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Our proper course with this subject as with others will be to present the various views about it, and then, after first reviewing the difficulties they involve, finally to establish if possible all or, if not all, the greater part and the most important of the opinions generally held with respect to these states of mind; since if the discrepancies can be solved, and a residuum of current opinion left standing, the true view will have been sufficiently established.1

1 Aristotle holds (1.8.7) that the opinions of the mass of mankind, and of philosophers, on matters of conduct are likely to be substantially true; although being stated from different points of view, and sometimes in ambiguous language, they often seem mutually contradictory. The business of Ethics is to state them clearly, examine their apparent contradictions, discard such parts of them as really refute each other, and elicit the common residuum of truth: see infra, 2.12.

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