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are grasped by Intelligence and not reached by reasoning: in demonstrations, Intelligence apprehends the immutable and primary definitions, in practical inferences,1 it apprehends the ultimate and contingent fact, and the minor, premise, since these are the first principles from which the end is inferred, as general rules are based on particular cases; hence we must have perception of particulars, and this immediate perception is Intelligence.2 [5]

This is why it is thought that these qualities are a natural gift, and that a man is considerate, understanding and intelligent by nature, though no one is a wise man by nature. [6] That this is so is indicated by our thinking of them as going with certain ages: we say that at such and such an age a man must have got intelligence and considerateness, which implies that they come by nature.

[Hence Intelligence is both a beginning and an end, for these things are both the starting-point and the subject matter of demonstration.]3

Consequently the unproved assertions and opinions of experienced and elderly people, or of prudent men,4 are as much deserving of attention as those which they support by proof; for experience has given them an eye for things, and so they see correctly. [7]

We have now discussed the nature and respective spheres of Prudence and Wisdom, and have shown that each is the virtue of a different part of the soul.12.

But the further question may be raised, What is the use of these intellectual virtues? Wisdom does not consider the means to human happiness at all, for it does not ask how anything comes into existence. Prudence, it must be granted, does do this; but what do we need it for? seeing that it studies that which is just and noble and good for man, but these are the things that a good man does by nature. Knowing about them does not make us any more capable of doing them, since the virtues are qualities of character; just as is the case with the knowledge of what is healthy and vigorous—using these words to mean not productive of health and vigor but resulting from them: we are not rendered any more capable of healthy and vigorous action by knowing the science of medicine or of physical training. [2]

If on the other hand we are to say that Prudence is useful not in helping us to act virtuously but in helping us to become virtuous, then it is of no use to those who are virtuous already. Nor is it of any use either to those who are not, since we may just as well take the advice of others who possess Prudence as possess Prudence ourselves. We may be content to do as we do in regard to our health; we want to be healthy, yet we do not learn medicine. [3]

Moreover it would seem strange if Prudence, which is inferior to Wisdom, is nevertheless to have greater authority than Wisdom: yet the faculty that creates a thing5 governs and gives orders to it.

Let us now therefore discuss these difficulties, which so far have only been stated.

1 The substantive to be understood may be προτάσεσι, ‘propositions’; but the reference seems to be not to the practical syllogism in the ordinary sense (see 7.3.9), but to the establishment of ethical ἀρχαί by induction, which is the proper method of Ethics (1.4.5-7). This induction is conceived as a syllogism (cf. Aristot. Pr. Anal. 2.23.): Actions A, B, C . . . are desirable; Actions A, B, C . . .possess the quality Z; therefore all actions possessing the quality Z are desirable. Here both the major and the minor premise are sets of particular propositions intuitively seen to be true: νοῦς is τῶν ἐσχάτων ἐπ᾽ ἀμφότερα.

2 Here the intuitive element in Prudence, as well as in Wisdom (chaps. 5, 6.), is termed Intelligence: at 8.9 it was called merely Prudence, in contrast with Intelligence, which was limited to intuition of the first principles of science. Here then νοῦς approximates to its popular sense (see 12.3, note).

3 This sentence seems irrelevant here. It might come in after 11.4.

4 This addition is auspicious: no one can become prudent merely by getting old ( Burnet).

5 See 13.8, where it is implied that Prudence stands in the same relation to Wisdom as medicine to health: it provides the conditions for its development.

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