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Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια

[ed. J. Bywater, Aristotle's Ethica Nicomachea. Oxford, 1894]

translated by William David Ross
Clarendon Press 1908

Βιβλίο ΙΙΙ, 1-2

  D. Inner side of moral virtue: conditions of responsibility for action.

1. Praise and blame attach to voluntary actions, i.e. actions done (1) not under compulsion, and (2) with knowledge of the circumstances.

[1109β] (30) τῆς ἀρετῆς δὴ περὶ πάθη τε καὶ πράξεις οὔσης, καὶ ἐπὶ μὲν τοῖς ἑκουσίοις ἐπαίνων καὶ ψόγων γινομένων, ἐπὶ δὲ τοῖς ἀκουσίοις συγγνώμης, ἐνίοτε δὲ καὶ ἐλέου, τὸ ἑκούσιον καὶ τὸ ἀκούσιον ἀναγκαῖον ἴσως διορίσαι τοῖς περὶ ἀρετῆς ἐπισκοποῦσι, χρήσιμον δὲ καὶ τοῖς νομοθετοῦσι πρός τε τὰς (35) τιμὰς καὶ τὰς κολάσεις.     SINCE virtue is concerned with passions and actions, and on voluntary passions and actions praise and blame are bestowed, on those that are involuntary pardon, and sometimes also pity, to distinguish the voluntary and the involuntary is presumably necessary for those who are studying the nature of virtue, and useful also for legislators with a view to the assigning both of honours and of punishments.
δοκεῖ δὴ ἀκούσια εἶναι τὰ βίᾳ ἢ δι᾽ ἄγνοιαν γινόμενα· [1110a] (1) βίαιον δὲ οὗ ἡ ἀρχὴ ἔξωθεν, τοιαύτη οὖσα ἐν ᾗ μηδὲν συμβάλλεται ὁ πράττων ἢ ὁ πάσχων, οἷον εἰ πνεῦμα κομίσαι ποι ἢ ἄνθρωποι κύριοι ὄντες. Those things, then, are thought-involuntary, which take place under compulsion or owing to ignorance; and that is compulsory of which the moving principle is outside, being a principle in which nothing is contributed by the person who is acting or is feeling the passion, e.g. if he were to be carried somewhere by a wind, or by men who had him in their power.

ὅσα δὲ διὰ φόβον μειζόνων κακῶν πράττεται ἢ διὰ (5) καλόν τι, οἷον εἰ τύραννος προστάττοι αἰσχρόν τι πρᾶξαι κύριος ὢν γονέων καὶ τέκνων, καὶ πράξαντος μὲν σῴζοιντο μὴ πράξαντος δ᾽ ἀποθνήσκοιεν, ἀμφισβήτησιν ἔχει πότερον ἀκούσιά ἐστιν ἢ ἑκούσια.     But with regard to the things that are done from fear of greater evils or for some noble object (e.g. if a tyrant were to order one to do something base, having one's parents and children in his power, and if one did the action they were to be saved, but otherwise would be put to death), it may be debated whether such actions are involuntary or voluntary.
τοιοῦτον δέ τι συμβαίνει καὶ περὶ τὰς ἐν τοῖς χειμῶσιν ἐκβολάς· ἁπλῶς μὲν γὰρ οὐδεὶς ἀποβάλλεται (10) ἑκών, ἐπὶ σωτηρίᾳ δ᾽ αὑτοῦ καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν ἅπαντες οἱ νοῦν ἔχοντες. Something of the sort happens also with regard to the throwing of goods overboard in a storm; for in the abstract no one throws goods away voluntarily, but on condition of its securing the safety of himself and his crew any sensible man does so.
μικταὶ μὲν οὖν εἰσιν αἱ τοιαῦται πράξεις, ἐοίκασι δὲ μᾶλλον ἑκουσίοις· αἱρεταὶ γάρ εἰσι τότε ὅτε πράττονται, τὸ δὲ τέλος τῆς πράξεως κατὰ τὸν καιρόν ἐστιν. Such actions, then, are mixed, but are more like voluntary actions; for they are worthy of choice at the time when they are done, and the end of an action is relative to the occasion.
