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The quality termed Consideration,1 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,’2 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 displayed3; because equitable actions are common to all good men4 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 definitions5 are grasped by Intelligence and not reached by reasoning: in demonstrations, Intelligence apprehends the immutable and primary definitions, in practical inferences,6 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.7 [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.]8

Consequently the unproved assertions and opinions of experienced and elderly people, or of prudent men,9 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.

1 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.

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

3 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.

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

5 See 8.9.

6 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.

7 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).

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

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

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