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3. [2] The term ‘object of deliberation’ presumably must not be taken to include things about which a fool or a madman might deliberate, but to mean what a sensible person would deliberate about.3. [3]

Well then, nobody deliberates about things eternal,1 such as the order of the universe, or the incommensurability of the diagonal and the side, of a square. 3. [4] Nor yet about things that change but follow a regular process, whether from necessity or by nature2 or through some other cause: such phenomena for instance as the solstices and the sunrise. 3. [5] Nor about irregular occurrences, such as droughts and rains. Nor about the results of chance, such as finding a hidden treasure. 3. [6] The reason3 why we do not deliberate about these things is that none of them can be effected by our agency. 3. [7] We deliberate about things that are in our control and are attainable by action (which are in fact the only things that still remain to be considered; for Nature, Necessity, and Chance, with the addition of Intelligence and human agency generally, exhaust the generally accepted list of causes). But we do not deliberate about all human affairs without exception either: for example, no Lacedaemonian deliberates about the best form of government4 for Scythia; but any particular set of men deliberates about the things attainable by their own actions.

1 The term includes the notion if immutability.

2 Here and in 3.7 ‘necessity’ denotes natural law in the inanimate world, while ‘nature’ or ‘growth’ means natural law as governing animate creatures. Aristotle held that these agencies, and with them the operation of human intelligence and art, beside their designed results, produced by their interplay certain by-products in the shape of undesigned and irregular occurrences, which are referred to in the next section. These in the natural world he spoke of as due to τὸ αὐτόματον, or ‘spontaneous’; when due to the activity of man he ascribed them to fortune or chance. In 3.7 chance is made to include ‘the spontaneous.’

3 In the mss. the words ‘The reason why . . . list of causes’ come after ‘But we do not deliberate . . . Scythia.’

4 Or, ‘the best line of policy.’

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