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Further: Just, in the way of metaphor and similitude, there may be I do not say between a man and himself exactly but between certain parts of his nature; but not Just of every kind, only such as belongs to the relation of master and slave, or to that of the head of a family. For all through this treatise the rational part of the Soul has been viewed as distinct from the irrational.

Now, taking these into consideration, there is thought to be a possibility of injustice towards one’s self, because herein it is possible for men to suffer somewhat in contradiction of impulses really their own; and so it is thought that there is Just of a certain kind between these parts mutually, as between ruler and ruled.

Let this then be accepted as an account of the distinctions which we recognise respecting Justice and the rest of the moral virtues.


I having stated in a former part of this treatise that men should choose the mean instead of either the excess or defect, and that the mean is according to the dictates of Right Reason; we will now proceed to explain this term.

For in all the habits which we have expressly mentioned, as likewise in all the others, there is, so to speak, a mark with his eye fixed on which the man who has Reason tightens or slacks his rope; and there is a certain limit of those mean states which we say are in accordance with Right Reason, and lie between excess on the one hand and defect on the other.

Now to speak thus is true enough but conveys no very definite meaning: as, in fact, in all other pursuits requiring attention and diligence on which skill and science are brought to bear; it is quite true of course to say that men are neither to labour nor relax too much or too little, but in moderation, and as Right Reason directs; yet if this were all a man had he would not be greatly the wiser; as, for instance, if in answer to the question, what are proper applications to the body, he were to be told, “Oh! of course, whatever the science of medicine, and in such manner as the physician, directs.”

And so in respect of the mental states it is requisite not merely that this should be true which has been already stated, but further that it should be expressly laid down what Right Reason is, and what is the definition of it.

1139a] Now in our division of the Excellences of the Soul, we said there were two classes, the Moral and the Intellectual: the former we have already gone through; and we will now proceed to speak of the others, premising a few words respecting the Soul itself. It was stated before, you will remember, that the Soul consists of two parts, the Rational, and Irrational: we must now make a similar division of the Rational.

Let it be understood then that there are two parts of the Soul possessed of Reason; one whereby we realise those existences whose causes cannot be otherwise than they are, and one whereby we realise those which can be otherwise than they are (for there must be, answering to things generically different, generically different parts of the soul naturally adapted to each, since these parts of the soul possess their knowledge in virtue of a certain resemblance and appropriateness in themselves to the objects of which they are percipients); and let us name the former, “that which is apt to know,” the latter, “that which is apt to calculate” (because deliberating and calculating are the same, and no one ever deliberates about things which cannot be otherwise than they are: and so the Calculative will be one part of the Rational faculty of the soul).

We must discover, then, which is the best state of each of these, because that will be the Excellence of each; and this again is relative to the work each has to do.


There are in the Soul three functions on which depend moral action and truth; Sense, Intellect, Appetition, whether vague Desire or definite Will. Now of these Sense is the originating cause of no moral action, as is seen from the fact that brutes have Sense but are in no way partakers of moral action.

[Intellect and Will are thus connected,] what in the Intellectual operation is Affirmation and Negation that in the Will is Pursuit and Avoidance, And so, since Moral Virtue is a State apt to exercise Moral Choice and Moral Choice is Will consequent on deliberation, the Reason must be true and the Will right, to constitute good Moral Choice, and what the Reason affirms the Will must pursue. Now this Intellectual operation and this Truth is what bears upon Moral Action; of course truth and falsehood than the conclusion such knowledge as he has will be merely accidental.


140a] Let thus much be accepted as a definition of Knowledge. Matter which may exist otherwise than it actually does in any given case (commonly called Contingent) is of two kinds, that which is the object of Making, and that which is the object of Doing; now Making and Doing are two different things (as we show in the exoteric treatise), and so that state of mind, conjoined with Reason, which is apt to Do, is distinct from that also conjoined with Reason, which is apt to Make: and for this reason they are not included one by the other, that is, Doing is not Making, nor Making Doing. Now as Architecture is an Art, and is the same as “a certain state of mind, conjoined with Reason, which is apt to Make,” and as there is no Art which is not such a state, nor any such state which is not an Art, Art, in its strict and proper sense, must be “a state of mind, conjoined with true Reason, apt to Make.”

Now all Art has to do with production, and contrivance, and seeing how any of those things may be produced which may either be or not be, and the origination of which rests with the maker and not with the thing made.

And, so neither things which exist or come into being necessarily, nor things in the way of nature, come under the province of Art, because these are self-originating. And since Making and Doing are distinct, Art must be concerned with the former and not the latter. And in a certain sense Art and Fortune are concerned with the same things, as, Agathon says by the way,

  “Art Fortune loves, and is of her beloved.”

So Art, as has been stated, is “a certain state of mind, apt to Make, conjoined with true Reason;” its absence, on the contrary, is the same state conjoined with false Reason, and both are employed upon Contingent matter.


As for Practical Wisdom, we shall ascertain its nature by examining to what kind of persons we in common language ascribe it.

1140b] It is thought then to be the property of the Practically Wise man to be able to deliberate well respecting what is good and expedient for himself, not in any definite line, as what is conducive to health or strength, but what to living well. A proof of this is that we call men Wise in this or that, when they calculate well with a view to some good end in a case where there is no definite rule. And so, in a general way of speaking, the man who is good at deliberation will be Practically Wise. Now no man deliberates respecting things which cannot be otherwise than they are, nor such as lie not within the range of his own action: and so, since Knowledge requires strict demonstrative reasoning, of which Contingent matter does not admit (I say Contingent matter, because all matters of deliberation must be Contingent and deliberation cannot take place with respect to things which are Necessarily), Practical Wisdom cannot be Knowledge nor Art; nor the former, because what falls under the province of Doing must be Contingent; not the latter, because Doing and Making are different in kind.

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