For if Being is just one, and one in the way mentioned, there is a principle no longer, since a principle must be the principle of some thing or things.
For to people of that sort, just as to those lacking self-restraint,15 knowledge is without benefit. But to those who fashion their longings in accord with reason and act accordingly, knowing about these things would be of great profit.
A sense is what has the power of receiving into itself the sensible forms of things without the matter, in the way in which a piece of wax takes on the impress of a signet-ring without the iron or gold.
But there is a difference: in Rhetoric, one who acts in accordance with sound argument, and one who acts in accordance with moral purpose,are both called rhetoricians; but in Dialectic it is the moral purpose that makes the sophist, the dialectician being one whose arguments rest, not on moral purpose but on the faculty.
It is this simplicity that makes the uneducated more effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences—makes them, as the poets tell us, 'charm the crowd's ears more finely.' Educated men lay down broad general principles; uneducated men argue from common knowledge and draw obvious conclusions.
The happy life is thought to be one of excellence; now an excellent life requires exertion, and does not consist in amusement. If Eudaimonia, or happiness, is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence; and this will be that of the best thing in us.
For we do not think that we know a thing until we are acquainted with its primary conditions or first principles, and have carried our analysis as far as its simplest elements. Plainly therefore in the science of Nature, (15) as in other branches of study, our first task will be to try to determine what relates to its principles.