I have encountered the distinction between actus elicitus and actus imperatus, in the context of the will, in St. Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica I-II q. 1 a. 1 ("Whether it belongs to man to act for an end?"). Some quick searching suggests that the distinction appears elsewhere, too:
- Actus imperatus (a "commanded act") seems straightforward enough: the will commands a certain action — walking, speaking, etc., and the action is carried out.
- Actus elicitus (an "elicited act") is elusive and confusing to me. I've read that actus elicitus is willing itself; or an act of the will that is purely internal to the will itself.
This sounds less like a distinction between different types of acts as opposed to a way of parsing any act of will, in which one might distinguish the stirring of the will itself from the object to which it is directed. Is that it? Any thoughts, reactions, or resources would be very welcome.