Aristotle has developed his view that virtue or perfection consists in the means of observation. In Books II, III, and IV of NE, he discusses many virtues and their corresponding vices, arguing that in each case virtue means obedience to the average between the extremes. Aristotle developed the media doctrine by discussing the media, excellence or virtue in the second volume of the Nicomachean Ethics (see also Eudemean Ethics, Book II, Chapters 3 and 5). Mass media is Aristotle’s teaching on mass media, which can be found in the work cited in his second book on Nicomachean Ethics.
Aristotle develops the concept of means, as we have seen, as part of his description of superiority or virtue. Aristotle brings this way of thinking into his description of ethical perfection, or perfection of character. It is generally accepted that virtues, according to Aristotle, are habits, and a good life is a life in an unreasonable routine. The basis of this approach is that virtues, enduring tendencies of character and intellect, along with external goods, are necessary for us to live a prosperous life in accordance with our nature as rational beings.
The ethics of neo-Aristotelian virtue is inspired by the ethical theory of Aristotle. Aristotle’s theory is teleological, since the virtues guide us to the end or telos of flowering and allow us to reach it. In The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle repeatedly argues that virtue is a means. In the Ethics, Aristotle defines moral virtue as a hexis in book II, chapter 4.
Aristotle points out twice that every moral virtue is an extreme, but considers this observation secondary to the predominant sense in which it is a means. The same reasoning also points to a way of thinking about one of the things that has always puzzled me most about ethics, the assertion that moral virtue is always inherently a low state. That there should be no fixed rule for determining where a medium is a direct consequence of his teaching that virtue is something that can be learned from habit, not from reason. I believe that the Aristotelian teaching on media does not really help us make concrete moral decisions because of its vagueness.
Aristotle’s treatment of the intellectual virtues lends more substance and precision to the doctrine of the medium. This addition to the doctrine of the mean is fully compatible with Aristotle’s thesis that no rules, no matter how long and detailed, eliminate the need for deliberative and ethical virtue. One of the most famous and discussed aspects of Aristotle’s ethics is his Doctrine of the Average, which states that every virtue is a golden mean between the vicious extremes of excess and lack.
Aristotle’s views on [the virtues] are associated with one of the most famous and least useful parts of his system, the doctrine of media, according to which every virtue of character stands between two kindred flaws or vices… which consist respectively in an excess and a lack of something. that of which virtue represents the right amount. This is sufficient to show that Williams’ assertion that, according to Aristotle, every virtue lies between two kindred vices is based on a too simple view of the medium’s doctrine. So, the virtues listed by Aristotle reflect the generally accepted values of an adequately educated and aristocratic Athenian. But there is such a thing as bad temper, and that is what Aristotle meant by vice, as opposed to bad habits or weakness.
In any case, Aristotle’s statement that his audience must have already begun to cultivate the virtues should not be taken to mean that no cause can be found that is bold, just, and generous. This may be at odds with the more traditional, apolitical, and truly conservative use of Aristotle by, for example, Gadamer and McDowell. Any school of thought that takes one of Aristotle’s distinctive positions as its starting point can be considered “Aristotelian” in the broadest sense. He organizes his material by first studying ethical virtues in general, then moving on to a discussion of specific ethical virtues (temperance, courage, etc.), and finally concluding his review with a consideration of intellectual virtues (practical wisdom, theoretical wisdom, etc.).
The study of ethics is not structured in this way; Aristotle asks how the various meanings of good are organized, but quickly dismisses the question, feeling more comfortable with a different type of philosophical inquiry. His intention in Book I of the Ethics is to outline why the virtues are important; why certain virtues – courage, justice, etc. – are the ingredients of happiness, we can only better understand later. Of course, we can find important discussions about these phenomena in the writings of Plato, but they are not brought together and unified, as in the ethical writings of Aristotle.
Aesthetically, ethically, and politically, Aristotle thought that poetry is an imitation of what might happen in real life; tragedy imitates serious action in dramatic form, purifying (catharsis) through fear and pity; virtue is The middle way between extremes; human happiness lies primarily in intellectual activity, and secondarily in the exercise of virtue; the state is a self-sufficient society, and people need to achieve happiness. There are moral and intellectual virtues that make our actions or thoughts good. Aristotle said that virtue only manifests in action when we control ourselves in some way.
The first Aristotelian description of moral virtue required the performer to make a conscious choice of action, based on the stable balance of the soul and for himself. Aristotle believed that the correct way of life is to follow the doctrine of the middle path. He considered the welfare of the group to be more important than the welfare of individuals: only through the application and development of the virtues could a society be a harmonious place.
Aristotle defines virtue or perfection as the arithmetic mean between the two extremes of excess and deficiency (that is, too much or too little). Similarly, Aristotle argues that a well-executed design that expresses ethical virtues will not only be useful, but also calone, since the balance it achieves is part of what makes it useful. This is much better than calling it a “habit”, but it still sounds too passive to understand its meaning.