Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book I, Chapter 1

πάντες ἄνθρωποι τοῦ εἰδέναι ὀρέγονται φύσει. σημεῖον δ᾽ ἡ τῶν αἰσθήσεων ἀγάπησις: καὶ γὰρ χωρὶς τῆς χρείας ἀγαπῶνται δι᾽ αὑτάς, καὶ μάλιστα τῶν ἄλλων ἡ διὰ τῶν ὀμμάτων. οὐ γὰρ μόνον ἵνα πράττωμεν ἀλλὰ καὶ μηθὲν μέλλοντες πράττειν τὸ ὁρᾶν αἱρούμεθα ἀντὶ πάντων ὡς εἰπεῖν τῶν ἄλλων. αἴτιον δ᾽ ὅτι μάλιστα ποιεῖ γνωρίζειν ἡμᾶς αὕτη τῶν αἰσθήσεων καὶ πολλὰς δηλοῖ διαφοράς. φύσει μὲν οὖν αἴσθησιν ἔχοντα γίγνεται τὰ ζῷα, ἐκ δὲ ταύτης τοῖς μὲν αὐτῶν οὐκ ἐγγίγνεται μνήμη, τοῖς δ᾽ ἐγγίγνεται. καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ταῦτα φρονιμώτερα καὶ μαθητικώτερα τῶν μὴ δυναμένων μνημονεύειν ἐστί, φρόνιμα μὲν ἄνευ τοῦ μανθάνειν ὅσα μὴ δύναται τῶν ψόφων ἀκούειν (οἷον μέλιττα κἂν εἴ τι τοιοῦτον ἄλλο γένος ζῴων ἔστι), μανθάνει δ᾽ ὅσα πρὸς τῇ μνήμῃ καὶ ταύτην ἔχει τὴν αἴσθησιν. τὰ μὲν οὖν ἄλλα ταῖς φαντασίαις ζῇ καὶ ταῖς μνήμαις, ἐμπειρίας δὲ μετέχει μικρόν: τὸ δὲ τῶν ἀνθρώπων γένος καὶ τέχνῃ καὶ λογισμοῖς. γίγνεται δ᾽ ἐκ τῆς μνήμης ἐμπειρία τοῖς ἀνθρώποις: αἱ γὰρ πολλαὶ μνῆμαι τοῦ αὐτοῦ πράγματος μιᾶς ἐμπειρίας δύναμιν ἀποτελοῦσιν. καὶ δοκεῖ σχεδὸν ἐπιστήμῃ καὶ τέχνῃ ὅμοιον εἶναι καὶ ἐμπειρία, ἀποβαίνει δ᾽ ἐπιστήμη καὶ τέχνη διὰ τῆς ἐμπειρίας τοῖς ἀνθρώποις: ἡ μὲν γὰρ ἐμπειρία τέχνην ἐποίησεν, ὡς φησὶ Πῶλος, ἡ δ᾽ ἀπειρία τύχην. γίγνεται δὲ τέχνη ὅταν ἐκ πολλῶν τῆς ἐμπειρίας ἐννοημάτων μία καθόλου γένηται περὶ τῶν ὁμοίων ὑπόληψις. τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἔχειν ὑπόληψιν ὅτι Καλλίᾳ κάμνοντι τηνδὶ τὴν νόσον τοδὶ συνήνεγκε καὶ Σωκράτει καὶ καθ᾽ ἕκαστον οὕτω πολλοῖς, ἐμπειρίας ἐστίν: τὸ δ᾽ ὅτι πᾶσι τοῖς τοιοῖσδε κατ᾽ εἶδος ἓν ἀφορισθεῖσι, κάμνουσι τηνδὶ τὴν νόσον, συνήνεγκεν, οἷον τοῖς φλεγματώδεσιν ἢ χολώδεσι ἢ πυρέττουσι καύσῳ, τέχνης.

