Yeah, it’s a strange word, but it’s got an awesome meaning.
Proaireton (proh-AIR-eh-tahn) was first used by Aristotle in Rhetoric and literally translates as “to choose before.” It means being thoughtful and strategic. To have clear intent and purpose. To make decisions and choices that guide your actions.
In Rhetoric, Aristotle writes of proaireton as a choice, based on both reason and desire. Proairesis, or the act of choosing, follows bouleusis, or deliberation, during which both reason and desire are put forth. Aristotle is keen to point out that decisions are based on both reason – logic and sound reasoning – as well as desire – emotional interests – as reason alone will not compel someone to choose and act. Proaireton is therefore the choice that results from deliberation of both reason and desire, either “desirable reason” or “reasonable desire.” We thought this was appropriate for nonprofit work, where we do our best to be thoughtful and rational but we are often driven by passion and a desire to do good.