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ARISTOTLE’S PRUDENCE IN UPHOLDING THE VANISHING FILIPINO VALUE; DELICADEZA

A Termpaper Presented to Dr. Rodrigo Abenes,PH.D

Rogationist Seminary College-Manila

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Course
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

Submitted by:

Sem. Joseph Jeric C. Umangga

ARISTOTLE’S PRUDENCE IN UPHOLDING THE VANISHING FILIPINO VALUE; DELICADEZA

I. INTRODUCTION

Ancestors during their times are known for being disciplined and decent citizens.[1]Ancient law makers had filled the Philippines through instituting laws, rules and regulations to provide the citizens a peaceful and orderly way of life. Through the obedience of the Filipinos, they had practiced to be always properly conducted every time in accordance with the place they dwell with. Later on, Filipinos have found the conclusion which is to include the value called Delicadeza as one of the Filipino values.

II. DELICADEZA AS A VALUE

Delicadeza is a Spanish word coined from “Delicado” which means fragile, irreplaceable and precious.[2] In Spanish it can mean many things – ‘delicacy’, ‘kindness’, ‘tact.’ The word implies a care for what others think and the accordant behavior this requires from the person in act. When one does not exhibit delicadeza then one does not care what others think and will behave despite what has been deemed ‘improper. ’ Delicadeza, in this sense, can be seen to underline a sense of community - a device to identify what is indelicate, unkind or tactless – things that are harmful to public harmony. It is meant for being sensitive especially to the feelings of other persons. More so, it pertains to the decency and propriety of someone dwelling inside the society. In addition, it is the act of searching the proper things to be conducted especially when positioned in an authoritative place in public service.[3]

In this present age, the Philippines is filled with so many improper things that need to be undertaken properly. Currently, Filipino Lives were conquered by unethical actions and this greatly affects the way of governance and lifestyle of the countrymen. Through these existing attitudes, one may observe that the ‘Delicadeza’ value flows towards vanishing and eliminating in the character of every Filipino. The meaning of the word is changing. One concrete example of these is being abusive of his/her freedom such as caught doing other things around where everything is permitted as long as no one can catch.[4] Many of those who are seated in a public service today are opportunists such as those having suspicious connections with big illegal businesses and paid law firms.[5] One reason why corruption scattered in the country is because the meaning of Delicadeza has greatly changed.[6]

III. ARISTOTLE’S LIFE [7]

Aristotle was born in 384 B.C in Stagira, a small town in Thrace, Greece. His father Nichomachus was a famous doctor who served as a personal physician to king Amyntas III, the grandfather of Alexander the Great. Nicomachus played a very important role in Aristotle’s early intellectual development encouraging his interest in biology and other natural sciences. Aristotle, after the death of his parents, enrolled at Plato’s Academy in Athens, Greece at the age of 17. He remained there for 20 years that he even taught rhetoric to support himself. Aristotle became one of the most outstanding students at the Academy that even his teacher, Plato, nicknamed him as “ the mind” and the “the reader.”

When Plato died in 348 B.C, Plato’s nephew Speusippus became the head of the Academy. Since Aristotle has no personal loyalty to Speusippus and disagreeing with him because of his tendency to ‘turn philosophy into mathematics,’ he decided to depart from Athens together with some other students of the Academy. Aristotle and company went to Atarneus, a small town on a western coast of Asia Minor which was governed by Hermias, a former student at the Academy and close friend of Aristotle. Aristotle then married Hermias’ niece, Phytias. Actually, Aristotle widowed once but married twicw. From his first wife, he had a daughter also named Phytias. From his second wife,he had a son and named him Nicomachus in remembrance of his father. That is why his Nicomachean Ethics is dedicated to his father and son.[8]

Aristotle, when he was still living in Assus, established his own school on a land given to him by Hermias near the site of Troy. However, when Hermias was tortured, it was no longer safe for Aristotle to stay in Assus. So he took his family to Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, the home of his student and a close friend, Theophrastus. In this place, he spent three years collecting date for his studies in biology.

