"The mean according to arithmetic proportion" is a point, a fixed and determinate amount. We cannot arrive at the mean relative to us by this method, for at least four reasons. First, the mean relative to us need not be equidistant from two opposed extremes the way an arithmetic mean is. Secondly, unlike an arithmetic mean, the mean relative to us is "of considerable range and not indivisible" (On Generation and Corruption 334b26-30); by this Aristotle means that it is not an extensionless point. Thirdly, as we have seen, Aristotle's target simile suggests that there is room for variation among shots all of which hit the target. What virtue or excellence demands is not a fixed and determinate act or emotional response on a particular occasion, but that our acts and emotions fall within a certain more or less precisely delineated range. Aristotle himself points out that in practical matters the arithmetic mean is not particularly useful (see, e.g., Topics 139b21, 149a35-b4; On the Heavens 312b2). Fourthly, each of us is different; the mean relative to us will consequently also be different, and cannot be determined without close attention to features of the persons to whom such means are relative and the circumstances in which those persons are placed. The importance of this will become clear when I turn in section II to discussing particular Aristotelian virtues.
Seen one way, then, the possibilities for error are indefinitely various. Any shot that misses the mark in any direction qualifies. There is a sense, then, in which the remark Aristotle quotes at 1106b35 -- "there is but one way to act nobly, many ways to act basely" -- is true. Seen another way, however, the recipe for such error is absolutely precise: any shot that lands anywhere beyond the fixed edge of the target counts. This comports well with what Aristotle says earlier about excellence of character, that there is nothing fixed and invariable about matters of excellent or virtuous conduct (1104a4-12); the excellent thing to do is anything which falls within a certain range. What is excellent depends upon circumstances, just as the appropriate amount of food or exercise does. It cannot be determined with arithmetic precision (1104a1-6).
Aristotle argues in the paragraphs following this passage that the person whose perception and discernment is most acute is the practically wise person. (This is why, in the account of excellence or virtue quoted above [1106b36-1107a2], it is in observance of a mean relative to us, determined by reason, as the practically wise person would determine it, that excellence consists.) The practically wise person has a knack for hitting the mean, hits it consistently in a wide variety of circumstances. She is the balanced person, the person who is ethically healthy and whose character and emotions and actions therefore exhibit "proper balance or proportion." Aristotle is not suggesting that we blindly defer to this person's judgments and opinions about where the mean lies. He does suggest, however, that the reactions, opinions and considered judgments of the practically wise person are important standards to which we may find it useful to appeal in deliberation. Still, in the situations we face the mark we are interested in hitting is a mean that is relative to us, not to the person of practical wisdom. Such a person may be good at hitting such a mark, but she cannot do it for us. She may be able to advise us; but it is up to us to hit the mark (1105b5-18).
Aristotle, one of the renowned thinkers who made significantly huge contribution to the science field, believed in the cultivation of virtue as the ultimate determinant of happiness in human existence. He further illustrated that one of the core virtues to achieve happiness is friendship. While he appreciated the fact that friendships are of different kinds, he emphasized that only friendship between good men is perfect or complete.
What Aristotle is saying here is this. To determine where the mean lies in a particular case, and what the observance of the mean demands, I must attend to the details of the case. Among these details are those concerning my own character. I must realize, and adjust for, the aptnesses I have to various sorts of errors, most noticeably those involving excesses and deficiencies. I must compensate for my tendencies to over- or under-react, my susceptibilities to certain things and situations, my prejudices and biases. This may require that I overcompensate, aiming at what (were I to land a shot there) would be wide of the mark. I must realize that certain settings bring out the worst in me, and try to avoid those settings, or (again) compensate for their tendency to bring out the worst in me. And I should be especially wary of aspects of situations which I find pleasurable: pleasure -- and the prospect of pleasure -- is likely to impair my judgment, and it makes it very hard to find, let alone consistently hit, the mean.
Aristotle argues that wealth is about life and that is a necessary art that t help people learn how to obtain, maintain and use their possessions to live well. The means of acquiring these possessions determine different kinds of life that people live. He states that people live to gratify their bodily desires and not to meet their basic needs. He observed that resources that belong to common people were treated with less care unlike private possessions. He proposes that the possession of resources be private but their use is common because there are resources in a state that are share hence reflecting unit of a many people. This is hard for legislators to make them common in use even through taxation and provision of public services. He observed that people take pleasure in calling things their own (Tredennick, 2010).
This is one of the reasons why Aristotle says that particular excellences of character involve observing a mean relative to us. It is also why he says that the mean relative to us cannot be determined with arithmetic precision: where we should aim to hit the mean will vary a great deal depending on the kinds and directions of crosswinds, headwinds and tailwinds; their strength; whether they are constant or intermittent; whether or not there are gusts; whether there are variations in the terrain which might produce unusual pockets of turbulence. Hitting a target in conditions like these is not a matter of fixing one's sight unwaveringly on one particular point (the geometrical center of the bulls-eye); it involves close attention to, and adjustment for, a variety of factors which would otherwise make us miss the mark. Hitting the mark is a matter of active, engaged participation in a complex situation. How, and how much, and when, and in what ways we should adjust is not something that can be said prior to close attention to the circumstances of the situation. There is no procedure we can go through which will enable us to fix in advance the location of the mean. (It is worth noting that the verb stochazesthai, literally "to take aim," e.g. at a target, is used in the NE and some contemporary works of a kind of skilled guesswork, an experimental use of reason which is sensitive to the details of particular situations (see, e.g., 1106b15; 1109a30; 1126b29; 1127a6-8; 1128a6; 1129b15; 1141b13-16; cf. Politics 1266b28; 1324b7; Rhetoric 1395b10; cf. Plato, Gorgias 465A2; Philebus 55E-56A; Laws 635A2, 962D1-5; cf. On Ancient Medicine, chapter 9). Our word "stochastic" has some of these connotations, though unlike its Greek ancestor it suggests randomness.)
Now while hitting the mark is in this sense a much more precise matter than missing it, there is still room for variation within the shots that hit the mark. More than one shot can hit the bulls-eye of a good-sized target, and all such hits are scored the same. And a shot need not hit the exact center of the bulls-eye to be an excellent one. In the same way, Aristotle's simile suggests, virtue rarely demands a single precisely determined act, or an emotional reaction of a particular intensity, duration, frequency, etc. It rather demands that one's acts or emotions fall somewhere within a more or less precisely delineated range.
Students who use our service are responsible not only for writing their own term papers, but also for citing The Paper Store as a source when doing so.
(2) Do they take into account the limitations of human nature? Using these criteria, evaluate the work of either Aristotle or Augustine.6. It is often argued that there is a connection between the type of knowledge we value and the type of politics that we practice. How is this manifested in either Augustine or Aristotle?7. In what ways might Augustine argue that a Christian philosophy provides for a better theoretical foundation for politics than does a classical Greek one? Are you looking for a similar paper or any other quality academic essay?