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‘And those whose actions may possibly be thought to be due to chance, or to necessity, or to nature, or to habit, and who in general may be thought to have been guilty of error rather than of crime’. There is a variation here in the classification of these impelling causes of action from that laid down in c. 10. 7, 8, which is singular even in a rhetorical treatise, considering that they stand so near together. In the former there are three (of the seven) which are independent of ourselves and our own will, (1) τύχη, and ἀνάγκη subdivided into (2) βία and (3) φύσις. ἔθος in the other list is classed with the voluntary sources of action, where we are ourselves the causes of them. Here ἔθος is referred to the other class, doubtless because habit when confirmed becomes a ‘second nature’, and action from habit is so far involuntary. Rhet. I 11.3, and de Memoria, c. 2, φύσις ἤδη τὸ ἔθος. ἁμαρτεῖν and ἀδικεῖν] refers to the well-known threefold gradation of wrong or criminality, (1) ἀτύχημα, accidental injury, (2) ἁμάρτημα, a mistake or error arising from ignorance of the circumstances of the case (Eth. N. III 2), and (3) ἀδικία, in which the προαίρεσις, the deliberate purpose, enters and constitutes an intentional wrong or crime, malice prepense. In Eth. Nic. V 10, a fourth degree is added, ἀδίκημα, distinguished from ἀδικία in this, that though the act is voluntary and intentional at the moment, the intention is not preconceived and deliberate, the malice is not prepense; it is without προαίρεσις, deliberate purpose; as an injury or death inflicted in a sudden fit of passion.
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