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Headword: *bou/lhsis
Adler number: beta,437
Translated headword: wish, rational desire
Vetting Status: high
"Wish and choice are practical faculties of the soul. [...] And wish belongs by itself to the rational soul itself, while choice belongs to the part [of the soul] which is involved with lack of reason. For when the soul is out of [or beyond] becoming, it operates only according to wish, for [in this case] it is only in the good.[1] But when it is in becoming, since the irrational faculties are involved with it, [...] then it has choice due to its involvement with the irrational. That is why sometimes it is leans toward[2] unreason and sometimes toward reason, and it chooses one before the other. These [are] irrational faculties of the soul."[3]
Greek Original:
*bou/lhsis: o(/ti praktikai\ duna/meis ei)si\ th=s yuxh=s bou/lhsis kai\ proai/resis. kai\ h( me\n bou/lhsis au)th=s kaq' e(auth/n e)sti th=s logikh=s yuxh=s, h( de\ proai/resis th=s sumpeplegme/nhs th=| a)logi/a|. o(/te me\n ga/r e)stin e)/cw th=s gene/sews h( yuxh\, kata\ bou/lhsin mo/nhn e)nergei=: e)n mo/nw| ga/r e)sti tw=| a)gaqw=|: o(/tan de\ ge/nhtai e)n th=| gene/sei, e)peidh\ sumple/kontai au)th=| ai( a)/logoi duna/meis, to/te th=| e)piplokh=| th=s a)lo/gou i)/sxei th\n proai/resin, dio/ti pote\ me\n pro\ th=s a)logi/as, pote\ de\ pro\ tou= lo/gou gi/netai, kai\ ai(rei=tai to/de pro\ tou=de. au(=tai a)/logoi th=s yuxh=s duna/meis.
Philoponus, Commentary on Aristotle's de anima 5.24-33 Hayduck; cf. alpha 1315, pi 2376.
[1] Wish (bou/lhsis) and choice (proai/resis) are closely related each other. These terms had a crucial importance in Greek moral philosophy, especially from Aristotle onwards. According to Aristotle, a wish is a rational desire for what is thought to be good as an end in itself (EN 1111b26, 1113a2; see also De anima 433a23, Topica 146b5, and EN 1111b19). For its part, choice is the result of a wish; it is the desire for performing an action that deliberation (bou/leusis) has shown to be the appropriate action to achieve the desired end (EN 1112b26). Aristotle characterizes choice as follows: "Since the object of choice, which is an object of deliberation and desire, is among those things depending on us, choice also will be a deliberative desire (bouleutikh\ o)/recis) for those things depending on us" (EN 1113a9-11).
[2] Philoponus has pro\s both times rather than the Suda's pro\.
[3] Philoponus' text here reads logikai\ ... duna/meis "rational faculties". For the continuation of this discussion, concerning irrational faculties, see phi 84. If this passage is examined from an Aristotelian point of view, it is not very clear why wish belongs to the domain of the rational and choice to the domain of the irrational, since for Aristotle choice presupposes, to some extent, the notion of wish. See the Bibliography below for a selection of the most significant discussions of this issue.
A. Alberti (ed.) Studi sull' etica di Aristotele (Naples: Bibliopolis) 1990
J. M. Cooper, Reason and Human Good in Aristotle (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company) 1986
J. M. Cooper, Reason and Emotion. Essays on Ancient Moral Psychology and Ethical Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press) 1999 (especially chapters 8-19)
C. Natali, La saggeza di Aristotele (Naples: Bibliopolis) 1989 (especially chapters 3 and 4)
A. Oksenberg Rorty (ed.) Essays on Aristotle's Ethics (Berkeley/Los Angeles/London) 1980
N. Sherman, The Fabric of Character. Aristotle's Theory of Virtue (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 1989
A. G. Vigo (ed.) Anuario Filosofico 1999 (32), Navarra, Spain; special volume dedicated to Aristotle's ethics. It contains papers by F. Inciarte, A. G. Lobo, C. Natali, F. Volpi and W. Wieland, among others)
Keywords: definition; ethics; philosophy
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 13 June 2000@11:47:19.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added note; cosmetics) on 2 September 2002@06:51:34.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 20 November 2005@09:25:04.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 12 November 2010@01:21:30.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, cross-reference) on 5 July 2011@23:09:43.
David Whitehead on 1 June 2012@07:46:03.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 2 July 2012@16:00:22.
David Whitehead on 22 September 2015@11:03:09.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation and notes) on 4 March 2016@20:17:43.


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