Philosophy 105-04: Tutorial 3
2 May 2011
According to Aristotle, there are two types of action: voluntary and involuntary.
order to declare an action voluntary, certain qualifications must be met.
When a person
willingly performs a certain action, that action must be voluntary whether or not the
action appears welcome.
Aristotle gives the example of throwing cargo overboard in
storms; no one would willingly throw away cargo, but if this action could save lives, any
sane person would choose losing the cargo over losing a life.
Any action is voluntary if
the agent intends the means, the result or both the means and the result.
On the other
hand, when the cause of an action is external, or the agent contributes nothing, that action
can be declared involuntary.
In this case, the agent may have been forced to perform the
action either by a secondary source or ignorance.
The result may be either positive or
negative, but either way, the agent had no intention of performing said action.
no action is general; every action has certain options whether the action itself happens to
be voluntary or involuntary.
For example, no one can ever be talking in general; they
must be speaking of a specific thing.
Likewise, no one can be eating in general; when
eating, one is eating something specifically.
In order to determine the best option of an
action, reason must be incorporated.
Aristotle creates a distinction between the voluntary and decision in Book III of
According to Aristotle, the voluntary extends widely.
well as children and animals, are capable of voluntary action.
Unlike involuntary action,
voluntary is neither forced nor caused by ignorance.
It is, however, often caused by spirit