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Political Prudence In Some Medieval Commentaries On The Sixth Book Of The Nicomachean Ethics

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Chapter Summary

John Buridan devotes so much of his commentary on the sixth book of the Nicomachean Ethics to questions about the unity of prudence. The aim of this chapter is to present some interpretations of the Aristotelian passage that in different ways helped to shape the commentary tradition. Albert the Great, in his first commentary on the Ethics, alludes to Eustratius?s interpretation several times, but chooses a different one. One can easily see that Aquinas follows Eustratius in explaining the main difference between prudence and politics, although he applies the distinction between the virtue of the citizen and the virtue of the politician to a sub-species of prudentia politica. It is remarkable that Buridan, as Henry of Friemar before him, defends the unity of prudence against an argument which had been used also to argue in favour of a specific difference between prudentia monastica and prudentia politica.

Keywords: Albert the Great; Aristotle; Eustratius; Henry of Friemar; John Buridan; medieval commentary tradition; Nicomachean Ethics; prudentia politica; Thomas Aquinas



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