Notes on Nicomachean Ethics Book III, by Aristotle

I. Willingness

There are two different kinds of actions–willingness and violated willingness. Actions, which are caused by willingness, are those actions we want.

Here, I would like to talk more about actions that violated willingness. The actions, which violated willingness could be either compelled or innocent.

1. The actions could be compelled by the reason of either fear or noble ones. “To endure the greatest indignities for no noble end or for a trifling end is the mark of an inferior person”(Aristotle).

2. The condition of innocent reasons is strict. Being innocent must satisfy the prerequisite of ignoring of the circumstances of the action and its end, and feeling painful and regretful (repentance) after taking the actions.

People can only judge actions at the time when they are done.

II. Choice

Choice is different from appetite (animals), rage (different ends), hope (unreachable) and opinion (which is judged by true or false/Choice is judged by good or bad).

III. Deliberation

The objects of deliberation are about means (/about how to act).

Virtue is acting willingly; is caused by making choice; is the product of deliberation (Dr. Lange).

IV. Wishing

The wish is for the end.

“The good man differs from others most by seeing the truth in each class of things, being as it were the norm and measure of them” (Aristotle).

Conclusion:

How are we living?

1) we wish the end; 2) deliberate about means (how to act); 3) make choice (means); 4) act willingly–being praised/blamed, we deserved.

What we choose to do makes who we are. People affect themselves through their work.

Repeating the process over and over again forms our characters, which make who we are. We are responsible to who we are.

What I learned–we build up who we are after and during the process of repeating wishing, deliberating, making choice and acting. Whatever praise or blame on us, we just deserve it. There is no excuse to act unwillingly. All we need to do is to gain the sufficient knowledge and moderation to act willingly.

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