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for instance, to mention the most visible, the things1 of which the celestial system is composed. [5]

These considerations therefore show that Wisdom is both Scientific Knowledge and Intuitive Intelligence as regards the things of the most exalted2 nature. This is why people say that men like Anaxagoras and Thales3 ‘may be wise but are not prudent,’ when they see them display ignorance of their own interests; and while admitting them to possess a knowledge that is rare, marvellous, difficult and even superhuman, they yet declare this knowledge to be useless, because these sages do not seek to know the things that are good for human beings. [6] Prudence on the other hand is concerned with the affairs of men, and with things that can be the object of deliberation. For we say that to deliberate well is the most characteristic function of the prudent man; but no one deliberates about things that cannot vary nor yet about variable things that are not a means to some end, and that end a good attainable by action; and a good deliberator in general is a man who can arrive by calculation at the best of the goods attainable by man. [7]

Nor is Prudence a knowledge of general principles only: it must also take account of particular facts, since it is concerned with action, and action deals with particular things. This is why men who are ignorant of general principles are sometimes more successful in action than others who know them: 4 for instance, if a man knows that light meat is easily digested and therefore wholesome, but does not know what kinds of meat are light, he will not be so likely to restore you to health as a man who merely knows that chicken is wholesome; and in other matters men of experience are more successful than theorists. And Prudence is concerned with action, so one requires both forms of it, or indeed knowledge of particular facts even more than knowledge of general principles. Though here too there must be some supreme directing faculty.5 8.

Prudence is indeed the same quality of mind as Political Science, though their essence is different.6 [2] Of Prudence as regards the state, one kind, as supreme and directive, is called Legislative Science7; the other, as dealing with particular occurrences, has the name, Political Science, that really belongs to both kinds. The latter is concerned with action and deliberation (for a parliamentary enactment is a thing to be done, being the last step8 in a deliberative process), and this is why it is only those persons who deal with particular facts who are spoken of as ‘taking part in politics,’ because it is only they who perform actions, like the workmen in an industry.9 [3] Prudence also is commonly understood to mean especially that kind of wisdom which is concerned with oneself, the individual; and this is given the name, Prudence, which really belongs to all the kinds, while the others are distinguished as Domestic Economy, Legislature, and Political Science, the latter being subdivided into Deliberative Science and Judicial Science. [4] Now knowledge of one's own interest will certainly be one kind of Prudence; though it is very different from the other kinds,

1 This means apparently the sun, stars, and planets, elsewhere referred to by Aristotle as ‘the divine bodies that move through the heaven,’ ‘the visible divine things,’ ‘the heaven and the most divine of visible things’ (Aristot. Met. 1074a 30, Aristot. Met. 1026a 18, Aristot. Phys. 196a 33).

2 See 7.3, third note.

3 Thales was the first of the Seven Wise Men: Anaxagoras belonged to a later generation.

4 The words ‘for instance . . . chicken is wholesome’ in the mss. come after ‘theorists.’

5 i.e., πολιτική, Political Science or Statesmanship (cf. Bk. 1.1, 2), the relation of which to Prudence is next considered.

6 Cf. 5.1.20. Political Wisdom is not a special sort of Prudence but a special application of it, for though the term ‘Prudence’ is in ordinary usage confined to practical wisdom in one's private affairs, it really extends to the affairs of one's family and of the community.

7 In the Greek city-state legislature was not regarded as the normal function of parliament, but of a founder or reformer of the constitution, or of a special legislative commission.

8 Cf. 3.3.12.

9 In contrast with the law-giver and the master-craftsman respectively.

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