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[1226a] [1] And similarly it is manifest that purposive choice is not opinion either, nor something that one simply thinks; for we saw1 that a thing chosen is something in one's own power, but we have opinions as to many things that do not depend on us, for instance that the diagonal of a square is incommensurable2 with the side; and again, choice is not true or false. Nor yet is purposive choice an opinion about practicable things within one's own power that makes us think that we ought to do or not to do something; but this characteristic is common to opinion and to wish. For no one purposively chooses any End, but the means to his End—I mean for instance no one chooses to be healthy, but to take a walk or sit down for the sake of being healthy, no one chooses to be well off, but to go into business or to speculate for the sake of being well off; and generally, one who makes a choice always makes it clear both what his choice is and what its object is, 'object' meaning that for the sake of which he chooses something else and 'choice' meaning that which he chooses for the sake of something else. Whereas clearly it is specially an End that a man wishes, and the feeling that he ought to be healthy and prosperous is an opinion. So these considerations make it clear that purposive choice is different from both opinion and wish. Forming wishes and forming opinions apply specially to one's End; purposive choice is not of Ends.

It is clear, then, that purposive choice is not either wish or opinion or judgement simply; but in what does it differ from them? and how is it related to the voluntary? [20] To answer these questions will make it clear what purposive choice is. Now of things that can both be and not be, some are such that it is possible to deliberate about them, but about others it is not possible. Some things can either be or not be but their coming into being does not rest with us, but in some cases is due to the operation of nature and in others to other causes; and about these things nobody would deliberate unless in ignorance of the facts. But with some things not only their existence or non-existence is possible, but also for human beings to deliberate about them; and these are all the things that it rests with us to do or not to do. Hence we do not deliberate about affairs in India, or about how to square the circle; for affairs in India do not rest with us, whereas the objects of choice and things practicable are among things resting with us, and squaring the circle is entirely impracticable (and thus it is clear that purposive choice is not simply opinion either). But purposive choice does not deal with all the practicable things resting with us either. Hence one might also raise the question, why is it exactly that, whereas doctors deliberate about things in their field of science, scholars do not? The reason is that since error occurs in two ways (for we err either in reasoning, or in perception when actually doing the thing), in medicine it is possible to err in both ways, but in grammar error only occurs in our perception and action,

1 Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1223a 16-19.

2 The Mss. give 'commensurable,' but there is no point in specifying an untrue opinion. Cf. Aristot. Nic. Eth. 1112a 22περὶ δὴ τῶν ἀϊδίων οὐδεὶς βουλεύεται, οἷον περὶ τοῦ κόσμου, τῆς διαμέτρου καὶ τῆς πλευρᾶς ὅτι ἀσύμμετροι (where Kb has σύμμετροι).

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