The Nicomachean Ethics Book 3, Chapter 3 (1112a18-1113a14)
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Book 3, Chapter 3 (1112a18-1113a14)
- Well then: what kinds of things do we deliberate about?
- Aristotle begins with the stuff that we would never waste time questioning, like math facts or the existence of the cosmos.
- We also don't deliberate about things that are unpredictable, like weather or finding a trove of treasure. And forget about things that don't concern you directly.
- In the end, we deliberate about things that concern us and that we can affect in some way. What actions can we take?
- Aristotle says that we tend to debate more about things in the arts than in the sciences, since there's more interpretation or doubt possible in the arts.
- Whenever there's something undetermined or unknown, then, more deliberation is necessary and possible.
- Also, there's usually very little deliberation about ends: we generally know what we aim to do, but not the means to achieve it.
- So our logic is a kind of backwards or teleological discovery, beginning with the end and working our way back to the first steps that have to be taken to achieve a certain result.
- When we deliberate in such a way, we're searching sometimes for the tools we need to accomplish something—or how to use what we have to get to our goal.
- Aristotle claims that deliberation shows how man is the origin of his own actions, since the thing we ponder is how to get something done.
- We reflect within ourselves how we're going to act to achieve a desired end.
- The process of deliberation helps us to choose. So choice, then, is the product of deliberated desire—something that we really want and have decided on a way to get it.