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Having defined voluntary and involuntary action, we next have to examine the nature of Choice.1 For this appears to be intimately connected with virtue, and to afford a surer test of character than do our actions.

1 The writer here examines the operation of the Will, which is regarded as essentially an act of choosing between alternatives of conduct. The technical term employed, ‘choice’ or ‘preference,’ has appeared in the formal definition of virtue (2.6.15). In the present passage, cf. 2.9, it is viewed as directed to means: at the moment of action we select from among the alternative acts possible (or expressing it more loosely, among the various things here and now obtainable by our action) the one which we think will conduce to the end we wish. Elsewhere however (3.1.15 and 6.12.8) it is used of the selection of ends, and it is almost equivalent to ‘purpose’; while at 6.13.8 it includes both ends and means (see also 7.9.1). The writer returns to the subject in Bk. 6.2.

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