Aristotle on Selfishness


Understanding the Iconoclasm of Nicomachean Ethics ix 8.

For if any one is constantly anxious that he himself more than any other person should do what is just, or temperate, or any thing else connected with virtue, and in short is always for gaining something honourable for himself, no one would call such a man selfish, nor blame him. And yet such a character as this would seem to be particularly selfish for he gives to himself what is most honourable and the greatest of goods, and gratifies the governing part of himself, and obeys it in every- thing. (NE ix 8.1168b23-31 Anonymous trans. 1826)