totle, I imagine, it would be of paramount importance not to respond in ways that
would send those capable of human decency the message that wrong conduct is
acceptable. That is a recipe for breeding more and more individuals of whom it will
be true that their chances were diminished. For there is less chance for anyone to
become virtuous once standards are corrupted.
The position is uncompromising but not unfeeling. Aristotle cannot have pity
for those of ruined character, if pity excludes condemnation of them for what they
are and what they do. And this, I think, applies to those who seem to have been lost
from the start as well as to those who seem to have had a chance. But, in either case, Aristotle calls these irredeemable human beings athlioi ('miserable', 'wretched'), and
that is a term of lamentation.
This is the nucleus of the position developed on Aristotle's behalf by Irwin  and  340-44. For apt criticism, see Nussbaum  283 ff. It should be stressed (since from Irwin's treatment one would not guess it) that Aristotle does not possess a term meaning
'responsible agent' that is narrower in extension than the term 'voluntary agent'.
Nussbaum (see last note) rightly emphasises the continuity.
Cf. Rhet. 1368 a 7-9: 'whenever you want to praise anyone, think what you would urge
people to do; and when you want to urge the doing of anything, think what you would
praise a man for having done'.
Bonitz mentions only one scientific context in which the terms 'voluntary' etc. occur
( Movement of Animals 703 b 3-9).
And in this respect Aristotle's ethics emerges from his psychology and metaphysics. For a
close and comprehensive study of those connections, see Irwin , Chapters 10-16, especially the nodal subsections 149, 154, 183, 202.
Throughout, I use 'determinism' as synonymous with 'necessitarianism'. Thus it neither
entails nor is entailed by the thesis that whatever happens has a cause or explanation. (A
cause may not necessitate, and it is conceivable that absolutely inexplicable things should
happen of necessity.) See Sorabji , Chapters 2, 3 and 14.
In De Interpretatione 9 he argues against what appears to be a form of determinism based
on purely logical considerations. But whether this really is a determinist (as distinct from
fatalist) theory is doubtful. See below, Section IV.
It is indicative that Aristotle regularly characterises animals as both self-movers and moved
by the object of desire. See the discussion by Furley .
I have examined this and other aspects of Aristotle's conception of the nature of a thing
as its 'inner principle of change and stasis' in Waterlow, esp. Chapters 1 and 2.
This is the most striking difference between Aristotle's and modern treatments of human
action, pace Charles, who translates 'hekousion' and cognates by 'intentional' etc. ( Charles
, 61-62; 256-61). That the concepts are different is clear from the facts (1) that Aristotle
regards as hekousia acts done from culpable negligence; (2) that he regards as hekousia all
foreseeable consequences of what we do hekontes. ( Ackrill , 152, comments on the oddity of (a), but perhaps it is odd only if we expect 'hekousion' to mean or entail 'intentional'.) See Heinaman  for a defence of the traditional translation, 'voluntary'. What
is in common, so far as I can see, to all the items which Aristotle terms 'hekousia', is that
in one way or another the agent says 'Yes' to their being or becoming, whether through
affirmation, compliance, or failure to say 'No' (see Section IV of this chapter). Charles ,
62, suggests that what one brings about knowingly (hence acceptingly) but not intentionally should be regarded as 'intentional in a derived sense' (his emphasis). This artificially
coined sense of 'intentional' seems designed to encourage us to translate Aristotle's 'hek-