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“Rule,” and sometimes “Rulers,” are denoted by this term the initiative being a property of Rule.
“Principle” is a very usual signification of it, and in fact the most characteristic of the Ethics. The word Principle means “starting-point.” Every action has two beginnings, that of Resolve ([Greek: ou eneka]), and that of Action ([Greek: othen ae kenaesis]). I desire praise of men this then is the beginning of Resolve. Having considered how it is to be attained, I resolve upon some course and this Resolve is the beginning of Action.
The beginnings of Resolve, ‘[Greek: Archai] or Motives, when formally stated, are the major premisses of what Aristotle calls the [Greek: sullagismoi ton prakton], i.e. the reasoning into which actions may be analysed.
Thus we say that the desire of human praise was the motive of the Pharisees, or the principle on which they acted.
Their practical syllogism then would stand thus:
Whatever gains human praise is to be done; Public praying and almsgiving gave human praise: [ergo] Public praying and almsgiving are to be done.
The major premisses may be stored up in the mind as rules of action, and this is what is commonly meant by having principles good or bad.
P. 5, l 1. The difficulty of this passage consists in determining the signification of the terms [Greek: gnorima aemin] and [Greek: gnorima aplos]
I have translated them without reference to their use elsewhere, as denoting respectively what is and what may be known. All truth is [Greek: gnorimon aplos], but that alone [Greek: aemin] which we individually realise, therefore those principles alone are [Greek: gnorima aemin] which we have received as true. From this appears immediately the necessity of good training as preparatory to the study of Moral Philosophy for good training in habits will either work principles into our nature, or make us capable of accepting them as soon as they are put before us; which no mere intellectual training can do. The child who has been used to obey his parents may never have heard the fifth Commandment but it is in the very texture of his nature, and the first time he hears it he will recognise it as morally true and right the principle is in his case a fact, the reason for which he is as little inclined to ask as any one would be able to prove its truth if he should ask.
But these terms are employed elsewhere (Analytica Post I cap. 11. sect. 10) to denote respectively particulars and universals The latter are so denominated, because principles or laws must be supposed to have existed before the instances of their operation. Justice must have existed before just actions, Redness before red things, but since what we meet with are the concrete instances (from which we gather the principles and laws), the particulars are said to be [Greek: gnorimotera aemin]
Adopting this signification gives greater unity to the whole passage, which will then stand thus. The question being whether we are to assume principles, or obtain them by an analysis of facts, Aristotle says, “We must begin of course with what is known but then this term denotes either particulars or universals perhaps we then must begin with particulars and hence the necessity of a previous good training in habits, etc. (which of course is beginning with particular facts), for a fact is a starting point, and if this be sufficiently clear, there will be no want of the reason for the fact in addition”
The objection to this method of translation is, that [Greek: archai] occurs immediately afterwards in the sense of “principles.”
Utere tuo judicio nihil enim impedio.
P 6, l. 1. Or “prove themselves good,” as in the Prior Analytics, ii 25, [Greek: apanta pisteuomen k.t l] but the other rendering is supported by a passage in Book VIII. chap. ix. [Greek: oi d’ upo ton epieikon kai eidoton oregomenoi timaes bebaiosai ten oikeian doxan ephientai peri auton chairousi de oti eisin agathoi, pisteuontes te ton legonton krisei]
P 6, l. 11. [Greek: thesis] meant originally some paradoxical statement by any philosopher of name enough to venture on one, but had come to mean any dialectical question. Topics, I. chap. ix.
P 6, l. 13. A lost work, supposed to have been so called, because containing miscellaneous questions.
P 6, l. 15. It is only quite at the close of the treatise that Aristotle refers to this, and allows that [Greek: theoria] constitutes the highest happiness because it is the exercise of the highest faculty in man the reason of thus deferring the statement being that till the lower, that is the moral, nature has been reduced to perfect order, [Greek: theoria] cannot have place, though, had it been held out from the first, men would have been for making the experiment at once, without the trouble of self-discipline.
P 6, l. 22. Or, as some think, “many theories have been founded on them.”
P. 8, l. 1. The list ran thus—
[Greek: to peras to apeiron | to euthu to perisson to artion | to phos to en to plethos | to tetragonon to dexion to aristeron | to aeremoun to arren to thelu | to agathon ]
P 8, l. 2. Plato’s sister’s son.
P 9, l. 9. This is the capital defect in Aristotle’s eyes, who being eminently practical, could not like a theory which not only did not necessarily lead to action, but had a tendency to discourage it by enabling unreal men to talk finely. If true, the theory is merely a way of stating facts, and leads to no action.
P. 10, l. 34. i.e. the identification of Happiness with the Chief Good.
P. 11, l. 11. i.e. without the capability of addition.
P. 11, l. 14. And then Happiness would at once be shown not to be the Chief Good. It is a contradiction in terms to speak of adding to the Chief Good. See Book X. chap. 11. [Greek: delon os oud allo ouden tagathon an eiae o meta tenos ton kath’ auto agathon airetoteron ginetai.]
P. 12, l. 9. i.e. as working or as quiescent.
P. 13, 1. 14. This principle is more fully stated, with illustrations, in the Topics, I. chap. ix.
P. 13, l. 19. Either that of the bodily senses, or that of the moral senses. “Fire burns,” is an instance of the former, “Treason is odious,” of the latter.
P. 14, l. 27. I have thought it worthwhile to vary the interpretation of this word, because though “habitus” may be equivalent to all the senses of [Greek: exis], “habit” is not, at least according to our colloquial usage we commonly denote by “habit” a state formed by habituation.
P. 14, l. 35. Another and perhaps more obvious method of rendering this passage is to apply [Greek: kalon kagathon] to things, and let them depend grammatically on [Greek: epaeboli]. It is to be remembered, however, that [Greek: kalos kagathos] bore a special and well-known meaning also the comparison is in the text more complete, and the point of the passage seems more completely brought out.