Wickedness: A Philosophical Essay

Midgley, Mary

Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984

p. 59

Aristotle, distinguishes (Midgley’s words) “people of weak will, who do wrong against their real wishes , and vicious people, who do wrong contentedly and with conviction.” Interestingly, weak people usually know and accept the description of themselves as morally weak. “With vice, this is not usually so. Contentedly vicious people do not as a rule describe themselves as vicious, nor even think their actions wrong. They tend either to justify them or to reject moral questions as pointless and irrelevant. In general, as Aristotle [and Plato, Republic, III, 409] said, ‘vice is unconscious of itself; weakness is not.’”