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3. [6]

(2) Again, reasoning on matters of conduct employs premises of two forms.1 Now it is quite possible for a man to act against knowledge when he knows both premises but is only exercising his knowledge of the universal premise and not of the particular; for action has to do with particular things. Moreover, there is a distinction as regards the universal term: one universal is predicated of the man himself, the other of the thing; for example, he may know and be conscious of the knowledge that dry food is good for every man and that he himself is a man, or even that food of a certain kind is dry, but either not possess or not be actualizing the knowledge whether the particular food before him is food of that kind. Now clearly the distinction between these two ways of knowing will make all the difference in the world. It will not seem at all strange that the unrestrained man should ‘know’ in one way, but it would be astonishing if he knew in another way.3. [7]

(3) Again, it is possible for men to ‘have knowledge’ in yet another way besides those just discussed; for even in the state of having knowledge without exercising it we can observe a distinction: a man may in a sense both have it and not have it; for instance, when he is asleep, or mad, or drunk. But persons under the influence of passion are in the same condition; for it is evident that anger, sexual desire, and certain other passions, actually alter the state of the body, and in some cases even cause madness. It is clear therefore that we must pronounce the unrestrained to ‘have knowledge’ only in the same way as men who are asleep or mad or drunk. 3. [8] Their using the language of knowledge2 is no proof that they possess it. Persons in the states mentioned3 repeat propositions of geometry and verses of Empedocles; students who have just begun a subject reel off its formulae, though they do not yet know their meaning, for knowledge has to become part of the tissue of the mind, and this takes time. Hence we must conceive that men who fail in self-restraint talk in the same way as actors speaking a part.3. [9]

(4) Again, one may also study the cause of Unrestraint scientifically,4 thus: In a practical syllogism, the major premise is an opinion, while the minor premise deals with particular things, which are the province of perception. Now when the two premises are combined, just as in theoretic reasoning the mind is compelled to affirm the resulting conclusion, so in the case of practical premises you are forced at once to do it. For example, given the premises ‘All sweet things ought to be tasted’ and ‘Yonder thing is sweet’—a particular instance of the general class—, you are bound, if able and not prevented, immediately to taste the thing. 3. [10] When therefore there is present in the mind on the one hand a universal judgement forbidding you to taste and on the other hand a universal judgement saying ‘All sweet things are pleasant,’ and a minor premise ‘Yonder thing is sweet’ (and it is this minor premise that is active5) , and when desire is present at the same time, then, though the former universal judgement says ‘Avoid that thing,’ the desire leads you to it (since desire can put the various parts of the body in motion).

1 The major premise of a practical syllogism is universal, a general rule; the minor is particular, the application of the rule to the case in hand. The next sentence points out that this application really requires two syllogisms; in the first, the personal term of the major premise is predicated in the minor of the particular person concerned (Dry food is good for all men: I am a man: therefore dry food is good for me) ; in the second, the other universal term is predicated in the minor of a particular thing about which the person is deliberating (Dry food is good for me: this stale loaf is dry food: therefore this stale loaf is good for me). It is the minor premise of the second syllogism, viz. the application of the general rule not to himself but to the thing in question, that the unrestrained man seems not to know, or not to think of, at the time. This illustration is confused in the text by the insertion of another minor premise ὅτι ξηρὸν τὸ τοιόνδε, ‘or that food of a certain kind [e.g. stale bread] is dry.’ It would have been enough to write ἀλλ᾽ εἰ τόδε ξηρόν, ‘but whether this [stale loaf] is dry.’

2 The reference is to persons of weak will uttering sound moral maxims almost at the very moment of yielding to temptation.

3 Viz., asleep or drunk. It may have been some Falstaff of Attic comedy that quoted the moral maxims of Empedocles in his cups.

4 i.e., in this case, psychologically: lit. ‘with reference to its nature.’ Cf. 8.1.6, 9.7.2, 9.9.7.

5 i.e., determines action ( Ross).

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