καὶ τὸ ἑκούσιον δὴ καὶ τὸ ἀκούσιον, ὅτε πράττει, (15) λεκτέον. πράττει δὲ ἑκών· καὶ γὰρ ἡ ἀρχὴ τοῦ κινεῖν τὰ ὀργανικὰ μέρη ἐν ταῖς τοιαύταις πράξεσιν ἐν αὐτῷ ἐστίν· ὧν δ᾽ ἐν αὐτῷ ἡ ἀρχή, ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ καὶ τὸ πράττειν καὶ μή. Both the terms, then, 'voluntary' and 'involuntary', must be used with reference to the moment of action. Now the man acts voluntarily; for the principle that moves the instrumental parts of the body in such actions is in him, and the things of which the moving principle is in a man himself are in his power to do or not to do.
ἑκούσια δὴ τὰ τοιαῦτα, ἁπλῶς δ᾽ ἴσως ἀκούσια· οὐδεὶς γὰρ ἂν ἕλοιτο καθ᾽ αὑτὸ τῶν τοιούτων οὐδέν. Such actions, therefore, are voluntary, but in the abstract perhaps involuntary; for no one would choose any such act in itself.
(20) ἐπὶ ταῖς πράξεσι δὲ ταῖς τοιαύταις ἐνίοτε καὶ ἐπαινοῦνται, ὅταν αἰσχρόν τι ἢ λυπηρὸν ὑπομένωσιν ἀντὶ μεγάλων καὶ καλῶν· ἂν δ᾽ ἀνάπαλιν, ψέγονται· τὰ γὰρ αἴσχισθ᾽ ὑπομεῖναι ἐπὶ μηδενὶ καλῷ ἢ μετρίῳ φαύλου.     For such actions men are sometimes even praised, when they endure something base or painful in return for great and noble objects gained; in the opposite case they are blamed, since to endure the greatest indignities for no noble end or for a trifling end is the mark of an inferior person.
ἐπ᾽ ἐνίοις δ᾽ ἔπαινος μὲν οὐ γίνεται, συγγνώμη δ᾽, ὅταν διὰ τοιαῦτα πράξῃ (25) τις ἃ μὴ δεῖ, ἃ τὴν ἀνθρωπίνην φύσιν ὑπερτείνει καὶ μηδεὶς ἂν ὑπομείναι. On some actions praise indeed is not bestowed, but pardon is, when one does what he ought not under pressure which overstrains human nature and which no one could withstand.
ἔνια δ᾽ ἴσως οὐκ ἔστιν ἀναγκασθῆναι, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον ἀποθανετέον παθόντι τὰ δεινότατα· καὶ γὰρ τὸν Εὐριπίδου Ἀλκμαίωνα γελοῖα φαίνεται τὰ ἀναγκάσαντα μητροκτονῆσαι. But some acts, perhaps, we cannot be forced to do, but ought rather to face death after the most fearful sufferings; for the things that 'forced' Euripides Alcmaeon to slay his mother seem absurd.
ἔστι δὲ χαλεπὸν ἐνίοτε διακρῖναι (30) ποῖον ἀντὶ ποίου αἱρετέον καὶ τί ἀντὶ τίνος ὑπομενετέον, ἔτι δὲ χαλεπώτερον ἐμμεῖναι τοῖς γνωσθεῖσιν· ὡς γὰρ ἐπὶ τὸ πολύ ἐστι τὰ μὲν προσδοκώμενα λυπηρά, ἃ δ᾽ ἀναγκάζονται αἰσχρά, ὅθεν ἔπαινοι καὶ ψόγοι γίνονται περὶ τοὺς ἀναγκασθέντας ἢ μή. It is difficult sometimes to determine what should be chosen at what cost, and what should be endured in return for what gain, and yet more difficult to abide by our decisions; for as a rule what is expected is painful, and what we are forced to do is base, whence praise and blame are bestowed on those who have been compelled or have not.
[1110b] (1) τὰ δὴ ποῖα φατέον βίαια; ἢ ἁπλῶς μέν, ὁπότ᾽ ἂν ἡ αἰτία ἐν τοῖς ἐκτὸς ᾖ καὶ ὁ πράττων μηδὲν συμβάλληται; ἃ δὲ καθ᾽ αὑτὰ μὲν ἀκούσιά ἐστι, νῦν δὲ καὶ ἀντὶ τῶνδε αἱρετά, καὶ ἡ ἀρχὴ ἐν τῷ πράττοντι, (5) καθ᾽ αὑτὰ μὲν ἀκούσιά ἐστι, νῦν δὲ καὶ ἀντὶ τῶνδε ἑκούσια.     What sort of acts, then, should be called compulsory? We answer that without qualification actions are so when the cause is in the external circumstances and the agent contributes nothing. But the things that in themselves are involuntary, but now and in return for these gains are worthy of choice, and whose moving principle is in the agent, are in themselves involuntary, but now and in return for these gains voluntary.
μᾶλλον δ᾽ ἔοικεν ἑκουσίοις· αἱ γὰρ πράξεις ἐν τοῖς καθ᾽ ἕκαστα, ταῦτα δ᾽ ἑκούσια. ποῖα δ᾽ ἀντὶ ποίων αἱρετέον, οὐ ῥᾴδιον ἀποδοῦναι· πολλαὶ γὰρ διαφοραί εἰσιν ἐν τοῖς καθ᾽ ἕκαστα. They are more like voluntary acts; for actions are in the class of particulars, and the particular acts here are voluntary. What sort of things are to be chosen, and in return for what, it is not easy to state; for there are many differences in the particular cases.
εἰ δέ τις τὰ ἡδέα καὶ τὰ καλὰ φαίη βίαια (10) εἶναι (ἀναγκάζειν γὰρ ἔξω ὄντα), πάντα ἂν εἴη αὐτῷ βίαια· τούτων γὰρ χάριν πάντες πάντα πράττουσιν.     But if some one were to say that pleasant and noble objects have a compelling power, forcing us from without, all acts would be for him compulsory; for it is for these objects that all men do everything they do.
καὶ οἱ μὲν βίᾳ καὶ ἄκοντες λυπηρῶς, οἱ δὲ διὰ τὸ ἡδὺ καὶ καλὸν μεθ᾽ ἡδονῆς· γελοῖον δὲ τὸ αἰτιᾶσθαι τὰ ἐκτός, ἀλλὰ μὴ αὑτὸν εὐθήρατον ὄντα ὑπὸ τῶν τοιούτων, καὶ τῶν μὲν (15) καλῶν ἑαυτόν, τῶν δ᾽ αἰσχρῶν τὰ ἡδέα. And those who act under compulsion and unwillingly act with pain, but those who do acts for their pleasantness and nobility do them with pleasure; it is absurd to make external circumstances responsible, and not oneself, as being easily caught by such attractions, and to make oneself responsible for noble acts but the pleasant objects responsible for base acts.
ἔοικε δὴ τὸ βίαιον εἶναι οὗ ἔξωθεν ἡ ἀρχή, μηδὲν συμβαλλομένου τοῦ βιασθέντος. The compulsory, then, seems to be that whose moving principle is outside, the person compelled contributing nothing.
τὸ δὲ δι᾽ ἄγνοιαν οὐχ ἑκούσιον μὲν ἅπαν ἐστίν, ἀκούσιον δὲ τὸ ἐπίλυπον καὶ ἐν μεταμελείᾳ· ὁ γὰρ δι᾽ ἄγνοιαν (20) πράξας ὁτιοῦν, μηδέν τι δυσχεραίνων ἐπὶ τῇ πράξει, ἑκὼν μὲν οὐ πέπραχεν, ὅ γε μὴ ᾔδει, οὐδ᾽ αὖ ἄκων, μὴ λυπούμενός γε.     Everything that is done by reason of ignorance is not voluntary; it is only what produces pain and repentance that is involuntary. For the man who has done something owing to ignorance, and feels not the least vexation at his action, has not acted voluntarily, since he did not know what he was doing, nor yet involuntarily, since he is not pained.
τοῦ δὴ δι᾽ ἄγνοιαν ὁ μὲν ἐν μεταμελείᾳ ἄκων δοκεῖ, ὁ δὲ μὴ μεταμελόμενος, ἐπεὶ ἕτερος, ἔστω οὐχ ἑκών· ἐπεὶ γὰρ διαφέρει, βέλτιον ὄνομα ἔχειν ἴδιον. Of people, then, who act by reason of ignorance he who repents is thought an involuntary agent, and the man who does not repent may, since he is different, be called a not voluntary agent; for, since he differs from the other, it is better that he should have a name of his own.
ἕτερον δ᾽ (25) ἔοικε καὶ τὸ δι᾽ ἄγνοιαν πράττειν τοῦ ἀγνοοῦντα· ὁ γὰρ μεθύων ἢ ὀργιζόμενος οὐ δοκεῖ δι᾽ ἄγνοιαν πράττειν ἀλλὰ διά τι τῶν εἰρημένων, οὐκ εἰδὼς δὲ ἀλλ᾽ ἀγνοῶν.     Acting by reason of ignorance seems also to be different from acting in ignorance; for the man who is drunk or in a rage is thought to act as a result not of ignorance but of one of the causes mentioned, yet not knowingly but in ignorance.
ἀγνοεῖ μὲν οὖν πᾶς ὁ μοχθηρὸς ἃ δεῖ πράττειν καὶ ὧν ἀφεκτέον, καὶ διὰ τὴν τοιαύτην ἁμαρτίαν ἄδικοι καὶ ὅλως (30) κακοὶ γίνονται· τὸ δ᾽ ἀκούσιον βούλεται λέγεσθαι οὐκ εἴ τις ἀγνοεῖ τὰ συμφέροντα· οὐ γὰρ ἡ ἐν τῇ προαιρέσει ἄγνοια αἰτία τοῦ ἀκουσίου ἀλλὰ τῆς μοχθηρίας, οὐδ᾽ ἡ καθόλου (ψέγονται γὰρ διά γε ταύτην) ἀλλ᾽ ἡ καθ᾽ ἕκαστα, ἐν οἷς καὶ περὶ ἃ ἡ πρᾶξις· [1111a] (1) ἐν τούτοις γὰρ καὶ ἔλεος καὶ συγγνώμη· ὁ γὰρ τούτων τι ἀγνοῶν ἀκουσίως πράττει.     Now every wicked man is ignorant of what he ought to do and what he ought to abstain from, and it is by reason of error of this kind that men become unjust and in general bad; but the term 'involuntary' tends to be used not if a man is ignorant of what is to his advantage- for it is not mistaken purpose that causes involuntary action (it leads rather to wickedness), nor ignorance of the universal (for that men are blamed), but ignorance of particulars, i.e. of the circumstances of the action and the objects with which it is concerned. For it is on these that both pity and pardon depend, since the person who is ignorant of any of these acts involuntarily.
ἴσως οὖν οὐ χεῖρον διορίσαι αὐτά, τίνα καὶ πόσα ἐστί, τίς τε δὴ καὶ τί καὶ περὶ τί ἢ ἐν τίνι πράττει, ἐνίοτε δὲ καὶ (5) τίνι, οἷον ὀργάνῳ, καὶ ἕνεκα τίνος, οἷον σωτηρίας, καὶ πῶς, οἷον ἠρέμα ἢ σφόδρα.     Perhaps it is just as well, therefore, to determine their nature and number. A man may be ignorant, then, of who he is, what he is doing, what or whom he is acting on, and sometimes also what (e.g. what instrument) he is doing it with, and to what end (e.g. he may think his act will conduce to some one's safety), and how he is doing it (e.g. whether gently or violently).
