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the quality in virtue of which we call men ‘persons of understanding’ or ‘of good understanding,’ is not the same thing as Scientific Knowledge in general (nor yet is it the same as Opinion, for in that case everybody would have understanding), nor is it any one of the particular sciences, as medicine is the science of what pertains to health and geometry the science concerned with magnitudes. [2] For Understanding does not deal with the things that exist for ever and are immutable, nor yet with all of the things that come into existence, but with those about which one may be in doubt and may deliberate. Hence it is concerned with the same objects as Prudence. Understanding is not however the same thing as Prudence; for Prudence issues commands, since its end is a statement of what we ought to do or not to do, whereas Understanding merely makes judgements. (For Understanding is the same as Good Understanding; a ‘man of understanding’ means a man of good understanding.)1 [3]

Thus Understanding does not mean either the possession or the acquisition of Prudence; but when we employ the faculty of Opinion to judge what another person says about matters that are in the sphere of Prudence, we are said to understand (that is, to judge rightly for right judgement is the same as good understanding), in the same way as learning a thing is termed understanding it when we are employing the faculty of Scientific Knowledge. [4] In fact, the use of the term Understanding to denote the quality that makes men ‘persons of good understanding’ is derived from understanding as shown in learning; in fact we often use ‘to learn’ in the sense of ‘to understand.’2 11.

The quality termed Consideration,3 in virtue of which men are said to be considerate, or to show consideration for others (forgiveness), is the faculty of judging correctly what is equitable. This is indicated by our saying that the equitable man is specially considerate for others (forgiving), and that it is equitable to show consideration for others (forgiveness) in certain cases; but consideration for others is that consideration which judges rightly what is equitable, judging rightly meaning judging what is truly equitable. [2]

All these qualities, it is reasonable to say, refer to the same thing; indeed we attribute Considerateness, Understanding, Prudence, and Intelligence to the same persons when we say of people that they ‘are old enough to show consideration and intelligence,’4 and are prudent and understanding persons. For all these faculties deal with ultimate and particular things; and a man has understanding and is considerate, or considerate for others, when he is a good judge of the matters in regard to which Prudence is displayed5; because equitable actions are common to all good men6 in their behavior towards others, [3] while on the other hand all matters of conduct belong to the class of particular and ultimate things (since the prudent man admittedly has to take cognizance of these things), and Understanding and Consideration deal with matters of conduct, which are ultimate. [4] Also Intelligence apprehends the ultimates in both aspects—since ultimates as well as primary definitions7

1 This parenthesis would come better in the first section, after the words ‘of good understanding.’ It merely points out that the qualification ‘good’ need not be repeated.

2 μανθάνειν is idiomatically used of understanding what another person says.

3 The writer here strains the meaning of words by connecting under one sense (1) γνώμη, judgement in general or good judgement in particular, and its derivatives (2) εὐγνώμων, ‘well-judging’ in the sense of considerate and kindly, and (3) συγγνώμη, literally ‘judgement with’ or on the side of others, and hence, sympathy, lenience, forgiveness.

4 i.e., ‘have reached years of discretion’; cf. 11.6 and 8.12.2.

5 This has been proved for ‘understanding’ and ‘the sensible man’ in chap. 10; it is extended to ‘considerateness’ in the words that follow: considerateness judges correctly what is equitable, equity is an element in all virtuous conduct towards others, and all virtuous conduct is determined by Prudence.

6 i.e., the possessors of each of the moral virtues.

7 See 8.9.

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