[Prudence] is the virtue of that part of the intellect [the calculative] to which it belongs; and . . . our choice of actions will not be right without Prudence any more than without Moral Virtue, since, while Moral Virtue enables us to achieve the end, Prudence makes us adopt the right means to the end.
That the equalization of property exercises an influence on political society was clearly understood even by some of the old legislators. Laws were made by Solon and others prohibiting an individual from possessing as much land as he pleased;
Of cases where a man is truthful both in speech and conduct when no considerations of honesty come in, from an habitual sincerity of disposition. Such sincerity may be esteemed a moral excellence; for the lover of truth, who is truthful even when nothing depends on it, will a fortiori be truthful when some interest is at stake, since having all along avoided falsehood for its own sake, he will assuredly avoid it when it is morally base; and this is a disposition that we praise.
We are masters of our actions from the beginning up to the very end. But, in the case of our habits, we are only masters of their commencement--each particular little increase being as imperceptible as in the case of bodily infirmities. But yet our habits are voluntary, in that it was once in our power to adopt or not to adopt such or such a course of conduct.
Salt water when it turns into vapour becomes sweet, and the vapour does not form salt water when it condenses again. This I know by experiment. The same thing is true in every case of the kind: wine and all fluids that evaporate and condense back into a liquid state become water. They all are water modified by a certain admixture, the nature of which determines their flavour.
Once more: there are three offices according to whose directions the highest magistrates are chosen in certain states - guardians of the law, probuli, councilors - of these, the guardians of the law are an aristocratical, the probuli an oligarchical, the council a democratical institution.
Of old, the demagogue was also a general, and then democracies changed into tyrannies. Most of the ancient tyrants were originally demagogues. They are not so now, but they were then; and the reason is that they were generals and not orators, for oratory had not yet come into fashion.
Special care should be taken of the health of the inhabitants, which will depend chiefly on the healthiness of the locality and of the quarter to which they are exposed, and secondly on the use of pure water; this latter point is by no means a secondary consideration. For the elements which we use the most and oftenest for the support of the body contribute most to health, and among those are water and air. Wherefore, in all wise states, if there is want of pure water, and the supply is not all equally good, the drinking water ought to... Read more »
What we know is not capable of being otherwise; of things capable of being otherwise we do not know, when they have passed outsideour observation, whether they exist or not. Therefore the object of knowledge is of necessity. Therefore it is eternal; for things that are of necessity in the unqualified sense are all eternal; and things that are eternal are ungenerated and imperishable.
Error is multiform (for evil is a form of the unlimited, as in the old Pythagorean imagery, and good of the limited), whereas success is possible in one way only (which is why it is easy to fail and difficult to succeed - easy to miss the target and difficult to hit it); so this is another reason why excess and deficiency are a mark of vice, and observance of the mean a mark of virtue: Goodness is simple, badness is manifold.
Virtue also depends on ourselves. And so also does vice. For where we are free to act we are also free to refrain from acting, and where we are able to say No we are also able to say Yes; if therefore we are responsible for doing a thing when to do it right, we are also responsible for not doing it when not to do it is wrong, and if we are responsible for rightly not doing a thing, we are also responsible for wrongly doing it.
Now the goodness that we have to consider is clearly human goodness, since the good or happiness which we set out to seek was human good and human happiness. But human goodness means in our view excellence of soul, not excellence of body;
The business of every art is to bring something into existence, and the practice of an art involves the study of how to bring into existence something which is capable of having such an existence and has its efficient cause in the maker and not in itself.
It is well said, then, that it is by doing just acts that the just man is produced, and by doing temperate acts the temperate man; without doing these no one would have even a prospect of becoming good. But most people do not do these, but take refuge in theory and think they are being philosophers and will become good in this way, behaving somewhat like patients who listen attentively to their doctors, but do none of the things they are ordered to do.