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Nicomachean Ethics   


latter but merely use the proper language, while the essence of
mathematical objects is plain enough to them?
Further, error in deliberation may be either about the universal or
about the particular; we may fall to know either that all water that
weighs heavy is bad, or that this particular water weighs heavy.
That practical wisdom is not scientific knowledge is evident; for it
is, as has been said, concerned with the ultimate particular fact,
since the thing to be done is of this nature. It is opposed, then, to
intuitive reason; for intuitive reason is of the limiting premisses,
for which no reason can be given, while practical wisdom is concerned
with the ultimate particular, which is the object not of scientific
knowledge but of perception-not the perception of qualities peculiar
to one sense but a perception akin to that by which we perceive that
the particular figure before us is a triangle; for in that direction
as well as in that of the major premiss there will be a limit. But
this is rather perception than practical wisdom, though it is another
kind of perception than that of the qualities peculiar to each sense.
9
There is a difference between inquiry and deliberation; for
deliberation is inquiry into a particular kind of thing. We must grasp
the nature of excellence in deliberation as well whether it is a form
of scientific knowledge, or opinion, or skill in conjecture, or some
other kind of thing. Scientific knowledge it is not; for men do not
inquire about the things they know about, but good deliberation is a
kind of deliberation, and he who deliberates inquires and calculates.
Nor is it skill in conjecture; for this both involves no reasoning and
is something that is quick in its operation, while men deliberate a
long time, and they say that one should carry out quickly the
conclusions of one's deliberation, but should deliberate slowly.
Again, readiness of mind is different from excellence in deliberation;
it is a sort of skill in conjecture. Nor again is excellence in
deliberation opinion of any sort. But since the man who deliberates
badly makes a mistake, while he who deliberates well does so
correctly, excellence in deliberation is clearly a kind of
correctness, but neither of knowledge nor of opinion; for there is no
such thing as correctness of knowledge (since there is no such thing
as error of knowledge), and correctness of opinion is truth; and at
the same time everything that is an object of opinion is already
determined. But again excellence in deliberation involves reasoning.
The remaining alternative, then, is that it is correctness of
thinking; for this is not yet assertion, since, while even opinion is
not inquiry but has reached the stage of assertion, the man who is
deliberating, whether he does so well or ill, is searching for
something and calculating.
But excellence in deliberation is a certain correctness of
deliberation; hence we must first inquire what deliberation is and
what it is about. And, there being more than one kind of correctness,
plainly excellence in deliberation is not any and every kind; for (1)
the incontinent man and the bad man, if he is clever, will reach as a
result of his calculation what he sets before himself, so that he will
have deliberated correctly, but he will have got for himself a great
evil. Now to have deliberated well is thought to be a good thing; for
it is this kind of correctness of deliberation that is excellence in
deliberation, viz. that which tends to attain what is good. But (2) it
is possible to attain even good by a false syllogism, and to attain
what one ought to do but not by the right means, the middle term being
false; so that this too is not yet excellence in deliberation this
state in virtue of which one attains what one ought but not by the
right means. Again (3) it is possible to attain it by long
deliberation while another man attains it quickly. Therefore in the
former case we have not yet got excellence in deliberation, which is
rightness with regard to the expedient-rightness in respect both of
the end, the manner, and the time. (4) Further it is possible to have
deliberated well either in the unqualified sense or with reference to

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