Plato's Sophist [154-155]

Yet, what, within εὐβουλία, the ὀρθότης itself is remains to be clarified.

c) The ὀρθότης of εὐβουλία. Being persistently
directed to the ἀγαθόν.

ἐπεὶ δ᾽ ἡ ὀρθότης πλεοναχῶς, δῆλον ὅτι οὐ πᾶσα (b17f.). There are different conceptions of the ὀρθότης; not every one of them, however, touches the ὀρθότης of εὐβουλία. Thus the task arises of determining in what precise sense the ὀρθότης of εὐβουλία is ὀρθότης. Aristotle characterizes it in its various moments by means of a delimitation against the different conceptions. ὁ γὰρ ἀκρατὴς καὶ ὁ φαῦλος ὃ προτίθεται ἰδεῖν ἐκ τοῦ λογισμοῦ τεύξεται, ὥστε ὀρθῶς ἔσται βεβουλευμένος, κακὸν δὲ μέγα εἰληφώς (b18ff.). Someone who is driven by passions or who is in a bad mood can be resolved toward something κακόν. Then the ἀρχή of the action, the goal anticipated in the προαίρεσις, is κακόν, and thus the whole action is misguided. Nevertheless, while aiming at this κακόν the discussion of the concrete situation may be a εὗ λογίζεσθαι and correspond precisely to the κακόν posited in the resolution. Then the βουλεύεσθαι is indeed ὀρθῶς, it measures up completely to the ὀρθότης βουλῆς. Nevertheless, the τέλος, the end of such a deliberation, namely, the action itself, is κακόν, and is this although nothing can be objected against the φρόνησις itself as regards the mode in which it has formally been carried out. Yet the ὀρθότης of εὐβουλία is supposed to go precisely toward constituting the ἀγαθόν of an action. Thus the ὀρθότης of the βουλεύεσθαι whose τέλος is the κακόν cannot be considered the ὀρθότης of εὐβουλία.

Conversely, it may be that the τέλος is a genuine ἀγαθόν but that the deliberation is inappropriate, that the συλλογισμός is ψευδής, one in which I am deceived. ἀλλ' ἔστιν καὶ τούτου ψευδεῖ συλλογισμῷ τυχεῖν, καὶ ὃ μὲν δεῖ ποιῆσαι τυχεῖν, δι' οὗ δ᾽ οὔ, ἀλλὰ ψευδῆ τὸν μέσον ὅρον εἶναι· ὥστ' οὐδ᾽ αὕτη πω εὐβουλία, καθ᾽ ἣν οὗ δεῖ μὲν τυγχάνει, οὐ μέντοι δι' οὗ ἔδει (b22ff.). Thus it may be that the συλλογισμός or the μέσος ὅρος is ψευδής, that it distorts the circumstances, the means, and the ways, that it does not provide me with them as they should be in relation to the προαιρετόν. Accordingly, it is part of εὐβουλία, not only to posit the τέλος as ἀγαθόν but to be ἀγαθόν in each of its steps. In every step the εὐβουλία must be directed in such a way that it has the ἀγαθόν in view and discusses all the circumstances and occasions with regard to it. The ὀρθότης of εὐβουλία can be considered only as ἀγαθοῦ τευκτική. ἡ γὰρ τοιαύτη ὀρθότης βουλῆς εὐβουλία, ἡ ἀγαθοῦ τευκτική (b21f.). Even time as such, whether one deliberates long or briefly, is not a distinguishing mark of the ὀρθότης of εὐβουλία; what matters is simply that the time of the action be ἀγαθόν.