Nicomachean Ethics

by: Aristotle

Book VII

1

[T]hey say that when the incontinent person is overcome by pleasure he has only belief, not knowledge. If, however, he has belief, not knowledge, and the supposition that resists is not strong, but only a weak one, such as people have when they are in doubt, we will pardon failure to abide by these beliefs against strong appetites. In fact, however, we do not pardon vice, or any other blameworthy condition [and incontinence is one of these].

2

[S]ome people, such as those asleep or mad or drunk, both have knowledge in a way and do not have it. Moreover, this is the condition of those affected by strong feelings. For spirited reactions, sexual appetites, and some conditions of this sort clearly [both disturb knowledge and] disturb the body as well, and even produce fits of madness in some people.

3

Among the incontinent people themselves, those who abandon themselves [to desire, i.e., the impetuous] are better than those [i.e., the weak] who have reason but do not abide by it. For the second type are overcome by a less strong feeling, and do not act without having deliberated, as the first type do.