In Its Theoretical Use 317

anything but reason. Kay, more, the presence of such a desire in us must be regarded as giving a new character to all the other impulses; for, in virtue of it, all the particular ends of passion must be sought not for themselves but sub ratione boni,

as means to the complete realisation and satisfaction of the one self to which they are all related. But Aristotle does not recognise this "will of the Good " as the essential impulse of a rational nature, which underlies all its other tendencies; he seems to mention it as one of the elements of our being which is to be placed beside its other

And when he comes to ask himself what is the nature of that act of self-determination

, _ i is implied in all moral action, he does not

* ■ i « ■ ■ ■ , connect it in any special way with the will of

the good, but defines it simply as a ' deliberative

desire,' meaning a desire accompanied by deliberation as to the means of its satisfaction—a definition which leaves desire and reason as two

are connected only

is it drawn into this circtdar process, in or oversight that Aristotle is

presuppose each other; it is the necessary result of his conception of human nature as a t t i l | | ••• ••• a crvvderov, a combination of disparate elements. If desire be taken as separate from can only be,


instrument by which the means of satisfying desire is determined. Nor is it possible that any desire should be in itself rational; for, if reason be conceived its determining a motive, it seems to be leaving its own sphere and intruding into that of will, which ex hypothesi is closed to it. And Aristotle's final deliverance1—that reason is the real man, but yet that the life of reason is one which he lives not qua man, but as having something divine in him—only shows the perplexity to which he is reduced by the cross-currents of his thought.

Now the ultimate cause of Aristotle's defective view of the unity of the life of man lies in the fact, that he identifies reason primarily with its conscious or reflective activity, the activity which creates Bcience and philosophy. He cannot, therefore, attribute to it, or at least to it alone, that unconscious or unreflective activity which is implied in all our ordinary experience, both theoretical and practical. Hence he is obliged to explain that experience as a sort of blend between reason and sensation or desire, which has something in it essentially non-rational. It was, indeed, the general defect of Greek thought that, while it tended to exalt i reason, what it comprehended under that name was rather the reflective power of the philosopher, the

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment