Page:Eight chapters of Maimonides on ethics.djvu/69

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The Eight Chapters—II

sensitive and the appetitive) alone really produce transgressions and observances.

Now, as for the virtues, they are of two kinds, moral and intellectual, with the corresponding two classes of vices.[1] The intellectual virtues belong to the rational faculty. They are (1) wisdom, which is the knowledge of the direct and indirect causes of things based on a previous realization of the existence of those things, the causes of which have been investigated;[2] (2) reason, consisting of (a) inborn, theoretical reason, that is, axioms,[3] (b) the acquired intellect,[4] which we need not discuss here, and


  1. disposition exercising choice, and choice is will consequent on deliberation, the reason must be true and the will right to constitute good choice, and what the reason affirms the will must pursue… But operation of the intellect by itself moves nothing, only when directed to a certain result—i.e. exercised in moral action...” See Scheyer, ibid., p. 103—104; and Rosin, Ethik, p. 56, n. 2.

  2. Cf. Eth. Nic., (ἀρται ἠϑικα and διανοιτιτικαί) I, 11 (end); II, 1; VI, 2; Eudemian Ethics, II, 1; Millot ha-Higgayon, c. XIV (מעלות המדות מעלות דבוריות‎).
  3. Wisdom (חכמה‎), according to M., is used of four different things (Moreh, III, 54). It denotes (1) the knowledge of those truths which lead to the knowledge of God, (2) the knowledge of any workmanship, (3) the acquisition of moral principles, and (4) cunning and subtlety. In Moreh, I, 69, where M. demonstrates that God is the Primal Cause, in agreement with Aristotle (Physics, II, 7), he asserts that everything owes its origin to four causes, the substance, the form, the agens (פועל‎), and the final cause (תכלית‎). These are sometimes direct (קרובים‎), and sometimes indirect (רחוקים‎), though each in itself is a cause (עלה‎ or סבה‎, corresponding to Ar. علة and سبب; αἰτία, αἴτιον. Cf. Munk, Guide, I, p. 313, n. 1.)
  4. Literally, first impressions (המושכלות הראשונות‎; Ar. מעקולאת אלאול‎; ἀρχαι τῶν αποδεικτῶν αξιώματα, intelligibilia prima), which are fundamental principles or axioms that would need no proof even though man were left in his primitive state (Moreh, I, 51), and which are explained by common sense. There are four kinds of knowledge which need no demonstration, one of them being the knowledge of axioms, as, for instance, that the whole is greater than a part, that two is an even number, that two things equal to the same thing are equal to each other (Millot ha-Higgayon, c. XIV), and that one cannot both affirm and deny a thing. See Scheyer, note to Moreh, I, 51. Cf. Eth. Nic., VI, 6 on Intuitive Apprehension; Scheyer, Psychol. Syst. d. Maim., p. 16—17; and Munk, Guide, I, p. 128, n. 3.
  5. For the definition and description of the acquired intellect (שכל הנקנה‎ or שכל הנקנה הנאצל‎; Ar. אלעקל אלמסתפאר‎, νοῦς ἐπικτητος), see Moreh, I, 72; I. T.

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