πρὸς μὲν οὖν τὸ πράττειν ἐμπειρία τέχνης οὐδὲν δοκεῖ διαφέρειν, ἀλλὰ καὶ μᾶλλον ἐπιτυγχάνουσιν οἱ ἔμπειροι τῶν ἄνευ τῆς ἐμπειρίας λόγον ἐχόντων (αἴτιον δ᾽ ὅτι ἡ μὲν ἐμπειρία τῶν καθ᾽ ἕκαστόν ἐστι γνῶσις ἡ δὲ τέχνη τῶν καθόλου, αἱ δὲ πράξεις καὶ αἱ γενέσεις πᾶσαι περὶ τὸ καθ᾽ ἕκαστόν εἰσιν: οὐ γὰρ ἄνθρωπον ὑγιάζει ὁ ἰατρεύων ἀλλ᾽ ἢ κατὰ συμβεβηκός, ἀλλὰ Καλλίαν ἢ Σωκράτην ἢ τῶν ἄλλων τινὰ τῶν οὕτω λεγομένων ᾧ συμβέβηκεν ἀνθρώπῳ εἶναι: ἐὰν οὖν ἄνευ τῆς ἐμπειρίας ἔχῃ τις τὸν λόγον, καὶ τὸ καθόλου μὲν γνωρίζῃ τὸ δ᾽ ἐν τούτῳ καθ᾽ ἕκαστον ἀγνοῇ, πολλάκις διαμαρτήσεται τῆς θεραπείας: θεραπευτὸν γὰρ τὸ καθ᾽ ἕκαστον): ἀλλ᾽ ὅμως τό γε εἰδέναι καὶ τὸ ἐπαΐειν τῇ τέχνῃ τῆς ἐμπειρίας ὑπάρχειν οἰόμεθα μᾶλλον, καὶ σοφωτέρους τοὺς τεχνίτας τῶν ἐμπείρων ὑπολαμβάνομεν, ὡς κατὰ τὸ εἰδέναι μᾶλλον ἀκολουθοῦσαν τὴν σοφίαν πᾶσι: τοῦτο δ᾽ ὅτι οἱ μὲν τὴν αἰτίαν ἴσασιν οἱ δ᾽ οὔ. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἔμπειροι τὸ ὅτι μὲν ἴσασι, διότι δ᾽ οὐκ ἴσασιν: οἱ δὲ τὸ διότι καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν γνωρίζουσιν. διὸ καὶ τοὺς ἀρχιτέκτονας περὶ ἕκαστον τιμιωτέρους καὶ μᾶλλον εἰδέναι νομίζομεν τῶν χειροτεχνῶν καὶ σοφωτέρους, ὅτι τὰς αἰτίας τῶν ποιουμένων ἴσασιν (τοὺς δ᾽, ὥσπερ καὶ τῶν ἀψύχων ἔνια ποιεῖ μέν, οὐκ εἰδότα δὲ ποιεῖ ἃ ποιεῖ, οἷον καίει τὸ πῦρ: τὰ μὲν οὖν ἄψυχα φύσει τινὶ ποιεῖν τούτων ἕκαστον τοὺς δὲ χειροτέχνας δι᾽ ἔθος), ὡς οὐ κατὰ τὸ πρακτικοὺς εἶναι σοφωτέρους ὄντας ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ λόγον ἔχειν αὐτοὺς καὶ τὰς αἰτίας γνωρίζειν. ὅλως τε σημεῖον τοῦ εἰδότος καὶ μὴ εἰδότος τὸ δύνασθαι διδάσκειν ἐστίν, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο τὴν τέχνην τῆς ἐμπειρίας ἡγούμεθα μᾶλλον ἐπιστήμην εἶναι: δύνανται γάρ, οἱ δὲ οὐ δύνανται διδάσκειν.

ἔτι δὲ τῶν αἰσθήσεων οὐδεμίαν ἡγούμεθα εἶναι σοφίαν: καίτοι κυριώταταί γ᾽ εἰσὶν αὗται τῶν καθ᾽ ἕκαστα γνώσεις: ἀλλ᾽ οὐ λέγουσι τὸ διὰ τί περὶ οὐδενός, οἷον διὰ τί θερμὸν τὸ πῦρ, ἀλλὰ μόνον ὅτι θερμόν. τὸ μὲν οὖν πρῶτον εἰκὸς τὸν ὁποιανοῦν εὑρόντα τέχνην παρὰ τὰς κοινὰς αἰσθήσεις θαυμάζεσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων μὴ μόνον διὰ τὸ χρήσιμον εἶναί τι τῶν εὑρεθέντων ἀλλ᾽ ὡς σοφὸν καὶ διαφέροντα τῶν ἄλλων: πλειόνων δ᾽ εὑρισκομένων τεχνῶν καὶ τῶν μὲν πρὸς τἀναγκαῖα τῶν δὲ πρὸς διαγωγὴν οὐσῶν, ἀεὶ σοφωτέρους τοὺς τοιούτους ἐκείνων ὑπολαμβάνεσθαι διὰ τὸ μὴ πρὸς χρῆσιν εἶναι τὰς ἐπιστήμας αὐτῶν. ὅθεν ἤδη πάντων τῶν τοιούτων κατεσκευασμένων αἱ μὴ πρὸς ἡδονὴν μηδὲ πρὸς τἀναγκαῖα τῶν ἐπιστημῶν εὑρέθησαν, καὶ πρῶτον ἐν τούτοις τοῖς τόποις οὗ πρῶτον ἐσχόλασαν: διὸ περὶ Αἴγυπτον αἱ μαθηματικαὶ πρῶτον τέχναι συνέστησαν, ἐκεῖ γὰρ ἀφείθη σχολάζειν τὸ τῶν ἱερέων ἔθνος. εἴρηται μὲν οὖν ἐν τοῖς ἠθικοῖς τίς διαφορὰ τέχνης καὶ ἐπιστήμης καὶ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν ὁμογενῶν: οὗ δ᾽ ἕνεκα νῦν ποιούμεθα τὸν λόγον τοῦτ᾽ ἐστίν, ὅτι τὴν ὀνομαζομένην σοφίαν περὶ τὰ πρῶτα αἴτια καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς ὑπολαμβάνουσι πάντες: ὥστε, καθάπερ εἴρηται πρότερον, ὁ μὲν ἔμπειρος τῶν ὁποιανοῦν ἐχόντων αἴσθησιν εἶναι δοκεῖ σοφώτερος, ὁ δὲ τεχνίτης τῶν ἐμπείρων, χειροτέχνου δὲ ἀρχιτέκτων, αἱ δὲ θεωρητικαὶ τῶν ποιητικῶν μᾶλλον. ὅτι μὲν οὖν ἡ σοφία περί τινας ἀρχὰς καὶ αἰτίας ἐστὶν ἐπιστήμη, δῆλον.

