Another way to see what is meant by spoudaios is that it is often used in opposition to phaulos:
'base' - phaulos -
generally translated as 'low,' 'base' (generally your text's
translation); or 'slight,' 'inefficient.' The word first appears
in the NE at 1100b35. In colloquial English the phaulos
person or action might be called 'trifling' (unserious,
unreliable) or else 'low.'
'habit' - ethos - habit, custom. This word comes from the verb ethô, 'to be accustomed,' 'to be wont.'
'intellectual' - dianoêtikos
(fem. dianoêtikê) - 'of thinking,' 'for
thinking,' 'having to do with thinking,' 'intellectual.' It may be
helpful to note that the word dianoeô does
not have exactly the same range of meanings as the English
'think.' We sometimes use 'think' to mean 'believe' ("I think the
bus leaves at 8:20, but I don't know for sure"); dianoeô
would not be used here. In other ways, dianoeô
is pretty close to 'think,' especially when 'think' refers to
engaging in a process of reasoning or considering or
When Aristotle distinguishes 'intellectual virtues/excellences' (aretai that are dianoêtikai) from 'moral virtues/excellences' (aretai that are êthikai) he does NOT mean to suggest that the 'moral virtues/excellences' require no thinking, or that they have nothing to do with thought. Recall that he is discussing human excellences that have to do with the part of us that reasons and thinks and chooses (our "rational" - with logos - aspect). Some of these are excellences of understanding and knowing that do not necessarily have to do with choosing actions well or developing a "good character": examples would be skill at geometry or at a craft, understanding of sciences or grammar, etc. These would be "intellectual virtues/excellences"; there will be much more on them in Book Six. In contrast, the "moral virtues/excellences" certainly involve engaging in some reasoning process, but they also involve choosing actions well, doing those actions well once chosen, and developing and maintaining a "good character." And in many cases, the kind of understanding involved is not the same as for the "intellectual virtues/excellences."
hekôn - used as a noun this would refer to
someone who performs an action readily, wittingly, or on purpose.
'non-voluntary' - ouch hekousios - this phrase appears at 1110b15-20. Literally it means 'not voluntary,' and is usually translated as 'non-voluntary.' It is the opposite or the negation of hekousios, and covers a wider variety of cases than akousios (a word usually translated as 'involuntary;' see below). Suppose that you were unaware of the fact that your cat was sleeping under an overturned box on the floor, and you stepped on the box, injuring the cat. Although you deliberately stepped on the box, you did not know you would thus be stepping on the cat. Therefore your stepping on the cat would be considered "non-voluntary" (ouch hekousios), under Aristotle's classification scheme. Would your stepping on the cat be "involuntary" (akousios)? According to Aristotle, it would be "involuntary" if it caused you sorrow and regret - for example, if you found out afterwards about the cat being there and had not wanted to hurt it. If it did not cause sorrow and regret (either because you don't care about the cat, or because you never found out about the cat), your stepping on the cat would be "non-voluntary" but not "involuntary."
What is the point; what is the relevance of feeling sorrow and
regret here? The word translated as 'involuntary' connotes
'against one's will,' which is not exactly the same as the English
'involuntary.' This makes somewhat more sense, perhaps: If you
felt sorrow and regret for having hurt the cat, then it would seem
that you hurt the cat only against your will. Note too that for
Aristotle, some kinds of ignorance (and attendant "involuntary"
actions) are blameworthy. For example, if you knew that the cat
liked to hide under boxes and you still did not check the box
before stepping on it, Aristotle might say that your action was
blameworthy (assuming he thought that injuring cats under such
circumstances was wrong), just as one might say today that you
"were not acting in a morally responsible way."
akousios- usually translated as 'involuntary';
connotes something done against the agent's will, or something
that was done under constraint; can also refer to consequences
that were constrained to occur.
akôn - when used as a noun this would refer
to someone who did something involuntarily, or against his/her
will, or under constraint.
boulê - counsel, design; advice; deliberation
(an act of deliberation); a council that deliberates.
boulêsis - wish, willing.
bouleusis - deliberation (the process of deliberation
bouleuomai - generally translated as 'deliberate'
(verb); also take counsel with oneself, take counsel in general
(with oneself or others). Aristotle's remarks on 'deliberation'
cover both deliberation among several individuals (as in court
deliberations) and thinking things over and coming to a decision
'appetite' - epithumia
- translated in your text as 'appetite,' this word fundamentally
means 'desire' or 'yearning' - usually desire for some thing as
opposed to desire for a person, but occasionally it refers to
desire or lust for someone.
'passion' - thumos
- often translated as 'passion.' Other and perhaps more basic
meanings include 'soul,' 'spirit,' 'principle of life, thought,
and strong feeling,' 'desire,' 'inclination,' 'will,' 'spirit' in
the sense of 'courage,''seat of thought,' 'seat of wishing,'
'heart' as seat of strong emotions.
'characteristic' - hexis - translated
in your text as 'characteristic' and sometimes as 'habit,' this
refers generally to having or being in possession of something,
being in a certain state, condition, acquired habit.
How does hexis differ from ethos, also translated as 'habit'? In some contexts, not much. But even when referring to a habit, hexis often refers to a habit of mind or a state of mind; or emphasizes the acquired or learned or mental aspects of a habit. Ethos does not emphasize a state of mind (though it does not imply that no particular state of mind is present).
orexis - often translated as 'desire'. Basically
means 'longing' or 'yearning.' The Lexicon calls it a "general
word for all kinds of appetency," a general rubric for epithumia,
thumos, boulêsis, etc.
(sometimes transliterated as prohairesis) -
generally translated as 'choice,' but as your translator notes, in
the sense of forechoice, preference.
'friend' - philos (masc.), philê (fem.) - can mean 'friend,' but can also mean 'beloved,' 'dear,' 'object of affection.' Thus it refers to the people and the things one holds dear.
'in an unqualified sense,' 'without qualification' - haplôs - literally, 'simply,' 'singly.' Sometimes translated as 'absolutely,' but this is correct only in the sense of 'simply.' The term should not be taken to mean 'unqualified' in the sense of 'lacking in legitimacy,' 'without proper support.' Rather, it means something more like 'not merely under some conditions or in one way only, but in general or as such.'
'race' - genos - literally, 'kind' or 'birth.' As used at 1155a15-20, as in general throughout Aristotle, it clearly refers to the human 'race,' the dog 'race,' etc., i.e. to kinds of animals - not to what is known today as a race or ethnicity. The word genos is the root of the modern scientific term 'genus,' and can often be understood as 'genus' (or sometimes 'species'). The word can also refer to a 'kind' of thing, or to one's clan, family, or nationality; but most often in Aristotle, and certainly from the context here, it refers to a kind of animal: humankind, dog-kind, etc.