ἅπαντα μὲν οὖν ταῦτα οὐδεὶς ἂν ἀγνοήσειε μὴ μαινόμενος, δῆλον δ᾽ ὡς οὐδὲ τὸν πράττοντα· πῶς γὰρ ἑαυτόν γε; Now of all of these no one could be ignorant unless he were mad, and evidently also he could not be ignorant of the agent; for how could he not know himself?
ὃ δὲ πράττει ἀγνοήσειεν ἄν τις, οἷον “λέγοντές φασιν ἐκπεσεῖν αὐτούς,” ἢ οὐκ εἰδέναι ὅτι ἀπόρρητα (10) ἦν, ὥσπερ Αἰσχύλος τὰ μυστικά, ἢ δεῖξαι βουλόμενος ἀφεῖναι, ὡς ὁ τὸν καταπέλτην. But of what he is doing a man might be ignorant, as for instance people say 'it slipped out of their mouths as they were speaking', or 'they did not know it was a secret', as Aeschylus said of the mysteries, or a man might say he 'let it go off when he merely wanted to show its working', as the man did with the catapult.
οἰηθείη δ᾽ ἄν τις καὶ τὸν υἱὸν πολέμιον εἶναι ὥσπερ ἡ Μερόπη, καὶ ἐσφαιρῶσθαι τὸ λελογχωμένον δόρυ, ἢ τὸν λίθον κίσηριν εἶναι· καὶ ἐπὶ σωτηρίᾳ πίσας ἀποκτείναι ἄν· καὶ θῖξαι βουλόμενος, (15) ὥσπερ οἱ ἀκροχειριζόμενοι, πατάξειεν ἄν. Again, one might think one's son was an enemy, as Merope did, or that a pointed spear had a button on it, or that a stone was pumicestone; or one might give a man a draught to save him, and really kill him; or one might want to touch a man, as people do in sparring, and really wound him.
περὶ πάντα δὴ ταῦτα τῆς ἀγνοίας οὔσης, ἐν οἷς ἡ πρᾶξις, ὁ τούτων τι ἀγνοήσας ἄκων δοκεῖ πεπραχέναι, καὶ μάλιστα ἐν τοῖς κυριωτάτοις· κυριώτατα δ᾽ εἶναι δοκεῖ ἐν οἷς ἡ πρᾶξις καὶ οὗ ἕνεκα. The ignorance may relate, then, to any of these things, i.e. of the circumstances of the action, and the man who was ignorant of any of these is thought to have acted involuntarily, and especially if he was ignorant on the most important points; and these are thought to be the circumstances of the action and its end.
τοῦ δὴ κατὰ τὴν τοιαύτην ἄγνοιαν ἀκουσίου λεγομένου (20) ἔτι δεῖ τὴν πρᾶξιν λυπηρὰν εἶναι καὶ ἐν μεταμελείᾳ. Further, the doing of an act that is called involuntary in virtue of ignorance of this sort must be painful and involve repentance.
ὄντος δ᾽ ἀκουσίου τοῦ βίᾳ καὶ δι᾽ ἄγνοιαν, τὸ ἑκούσιον δόξειεν ἂν εἶναι οὗ ἡ ἀρχὴ ἐν αὐτῷ εἰδότι τὰ καθ᾽ ἕκαστα ἐν οἷς ἡ πρᾶξις.     Since that which is done under compulsion or by reason of ignorance is involuntary, the voluntary would seem to be that of which the moving principle is in the agent himself, he being aware of the particular circumstances of the action.
ἴσως γὰρ οὐ καλῶς λέγεται ἀκούσια (25) εἶναι τὰ διὰ θυμὸν ἢ ἐπιθυμίαν. Presumably acts done by reason of anger or appetite are not rightly called involuntary.
πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ οὐδὲν ἔτι τῶν ἄλλων ζῴων ἑκουσίως πράξει, οὐδ᾽ οἱ παῖδες· εἶτα πότερον οὐδὲν ἑκουσίως πράττομεν τῶν δι᾽ ἐπιθυμίαν καὶ θυμόν, ἢ τὰ καλὰ μὲν ἑκουσίως τὰ δ᾽ αἰσχρὰ ἀκουσίως; ἢ γελοῖον ἑνός γε αἰτίου ὄντος; For in the first place, on that showing none of the other animals will act voluntarily, nor will children; and secondly, is it meant that we do not do voluntarily any of the acts that are due to appetite or anger, or that we do the noble acts voluntarily and the base acts involuntarily? Is not this absurd, when one and the same thing is the cause?
ἄτοπον δὲ ἴσως (30) ἀκούσια φάναι ὧν δεῖ ὀρέγεσθαι· δεῖ δὲ καὶ ὀργίζεσθαι ἐπί τισι καὶ ἐπιθυμεῖν τινῶν, οἷον ὑγιείας καὶ μαθήσεως. But it would surely be odd to describe as involuntary the things one ought to desire; and we ought both to be angry at certain things and to have an appetite for certain things, e.g. for health and for learning.
δοκεῖ δὲ καὶ τὰ μὲν ἀκούσια λυπηρὰ εἶναι, τὰ δὲ κατ᾽ ἐπιθυμίαν ἡδέα. Also what is involuntary is thought to be painful, but what is in accordance with appetite is thought to be pleasant.
ἔτι δὲ τί διαφέρει τῷ ἀκούσια εἶναι τὰ κατὰ λογισμὸν ἢ θυμὸν ἁμαρτηθέντα; φευκτὰ μὲν γὰρ ἄμφω, [1111b] (1) δοκεῖ δὲ οὐχ ἧττον ἀνθρωπικὰ εἶναι τὰ ἄλογα πάθη, ὥστε καὶ αἱ πράξεις τοῦ ἀνθρώπου <αἱ> ἀπὸ θυμοῦ καὶ ἐπιθυμίας. Again, what is the difference in respect of involuntariness between errors committed upon calculation and those committed in anger? Both are to be avoided, but the irrational passions are thought not less human than reason is, and therefore also the actions which proceed from anger or appetite are the man's actions.
ἄτοπον δὴ τὸ τιθέναι ἀκούσια ταῦτα. It would be odd, then, to treat them as involuntary.
  2. Moral virtue implies that the action is done (3) by choice; the object of choice is the result of previous deliberation.
διωρισμένων δὲ τοῦ τε ἑκουσίου καὶ τοῦ ἀκουσίου, (5) περὶ προαιρέσεως ἕπεται διελθεῖν· οἰκειότατον γὰρ εἶναι δοκεῖ τῇ ἀρετῇ καὶ μᾶλλον τὰ ἤθη κρίνειν τῶν πράξεων.     Both the voluntary and the involuntary having been delimited, we must next discuss choice; for it is thought to be most closely bound up with virtue and to discriminate characters better than actions do.
ἡ προαίρεσις δὴ ἑκούσιον μὲν φαίνεται, οὐ ταὐτὸν δέ, ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ πλέον τὸ ἑκούσιον· τοῦ μὲν γὰρ ἑκουσίου καὶ παῖδες καὶ τἆλλα ζῷα κοινωνεῖ, προαιρέσεως δ᾽ οὔ, καὶ τὰ ἐξαίφνης (10) ἑκούσια μὲν λέγομεν, κατὰ προαίρεσιν δ᾽ οὔ.     Choice, then, seems to be voluntary, but not the same thing as the voluntary; the latter extends more widely. For both children and the lower animals share in voluntary action, but not in choice, and acts done on the spur of the moment we describe as voluntary, but not as chosen.
οἱ δὲ λέγοντες αὐτὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἢ θυμὸν ἢ βούλησιν ἤ τινα δόξαν οὐκ ἐοίκασιν ὀρθῶς λέγειν.     Those who say it is appetite or anger or wish or a kind of opinion do not seem to be right.
