"Excellence or virtue is a settled disposition of the mind that determines our choice of actions and emotions and consists essentially in observing the mean relative to us ... a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect."
"The government, which is the supreme authority in states, must be in the hands of one, or of a few, or of the many. The true forms of government, therefore, are those in which the one, the few, or the many, govern with a view to the common interest."
"Of the modes of persuasion furnished by the spoken word there are three kinds. The first kind depends on the personal character ofthe speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, provided by the words of the speech itself."
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
"It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician demonstrative proofs."
"The legislator should direct his attention above all to the education of youth; for the neglect of education does harm to the constitution. The citizen should be molded to suit the form of government under which he lives. For each government has a peculiar character which originally formed and which continues to preserve it. The character of democracy creates democracy, and the character of oligarchy creates oligarchy."
"The investigation of the truth is in one way hard, in another easy. An indication of this is found in the fact that no one is ableto obtain the truth adequately, while on the other hand, no one fails entirely, but everyone says something true about the nature of things, and while individually they contribute little or nothing to the truth, by the union of all a considerable amount is amassed. Therefore, since the truth seems to be like the proverbial door, which no one can fail to hit, in this way it is easy, but the fact that we can have a whole truth, and not the particular part we aim at shows the difficulty of it."
"A poet's object is not to tell what actually happened but what could or would happen either probably or inevitably.... For this reason poetry is something more scientific and serious than history, because poetry tends to give general truths while history gives particular facts."
"Hence a young man is not a proper hearer of lectures on political science; for he is inexperienced in the actions that occur in life, but its discussions start from these and are about these; and, further, since he tends to follow his passions, his study will be vain and unprofitable, because the end aimed at is not knowledge but action."
"The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit."