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By Alfarabi, ed. and trans. Muhsin Mahdi

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Extra resources for Alfarabi's Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle

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His courage, for instance, ought to be such as to enable him to exploit the warriors' particular acts of courage. Similarly, the one who possesses a deliberative virtue by which he discovers what is most useful and noble for the ends of those who acquire wealth in the city ought to possess the moral virtue that enables him to exploit the particular virtues of the classes of people engaged in acquiring wealth. 32 The arts, too, ought to follow this pattern. The leading art that is not surpassed by any other in authority is such that when we decide to fulfill its functions, we are unable to do so without making use of the functions of all the arts.

Similarly, virtuous ends are either virtuous and good according to generally accepted opinion, virtuous and good according to a particular religion, or truly virtuous and good. No one can discover what is most noble according to the followers of a particular religion unless his moral virtues are the specific virtues of that religion. This holds for everyone else; it applies to the more powerful virtues as well as to the more particular and less powerful. Therefore the most powerful deliberative virtue and the most powerful moral virtue are inseparable from each other.

In all of this they should aim at accomplishing what the supreme ruler had in mind for the nation, for whose sake he gave this man or this group of men what was given to them. Such are the men who should be employed to form the character of nations with their consent. 48 The best course is that each member of the groups to which the formation of the character of nations is delegated should possess a warlike virtue and a deliberative virtue for use in case there is need to excel in leading troops in war; thus everyone of them will possess the skill to form the nations' character by both methods.

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Alfarabi's Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle by Alfarabi, ed. and trans. Muhsin Mahdi

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