Mediality and Rationality in Aristotle's Account of Excellence of Character

Apeiron 25 (4):155-174 (1992)
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Abstract

I offer a reading of Aristotle’s “doctrine of the mean” that avoids two pitfalls: taking it as truistic, and taking it as involving the bizarre thesis that whenever one acts as reason directs, one’s action is mid-way between some extremes. The crucial point is that while Aristotle denies the existence of useful general ethical truths, he himself offers truths about the *likelihoods* with which rationality will require actions of certain types; and it is with such truths that the statistical idea of the mean gets a foothold in his theory of the virtues.

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Mark McCullagh
University of Guelph

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