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but it is not possible in regard to those virtues which entitle a man to be called good without qualification. For if a man have the one virtue of Prudence he will also have all the Moral Virtues together with it.) [7]

It is therefore clear1 that, even if Prudence had no bearing on conduct, it would still be needed, because it is the virtue of2 that part of the intellect to which it belongs; and also that our choice of actions will not be right without Prudence any more than without Moral Virtue, since, while Moral Virtue enables us to achieve3 the end, Prudence makes us adopt the right means to the end. [8]

But nevertheless it is not really the case that Prudence is in authority4 over Wisdom, or over the higher part of the intellect, any more than medical science is in authority over health. Medical science does not control health, but studies how to procure it; hence it issues orders in the interests of health, but not to health. And again, one might as well say that Political Science governs the gods, because it gives orders about everything5 in the State.

1 The writer recapitulates the solution reached in the last two chapters of the difficulty stated in 12.1.

2 The text should probably be emended ‘of one of the two parts of the intellect’: see 12.4.

3 At 12.6 Aristotle says more precisely that Virtue ‘makes the End right,’ i.e., makes us choose the right End; strictly speaking, to achieve the End requires also Prudence in the choice of the right means.

4 This is the solution of the difficulty stated in 12.3.

5 Including religious observances.

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