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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

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.’

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