οὐ γὰρ κοινὸν ἡ προαίρεσις καὶ τῶν ἀλόγων, ἐπιθυμία δὲ καὶ θυμός. For choice is not common to irrational creatures as well, but appetite and anger are.
καὶ ὁ ἀκρατὴς ἐπιθυμῶν μὲν πράττει, προαιρούμενος δ᾽ οὔ· ὁ ἐγκρατὴς δ᾽ ἀνάπαλιν (15) προαιρούμενος μέν, ἐπιθυμῶν δ᾽ οὔ. Again, the incontinent man acts with appetite, but not with choice; while the continent man on the contrary acts with choice, but not with appetite.
καὶ προαιρέσει μὲν ἐπιθυμία ἐναντιοῦται, ἐπιθυμία δ᾽ ἐπιθυμίᾳ οὔ. καὶ ἡ μὲν ἐπιθυμία ἡδέος καὶ ἐπιλύπου, ἡ προαίρεσις δ᾽ οὔτε λυπηροῦ οὔθ᾽ ἡδέος. Again, appetite is contrary to choice, but not appetite to appetite. Again, appetite relates to the pleasant and the painful, choice neither to the painful nor to the pleasant.
θυμὸς δ᾽ ἔτι ἧττον· ἥκιστα γὰρ τὰ διὰ θυμὸν κατὰ προαίρεσιν εἶναι δοκεῖ.     Still less is it anger; for acts due to anger are thought to be less than any others objects of choice.
ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ βούλησίς (20) γε, καίπερ σύνεγγυς φαινόμενον· προαίρεσις μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ἔστι τῶν ἀδυνάτων, καὶ εἴ τις φαίη προαιρεῖσθαι, δοκοίη ἂν ἠλίθιος εἶναι· βούλησις δ᾽ ἐστὶ <καὶ> τῶν ἀδυνάτων, οἷον ἀθανασίας.     But neither is it wish, though it seems near to it; for choice cannot relate to impossibles, and if any one said he chose them he would be thought silly; but there may be a wish even for impossibles, e.g. for immortality.
καὶ ἡ μὲν βούλησίς ἐστι καὶ περὶ τὰ μηδαμῶς δι᾽ αὑτοῦ πραχθέντα ἄν, οἷον ὑποκριτήν τινα νικᾶν ἢ ἀθλητήν· (25) προαιρεῖται δὲ τὰ τοιαῦτα οὐδείς, ἀλλ᾽ ὅσα οἴεται γενέσθαι ἂν δι᾽ αὑτοῦ. And wish may relate to things that could in no way be brought about by one's own efforts, e.g. that a particular actor or athlete should win in a competition; but no one chooses such things, but only the things that he thinks could be brought about by his own efforts.
ἔτι δ᾽ ἡ μὲν βούλησις τοῦ τέλους ἐστὶ μᾶλλον, ἡ δὲ προαίρεσις τῶν πρὸς τὸ τέλος, οἷον ὑγιαίνειν βουλόμεθα, προαιρούμεθα δὲ δι᾽ ὧν ὑγιανοῦμεν, καὶ εὐδαιμονεῖν βουλόμεθα μὲν καὶ φαμέν, προαιρούμεθα δὲ λέγειν οὐχ ἁρμόζει· ὅλως (30) γὰρ ἔοικεν ἡ προαίρεσις περὶ τὰ ἐφ᾽ ἡμῖν εἶναι. Again, wish relates rather to the end, choice to the means; for instance, we wish to be healthy, but we choose the acts which will make us healthy, and we wish to be happy and say we do, but we cannot well say we choose to be so; for, in general, choice seems to relate to the things that are in our own power.
