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whereas Deliberative Excellence is one form of deliberation, and deliberating implies investigating and calculating. But deliberation is not the same as investigation: it is the investigation of a particular subject.1

Nor yet is it skill in Conjecture: for this operates without conscious calculation, and rapidly, whereas deliberating takes a long time, and there is a proverb that execution should be swift but deliberation slow. [3] Again, Deliberative Excellence is not the same as Quickness of mind,2 which is a form of skill in Conjecture.

Nor yet is Deliberative Excellence any form of Opinion.

But inasmuch as a bad deliberator makes mistakes and a good deliberator deliberates correctly,3 it is clear that Deliberative Excellence is some form of correctness; though it is not correctness of Knowledge, nor of Opinion. Correctness cannot be predicated of Knowledge,4 any more than can error, and correctness of Opinion is truth; and also any matter about which one has an opinion has been settled already; [then again Deliberative Excellence necessarily involves conscious calculation. It remains therefore that Deliberative Excellence is correctness in thinking, for thought has not reached the stage of affirmation;]5 for Opinion has passed beyond the stage of investigation and is a form of affirmation, whereas a man deliberating, whether he deliberates well or badly, is investigating and calculating something. [4]

But Deliberative Excellence is a form of correctness in deliberation [so that we have first to investigate what deliberation is, and what object it deals with].6 However, ‘correctness’ in this connection is ambiguous, and plainly it is not every kind of correctness in deliberation that constitutes Deliberative Excellence. A man of deficient self-restraint or a bad man may as a result of calculation arrive at the object he proposes as the right thing to do, so that he will have deliberated correctly, although he will have gained something extremely evil; whereas to have deliberated well is felt to be a good thing. Therefore it is this kind of correctness in deliberation that is Deliberative Excellence, namely being correct in the sense of arriving at something good.7 [5]

But it is possible to arrive at a good conclusion, as well as at a bad one, by a false process of reasoning; one may arrive at what is the right thing to do, but not arrive at it on the right grounds, but by means of a wrong middle term. This quality then, which leads one to arrive at the right conclusion, but not on the right grounds, is still not Deliberative Excellence. [6]

Again, one man may arrive at the right conclusion by prolonged deliberation, while another may do so quickly. The former case also then does not amount to Deliberative Excellence; this is correctness of deliberation as regards what is advantageous, arriving at the right conclusion on the right grounds at the right time.8 [7]

Again, a man can be said to have deliberated well9 either generally, or in reference to a particular end. Deliberative Excellence in general is therefore that which leads to correct results with reference to the end in general, while correctness of deliberation with a view to some particular end is Deliberative Excellence of some special kind.

If therefore to have deliberated well is a characteristic of prudent men, Deliberative Excellence must be correctness of deliberation with regard to what is expedient as a means to the end, a true conception of which10 constitutes Prudence.10.

Understanding, or Good Understanding,

1 Viz., matters of conduct.

2 ἀγχίνοια appears from Aristot. Post. Anal. 1.33, 89b 10, to denote the faculty of guessing immediately the ‘middle term’ or fact which explains the relation observed between two objects.

3 Perhaps the text should be emended to read `inasmuch as one who deliberates badly goes wrong and one who deliberates well acts rightly.’

4 i.e., correct knowledge is a redundant expression; knowledge means correct notions; erroneous notions are not knowledge.

5 The two sentences bracketed interrupt the argument. The rest seems to belong to 9.2, though it does not fit in there exactly. The second is altogether irrelevant, and employs the term διάνοια of the intellect as enquiring, not as contemplating the results of enquiry, a Platonic use not found elsewhere in Aristotle: ‘correctness in thinking’ here is in fact equivalent to ‘correctness in deliberation’ in 9.4.

6 The sentence bracketed interrupts the argument; and no examination of deliberation follows.

7 No distinction seems to be made between arriving at the right conclusion of a practical syllogism, i.e., inferring correctly what is to be done as a means to some End, and actually achieving that End by action.

8 At the right time, because deliberation must neither be so prolonged as to miss the opportunity for action, not so rapid as to be merely skillful conjecture; see 9.2.

9 i.e., to be well-counselled, to know what steps to take: cf. 9.4.

10 The antecedent of ‘which’ is probably not ‘the end’ but ‘what is expedient as a means to the end,’ since it is indicated below that Prudence deals with means, not ends. The difference therefore between Deliberative Excellence and Prudence seems to that the former is the intellectual quality displayed in the process of correctly investigation a problem of conduct, the later the more permanent and fixed quality of the mind possessing and contemplating the results of such investigations. Or perhaps more strictly both these qualities are included in Prudence, of which Deliberative Excellence is therefore one aspect or species.

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