After this our next task is presumably to discuss pleasure, because pleasure seems to be especially closely associated with beings like us. This is why people educate the young by steering them in the right direction with pleasure and pain. Also, enjoying and hating the right things seem the most important factors in virtue of character, because pleasure and pain run through the whole of life; and they have weighty significance for virtue and the happy life, since people rationally choose what is pleasant, and avoid what is painful. It would seem, then, that these are the last things that should be ignored, especially since there is much dispute about them: some say that pleasure is the good, while others say on the contrary that it is thoroughly bad.
Some of those who say it is bad presumably say this because they are convinced that this is how things are. Others, however, say it because they believe that it is better with a view to how we live to represent pleasure as a bad thing, even if it is not. For they think that the masses are inclined towards it and are slaves to their pleasures, and that we ought therefore to lead them in the opposite direction, since in this way they might arrive at the mean point. But surely this view is incorrect. For in matters to do with feelings and actions, arguments are less reliable than the facts; so when they conflict with the facts of perception, they are scorned, and undermine the truth as well. For if a person who criticizes pleasure is once seen aiming at it, the reason for his inclining towards it is thought to be that he regards all pleasure as worth pursuing, because it is not characteristic of the masses to draw distinctions. True arguments, then, seem to be the most useful, not only in the acquisition of knowledge, but in how we live. For since they are in harmony with the facts, they are believed, and for that reason they spur those who understand them to live in accordance with them.