Precision and Relativity in Aristotle’s Account of Virtue as the MeanReport as inadecuate

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Synthesis philosophica, Vol.25 No.1 August 2010. -

The paper discusses Aristotle’s account of virtue as the mean, according to which our responses should aim at what is intermediate in respect of feelings and actions, by focusing on the problem of hitting the mean in virtuous responses. The problems with achieving precision in hitting the mean are due to the fact that one has to hit the intermediate by responding appropriately to a wide range of circumstances, which are mutable, situationdependent and discernment of which rests on perception. It is argued that the precision involved in finding the mean is best understood from the analogy with medical or dietetic practice. Hence, Aristotle’s use of medical examples is closely analyzed in order to clarify some difficulties and to answer at least some of the questions raised by Aristotle’s doctrine of the mean.

virtue ethics; mean; hitting the mean; precision; medical and dietetic practice; Aristotle

Author: Maja Hudoletnjak Grgić - ; Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb, Croatia



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