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although he will have gained something extremely evil; whereas to have deliberated well is felt to be a good thing. Therefore it is this kind of correctness in deliberation that is Deliberative Excellence, namely being correct in the sense of arriving at something good.1 [5]

But it is possible to arrive at a good conclusion, as well as at a bad one, by a false process of reasoning; one may arrive at what is the right thing to do, but not arrive at it on the right grounds, but by means of a wrong middle term. This quality then, which leads one to arrive at the right conclusion, but not on the right grounds, is still not Deliberative Excellence. [6]

Again, one man may arrive at the right conclusion by prolonged deliberation, while another may do so quickly. The former case also then does not amount to Deliberative Excellence; this is correctness of deliberation as regards what is advantageous, arriving at the right conclusion on the right grounds at the right time.2 [7]

Again, a man can be said to have deliberated well3 either generally, or in reference to a particular end. Deliberative Excellence in general is therefore that which leads to correct results with reference to the end in general, while correctness of deliberation with a view to some particular end is Deliberative Excellence of some special kind.

If therefore to have deliberated well is a characteristic of prudent men, Deliberative Excellence must be correctness of deliberation with regard to what is expedient as a means to the end, a true conception of which4 constitutes Prudence.10.

Understanding, or Good Understanding,

1 No distinction seems to be made between arriving at the right conclusion of a practical syllogism, i.e., inferring correctly what is to be done as a means to some End, and actually achieving that End by action.

2 At the right time, because deliberation must neither be so prolonged as to miss the opportunity for action, not so rapid as to be merely skillful conjecture; see 9.2.

3 i.e., to be well-counselled, to know what steps to take: cf. 9.4.

4 The antecedent of ‘which’ is probably not ‘the end’ but ‘what is expedient as a means to the end,’ since it is indicated below that Prudence deals with means, not ends. The difference therefore between Deliberative Excellence and Prudence seems to that the former is the intellectual quality displayed in the process of correctly investigation a problem of conduct, the later the more permanent and fixed quality of the mind possessing and contemplating the results of such investigations. Or perhaps more strictly both these qualities are included in Prudence, of which Deliberative Excellence is therefore one aspect or species.

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