English Translation

by Thomas Taylor

All men naturally desire to know, a token of which Is the love of the senses; for, separate from utility, they are loved for themselves, and this is especially the case with the sense of seeing. For, as I may say, we choose to see, in preference to every thing else, not only that we may act, but likewise when we have no intention of acting. But the cause is, that this sense in a most eminent degree makes us to know something, and renders many differences manifest. Animals therefore are produced naturally possessing sense. But from sense, in some of them memory is not ingenerated, and in others it is. And on this account, some animals are prudent, but others are more capable of discipline than those who are not able to exercise the power of memory. Those indeed are prudent without discipline, who are unable to hear sounds, such as bees, and other animals oi this kind, if any such are to be found. But those learn, who together with memory possess the sense of hearing. Other animals therefore live from phantasy, and memory, and participate but a little of experience; but the human race lives from art also, and reasoning. But men derive experience from memory. For memory being often exercised about the same thing, gives perfection to the power of one experience. Hence experience appears to be nearly similar to science and art. But science and art proceed to men through experience. For experience, as Polus rightly observes, produces art, but unskillfullness chance. But art is then effected, when, from many conceptions of experience, one universal opinion about things similar is produced. For to have an opinion that to Callias, Socrates, and to many others severally considered, laboring under a certain disease, this particular thing is expedient, is the province of experience; but that it is expedient to all of this kind who are defined according to one species, and who are afflicted with this disease, such as the phlegmatic, or the choleric, or those who are in a fever from heat, is the province of art.

With respect therefore to acting, experience seems in no respect to differ from art; but we see that the skillful more readily accomplish what they intend, than those who possess the reason of a thing without experience. But the cause of this is, that experience is a knowledge of particulars, but art of things universal. But all actions and generations are about that which is particular. For he who cures does not give health to man, unless by accident, but to Callias or Socrates, or some one of others who are thus denominated, and who happens to be a man. If any one therefore possesses the reason of a thing without experience, and knows indeed that which is universal, but is ignorant of the individual it contains, he will often err in his attempts to cure. For that which is particular possesses a greater capability of being cured; but at the same time we are of opinion that to know, and to understand, belong rather to art than to experience, and we think that artists are wiser than the experienced, because in all men wisdom is rather the consequence of knowledge than of anything else. But this takes place, because some know, and others do not know the cause of a thing. For the skillful indeed know that a thing is, but they do not know why it is; but the scientific know the why and the cause of a thing. On this account we consider those who in any thing are master artists, as more honorable, as those who know more than manual operators, and likewise as more wise, because they know the causes of things which are made. But others, like certain inanimate beings, make indeed, but make destitute of knowledge, just in the fame manner as fire burns. Inanimate beings, therefore, make each of these things by a certain nature; but manual artificers through custom; as being wiser, not from their engaging in active pursuits, but from their possessing reason, and knowing the causes of things. And, in short, it is a sign that a man possesses knowledge, when he is able to teach; and on this account we think that art is more science than experience: for the former are able, but the latter are not able, to teach.

Further still, we do not think that any one of the senses is wisdom, although each is the most principal knowledge of particulars; but the senses do not assert the why respecting any thing, as for instance, why fire is hot, but only that it is hot. It is probable, therefore, that the first inventor of any art, besides the common senses, was admired by men, not only because something of things invented was useful, but as being wise and differing from other men. But when many arts were discovered, some of which pertain to things necessary, but others to the conduct of life, from that time we have always considered those who know the causes of things as wiser than manual artificers, because their sciences do not regard utility. Hence all such things as contribute to the common purposes of life being procured, those sciences were invented, which neither respect pleasure, nor things necessary, and they were first discovered in those places in which men abounded in leisure. On which account the mathematical arts first originated about Egypt; for there the tribe of priests was permitted to be at leisure. In our moral treatises, therefore, we have declared what the difference is between art and science, and other things of a kindred nature. But that for the sake of which we engage in the present discourse, is the belief of all mankind, that what is called wisdom, is conversant with first causes and principles. So that, as we before observed, the skillful man appears to be wiser than those who merely energize from any one of the senses; the artist than the skillful; the architect than manual artificers; and the theoretic than fabricators. That wisdom, therefore, is a science about certain causes and principles, is evident.

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