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animals have sensation but are not capable of action.1

2Pursuit and avoidance in the sphere of Desire correspond to affirmation and denial in the sphere of the Intellect. Hence inasmuch as moral virtue is a disposition of the mind in regard to choice,3 and choice is deliberate desire,4 it follows that, if the choice is to be good, both the principle must be true and the desire right, and that desire must pursue the same things as principle affirms. 2. [3] We are here speaking of practical thinking, and of the attainment of truth in regard to action; with speculative thought, which is not concerned with action or production, right and wrong functioning consist in the attainment of truth and falsehood respectively. The attainment of truth is indeed the function of every part of the intellect, but that of the practical intelligence is the attainment of truth corresponding to right desire.5 2. [4]

Now the cause of action (the efficient, not the final cause) is choice,6 and the cause of choice is desire and reasoning directed to some end. Hence choice necessarily involves both intellect or thought and a certain disposition of character [7 for doing well and the reverse in the sphere of action necessarily involve thought and character].2. [5]

Thought by itself however moves nothing, but only thought directed to an end, and dealing with action.

1 πρᾶξις means rational action, conduct. The movements of animals, Aristotle appears to think, are mere reactions to the stimuli of sensation.

2 Greenwood points out that the passage would be clearer if 2.2 mid.-3, ‘Pursuit . . . right desire,’ and 2.5, ‘Thought by itself . . . desire aims,’ came lower down, after the verse-quotation in 2.6. The earlier part of 6 is a parenthetical note.

3 2.6.15.

4 3.3.19.

5 i.e., truth about the means to the attainment of the rightly desired End.

6 Cf. 3.2.1 note. Here again προαίρεσις seems to mean choice of means, not of ends.

7 This clause must be rejected as superfluous and logically unsound: the nature of action is explained by that of ‘choice,’ not vice versa.

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