οὐδὲ δὴ δόξα ἂν εἴη· ἡ μὲν γὰρ δόξα δοκεῖ περὶ πάντα εἶναι, καὶ οὐδὲν ἧττον περὶ τὰ ἀίδια καὶ τὰ ἀδύνατα ἢ τὰ ἐφ᾽ ἡμῖν· καὶ τῷ ψευδεῖ καὶ ἀληθεῖ διαιρεῖται, οὐ τῷ κακῷ καὶ ἀγαθῷ, ἡ προαίρεσις δὲ τούτοις μᾶλλον.     For this reason, too, it cannot be opinion; for opinion is thought to relate to all kinds of things, no less to eternal things and impossible things than to things in our own power; and it is distinguished by its falsity or truth, not by its badness or goodness, while choice is distinguished rather by these.
[1112a] (1) ὅλως μὲν οὖν δόξῃ ταὐτὸν ἴσως οὐδὲ λέγει οὐδείς. ἀλλ᾽ οὐδὲ τινί· τῷ γὰρ προαιρεῖσθαι τἀγαθὰ ἢ τὰ κακὰ ποιοί τινές ἐσμεν, τῷ δὲ δοξάζειν οὔ.     Now with opinion in general perhaps no one even says it is identical. But it is not identical even with any kind of opinion; for by choosing what is good or bad we are men of a certain character, which we are not by holding certain opinions.
καὶ προαιρούμεθα μὲν λαβεῖν ἢ φυγεῖν [ἤ] τι τῶν τοιούτων, δοξάζομεν δὲ τί ἐστιν ἢ τίνι συμφέρει ἢ πῶς· (5) λαβεῖν δ᾽ ἢ φυγεῖν οὐ πάνυ δοξάζομεν. And we choose to get or avoid something good or bad, but we have opinions about what a thing is or whom it is good for or how it is good for him; we can hardly be said to opine to get or avoid anything.
καὶ ἡ μὲν προαίρεσις ἐπαινεῖται τῷ εἶναι οὗ δεῖ μᾶλλον ἢ τῷ ὀρθῶς, ἡ δὲ δόξα τῷ ὡς ἀληθῶς. And choice is praised for being related to the right object rather than for being rightly related to it, opinion for being truly related to its object.
καὶ προαιρούμεθα μὲν ἃ μάλιστα ἴσμεν ἀγαθὰ ὄντα, δοξάζομεν δὲ ἃ οὐ πάνυ ἴσμεν· δοκοῦσι δὲ οὐχ οἱ αὐτοὶ προαιρεῖσθαί τε ἄριστα καὶ δοξάζειν, ἀλλ᾽ (10) ἔνιοι δοξάζειν μὲν ἄμεινον, διὰ κακίαν δ᾽ αἱρεῖσθαι οὐχ ἃ δεῖ. And we choose what we best know to be good, but we opine what we do not quite know; and it is not the same people that are thought to make the best choices and to have the best opinions, but some are thought to have fairly good opinions, but by reason of vice to choose what they should not.
εἰ δὲ προγίνεται δόξα τῆς προαιρέσεως ἢ παρακολουθεῖ, οὐδὲν διαφέρει· οὐ τοῦτο γὰρ σκοποῦμεν, ἀλλ᾽ εἰ ταὐτόν ἐστι δόξῃ τινί. If opinion precedes choice or accompanies it, that makes no difference; for it is not this that we are considering, but whether it is identical with some kind of opinion.
τί οὖν ἢ ποῖόν τι ἐστίν, ἐπειδὴ τῶν εἰρημένων οὐθέν; ἑκούσιον μὲν δὴ φαίνεται, τὸ δ᾽ ἑκούσιον οὐ πᾶν προαιρετόν.     What, then, or what kind of thing is it, since it is none of the things we have mentioned? It seems to be voluntary, but not all that is voluntary to be an object of choice.
(15) ἀλλ᾽ ἆρά γε τὸ προβεβουλευμένον; ἡ γὰρ προαίρεσις μετὰ λόγου καὶ διανοίας. ὑποσημαίνειν δ᾽ ἔοικε καὶ τοὔνομα ὡς ὂν πρὸ ἑτέρων αἱρετόν. Is it, then, what has been decided on by previous deliberation? At any rate choice involves a rational principle and thought. Even the name seems to suggest that it is what is chosen before other things.


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