Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

What counts as compulsory action?


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In Chapter 1, Book III, Aristotle says that actions are compulsory—not voluntary—if “actions are so when the cause is in the external circumstances and the agent contributes nothing.” In other words, if the cause of the action is better said of something outside of the agent in question, then that agent cannot be said to have acted voluntarily.


Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, Book III