previous next
through ignorance and feels no compunction at all for what he has done, cannot indeed be said to have acted voluntarily, as he was not aware of his action, yet cannot be said to have acted involuntarily, as he is not sorry for it. Acts done through ignorance therefore fall into two classes: if the agent regrets the act, we think that he has acted involuntarily; if he does not regret it, to mark the distinction we may call him a ‘non-voluntary’ agent—for as the case is different it is better to give it a special name. 1. [14] Acting through ignorance however seems to be different from acting in ignorance; for when a man is drunk or in a rage, his actions are not thought to be done through ignorance but owing to one or other of the conditions mentioned, though he does act without knowing, and in ignorance. Now it is true that all wicked men are ignorant of what they ought to do and refrain from doing, and that this error is the cause of injustice and of vice in general. 1. [15] But the term ‘involuntary’ does not really apply to an action when the agent is ignorant of his true interests. The ignorance that makes an act blameworthy is not ignorance displayed in moral choice1 (that sort of ignorance constitutes vice)—that is to say, they result not from general ignorance (because that is held to be blameworthy), but from particular ignorance, ignorance of the circumstances of the act and of the things2 affected by it;

1 i.e., choice of Ends: see 3.2.1 note.

2 ‘Things’ seems to include persons, see example (3) below.

load focus Greek (J. Bywater)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: