Book 6: The Intellectual Virtues.

Chapter 11: Of judgment Of reason or intuitive perception as the basis of the practical intellect.

Judgment (what we mean when we speak of a man of kindly judgment, or say a man has judgment) is a correct discernment of that which is equitable. For the equitable man is thought to be particularly kindly in his judgments, and to pass kindly judgments on some things is considered equitable. But kindly judgment (συγγνώμη) is judgment (γνώμη) which correctly discerns that which is equitable—correctly meaning truly.

Now, all these four formed faculties which we have enumerated not unnaturally tend in the same direction. We apply all these terms—judgment, intelligence, prudence, and reason—to the same persons, and talk of people as having, at a certain age, already acquired judgment and reason, and as being prudent and intelligent. For all these four faculties deal with ultimate and particular facts, and it is in virtue of a power of discrimination in the matters with which prudence deals that we call a person intelligent, or a man of sound judgment, or kindly judgment; for equitable is a common term that is applicable to all that is good in our dealings with others.

But that which is to be done is always some particular thing, something ultimate. As we have seen, it is the business of the prudent man to know it, and intelligence and judgment also have to do with that which is to be done, which is something ultimate.

And the intuitive reason [the last of the four faculties above enumerated] also deals with ultimate truths, in both senses of the word; for both primary principles and ultimate facts [in the narrower sense of the word ultimate = particular] are apprehended by the intuitive reason, and not by demonstration: on the one hand, in connection with deductions [of general truths in morals and politics], reason apprehends the unalterable first principles; on the other hand, in connection with practical calculations, reason apprehends the ultimate [particular] alterable fact (which forms the minor premise [in the practical syllogism]. These particular judgments, we may say, are given by reason, as they are the source of our conception of the final cause or end of man; the universal principle is elicited from the particular facts: these particular facts, therefore, must be apprehended by a sense or intuitive perception; and this is reason.

And so it is thought that these faculties are natural, and that while nature never makes a man wise, she does endow men with judgment and intelligence and reason. This is shown by the fact that these powers are believed to accompany certain periods of life, and that a certain age is said to bring reason and judgment, implying that they come by nature.

(The intuitive reason, then, is both beginning and end; for demonstration both starts from and terminates in these ultimate truths.)

And on this account we ought to pay the same respect to the undemonstrated assertions and opinions of men of age and experience and prudence as to their demonstrations. For experience has given them a faculty of vision which enables them to see correctly.

We have said, then, what prudence is, and what wisdom is, and what each deals with, and that each is the virtue of a different part of the soul.


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