Agency and Responsibility in Aristotle’s Eudemian Ethics

in Phronesis
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I argue that Aristotle’s account of voluntary action focuses on the conditions under which one is the efficient cause of one’s actions qua individual. I also argue that Aristotle’s conception of the efficient cause of an action brings in certain normative features which support evaluative judgments and the practice of praise and blame even in the case of non-rational animals. In the case of rational agents, this practice involves a further normative layer: they can be praised or blamed not only for acting in a certain way, but also for being, and having become, individuals of a certain sort.

Agency and Responsibility in Aristotle’s Eudemian Ethics

in Phronesis




Jean Roberts‘Aristotle on Responsibility for character and action’Ancient Philosophy 9 (1989) 234-51 at 237. See also D. Charles Aristotle’s Theory of Action (Ithaca 1984) 57-62 and 256-61; J.M. Cooper ‘Aristotelian Responsibility’ Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 45 (2014) 265-312 at 266.


For a similar point see A. Falcon‘Aristotle on Causality’The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition) Edward N. Zalta (ed.) url: <>.

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