Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.
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6. Philosophy has other provinces, but Dialectic is its precious part: in its study of the laws of the universe, Philosophy draws on Dialectic much as other studies and crafts use Arithmetic, though, of course, the alliance between Philosophy and Dialectic is closer.
And in Morals, too, Philosophy uses Dialectic: by Dialectic it comes to contemplation, though it originates of itself the moral state or rather the discipline from which the moral state develops.
Our reasoning faculties employ the data of Dialectic almost as their proper possession for they are mainly concerned about Matter [whose place and worth Dialectic establishes].
And while the other virtues bring the reason to bear upon particular experiences and acts, the virtue of Wisdom [i.e., the virtue peculiarly induced by Dialectic] is a certain super-reasoning much closer to the Universal; for it deals with correspondence and sequence, the choice of time for action and inaction, the adoption of this course, the rejection of that other: Wisdom and Dialectic have the task of presenting all things as Universals and stripped of matter for treatment by the Understanding.
But can these inferior kinds of virtue exist without Dialectic and philosophy?
Yes — but imperfectly, inadequately.
And is it possible to be a Sage, Master in Dialectic, without these lower virtues?
It would not happen: the lower will spring either before or together with the higher. And it is likely that everyone normally possesses the natural virtues from which, when Wisdom steps in, the perfected virtue develops. After the natural virtues, then, Wisdom and, so the perfecting of the moral nature. Once the natural virtues exist, both orders, the natural and the higher, ripen side by side to their final excellence: or as the one advances it carries forward the other towards perfection.
But, ever, the natural virtue is imperfect in vision and in strength — and to both orders of virtue the essential matter is from what principles we derive them.
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