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Aristotle Ethics

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Essay title: Aristotle Ethics

Ekta Yadav

Phil.322

2/19/07

Aristotle Ethics

Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics provides a sensible account for what true moral virtue is and how one may go about attaining it. Aristotle covers many topics that help reach this conclusion. One of them being the idea of mean between the extremes. Although Aristotle provided a reliable account for many philosophers to follow, Rosalind Hursthouse along with many others finds lose ends and topics which can be easily misinterpreted in Aristotle's writing.

Aristotle explains his concept of "mean between the extremes" by the following quote: "In everything that is continuous and divisible it is possible to take more, less, or an equal amount, and that either in terms of the thing itself or relatively to us; and the equal is an intermediate between excess and defect" (Book II.6, p.1747 l.25-28). Here he defines human virtue as an arrangement or disposition to behave in the right manner or as a mean between the extremes (excess and deficiency). However, later he continues to add how this mean or intermediacy is not the same for every person. A mean, according to Aristotle is determined by one's needs and capacity. Not everyone has the same mean hence; everyone does not have the same needs or capacities. The mean, Aristotle goes on to explain, is relative to the person, not the object. It has to be relative to not only you as a person, but also relative to your situation, not just your opinion. "If ten pounds are too much for a particular person to eat and two too little, it does not follow that the trainer will order six pounds; for this also is perhaps too much for the person who is to take it, or too little- too little for Milo, too much for the beginner in athletic exercises." (II.6, 1747 l.36-39)

According to Aristotle, there is a right answer or an objectively correct mean for everyone when you take inot

account their situation. Aristotle tries to paint a picture of how one should go about determining this mean in a situation. He provides several examples and instances and even presents the excess, defect and intermediate in each for the reader to analyze. Briefly, Aristotle classifies the mean as being the main characteristic in achieving excellence. He explains

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