I can't find the source for this quote which apparently belongs to Aristotle. Any ideas? Thanks!

First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.


Though I'm pretty sure the quote is not from Aristotle, much of it is covered by what Aristotle says in Nicomachean Ethics.

A person with the excellence of practical rationality is characteristically able to plan well about what is good or useful for living well or being happy (VI, 5, 1140a25-28). It is his function to plan well concerning goods attainable by humans (7,1141b8-12) [Have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective.] The function of every part of the intellect is to reach the truth (1, 1139a27-31), and practical rationality is a truthful state or capacity, involving thought, for acting with regard to human good and evil (5, 1140b4-7). There is strong prima facie evidence that practical rationality is confined to identifying the means to ends.[Have the necessary means to achieve your ends,] For, in addition to the bald statement that we deliberate about means and not ends (III, 3,1112bll-12; cp. EEII, 10,1226bl0,1227a8), Aristotle states that practical rationality makes our means right, in contrast to excellence of character or moral virtue which makes the end right (VI, 12, 1144a7-9; cf. also VII, 8, 1151al8-19 and EE II, 11, 1227b22-25).* Practical reasoning proceeds from the principle that something (e.g., health or pleasure) is good, to the conclusion that a particular action is to be done as a means [adjust all your means to that end] to health (cp. De Motu 7,701a6-25). (Fred D. Miller, 'Aristotle on Rationality in Action', The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Mar., 1984), pp.501-2.)

There's a little stretching here but not too much to make your quotation fit Aristotle.

NOTE: I add the footnote which I find interesting: "excellence in planning will be correctness in regard to the means (to sympheron) to the end (to telos), of which (ov) practical reason is the true apprehension (hypolepsis)".

  • 1
    This is great skill! Thanks a lot Geoffrey!! Apr 24 '18 at 15:46
  • I added a footnote from the paper which I find interesting. Apr 24 '18 at 22:22

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