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Aristotle on Moral Responsibility - Essay Example

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Aristotle on Moral Responsibility

He also believes that virtues are of two kinds, intellectual and moral virtue. Apart from involuntary and voluntary criteria, there is another criterion that Aristotle uses for moral responsibility. A person is not morally responsible for an action if he or she does not know the possible consequences of his actions prior to the performance of that action, according to Aristotle. By such standards Aristotle tells us about the moral responsibility on a person for his or her actions. In this essay we will talk about the Aristotle’s take on moral responsibility of person for his or her actions. The voluntary acts and involuntary acts will be defined and how moral responsibility is a function of moral character will also be explained according to Aristotle. The film Dead Man Walking will also be discussed and its scenes will be analyzed keeping in mind the writings of Aristotle. Aristotle and Moral Responsibility Moral responsibility is defined by Aristotle to some extent through his concept of voluntary and involuntary acts. Moral responsibility can also be determined through the knowledge of consequences of the actions prior to the performance of those actions. Moral responsibility is also determined through the concept of impulsive and deliberate actions. A person is also morally responsible for inaction in certain situations therefore this is also a criteria through which moral responsibility can be determined. ...
An example would be that of a person who loses his cell phone and wallet to a thief at the gun point. Such actions that are not voluntary and performer of such actions cannot be held morally responsible for it. The definition of involuntary actions, by Aristotle, is very restricted and narrow. He believes that an action is only involuntary if the agent is not taking any willful part in the action himself. A person may be under force but decisions he makes under coercion might not be involuntary. There should be no willful participation in the decision making and only then an action is said to involuntary and for such actions a person is not morally responsible according to Aristotle. So far we have made it clear that what Aristotle means by an involuntary act. All actions other than involuntary acts are voluntary acts. Voluntary acts are actions that are performed by consent of a person. Aristotle has used the world deliberation for it. Any action before which a person has deliberated is a voluntary action. But a person is not morally responsible for all his voluntary actions. A person who is not aware of the possible consequences of his or her actions is not morally responsible for them, according to Aristotle. A person who performs an action out of ignorance cannot be made morally responsible for his or her actions and Aristotle uses a word non-voluntary action for these types of actions. Aristotle defines non-voluntary action in these words. “The man who has done something owing to ignorance, and feels not the least vexation at this action has not acted voluntarily, since he did not know what he was doing, nor yet involuntarily, since he is not pained." (Aristotle, 1110b). Even here Aristotle is not giving any levy to a person who commits an ...Show more

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Customer Inserts His/her Name Customer Inserts Customer Inserts Grade Course (14, 07, 2011) Aristotle on Moral Responsibility Introduction The work of Aristotle is given great attention because after Plato he continued with the foundations of western philosophy…
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