Single Idea 47

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / f. The Mean]

Full Idea

Temperance and courage are destroyed by excess and deficiency and preserved by the mean.


The 'mean' is the middle route between two opposed vices

Gist of Idea

Virtues are destroyed by the excess and preserved by the mean


Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1104a23)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Ethics (Nicomachean)', ed/tr. ThomsonJ A K/TredennickH [Penguin 1976], p.94

A Reaction

It sounds as if drifting off into an excess, like binge drinking, is not just having a bad day, but actually 'destroys' the virtue. Presumably it permanently diminishes the good habit.