Friday, 6 October 2017

The Happy Medium


What the good person takes to be good is good according to Aristotle. What the good person does often happens to coincide with a mean, the aurea mediocritas, but not always. A good person may take extreme positions on slavery, on abortion, on rack renting, on social protection etc. The happy medium might be ‘these things will always be with us, we cannot eliminate them so let us try to regulate them in a humane a way as possible’. Correction by History or fatuous meliorism won’t suffice. The good person is, in that over used metaphor, an icon. An icon’s mysterious powers are attained by the artists work on himself via ‘prayer and fasting’. Being perfect from the Latin ‘perfectus’, finished, is not a state that the good person has attained, his work on himself is continuous, never ending.

To focus on actions as the absolute base of our moral assessment of a person is wrong when we don’t know what is in their heart. A tree growing in the shade of another one grows crooked trying to maximise
access to light.

Half right and wholly wrong the Utilitarian is open to evil remedies because results are what count.

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