Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 6, Chapter 7 (1141a9-1141b23)

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Book 6, Chapter 7 (1141a9-1141b23)

  • Aristotle moves on to wisdom—which he calls a "most precise" kind of knowledge.
  • Wisdom is also universal and eternal, unchanged by any variables or opinions.
  • In this, it differs from prudence and the political art, since both deliberate about how to achieve the good (which can mean lots of different things in different situations).
  • Aristotle defines wisdom as "science and intellectual grasp of things most honorable by nature."
  • Wisdom, unlike prudence, is concerned with hard knowledge—of things that "do not admit to being otherwise."
  • Wise people aren't worried about things like practical thinking or action.
  • This often makes them seem useless, since a wise person doesn't know how to act even for his own good.
  • A prudent person is good at thrashing out what's best to do, according to his opinions or convictions. He's concerned with particular things rather than general, universal knowledge.
  • So you can actually be without wisdom or knowledge and still be a prudent person because of experience.

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