Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Prudently Intelligent Post

"...intelligence and its opposite, in virtue of which we speak of people as intelligent or unintelligent, are not in general the same as scientific knowledge or as opinion. For if they were, everybody would be intelligent. Nor is intelligence one of the particular sciences, like medicine, that deals with matters of health, or geometry with magnitudes; for it is not concerned with things eternal and immutable, nor with everything and anything that occurs, but only with the natural subjects of human inquiry and deliberation. Hence intelligence has the same sphere as prudence, although intelligence and prudence are not identical. Prudence is imperative and issues commands; for its end or object is what ought or ought not to be done. Intelligence, on the other hand, merely forms judgments. There is no difference between intelligence and good intelligence, or between people of intelligence and people of good intelligence.

Intelligence is neither the possession nor the acquisition of prudence; but a scholar is said to be intelligent when he turns his scientific knowledge to some use, so a prudent man may show intelligence in making use of his opinions to form a judgment and a sound judgment on what he hears from someone else about matters requiring prudence..."
Aristotle, from his Nicomachean Ethics, on intelligence and prudence.

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