Single Idea 5216

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / a. Nature of virtue]

Full Idea

Anyone who is ignorant of any of the six factors affecting an action is considered to have acted involuntarily (especially the circumstances of the act, and its effect).

Gist of Idea

An act is involuntary if the particular facts (esp. circumstances and effect) are unknown


Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1111a17)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Ethics (Nicomachean)', ed/tr. ThomsonJ A K/TredennickH [Penguin 1976], p.114

A Reaction

This seems to concede that 'moral luck' may be an excuse. Cf. Idea 269. The big problem here is when someone offers one of the six types of ignorance as an excuse, and we feel they should have made the effort to know the facts.

Related Ideas

Idea 269 Attempted murder is like real murder, but we should respect the luck which avoided total ruin [Plato]

Idea 5215 There are six categories of particular cirumstance affecting an action [Aristotle]