Probably therefore nobody actually identifies choice
with opinion in general. But neither is it the same as some particular opinion.1
For it is our choice of good or evil that determines
our character, not our opinion about good or evil. 2.
And we choose to take or avoid some good or evil
thing, but we opine what a thing is, or for whom it is advantageous, or how it is so:2
we do not exactly form an opinion to take or avoid a thing.
Also we praise a
choice rather for choosing the right thing, but an opinion for opining in the right way.
And we choose only things that we absolutely know to be good, we opine things we do not
quite certainly know to be true. 2.
Nor do the same persons appear to excel both at choosing and at forming
opinions: some people seem to form opinions better, but yet to choose the wrong things
from wickedness. 2.
choice is preceded or accompanied by the formation of an opinion is immaterial, for that
is not the point we are considering, but whether choice is the same thing as some form of
What then are the genus and differentia of Choice, inasmuch as it is not any of the
things above mentioned? It manifestly belongs to the genus voluntary action; but not every
voluntary act is chosen. 2.
Perhaps we may define it as voluntary action preceded by deliberation, since choice
involves reasoning and some process of thought. Indeed previous deliberation seems to be
implied by the very term proaireton, which denotes
something chosen before
As for Deliberation, do people deliberate about everything—are all things
possible objects of deliberation—, or are there some things about which
deliberation is impossible?
‘object of deliberation’ presumably must not be taken to include
things about which a fool or a madman might deliberate, but to mean what a sensible person
would deliberate about.3.
Well then, nobody deliberates about things eternal,3
such as the order of the universe,
or the incommensurability of the diagonal and the side, of a square. 3.
Nor yet about things that change but
follow a regular process, whether from necessity or by nature4
or through some other cause: such phenomena for instance
as the solstices and the sunrise. 3.
Nor about irregular occurrences, such as droughts and rains. Nor about
the results of chance, such as finding a hidden treasure. 3.
why we do not deliberate about these things is
that none of them can be effected by our agency. 3.
We deliberate about things that are in our control
and are attainable by action （which are in fact the only things that still remain
to be considered; for Nature, Necessity, and Chance, with the addition of Intelligence and
human agency generally, exhaust the generally accepted list of causes）. But we do
not deliberate about all human affairs without exception either: for example, no
Lacedaemonian deliberates about the best form of government6
; but any particular set of men deliberates about
the things attainable by their own actions.