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Nicomachean Ethics   


a particular end. Excellence in deliberation in the unqualified sense,
then, is that which succeeds with reference to what is the end in the
unqualified sense, and excellence in deliberation in a particular
sense is that which succeeds relatively to a particular end. If, then,
it is characteristic of men of practical wisdom to have deliberated
well, excellence in deliberation will be correctness with regard to
what conduces to the end of which practical wisdom is the true
apprehension.
10
Understanding, also, and goodness of understanding, in virtue of which
men are said to be men of understanding or of good understanding, are
neither entirely the same as opinion or scientific knowledge (for at
that rate all men would have been men of understanding), nor are they
one of the particular sciences, such as medicine, the science of
things connected with health, or geometry, the science of spatial
magnitudes. For understanding is neither about things that are always
and are unchangeable, nor about any and every one of the things that
come into being, but about things which may become subjects of
questioning and deliberation. Hence it is about the same objects as
practical wisdom; but understanding and practical wisdom are not the
same. For practical wisdom issues commands, since its end is what
ought to be done or not to be done; but understanding only judges.
(Understanding is identical with goodness of understanding, men of
understanding with men of good understanding.) Now understanding is
neither the having nor the acquiring of practical wisdom; but as
learning is called understanding when it means the exercise of the
faculty of knowledge, so 'understanding' is applicable to the exercise
of the faculty of opinion for the purpose of judging of what some one
else says about matters with which practical wisdom is concerned-and
of judging soundly; for 'well' and 'soundly' are the same thing. And
from this has come the use of the name 'understanding' in virtue of
which men are said to be 'of good understanding', viz. from the
application of the word to the grasping of scientific truth; for we
often call such grasping understanding.
11
What is called judgement, in virtue of which men are said to 'be
sympathetic judges' and to 'have judgement', is the right
discrimination of the equitable. This is shown by the fact that we say
the equitable man is above all others a man of sympathetic judgement,
and identify equity with sympathetic judgement about certain facts.
And sympathetic judgement is judgement which discriminates what is
equitable and does so correctly; and correct judgement is that which
judges what is true.
Now all the states we have considered converge, as might be expected,
to the same point; for when we speak of judgement and understanding
and practical wisdom and intuitive reason we credit the same people
with possessing judgement and having reached years of reason and with
having practical wisdom and understanding. For all these faculties
deal with ultimates, i.e. with particulars; and being a man of
understanding and of good or sympathetic judgement consists in being
able judge about the things with which practical wisdom is concerned;
for the equities are common to all good men in relation to other men.
Now all things which have to be done are included among particulars or
ultimates; for not only must the man of practical wisdom know
particular facts, but understanding and judgement are also concerned
with things to be done, and these are ultimates. And intuitive reason
is concerned with the ultimates in both directions; for both the first
terms and the last are objects of intuitive reason and not of
argument, and the intuitive reason which is presupposed by
demonstrations grasps the unchangeable and first terms, while the
intuitive reason involved in practical reasonings grasps the last and
variable fact, i.e. the minor premiss. For these variable facts are
the starting-points for the apprehension of the end, since the
universals are reached from the particulars; of these therefore we

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