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Aristotle, Nicomachean - book 3 ch.1-10

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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHL100Y1
Professor
Mark Kingwell

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Philosophy
Practical Wisdom
Reading: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics Book 3
Book 3
Chapter 1
Since virtue is to do with feelings and actions, and since voluntary feelings and
actions are praised and blamed, while the involuntary are pardoned and
occasionally pitied, presumably anyone considering virtue must determine the
limits of the voluntary and involuntary
Useful, especially in legislations or punishment and honours
Involuntary: things that happen by force or through ignorance
What is forced has external first principle, such that agent or person acted upon
has contributed nothing to it
However for things done through fear of greater evils or for the sake of something
noble, there is some dispute about whether they are voluntary or involuntary
And so voluntary and involuntary actions are to be ascribed at the time of the
actions
Whether the first principle lies in a person, it is in his power to act or not to, and
so such actions are voluntary, but without qualification, they are presumably
involuntary, since no one would choose any of them to itself
People sometimes praised when they endure disgrace or pain in return for great
and noble objects, and if they do the contrary, they are blamed, since it is
characteristic of a bad person to endure the greatest disgraces for no noble end
Hard sometimes to determine what should be chosen at what cost, and what
should be endured for what gain, and it is harder to stand by our decision, because
the expected consequences are generally painful, and what one is compelled to do
is shameful
The is why those who have been compelled or not re praised and blamed
Actions that in themselves are involuntary, but worth choosing at a certain time
and for certain benefits, and have their first principle in the agent, are in
themselves involuntary, but at that time and for those benefits voluntary
but they are more like voluntary actions, because actions are in the sphere of
particulars, and here the particulars are voluntary
Not easy to explain what sort of things ought to be chosen in return for what, since
there are any differences in particulars
If someone were to claim that sweet/noble things are forcible, he would be
committed to all actions’ being forced, since it is with those neds in view that
everyone does everything, and people who are forced to act and do so
involuntarily find it painful, while those who act because of what is pleasant/noble
do so with pleasure
What is forced is an external first principle, where the person forced contributes
nothing
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Philosophy
Everything done through ignorance is non-voluntary, but what is involuntary also
causes pain and regret, for the person who acted through ignorance, and is not
upset by what he has done, has acted voluntarily, in that he is not pained
Therefore of those who act through ignorance, the one who regrets what he
did seems to be an involuntary agent, while the one who shows no regret,
should have a name of his own
An action is not properly called involuntary, however if the agent is ignorant of
what is beneficial, because it is not ignorant in rational choice that causes the
involuntariness, but ignorance of particularsthe circumstances of the actions
and what it is concerned with
It is on these that people pity and pardon depend, since someone who is ignorant
of any of these is acing involuntarily
An action is called involuntary on the basis of a particular kind of ignorance that
must also give rise to pain and regret
Voluntary: has first principle in the person himself when he knows the particular
circumstances of the action
It is a mistake to describe actions done through spirit or appetite as involuntary,
because 1st, none of the other animals, or children, will act voluntarily, and 2nd, is
it meant that none of the action we do through appetite and spirit is done
involuntarily, or that we do the noble ones voluntarily, the disgraceful ones
involuntarily?
Chapter 2
Rational choice is not shared by beings who lack reason, whereas appetite and
spirit are shared
The incontinent person acts form appetite, but not from rational choices, while the
self-controlled person does the contrary, and acts from rational choice, but not
form appetite
Appetite can be in opposition to rational choice, but not to appetite
Appetite: concerned with what is pleasant and what is painful, rational choice
with neither
Wish can be for things one could never bring about by ones own efforts
Wish is more to do with the end, rational choice with what is conducive to the
end, e.g. we wish to be healthy, but we rationally choose things that will make us
healthy
Therefore rational choice is concerned with things that seem to be in our
power
Belief is concerned with everything—no less with what is eternal and what is
impossible than what is in our power, where distinctions are made on the grounds
of truth and falsity
www.notesolution.com
Philosophy
What we rationally choose is to obtain or avoid something good or bad, while we
hold beliefs about what that is, whom it benefits, or in what way; we never really
believe to obtain or avoid things
Rational choice is praised for being of what is right rather than for its being
correct, while belief is praised for being true
We rationally choose what we best know to be good
Belief is voluntary and it seem to signify something that is chosen before other
things
Chapter 3
We deliberate about what is in our power, what we can do (what is possible?)
We deliberate about things that we can bring about, and not always in the same
way
We deliberate more about skills than sciences, since we are less certain about the
skills
Deliberation is concerned with what usually happens in a certain way, where the
consequences are unclear, and where things are not definite
Call on other to deliberate on important issues, as we do not trust our own ability
to decide
We deliberate about things that are conducive to ends
People establish an end an then go on to think about how and by what means it is
to be achieved
If there are several means available, they consider by which it will be achieved in
the easiest and most available way, while if it can be attained by only one means,
they consider how this will bring it about, and by what further means this means
is itself to be brought about, until they arrive at the first cause, the last thing to be
found
What is possible is what can be accomplished by our own efforts, what can be
brought about through our friends is in a sense accomplished by our own effort, in
that the first principle is in us
Therefore a human being is a first principle of actions
Deliberation is about what he can do himself, and actions are done for the sake of
other things, because it is not the end but what is conducive to an end that is the
object of deliberation
Particulars are also not the objects, such as whether this is brad or has been baked
as it should, these are matters of perception, and if we are always deliberating, it
will never come to an end
The object of deliberation and of rational choice are the same, except that the
object of rational choice has already been determined, since it is hat has been
decided upon as the result of deliberation that is the object of rational choice
Each person stops inquiring how he is to act as soon as he has traced the first
principle back to himself, to the part of him that gives commands, because it is
this that rationally chooses
www.notesolution.com

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Description
Philosophy Practical Wisdom Reading: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics Book 3 Book 3 Chapter 1 Since virtue is to do with feelings and actions, and since voluntary feelings and actions are praised and blamed, while the involuntary are pardoned and occasionally pitied, presumably anyone considering virtue must determine the limits of the voluntary and involuntary Useful, especially in legislations or punishment and honours Involuntary: things that happen by force or through ignorance What is forced has external first principle, such that agent or person acted upon has contributed nothing to it However for things done through fear of greater evils or for the sake of something noble, there is some dispute about whether they are voluntary or involuntary And so voluntary and involuntary actions are to be ascribed at the time of the actions Whether the first principle lies in a person, it is in his power to act or not to, and so such actions are voluntary, but without qualification, they are presumably involuntary, since no one would choose any of them to itself People sometimes praised when they endure disgrace or pain in return for great and noble objects, and if they do the contrary, they are blamed, since it is characteristic of a bad person to endure the greatest disgraces for no noble end Hard sometimes to determine what should be chosen at what cost, and what should be endured for what gain, and it is harder to stand by our decision, because the expected consequences are generally painful, and what one is compelled to do is shameful The is why those who have been compelled or not re praised and blamed Actions that in themselves are involuntary, but worth choosing at a certain time and for certain benefits, and have their first principle in the agent, are in themselves involuntary, but at that time and for those benefits voluntary but they are more like voluntary actions, because actions are in the sphere of particulars, and here the particulars are voluntary Not easy to explain what sort of things ought to be chosen in return for what, since there are any differences in particulars If someone were to claim that sweetnoble things are forcible, he would be committed to all actions being forced, since it is with those neds in view that everyone does everything, and people who are forced to act and do so involuntarily find it painful, while those who act because of what is pleasantnoble do so with pleasure What is forced is an external first principle, where the person forced contributes nothing www.notesolution.com
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