100%(1)1 out of 1 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 18 - 20 out of 108 pages.
their actualization of themselves, causing them to suffer from a lack of flourishing and unhappiness. It was mentioned that Aristotle has a “substantive” ethical approach, and what was meant was that he understood good ethical action as requiring an agent act good in a whole range of different areas of life –with “good” defined in terms of “acting according to the mean.” In the following table I’ve made life easyand isolated the different phenomenon he considers and his analysis of the mean/virtuous way of doing X-phenomenon, and the deficient/excessive/vicious way of doing X. Thus take everything that was just said about courage in our example and apply it to each of the following:Categories of DifferentModes of Being Deficient (negative)Too…Mean (Good)Excess (Negative)Too…Pleasure/PainInsensibleTemperateSelf-IndulgentGiving/Taking MoneyFrugalLiberalWastefulHonorHumilityPrideVanityCourageFearful/MeekCourageousBrashAngerNonchalantTemperedIrascibleTruthModestHonestBoastfulBeing-With-OthersBoreWitBuffoon18
EmotionsBashfulRighteousSpitefulSpending MoneyCheapMagnificentVulgarSelf-OpinionTemperateProudVanityConversationFlattererFriendlyQuarrelsomeNegative EmotionsEnvyRighteous IndignationSpiteCarrying the SelfHumbleHonorablePrideWhat Aristotle does in the “Nicomachean Ethics” is look at each of the phenomenon from the first column “Categories of Different Modes of Being,” evaluating each one at a time, studying how humans can do such a thing in a way that is deficient or excessive, and how they can do that thing in the proper proportion, or according to the meanrelative to that agent. The former lead to bad habits, which in turnstart to create a bad character, which in turn means one is failing to realize/actualize the telos of being a human being – with potential being misused and squandered a wilted sapling grows where once a mighty tree could have sprouted (e.g. vice is embodied). Note the sheer number of different areas that an agent has to display virtuous conduct in in order to be considered as fully flourishing. Remember to be truly excellent, to actualize one’s potential, to be truly virtuous, one must habituate themselves so that they hit the mean in eachcategorical mode of being. To be ethicaltherefore means to be temperatein terms of pleasure, liberalin terms of giving and spending money, proudin terms of honor, courageousin terms of courage, temperedin terms of anger, honestin terms of truth, wittyand funnywhen withothers, righteouswhen displayingemotions, and so on down the list. To make this list more real lets run down some examples closer to home. Christian Bale yelling on the setof batman – total excess of anger (irascible). Philip Seymour Hoffman loved chasing the dragon – tad excessive love of pleasure (self-indulgent). Lance “the champ” Armstrong sure showed an excess of a sense of honor which manifested itself as vanity. What about a bunch of professors at a raging frat-party