Thu, 08 Jan 2004 13:35:52 GMT

now aristotle's golden mean is exemplary of this, because it is frequently misinterpretted. for aristotle: the virtuous/excellent person will find the mean, but you cannot use the mean to guide you to be a virtuous person. you can habituate yourself to be a better or more excellent person, a person who fullfills their function as a human being, but you still have to have certain capacities to start even start that pursuit. Books 2-5 of the Nicomachean Ethics(NE) more or less say that. However, aristotle does not provide endpoints or the vices for all the virtues he lists in book 5 of the NE, and certainly one of the virtues he mentions only has one end, so it is clear that the golden mean probably isn't his test. What is his test? well, you have to go back to book one, where he says what ethics studies, which is in most translations 'political science' or governing reason which is like practical reason and in the last few books of NE its excellence is said to lead to the good life. it is one of the intellectual virtues, practical reason….