Summary and Analysis Book VI: Chapter XII



Practical wisdom contemplates the means by which men become happy (i.e., the realm of coming-to-be), while theoretical wisdom is concerned only with unchangeable realities, but it is impossible to have theoretical wisdom without also having practical wisdom (i.e., one cannot know what is good unless he is experienced in doing good). Both forms of wisdom are good in themselves, apart from their effects, simply because they are virtues. In addition, since the exercise of wisdom is the essence of happiness, both kinds of wisdom are formal causes of happiness. Contemplation and the life of theoretical wisdom constitute man's highest end, but practical wisdom is an essential element of that end.