CHOICE.—(1) Voluntary selection from a variety of objects or pursuits; (2) often
synonymous with volition. Properly, choice applies to things, volition to forms
of action. When used in its primary sense, as applicable to things, the ground
of choice may be found not merely in the quality of the things, but in sentiment
or association peculiar to the individual.
What is named "deliberate choice," emphasising the adjective, is more properly
an exercise of will in determining personal conduct, implying deliberation so as
to ascertain the bearing of a rule of conduct upon action in the circumstances
contemplated. Thus Aristotle, treating of προαίρεσις, says:— "Deliberate
preference is most intimately connected with
Virtue... deliberate preference is joined with law or reason
and intelligence (μετὰ
λόγου καὶ διανοίας)... We deliberate
about those subjects of action which are within our own power" (Ethics, bk.
III. ch. II. III.).
"Choice or preference, in the proper sense, is an act of the understanding; but
sometimes it is improperly put for volition, or the determination of the will in
things where there is no judgment or preference; thus, a man who owes me a
lays down three or four equally good, and bids me take which I choose. I take
one without any judgment or belief that there is any ground of preference; this
is merely an act of will, that is, a volition" (Correspondence of Dr Reid, p.
79; Taylor's Synonyms; Tappan's Appeal to Consciousness, ch. III. secs. 4, 5).—