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Nichomachean Ethics by Aristotle attempts to define the meaning of ethics and to create the perfect society as did Plato in The Republic In Aristotles attempt at definition he discusses the difference and significance of voluntary and involuntary action Beginning by defining Aristotle soon realizes many situations are too complex for just black vs white terms and he introduces another term non-voluntary This leads to discussion of choice and deliberation bringing his viewpoints into applicable terms out of philosophy and into everyday life Before beginning to understand how Aristotle is applicable his viewpoint must be examined such as his version of voluntary action As he says in Book III of Nichomachean Ethics the terms voluntary and involuntary are used with reference to the moment of actionbecause the initiative in moving the parts of the body which act as instruments rests with the agent himself p53 So a voluntary action is one about which we have power Such as what to eat in the morning brushing teeth or even life altering decisions about jobs and marriage Most of our everyday actions are voluntary since we do not often act outside our realm of power Aristotle tends to agree that most actions are voluntary and from this fact comes much of the praise we receive for our actions sometimes people are even praised for doing them voluntary actions for example if they endured shameful or painful treatment in return p53 If others feel that an action is worthy or noble they will acknowledge the persons conscious choice of the action and see they receive due reward In general Aristotle feels that people are in control of their actions whether a thoughtful choice is made or not Here Aristotle makes a distinction a voluntary action is not necessarily a choice A choice is a thoughtful decision as he points out For choice is not shared by irrational creatures p58 Children and animals are
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