In 343 B.C, King Philip II of Macedonia, the son of Amyntas III, invited Aristotle to act as a tutor to his son who is now known as Alexander the Great. Aristotle accepted the king’s request; so he moved with his family to Pella, the capital of Macedon. There he stayed for eight years but served only as a tutor to the thirteen year old prince Alexander for three years because he was appointed as regent for his father and had no more time for his academic studies. That may be the case why they became close friends. That is why when Alexander became king in 335 B.C, some of Aristotle’s students accompanied his Macedonian army to do research into different lands of the east; and Alexander used to send reports to Aristotle regarding their findings. He used also to bring him samples of plants, animals, and minerals from every place he conquered for his investigations.

In 335 B.C, Aristotle returned to Athens and established his own philosophical school at the Lyceum, a public garden and gymnasium dedicated to Apollo which soon became known as ‘peripatetic’ school. Aristotle’s students then were called “peripatetic” because they used to stroll in the morning while lecturing on various subjects. Actually Aristotle remained in Athens for 12 years and it was there that he did most important writings and teachings. His Lyceum came to rival Plato’s Academy and continued in existence for proximately 800 years after his death.

In 323 B.C, Alexander the Great died at the age of 33. On his death, some anti-Macedonian feeling swept through Athens and the rest of Greece. That is why Aristotle, because of his close connection with the Macedonian rulers, was one of the first victims. Thus, he withdrew from Athens so that “the Athenians might ‘not commit a second crime against philosophy, ’that is, in order that they might condemn him to death as they had condemn Socrates to death”[9] 77 years earlier. Leaving Athens (the center of philosophy), Aristotle went to Chalcis on the Greek island of Euboea in 323 B.C where he died the following year(322 B.C) at the age of 62. At his death, his brilliant student Theophrastus, succeeded him as the head of the Lyceum and continued the works of “The Philosopher”[10]in Athens; whereas The Philosopher’s son, Nicomachus, with some other students, dedicated themselves to compiling and editing his lectures.

IV. ARISTOTLE’S WORKS

Aristotle had a lot of writing during his lifetime but the problem is that, many were lost; only few survived. Some of his famous surviving works are: the Logic, Physics, Ethics, Poetics, Metaphysics, and Rhetoric. On Logic, Aristotle’s works are the following: The Categories, On Interpretation, Prior Analytics, Posterior Analytics, Topics, and Sophisticated reputations. In the fields of natural sciences, these are his works: Physics, On the Heavens, On Generation and Corruption, and On Meteorology. On biology, he made the following treatises: History of Animals, and On the Generation of Animals. In the field of psychology, Aristotle worked on: On the Soul. Parva Naturalia, On Memory and Recollection On Sleep, and On Dreams. He also wrote the so called “First Philosophy” which is known as the “Metaphysics.” Further, he has some ethical works like: The Nicomachean Ethics, Magna Moralia, and The Eudemian Ethics. Aristotle also got interested in political science and he wrote the Politics which is considered as the first book on politics ever written. Some other work connected to political science is The Constitution of Athens which in the only surviving work from a collection of 158 Greek and non-Greek constitutions. In the field of Aesthetics, Arisotle also wrote treatises like: on Rhetoric, and The Poetics.

V. ARISTOTLE’S PRUDENCE

The concept of prudence in Aristotle is a virtue since ancient times. It is Socrates and Plato whom we can be attributed especially in the Western Philosophical tradition.[11] Examining through the Aristotelian body, it is regarded as an intellectual virtue which is a disposition to truth and reason that actualizes Aristotle’s moral virtues so that each of them becomes specific examples of prudence.[12] It can be pronounced as ‘Phronesis’ in its classical Greek and ‘Prudentia’ in Latin which was translated into English which means practical wisdom or prudence.[13] The descriptions given can give us insights that it is about the capacity of immerging oneself to have the knowledge of bringing together their actions, paralleled in accordance with the situation happens. This capacity makes man be more qualitative to act correctly.[14]

