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[1247b] [1] for the fortunate are those for whom good fortune is a cause of good things.

But if so, shall we say that there is no such thing as fortune at all, or that it does exist but is not a cause? No, it must both exist and be a cause. Consequently it will furthermore be a cause of goods or evils to certain persons; whereas if fortune is to be eliminated altogether, then nothing must be said to come about from fortune, in spite of the fact that, although there is another cause, because we do not see it we say that fortune is a cause—owing to which people give it as a definition of fortune that it is a cause incalculable to human reasoning, implying that it is a real natural principle. This, then, would be a matter for another inquiry. But since we see that some people have good fortune on one occasion, why should they not succeed a second time too owing to the same cause? and a third time? and a fourth? for the same cause produces the same effect. Therefore this will not be a matter of fortune; but when the same result follows from indeterminate and in definite antecedents, it will be good or bad for somebody, but there will not be the knowledge of it that comes by experience, since, if there were, some fortunate persons would learn it, or indeed all branches of knowledge would, as Socrates said,1 be forms of good fortune. What, then, prevents such things from happening to somebody a number of times running not because he has a certain character, but in the way in which for instance it would be possible to make the highest throw at dice every time? And what then? are there not some impulses in the spirit that arise from reasoning and others from irrational appetition? and are not the latter prior? [20] because if the impulse caused by desire for what is pleasant exists by nature, appetition also would merely by nature proceed towards what is good in every case. If, therefore, some men have good natures—just as musical people though they have not learnt to sing2 have a natural aptitude for it—and without the aid of reason have an impulse in the direction of the natural order of things and desire the right thing in the right way at the right time, these men will succeed even although they are in fact foolish and irrational, just as the others will sing well although unable to teach singing. And men of this sort obviously are fortunate—men who without the aid of reason are usually successful. Hence it will follow that the fortunate are so by nature.

Or has the term 'good fortune' more than one meaning? For some things are done from impulse and as a result of the agents' purposive choice, other things not so but on the contrary; and if in the former cases when the agents succeed they seem to have reasoned badly, we say that in fact they have had good fortune; and again in the latter cases, if they wished for a different good or less good than they have got. The former persons then may possibly owe their good fortune to nature, for their impulse and appetition, being for the right object, succeeded, but their reasoning was foolish; and in their case, when it happens that their reasoning seems to be incorrect but that impulse is the cause of it, this impulse being right has saved them; although sometimes on the contrary owing to appetite they have reasoned in this way and come to misfortune. But in the case of the others,3 then, how will good fortune be due to natural goodness of appetition and desire?

1 Plat. Euthyd. 279d.

2 Or, with Jackson's additions, 'just as untaught musical geniuses, without professional knowledge of singing.'

3 Cf. Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1247b 30τὰ δ᾽ οὔ( Solomon).

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