Page:Eight chapters of Maimonides on ethics.djvu/68

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


The Ethics of Maimonides

As regards the rational faculty, uncertainty prevails (among philosophers)[1], but I maintain that observance and transgression may also originate in this faculty, in so far as one believes a true or a false doctrine, though no action which may be designated as an observance or a transgression results therefrom.[2] Consequently, as I said above, these two faculties (the

    latter, however, does not consider nutrition to be one of the faculties. Abraham ibn Daud, including nutrition among the soul’s faculties, allots to each a cardinal virtue (Emunah Ramah, III, p. 110). Aristotle excludes the imagination as one of the faculties directly affecting the performance of virtues, but considers it as producing movement through the agency of appetency (De Anima, III, 10). M., later, departs somewhat from the view he holds in the Peraḳim regarding the imagination, and, in agreement with Aristotle, considers it to be bound up indirectly, through the appetitive faculty, with conscious activity (see Scheyer, ibid., pp. 98, and 105). This is the sense of the passage in Moreh, II, 4, where he states that animate beings move either by instinct (טבע‎ considered equivalent to כח המתעורר‎), or by reason. Instinct he defines as the intention of an animate being to approach something agreeable, or to shun something disagreeable, as, for instance, to approach water on account of thirst, or to avoid the sun on account of its heat. He, then, goes on to say that it makes no difference whether the thing really exists or is imaginary, since the imagination of something agreeable or of something disagreeable likewise causes the animate being to move (כי בדמיון מה שהוא כנגד ומה שיאות יתנועע ג״כ החי‎). Furthermore, in Moreh, II, 12, he declares that all defects in speech or character are either the direct or indirect work of the imagination (כי כל חסרון בדבר או במדות הוא פעל הדמיון או נמשך אחר פעלו‎). In regard to prophecy, M. lays great stress upon the imagination (ibid., II, 35), considering prophecy to be the most perfect development of the imaginative faculty. During sleep this faculty is the same as when it receives prophecy, except that when asleep the imagination is not fully developed, and has not reached its highest perfection. See supra, c. I, p. 41, n. 1.

  1. See Rosin, Ethik, p. 55, n. 1.
  2. Cf. Moreh, II, 4, “But even a being that is endowed with the faculty of forming an idea, and possesses a soul with the faculty of moving, does not change its place on each occasion that it forms an idea; for an idea alone does not produce motion, as has been explained in (Aristotle’s) Metaphysics. We can easily understand this, when we consider how often we form ideas of certain things, yet do not move towards them, though we are able to do so; it is only when the desire arises for the thing imagined that we move in order to obtain it.” Cf. De Anima III, 10. The same thought is expressed in Eth. Nic. VI, 2, “And so since moral virtue is a