A Metaphorical, Heuristic Account of Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean

Benjamin Visscher Hole IV

Abstract


There are two conflicting interpretations of Aristotle’s doctrine of the mean. According to the first, the mean is a metaphorical, heuristic device for finding the right way to feel and act. According to the second, the mean is a quantity. I argue that the text underdetermines both accounts. I further argue that a metaphorical, heuristic account is preferable on the grounds that it is more charitable.

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University of Victoria