Prudence as the faculty that considers action and commands to do what is good is only one of Aristotle’s intellectual virtues. In Book VI of the Nicomachean Ethics, he also outlines the intellectual virtues of intelligence (nous), science (episteme), wisdom (sophia), art (techne), understanding (synesis) and good sense (gnome). They differ from each other and prudence in the sense that nous affords direct insight into self-evident principles and definitions without demonstration or inference, whereas episteme concerns itself with objects that do not change such as demonstrated conclusions. In turn, wisdom concerns itself with things that are most highly regarded and is in a sense a combination of nous and episteme. Art concerns itself with production and differs from prudence, which is not concerned with production but with good actions in pursuit of the good which is an end in itself. Understanding is a similar capacity to prudence in that it comprehends the requirements of good action, but differs from the latter in that it may exist in situations that do not require commands to act. The faculty of good sense is the ability to afford sympathetic understanding and the ability to forgive and to be righteous and fair. It may be stated that prudence may draw on the other intellectual virtues to a larger or lesser extent depending on the situation that requires action. In addition, it should be noted that the nature of the intellectual virtues themselves, as well as their interrelationship with other virtues, is a contested issue with many Aristotelian scholars.

Although Aristotle places prudence among the intellectual rather than the moral virtues, he complicates that placement by characterizing it as a lesser intellectual virtue that function as the highest moral virtue.[15]

Prudence is more like a moral than an intellectual virtue for atleast three reasons. First, it presupposes the moral virtues, in particular temperance or moderation. Temperance preserves prudence by immunizing judgments about what should be done from pleasures and pains that might destroy or pervert those judgments. Aristotle notes that even the etymology of the word implies as mush, in that temperance derives from sozein (to preserve, maintain) and phronesis (prudence). Prudence also requires moral virtue because it affects good acts and moral virtue “makes us aim at the right mark, whereas prudence makes us take the right means.” Second, those means—chiefly money, power, and freedom—are of human origin in require human beings as beneficiaries. Third, prudence serves wisdom, aiming to bring it into being as medical science aims to bring health into being.[16]

The prudent man, who by definition deliberates well about what conduces the good life in general, thereby perceives universals through particulars and thus also the concept of good. As Leo Strauss explains: “Just as partial human goods cannot be known to be goods except with reference to the highest or the whole human good, the whole human good cannot be known to be good except with reference to the good simply, the idea of the good, which comes to sight only beyond and above all other ideas: the idea of the good, and not the human good or in particular gentleman ship, is the principle of prudence.[17]

Aristotle’s prudence represents a remarkable historical journey of more than two times. Throughout history it has restored itself time and time again when conditions allowed for this, and we seem to be at such a historical moment at present.[18]

VI. EVALUATION

In the book of Aristotle, he defined prudence as beings reasoned and true state of capacity to act with regard to human goods.[19] However, Aristotle did not believe that all people are capable of acquiring prudence. Indeed, his teaching is devoted to the idea that education and training the intellectual virtues especially prudence, would develop the understanding of human good. In the previous part of this paper, it stated the current condition of the ‘Delicadeza’ value in the Philippines which is slowly vanishing. Delicadeza is a virtue of knowing and acting similarly Aristotle described his prudence as having the knowledge or using reason to act with regard to the situation towards goodness. On the other hand, Filipinos redefines the meaning of ‘Delicadeza’ in terms of practices especially on the way of conducting their actions such as the way of governance of those who run the government.[20] Some of the listed perfections a person gifted with include freedom and responsibility.[21] The first describe persons as only masters of their own acts since they have the capability of knowing the end as such and to direct themselves towards it, while the latter explains the responsibility of man into its freedom; that he can choose freely towards its end which is God.[22] It is also the perfection to be responsible in making them deserve the reward or the punishment.[23] On the other hand, Filipinos do this improperly whereas they act without using the intellectual capacity to think for the outcome. Thus, the prudence of Aristotle gives a support to uphold the vanishing value. Prudence can give Filipino people to have the opportunity to use their reason in acting inside the society.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics Book VI. The Internet Classics Archive, 1994-2009.

Barnes, Jonathan. The Cambrige Companion to Aristotle. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Briones, Leonor. Redefining Delicadeza. August 17, 2009. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/views-and-analysis/08/16/09/redefining-delicadeza-leonor-magtolis-briones (accessed February 04, 2015).

