Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

LCL 73: 328-329

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Aristotle

2αἴσθησις νοῦς ὄρεξις. τούτων δ᾿ ἡ αἴσθησις οὐδεμιᾶς ἀρχὴ πράξεως· δῆλον δὲ τῷ τὰ θηρία20 αἴσθησιν μὲν ἔχειν, πράξεως δὲ μὴ κοινωνεῖν.—ἔστι δ᾿ ὅπερ ἐν διανοίᾳ κατάφασις καὶ ἀπόφασις, τοῦτ᾿ ἐν ὀρέξει δίωξις καὶ φυγή· ὥστ᾿ ἐπειδὴ ἡ ἠθικὴ ἀρετὴ ἕξις προαιρετική, ἡ δὲ προαίρεσις ὄρεξις βουλευτική, δεῖ διὰ ταῦτα1 τόν τε λόγον ἀληθῆ εἶναι καὶ τὴν ὄρεξιν ὀρθήν, εἴπερ ἡ προαίρεσις25 σπουδαία, καὶ τὰ αὐτὰ τὸν μὲν φάναι τὴν δὲ 3διώκειν. αὕτη μὲν οὖν ἡ διάνοια καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια πρακτική, τῆς δὲ θεωρητικῆς διανοίας καὶ μὴ πρακτικῆς μηδὲ ποιητικῆς τὸ εὖ καὶ κακῶς τἀληθές ἐστι καὶ ψεῦδος· τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι παντὸς διανοητικοῦ ἔργον, τοῦ δὲ πρακτικοῦ [καὶ]230 διανοητικοῦ ἡ ἀλήθεια ὁμολόγως ἔχουσα τῇ 4ὀρέξει τῇ ὀρθῇ.—πράξεως μὲν οὖν ἀρχὴ προαίρεσις (ὅθεν ἡ κίνησις ἀλλ᾿ οὐχ οὗ ἕνεκα), προαιρέσεως δὲ ὄρεξις καὶ λόγος ὁ ἕνεκά τινος· διὸ οὔτ᾿ ἄνευ νοῦ καὶ διανοίας οὔτ᾿ ἄνευ ἠθικῆς ἐστὶν ἕξεως ἡ προαίρεσις. [εὐπραξία γὰρ καὶ τὸ

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Nicomachean Ethics, VI.

and the attainment of truth: namely, Sensation,The function of these Faculties to attain truth. Relation of the Calculative Faculty to Moral Action.Intellect,a and Desire.

2Of these, Sensation never originates action, as is shown by the fact that animals have sensation but are not capable of action.b

cPursuit and avoidance in the sphere of Desire correspond to affirmation and denial in the sphere of the Intellect. Hence inasmuch as moral virtue is a disposition of the mind in regard to choice,d and choice is deliberate desire,e it follows that, if the choice is to be good, both the principle must be true and the desire right, and that desire must pursue the 3same things as principle affirms. We are here speaking of practical thinking, and of the attainment of truth in regard to action; with speculative thought, which is not concerned with action or production, right and wrong functioning consist in the attainment of truth and falsehood respectively. The attainment of truth is indeed the function of every part of the intellect, but that of the practical intelligence is the attainment of truth corresponding to right desire.f

4Now the cause of action (the efficient, not the final cause) is choice,g and the cause of choice is desire and reasoning directed to some end. Hence choice necessarily involves both intellect or thought and a certain disposition of character [h for doing well

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-nicomachean_ethics.1926