Aristotle's theory of a virtuous Mean, or mesotēs, has a range of application that is widely underestimated. A Mean, stripped of extraneous properties, is best thought of as a case of goal-oriented goodness. Contrary to what many commentators assume, it need not be objectionably quantitative. The theory of the Mean applies to both acts and dispositions. It is not restricted to intermediate states of feeling or emotion, and it can cover many cases of obligation. It deserves to be rehabilitated, since the failure to grasp its structure leads to frequent confusions in everyday criticism.
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