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Aristotle's Ethics

 

Explanations > Values > Aristotle's Ethics

 

Aristotle made note (and Plato agreed) that moral virtue is about the exercise of control over natural feelings, and that good values is indicated through the use of good judgment in finding an effective balance between extremes. Aristotle thus had a personal value of moderation.

In his Nicomachean Ethics, he gave examples:

 

VICE (Defect) VIRTUE (Mean) VICE (Excess)
Cowardice (too little confidence) Courage Rashness (too much confidence)
Foolhardiness (too little fear) Courage Cowardice (too much fear)
Insensibility (too little pleasure) Temperance Self-indulgence (too much pleasure)
Meanness or Stinginess (too little giving) Liberality Prodigality or Wastefulness (too much giving)
Niggardliness (in giving out large sums of money) Magnificence Tastlessness and Vulgarity (giving out large sums)
Undue Humility (too little honor) Proper Pride Empty Vanity (too much honor)
Inirascibility (too little anger) Good Temper Irascible (too much anger)
Shamelessness (too little shame) Modesty Bashfulness (too much shame)
Surliness Friendliness Flattery

 

So what?

If you want to be like Aristotle, be moderate. More generally, moderation is a pretty good guide to acceptable behavior.

See also

Nicomachean Ethics

 

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