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‘Further, it may be argued that an act has been done, if the supposed perpetrator had the wish or desire to do it, and no external circumstances stood in his way; or if he had the power of doing it (some injury to another), and at the same time was angry; or if he had at the same time a desire and the power of satisfying it’, (the desire here is especially lust, and the act done, adultery); ‘for men for the most part are wont to gratify their impulses when they have the power of doing so; the bad from want of self-control, and the good because their desires are good or well-directed (because they desire what is good, and nothing else).

ἐβούλετο, ἐπεθύμει] “Voluit praevia deliberatione, concupivit ex affectu.” Schrader. If Schrader meant by voluit that βούλησις is willing and not wishing, and that it implies deliberation and purpose, as he certainly seems to say, this is a mistake. I will endeavour to determine the proper signification of βούλησις and its distinction from ἐπιθυμία.

First, however, it must be admitted that neither of the two terms, βούλεσθαι and ἐπιθυμεῖν, is confined exclusively to its own proper and primary sense: these like other terms of psychology are used with a latitude and indefiniteness which belong to a very early stage of inquiry into the constitution of our inner man. For instance, ἐπιθυμία, which properly denotes the three bodily appetites, is often extended to the whole class of desires, mental as well as bodily; and thus becomes identified or confounded with βούλησις.

From a comparison of three passages of our author in which we find notices of βούλησις, we draw the inference that it means wish and not will. Will implies purpose; and we are distinctly told in Eth. Nic. III 4, 1111 b 20 seq. that βούλησις is distinguished from προαίρεσις, deliberate moral purpose, by the absence of this. Further the exercise of προαίρεσις is confined to things which are in our power to do or avoid; the wish sometimes is directed to what is impossible or unattainable, to immortality for instance or happiness. It is also directed to the end, whereas προαίρεσις looks rather to the means of attaining the end. τέλος ἐστὶ τῶν πρακτῶν δἰ αὑτὸ βουλόμεθα, Eth. Nic. I 1, 1094 a 19. Further it is always directed to what is good, real or supposed, Rhet. I 10. 8. Psychologically considered, it belongs to the family of the ὀρέξεις, the instinctive impulses which prompt to action, acting unconsciously and without deliberation. These are three, de Anima II. 3, 414 b 2, ὄρεξις μὲν γὰρ ἐπιθυμία (appetite) καὶ θυμός (passion, especially anger), καὶ βούλησις (wish, the mental desire of good). (βούλησις, Rhet. u. s., is distinguished from ἐπιθυμία, by this intellectual character of discrimination between good and bad; ἐπιθυμία being a mere animal appetite, ἄλογος ὄρεξις). Comp. de Anima I. 5, 411 a 28, ἔτι δὲ τὸ ἐπιθυμεῖν καὶ βούλεσθαι καὶ ὅλως αἱ ὀρέξεις, where the two are again distinguished. And in Rhet. u. s. the three ὀρέξεις are divided into λογιστική and ἄλογοι, the former character belonging to βούλησις, the latter (irrational) to θυμός and ἐπιθυμία. ἐπιθυμία therefore is bodily appetite, and ἐπεθύμει here, as a cause of crime, though not excluding hunger and thirst, refers more particularly to lust. In the second case, ἐπιθυμοῦσιν τῶν ἐπιεικῶν, ‘desire’ is extended to intellectual impulses, which can distinguish good from bad; and is thus confounded with βούλησις, which denotes wishing, but not willing. It is to be observed that the discrimination which is exercised by βούλησις in the choice of good, is purely impulsive or instinctive, otherwise it would not be one of the ὀρέξεις: it employs no calculation or deliberation like the προαίρεσις preparatory to decision, and does not always stimulate to action; as when it is directed to impossibilities.

εἰ ἐδύνατο καὶ ὠργίζετο] Because anger, as long as it lasts, is always accompanied by the desire of vengeance, which, if a man have the power, he will be sure to wreak on the object of his anger, II 2. 2. After each of these three clauses supply πέπραχεν, from § 18, as the apodosis.

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