The Distinction between the Voluntary and the Involuntary

W.F.R. Hardie

in Aristotle's Ethical Theory

Second edition

Published in print January 1980 | ISBN: 9780198246329
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680953 | DOI:
The Distinction between the Voluntary and the Involuntary

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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

Chapter.  3109 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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