September 5, 2012

Aristotle's Choice


     Aristotle’s big points on the difference between involuntary actions and voluntary actions, what makes a person act on their own accord given dissimilar circumstances? For the most part it’s thought that “actions are involuntary when done, under compulsion or through ignorance”, with that being said Aristotle conducts that only voluntary actions are admirable and or worthy of blame. He defines voluntary actions as any action that originates within the individual and not caused by a driving outside force. The voluntary action is purely by choice, decision and rational thinking. The individual will determine the best action for the best desirable outcome. 
     This discussion on choice and voluntary or involuntary action ties into his debate about what makes an individual good or evil. He says “we choose to take or avoid some good or evil things”, individuals sway back and forth between the black and white line of the two on what is good and what is bad. People make “bad” decisions every day to either better themselves or better others. The same could be said for making “good” decisions, but what constitutes either? There are cases when someone is propelled to behave dishonorably and no other option can be made, this does not entirely make the person “evil”. 

2 comments:

Angela M said...

I was really curious about this as well. He made involuntary actions seem as if whoever acted involuntary was faulty in some way. As if there was some sort of control. Other than being ignorant. Aristotle talked so much about what makes something "good" and how it related to virtue and actions but he didn't talk at all about what makes something "bad" or "wrong". Although he did, at one point in the article, bring in circumstances or "the time of the action" which helped a little in this but it was confusing for me as to whether that was what he was speaking to or not.

Carolina Perez-Siam said...

I hadn't thought about Aristotle's theory in this way, and it is a very interesting perspective. Perhaps however, instead of focusing on voluntary and involuntary actions, we are supposed to focus on the fluidity of the terms happy/unhappy and good/evil. Aristotle is not ignorant to the fact that these terms can have multiple meanings for different people. So maybe even if you make a bad decisions as long as you do it with good intentions, it adds to the common good. Regardless of the interpretation, I really thought this perspective was interesting and definitely worth exploring further.

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