Median Aristotle

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Aristotle defines virtue in terms of a mean or median. On one end is the excess and on the other the deficiency with the median found somewhere between the two. A sizeable portion of the book is dedicated to discussing these virtues and their excess and deficiency as well as the sphere the virtue falls under. While a majority of the virtues have vices on either side and are found through trial and error somewhere between them, the virtue of temperance does not have this quality and is therefore more easily defined. Out of the all virtues that Aristotle discusses in Nicomachean Ethics, temperance is desirable above the rest because the basic principles of self-control allows one to achieve several of the other virtues and temperance is an easily …show more content…
At one end of the line lies the excess of self-indulgence where people ruled by their appetites “put aside the power of reasoning” (Eth. Nic. 1119b10-1). On the other end of the line is self-control, which is also the virtue that Aristotle is discussing. Unlike the other virtues, self-control is not a median between two vices of excess and deficiency. It is therefore more easily defined and known. Aristotle throws around the idea of “someone to whom nothing is pleasant and who does not differentiate one thing from the other”, but quickly dismisses it as inhuman and not possible (Eth. Nic. 1119a8-10). Therefore, complete self-control is the other end of the line rather than a vice. Unlike the other virtues where one must work through a system of trial and error in order to find the mean, self-control is easily defined and therefore should be easier to obtain. Temperance is gained through the harmony of the “appetitive element” with “the guidance of reason” (Eth. Nic. 1119b15-6). Because it is more easily known, a lack of self-control, or self-indulgence, is also more blameworthy. Aristotle explains that “self-indulgence resembles voluntary action” and “pleasure is something people choose” and thus “it is also more reprehensible” (Eth. Nic. 1119a21,22,24). Since temperance is clearly defined and therefore clearer to seek, it is the virtue that

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