§20 [137-138]

Aristotle concludes the presentation of σοφία, at 1141b3ff., with a revised enumeration of the qualities which characterize the autonomy of σοφία and their independent genesis in Dasein. Nevertheless the two modes of ἀληθεύειν, φρόνησις and σοφία, are distinguished not only in terms of their objects but also in their own proper structure. To see this, we need a closer examination of the structure of φρόνησις itself.

§20. More radical conception of φρόνησις1 (Nic. Eth. VI, 8-9).

a) Φρόνησις as πρακτική ἕξις2 (Nic. Eth. VI, 8).

In order to see to what extent φρόνησις and σοφία are distinct in their structure, it is important to note that φρόνησις is an ἀληθεύειν, but one that is in itself related to πρᾶξις. "In itself" means the πρᾶξις is not something which lies next to it, which comes afterward, like the ἔργον in the case of τέχνη, but instead each step of the ἀληθεύειν of φρόνησις is oriented toward the πρακτόν. Accordingly, the mode of carrying out ἀληθεύειν in φρόνησις is different than the one in σοφία. Aristotle has explicated this connection in the last chapters of the sixth book of the Nicomachean Ethics, beginning with chapter 8.

In this chapter, Aristotle shows that φρόνησις is a πρακτικὴ ἕξις. For that which φρόνησις discloses is the πρακτὸν ἀγαθόν (1141b12). Thereby, the specific ἕξις-character of φρόνησις is the εὖ Βουλεύεσθαι (b10). ὁ δ' ἁπλῶς εὔβουλος ὁ τοῦ ἀρίστου ἀνθρώπῳ τῶν πρακτῶν στοχαστικὸς κατὰ τὸν λογισμόν (b12ff.). "The one who simply deliberates appropriately (whose deliberation and circumspection into the τέλος pertain to the end and the finished product) is the one who uncovers the ἄριστον ἀνθρώπῳ, what is in itself best for man," and, specifically, the ἄριστον τῶν πρακτῶν, "what is best among the possible πρακτά. " This is what bestows on man the εὐδαιμονία that is man's οὗ ἕνεκα. Such disclosure of the ἄριστον ἀνθρώπῳ τῶν πρακτῶν is the power of the ἁπλῶς εὔβουλος because he is στοχαστικός, because he can "hit the mark," and specifically κατὰ τὸν λογισμόν, "in deliberating on and discussing" human Dasein in the concrete possibilities of its Being. οὐδ' ἐστὶν ἡ φρόνησις τῶν καθόλου μόνον (b14f.). Such disclosure of the ἄριστον, however, is not exclusively concerned to bring out in an altogether simple way, as it were, the outward look of the immediate mode of human Dasein; as such, the task of φρόνησις would not only be unaccomplished but would be fundamentally misunderstood.

1. Title based on Heidegger. The manuscript says: "To take φρόνησις itself more radically."

2. Title in Heidegger's manuscript.