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vice will be just as much voluntary as virtue; for the bad man equally with the good possesses spontaneity in his actions, even if not in his choice of an end. [20] If then, as is said, our virtues are voluntary (and in fact we are in a sense ourselves partly the cause of our moral dispositions, and it is our having a certain character that makes us set up an end of a certain kind), it follows that our vices are voluntary also; they are voluntary in the same manner as our virtues. [21]

We have then now discussed in outline the virtues in general, having indicated their genus [namely, that it is a mean, and a disposition1] and having shown that they render us apt to do the same actions as those by which they are produced,2 and to do them in the way in which right reason may enjoin3; and that they depend on ourselves and are voluntary.45 [22] But our dispositions are not voluntary in the same way as are our actions. Our actions we can control from beginning to end, and we are conscious, of them at each stage.6 With our dispositions on the other hand, though we can control their beginnings,

1 This clause looks like an interpolation: ἕξις is the genus of virtue, Bk. 2.5 fin., 6 init., μεσότης its differentia, 2.6.5,17.

2 See 2.2.8.

3 See 2.2.2. This clause in the mss. follows the next one.

4 See 5.2 and 20.

5 This section some editors place before 5.21, but it is rather a footnote to 5.14; and the opening words of 5.23 imply that a digression has been made.

6 τὰ καθ᾽ ἕκαστα seems to bear a somewhat different sense here from 1.15, καθ᾽ ἕκασταἄγνοια).

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