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Nicomachean Ethics   


What affirmation and negation are in thinking, pursuit and avoidance
are in desire; so that since moral virtue is a state of character
concerned with choice, and choice is deliberate desire, therefore both
the reasoning must be true and the desire right, if the choice is to
be good, and the latter must pursue just what the former asserts. Now
this kind of intellect and of truth is practical; of the intellect
which is contemplative, not practical nor productive, the good and the
bad state are truth and falsity respectively (for this is the work of
everything intellectual); while of the part which is practical and
intellectual the good state is truth in agreement with right desire.
The origin of action-its efficient, not its final cause-is choice, and
that of choice is desire and reasoning with a view to an end. This is
why choice cannot exist either without reason and intellect or without
a moral state; for good action and its opposite cannot exist without a
combination of intellect and character. Intellect itself, however,
moves nothing, but only the intellect which aims at an end and is
practical; for this rules the productive intellect, as well, since
every one who makes makes for an end, and that which is made is not an
end in the unqualified sense (but only an end in a particular
relation, and the end of a particular operation)-only that which is
done is that; for good action is an end, and desire aims at this.
Hence choice is either desiderative reason or ratiocinative desire,
and such an origin of action is a man. (It is to be noted that nothing
that is past is an object of choice, e.g. no one chooses to have
sacked Troy; for no one deliberates about the past, but about what is
future and capable of being otherwise, while what is past is not
capable of not having taken place; hence Agathon is right in saying
For this alone is lacking even to God,
To make undone things thathave once been done.)
The work of both the intellectual parts, then, is truth. Therefore the
states that are most strictly those in respect of which each of these
parts will reach truth are the virtues of the two parts.
3
Let us begin, then, from the beginning, and discuss these states once
more. Let it be assumed that the states by virtue of which the soul
possesses truth by way of affirmation or denial are five in number,
i.e. art, scientific knowledge, practical wisdom, philosophic wisdom,
intuitive reason; we do not include judgement and opinion because in
these we may be mistaken.
Now what scientific knowledge is, if we are to speak exactly and not
follow mere similarities, is plain from what follows. We all suppose
that what we know is not even capable of being otherwise; of things
capable of being otherwise we do not know, when they have passed
outside our observation, whether they exist or not. Therefore the
object of scientific knowledge is of necessity. Therefore it is
eternal; for things that are of necessity in the unqualified sense are
all eternal; and things that are eternal are ungenerated and
imperishable. Again, every science is thought to be capable of being
taught, and its object of being learned. And all teaching starts from
what is already known, as we maintain in the Analytics also; for it
proceeds sometimes through induction and sometimes by syllogism. Now
induction is the starting-point which knowledge even of the universal
presupposes, while syllogism proceeds from universals. There are
therefore starting-points from which syllogism proceeds, which are not
reached by syllogism; it is therefore by induction that they are
acquired. Scientific knowledge is, then, a state of capacity to
demonstrate, and has the other limiting characteristics which we
specify in the Analytics, for it is when a man believes in a certain
way and the starting-points are known to him that he has scientific
knowledge, since if they are not better known to him than the
conclusion, he will have his knowledge only incidentally.
Let this, then, be taken as our account of scientific knowledge.
4
In the variable are included both things made and things done; making

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