etc. in any instance without first ascertaining that the subject is free of every vice. But where the terms are to be used of models (i.e., of what are assumed to be apt models), this demand is not so unreasonable. 83


Notes
1.
Craft gives Aristotle a handle on practical thinking. But in a few places where he wants to bring out the moral relation in which an agent stands to the actions which are his and which stand for him in the world, Aristotle likens them to offspring: 1113 b 18-19; 1222 b 15-20; cf. Magna Moralia 1187 b 4-9.
2.
Another example is unformed matter introduced in Phys. 1.7 by analogy with the substantial subject of change.
3.
Once we see ourselves as able to bring about a desired result by some means, we can hardly not also see ourselves as able, by the same deed, to bring about unintended consequences. This is where comparative judgment enters the picture.
4.
A is immediate in the required sense even if it is not practicable now, if all that the agent has to do before doing A is to wait for the occasion when A is practicable.
5.
What is the object of this desire? It is usually taken to be what is chosen (the prohaireton); i.e., A (or better, A for the sake of O). But the prohairesis can also be construed as a desire whose object is O; namely, a desire for O by means of A.
6.
Notably D. J. Allan [2].
7.
Cf. Rowe [1], 109-13. Numerous commentators (e.g., Greenwood, 44; Ross [1], 217; Gauthier and Jolif ad 1138 b 23 and 34) think that Aristotle (anyway at times in the Ethics) regards promotion of theōria (or of one's own theōria) as the one standard of right action, and they take this doctrine to be implied if not stated in NE VI. It is true that at 1145 a 6-11 Aristotle says that practical wisdom sees to it that there should be theōria. But this does not imply that there is no other ground for judging an action right.
8.
The Revised Oxford Translation has 'standard'.
9.
Cf. 1094 a 23-24, where the same archery simile is used as at 1138 b 22-23.
10.
How, if we lack practical wisdom ourselves, do we know what to aim at? Answer: if we are brought up in the right values (which is assumed), we only need to be able to identify someone in our community who shares our values and is shrewder, more imaginative and more perceptive than we are in putting them into practice. That, by comparison with ourselves, is a person of practical wisdom. Of course, if we assume that practical wisdom is a special craft or science, as in Plato Republic, we shall not be able to recognise any instances of what we take practical wisdom to be; and we shall miss the otherwise easily recognisable examples of what it really is.
11.
In Chapter 1, Section VI, I argued that Aristotle NE I definition of happiness is necessarily incomplete, but that this does not matter. Why then should it matter now if his definition of the good man is incomplete? Because in the former case the missing element could readily be supplied by common sense, but in the present case, where the missing element is an account of the 'Grand End' (see the next section), this is not so.
12.
Many interpreters ascribe this view of practical wisdom to Aristotle or write at times as if they do, but the clearest statements I have encountered are in Cooper [1], 96-98; Kenny [3], 150-51; MacIntyre [2]. 131-33.
13.
For the phrase, cf. Cooper [1], 59.
14.
Cf. Hardie [4], 251-52.
15.
See e.g. Gauthier and Jolif, vol. II, part 1, 167-68 and 193; Cashdollar; Irwin [7], 399- 410.
16.
At 1103 a 32-34 playing the harp is classified as a skill.
17.
On this interpretation the praxis/poiēsis distinction of NE VI is not the same as the energeia/kinēsis distinction of Meta. IX.6. For a very different interpretation which identifies the distinctions, see Charles [2].

-260-

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Ethics with Aristotle
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter 1 Happiness, the Supreme End 3
  • Notes 54
  • Chapter 2 Virtues and Parts of the Soul 57
  • Notes 118
  • Chapter 3 the Voluntary 124
  • Notes 174
  • Chapter 4 Practical Wisdom 179
  • Notes 260
  • Chapter 5 Incontinence 266
  • Notes 307
  • Chapter 6 Pleasure 313
  • Notes 363
  • Chapter 7 Aristotle's Values 366
  • Notes 433
  • Works Cited 439
  • Name Index 445
  • Subject Index 449
  • Index Locorum Aristotelis 453
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