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幸福:生活永遠的議題(3)
2009/01/31 20:11
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Chapter 3

假使我們的討論,已經理出那樣明確的主題和內容,可能是夠充分了。不是每一種討論都需要同樣精細,超過工藝製品那樣的一致性。既然美好和適當的行為,政治學研究的這內容,容許意見的多樣和變動,它們可能被以為是一種協議,而非自然存在。而且,有些善也同樣會引起類似的變動,因為這以前的無規範它們帶給很多人損害;例如,有些人因為富裕,有些人因為英勇,遭受毀滅。我們必須感到滿意來談論這樣的主題和連同的前題,去陳述這真理的大體和輪廓,並且專心一致討論這最高作用的真理和帶有同樣真理的前提,以達成最好的結論。因此,懷抱同樣的精神,我們應該接受各種論述;表示這是由有教養的人,共同尋求這主題相關各級事務的純正定義。從一個數學家那裡接受不確定的推論,和要求一個雄辯家提供科學證據,顯然都是同樣的蠢事。

由於人人對自己知道的事都能明確判斷,在這方面每個人都是好的評判。因此,在個別主題中受過教育的人,在那領域會是好的評判;受過全面教育的人,會是較廣泛的好的評判。因此,年輕人不是政治學的合適聽者;因為他們生活經驗不足,而政治學的各種討論是從生活經驗開始,和生活經驗息息相關。年輕人還有感情用事的傾向,他們的學習會是徒然和無效的,因為政治學習的目標結果是行動而不是知識。年紀的年輕和性格的年輕沒有差別;年輕人的缺點不因為年紀,因為他們在生活中易受激情左右,隨波逐流。不能自制的人,知識對他們無益;要求自己遵行理性原則的人,這些相關的知識助益極大。

這些對年輕學生的評論,這種預期的論述,以及這些探究的議題,就算是我們的開場白吧。

Our discussion will be adequate if it has as much clearness as the subject-matter admits of, for precision is not to be sought for alike in all discussions, any more than in all the products of the crafts. now fine and just actions, which political science investigates, admit of much variety and fluctuation of opinion, so that they may be thought to exist only by convention, and not by nature. And goods also give rise to a similar fluctuation because they bring harm to many people; for before now men have been undone by reason of their wealth, and others by reason of their courage. We must be content, then, in speaking of such subjects and with such premisses to indicate the truth roughly and in outline, and in speak about things which are only for the most part true and with premisses of the same kind to reach conclusions that are no better. In the same spirit, therefore, should each type of statement be received; for it is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician scientific proofs.

Now each man judges well the things he knows, and of these he is a good judge. And so the man who has been educated in a subject is a good judge of that subject, and the man who has received an all-round education is a good judge in general. Hence a young man is not a proper hearer of lectures on political science; for he is inexperienced in the actions that occur in life, but its discussions start from these and are about these; and, further, since he tends to follow his passions, his study will be vain and unprofitable, because the end aimed at is not knowledge but action. And it makes no difference whether he is young in years or youthful in character; the defect does not depend on time, but on his living, and pursuing each successive object, as passion directs. For to such persons, as to the incontinent, knowledge brings no profit; but to those who desire and act in accordance with a rational principle knowledge about such matters will be of great benefit.

These remarks about the student, the sort of treatment to be expected, and the purpose of the inquiry, may be taken as our preface.

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