By Javier Echeñique
Aristotle's Ethics develops a posh thought of the features which make for an exceptional individual and for a number of a long time there was excessive dialogue approximately no matter if Aristotle's idea of voluntariness, defined within the Ethics, really delineates what sleek thinkers could realize as a idea of ethical accountability.
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Additional resources for Aristotle's Ethics and Moral Responsibility
The Strawsonian interpreter is thus able to cope with Aristotle’s claim that animals and children are also capable of voluntary action (EN 1111a25– 6). Since neither animals nor children are, as Strawson observes, the ‘appropriate recipients’ of S-reactive attitudes, nor do they have the competences to hold genuine S-reactive attitudes towards others, and since neither animals nor children are, according to Aristotle, capable of rational choice (EN 1105a31),19 the Strawsonian interpreter provides us with Aristotelian 17 18 19 Irwin 1980: 134 (emphasis added).
This premise, if added to the claim that (ii) ‘A is responsible (a proper candidate for praise and blame) for doing x if and only if A does x voluntarily’, and (iii) ‘[a]nimals and children act voluntarily’, results in a contradiction (see Irwin 1980: 125). I think that Irwin makes a double mistake here. One is to include animals in Aristotle’s ‘simple’ theory of responsibility. It is true that Aristotle says that animals act voluntarily (EN 1111b6– 9), but why conclude from this that they are candidates for praise and blame?
If this is the case, then the following passage of the Ethica Nicomachea explains why non-human animals are not moral agents: We do not call beasts either temperate or intemperate, except metaphorically when one kind of animal differs from another in violence and wantonness and in being ravenous. 39 (EN 1149b31–1150a1) Commenting on this passage, however, Sauv´e Meyer says: ‘The reason Aristotle gives here for excluding non-human animals and the insane from 38 Sauv´e Meyer 1993: 23. 39 Ibid. 23.