodness andbadness, some being worth choosing, others worth avoiding, and othersneither, the same is true of pleasures as well”(1175b24–6). Aristotle's statement implies that in order to determinewhether (for example) the pleasure of virtuous activity is moredesirable than that of eating, we are not to attend to the pleasuresthemselves but to the activities with which we are pleased. Apleasure's goodness derives from the goodness of its associatedactivity. And surely the reason why pleasure is not the criterion towhich we should look in making these decisions is that it is not thegood. The standard we should use in making comparisons between rivaloptions is virtuous activity, because that has been shown to beidentical to happiness.

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