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Aristotle

1182 aΔεῖ ἄρα, ὡς ἔοικε, πρῶτον ὑπὲρ ἀρετῆς εἰπεῖν, τί τέ ἐστι καὶ ἐκ τίνων γίνεται. οὐθὲν γὰρ ἴσως ὄφελος εἰδέναι μὲν τὴν ἀρετήν, πῶς δὲ ἔσται καὶ ἐκ τίνων μὴ ἐπαΐειν. οὐ γὰρ μόνον ὅπως εἰδήσομεν τί ἐστι σκοπεῖσθαι δεῖ, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐκ τίνων ἔσται 5σκέψασθαι. ἅμα γὰρ εἰδῆσαι βουλόμεθα καὶ αὐτοὶ εἶναι τοιοῦτοι· τοῦτο δ᾿ οὐ δυνησόμεθα, ἐὰν μὴ εἰδῶμεν καὶ ἐκ τίνων καὶ πῶς ἔσται.

Ἀναγκαῖον μὲν οὖν εἰδῆσαι τί ἐστιν ἀρετή (οὐ γὰρ ῥᾴδιον εἰδέναι τὸ ἐκ τίνων ἔσται καὶ πῶς ἔσται, ἀγνοοῦντα τὸ τί ἐστίν, ὥσπερ οὐδ᾿ ἐπὶ τῶν ἐπιστημῶν).

10Οὐ δεῖ δὲ λανθάνειν οὐδ᾿ εἴ τινες πρότερον ὑπὲρ τούτων εἰρήκασιν. πρῶτος μὲν οὖν ἐνεχείρησεν Πυθαγόρας περὶ ἀρετῆς εἰπεῖν, οὐκ ὀρθῶς δέ· τὰς γὰρ ἀρετὰς εἰς τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς ἀνάγων οὐκ οἰκείαν τῶν ἀρετῶν τὴν θεωρίαν ἐποιεῖτο· οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ἡ δικαιοσύνη ἀριθμὸς ἰσάκις ἴσος.

15Μετὰ τοῦτον Σωκράτης ἐπιγενόμενος βέλτιον καὶ ἐπὶ πλεῖον εἶπεν ὑπὲρ τούτων, οὐκ ὀρθῶς δὲ οὐδ᾿ οὗτος. τὰς γὰρ ἀρετὰς ἐπιστήμας ἐποίει· τοῦτο δ᾿ ἐστὶν εἶναι ἀδύνατον. αἱ γὰρ ἐπιστῆμαι πᾶσι μετὰ λόγου, λόγος δὲ ἐν τῷ διανοητικῷ τῆς ψυχῆς ἐγγίνεται μορίῳ· γίνονται οὖν αἱ ἀρεταὶ πᾶσαι κατ᾿ αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ λογιστικῷ τῆς ψυχῆς 20μορίῳ· συμβαίνει οὖν αὐτῷ ἐπιστήμας ποιοῦντι τὰς ἀρετὰς ἀναιρεῖν τὸ ἄλογον μέρος τῆς ψυχῆς, τοῦτο

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Magna Moralia, I. i

4It seems, then, that we must begin by treatingNature and Origin of virtue. Virtue—its nature and its origin. For it may fairly be maintained that a knowledge of Virtue is useless, unless one also understands how and from what elements it can be produced. Not only must we consider how we shall know its nature, but from what constituents we may form it. We desire to know Virtue; but at the same time we desire to be virtuous ourselves; and this will be impossible if we are ignorant of the sources and conditions of its birth.

5We must begin then by inquiring what Virtue is; since if we are ignorant of this, we shall find it no easier to discover its sources and conditions than we should in the case of a science or an art.

In the first place, we must not fail to acquaintEarlier Moralists: ourselves with the opinions of former writers on the 6subject. Now Pythagoras was the first who undertookPythagoras; to speak of Virtue; but his method is erroneous. In referring Virtue to numerical relations, he considered it from an inappropriate point of view. Justice, for example, is not the “product of two even numbers.”

7After him came Socrates, who dealt more fullySocrates; and satisfactorily with the matter; still even he did not escape error. For he regarded the Virtues as mere departments of science; which they cannot possibly be. All departments of science presuppose a Rational Principle or Standarda; and this is the product of the soul’s intellectual part. According therefore to Socrates, all the virtues arise in the reasoning part of the soul; from which it follows that in making the virtues departments of science he ignores our irrational part, and thus ignores both

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-magna_moralia.1935