Single Idea 5159

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

Full Idea

In all things the mean is to be commended, while the extremes are neither commendable nor right, but reprehensible.

Gist of Idea

The mean is always right, and the extremes are always wrong


Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1108a16)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Ethics (Nicomachean)', ed/tr. ThomsonJ A K/TredennickH [Penguin 1976], p.105

A Reaction

This is the aspect of Aristotle which Nietzsche hated, as a stultifying conservativism seems to be implied. Elsewhere, though, Aristotle emphasises what is 'appropriate' (e.g. in anger) which allows the possibility of bolder and more exciting actions.