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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.

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.

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