Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 6, Chapter 9 (1142a33-1142b35)

By Aristotle

Book 6, Chapter 9 (1142a33-1142b35)

  • What's good deliberation? First, it's not science (i.e. things we know for sure).
  • Deliberation is a kind of investigation—not educated guesswork. It requires slow, careful thought.
  • Good deliberation is not even shrewdness or opinion.
  • It is the following: 1) correctness of thinking; 2) part of a reasoned argument; 3) an investigation/calculation.
  • Aristotle wants to drive home that this is a particular kind of correctness. It isn't moral correctness.
  • Even a person of poor moral character (i.e. lacking self-restraint) might be able to deliberate correctly, even if he uses his conclusions for bad purposes.
  • We can also reach the good by deliberating badly—though that's really a fluke.
  • And we can't tell if deliberation is good simply by how long it takes. Lengthy deliberations can still go awry.
  • So in order to be done properly, deliberation must be use correct reason and arrive at good ends.
  • Which means that good deliberation really does belong to the prudent person, since he'll use his reason in the right way and aim at the things that are good for human happiness.