Single Idea 22516

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / e. Character]

Full Idea

Virtue is that state of character which chooses the mean, relative to us, in things pleasant and unpleasant, all those in respect of which a man is said to have a certain sort of character according as he enjoys or suffers pain from them.

Gist of Idea

Character is shown by what is or is not enjoyed, and virtue chooses the mean among them


Aristotle (Eudemian Ethics [c.333 BCE], 1227b08)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Eudemian Ethics I,II and VIII', ed/tr. Woods,Michael [OUP 1992], p.32

A Reaction

The 'mean' should be understood as what is appropriate, rather than the mere average. Strong anger, for example, is sometimes appropriate. Does Aristotle rule out wild laughter, or frenetic dancing? Is a state of ecstasy wicked?