David, Randy. The Death of Delicadeza. August 15, 2009. http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20090815-220331/The-death-of-delicadeza (accessed February 4, 2015).

Faure, Murray. Understanding Aristotle’s Prudence and It's Resurgence. Department of

Fortun, Raymond. A Clarion Call for "Delicadeza" in Public Service. January 1, 2015. http://www.google.com (accessed February 04, 2015).

Jimenez, Josephuz. What is Delicadeza? August 17, 2009. http://www.google.com (accessed February 04, 2015).

Milch, Robert, and Charles Patterson. Aristotle's Ethics. Lincoln, Nebraska, USA: Cliff Notes Inc., 1991.

O'Donnell, Robert. Hooked on Philosophy. New York: Alba House, 1996.

Seav, Eugene Alvin. What's the Deal with Delicadeza? October 29, 2013. http://www.vaes9.codedgraphic.com (accessed February 04, 2015).

Swanson, Judith. Prudence and Human Conduct: A Comparison of Aristotle and Oakeshott. Gena, Germany: Friedrich Schiller University, 2007.

The City and Man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964.

Yarza, Ignatius; Guzman, M; Santos, Caesar;. History Of Ancient Philosophy. Plaza de Los Sauces,ly2. Barañain, Pamplona, Spain: SINAG-TALA PUBLISHERS INC., 1983.

-----------------------
[1]Jimenez, Josephuz. 2009. What is Delicadeza? August 17. Accessed February 04, 2015. http://www.google.com.

[2] Fortun, Raymond. 2015. A Clarion Call for "Delicadeza" in Public Service. January 1. Accessed February 04, 2015. http://www.google.com.

[3] Seav, Eugene Alvin. 2013. What's the Deal with Delicadeza? October 29. Accessed February 04, 2015. http://www.vaes9.codedgraphic.com.

[4] David, Randy. The Death of Delicadeza. August 15, 2009. http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20090815-220331/The-death-of-delicadeza (accessed February 4, 2015).

[5] Jimenez, Josephuz. What is Delicadeza? August 17, 2009. http://www.google.com (accessed February 04, 2015).

[6] Briones, Leonor. Redefining Delicadeza. August 17, 2009. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/views-and-analysis/08/16/09/redefining-delicadeza-leonor-magtolis-briones (accessed February 04, 2015).

[7] Milch, Robert, and Charles Patterson. Aristotle's Ethics. Lincoln, Nebraska, USA: Cliff Notes Inc., 1991.

[8] O'Donnell, Robert. Hooked on Philosophy. New York: Alba House, 1996.

[9] Barnes, Jonathan. The Cambrige Companion to Aristotle. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

[10] The term “Philosopher,” is a special name of Aritotle given by St. Thomas Aquinas as a sign of his veneration to him.
[11] Faure, Murray. Understanding Aristotle’s Prudence and It's Resurgence. Department of Political Sciences,University of South Africa, 2013.,45

[12] Ibid.,46
[13] Ibid.,47
[14] Yarza, Ignatius. History Of Ancient Philosophy. Plaza de Los Sauces,ly2. Barañain, Pamplona, Spain: SINAG-TALA PUBLISHERS INC., 1983.,p.182

[15] Swanson, Judith. Prudence and Human Conduct: A Comparison of Aristotle and Oakeshott. Gena, Germany: Friedrich Schiller University, 2007.

[16] Ibid
[17] The City and Man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964.

[18] Faure, Murray. Understanding Aristotle’s Prudence and It's Resurgence. Department of Political Sciences,University of South Africa, 2013.p.34

[19]
Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics Book VI. The Internet Classics Archive, 1994-2009.p. 5

[20] Briones, Leonor. Redefining Delicadeza. August 17, 2009. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/views-and-analysis/08/16/09/redefining-delicadeza-leonor-magtolis-briones (accessed February 04, 2015).

[21] Alvira, Tomas, Luis Clavell, and Thomas Melendo. METAPHYSICS Understanding the Science of Being. Plaza los Sauces ly2, Barañain-Pamplona(España): Sinag-tala Publishers, 1990.
[22] Ibid,125

[23] Ibid,125

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