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Aristotle's Ethical Theory$
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W.F.R. Hardie

Print publication date: 1980

Print ISBN-13: 9780198246329

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198246329.001.0001

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The Distinction between the Voluntary and the Involuntary

The Distinction between the Voluntary and the Involuntary

Chapter:
(p.152) VIII The Distinction between the Voluntary and the Involuntary
Source:
Aristotle's Ethical Theory
Author(s):

W.F.R. Hardie

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198246329.003.0008

At the beginning of Book III, Aristotle gives reasons for discussing the distinction between the ‘voluntary’ (hekousion) and the ‘involuntary’. To say that some action was done, some effect produced, ‘voluntarily’ normally implies that there was an ‘intention’ to produce it. At Chapter 2 of the EN, the difference of meaning between ‘voluntary’ and hekousion can be seen. When one says of someone that he did something ‘involuntarily’, one conveys that some result that he produced was not intended. When one says that he did what he did ‘unwillingly’, one conveys that the result was intended but not desired.

Keywords:   Aristotle, voluntary action, reflex, Nicomachean Ethics, intention, compulsion

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