Philosophy and language

  • A. G. N. Flew
Part of the Controversies in Philosophy book series (COIPHIL)


I propose to attack a miscellany of popular misconceptions, trying incidentally to illuminate various possibly puzzling practices. A very typical passage from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics will serve as a text:

We must also grasp the nature of deliberative excellence—∊ύβovλια. — and find whether it is a sort of knowledge, or of opinion, or of skill at guessing—∊νστοχία—or something different from these in kind. Now it is not knowledge: for men do not investigate — ζητονστι—matters about which they know, whereas deliberative excellence is a sort of deliberation, and deliberating implies investigating and calculating. But deliberation is not the same as investigation: it is the investigation of a particular subject [i.e. conduct—A.F.]. Nor yet is it skill at guessing: for this operates without conscious calculation, and rapidly, whereas deliberating takes a long time. … Correctness cannot be predicated of knowledge, any more than can error, and correctness of opinion is truth (bk vi, ch. 9: 1142 a32 ff.).


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  1. 2.
    S. E. Toulmin’s ‘Probability’, in A. G. N. Flew (ed.), Essays in Conceptual Analysis (London, 1956).Google Scholar
  2. 9.
    T. D. Weldon, The Vocabulary of Politics (Harmondsworth, 1953) p. 107.Google Scholar
  3. 22.
    Ryle’s Inaugural, Philosophical Arguments (Oxford, 1945).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. N. Flew
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KeeleUK

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