Essay 3: Apply Aristotles Doctrine of the Mean (or The Golden Mean) to a Contemporary or Enduring Issue;FIND a Golden Mean (GM) Solution to a Problem, a GM Expression of Anything, a GM Destroyer of Anything,a GM Complex or Syndrome, a GM Method of Achieving Something, A GM Role, Etc.
Find a Golden Mean(GM) solution to a problem, or a GM (or quintessential) expression of an issue, or a GM destroyer of an institution, cultural practice, or critical concept. For this essay, you will use Aristotles GM triangle to frame your argument. At least 8 sources. (so on your Works Cited page, you must have Aristotle + any 7 other scholarly or news sources).
How is “self-esteem” IRONICALLY the “golden mean destroyer” — or perfect way to wreck one’s own life? For background on how self-concepts have helped or hurt us, see the rising and falling forces mentioned in assigned authors ranging from Machiavelli and deTocqueville to Don Peck, Noam Chomsky, and others. (NOTE: Be sure to identify your own Excessive and Defective forces so all students don’t say the same thing).
1. Understand a Key Idea from Aristotle and then Choose your Focus: For essay 3, you will once again pick any narrowly focused topic or issue that you would like to better understand or help others to better understand. You will hinge the readers clearer understanding of your chosen issue on to Aristotles notion of the Golden Mean, sometimes called the Doctrine of the Mean. Before you settle on your chosen focus and the position you will take, make sure you have a clear understanding of this important ethical consideration, so read ARISTOTLEs text (assigned reading). Also feel free to google around and read even basic stuff from Wikipedia , Sparknotes, and class webpages (though such sites are typically not considered scholarly enough to cite in your Works Cited). For your convenience, I include below a snippet from a professors webpage, where he basically defines the Doctrine of the Mean. Use this as a starting point to increase your understanding of this important ethical notion, and then get brainstorming about your topic and your position on the topic, using Aristotles Doctrine and related ideas to formulate and defend your mean position.Basic Background Understanding of The Doctrine of the MeanFrom http://www.drbilllong.com/Juris2006/NEII.htmlIn order to get to our goal in life, which is happiness, we need to act with arete/virtue, which means that we must pursue those things characteristic of us as humans. These characteristics are deep habits which have been developed through long practice. But what are these virtues and how are they related to vices? In Books II-IV of the NE, Aristotle both gives us rich descriptions of the virtues and then contrasts them to vices which are, as it were, “on either side” of the virtue. His Doctrine of the Mean states that every virtue is a “mean” between the extremes of excess and deficiency. It might be helpful to look at the … chart [provided on this professors website]…. The chart is available in many places, but [he] reproduce[s] it…. Comments on the MeanAt least three observations are in order at this point. First, the mean, toward which people aim, is not “halfway” between the two extremes. Some people, who are inclined by nature, for example, towards extreme understatement or self-depreciation, might have to travel “further” to get to “truthfulness” than a person who is only slightly boastful by nature. It is the distance to the mean, so to speak, which is more important than whether the mean is precisely halfway between the extremes. Second, one should not look at the mean as synonymous with “moderation.” That is, sometimes people who have studied this chart get the impression that the doctrine of the mean suggests you should be “moderately” modest or friendly or witty, etc. But, as Aristotle says in several places, to be acting in the mean means that you are modest at the right time, to the right degree, in the right relationships and for the right amount of time. Sometimes, for example, it might be appropriate to be very angry at an obvious injustice. Third, justice, about which the next essay treats, is also to be understood as a mean. The website quotes Aristotle on justice as a sort of mean: We have discussed what the unjust is and what the just is. Now that they have been differentiated from one another, it is clear that just action is median between acting unjustly and suffering unjustly: the one is having too much and the other is having too little. Justice is a sort of mean, not in the same way as the other virtues are, but in that it is realized in a median amount, while injustice belongs to the extremes. (NE 5.5.)Now that you see that justice is a mean between two extremes, you can also peek ahead at Book V, where he discusses justice. Perhaps this discussion will inform your position on your chosen topic. But dont worry, you dont have to talk about justice if it doesnt serve your topic!
2. Apply Aristotles Doctrine of the Mean to Your Chosen Topic and Thereby Arrive at the Most Ethical Position on a Matter that Remains Polarized or Divided Between at Least Two (Extreme) Camps:Using Aristotles Doctrine of the Mean, critically examine two (polarized) positions on your chosen topic and arrive at and argue for the Mean position which seems to best settle the argument or debate as well as achieve the highest good that both or all camps inevitably seek. You can use any of Aristotles other notions such as those of human purpose, ends, principles, etc. in order to set up or create common ground between your divided camps, or you can use his words as part of your textual support for your own position. In other words, though you must use his ideas of the Mean, you can also use Aristotle in any other way you want. Though you dont need to draw upon any other assigned texts, you may choose any assigned reading as part of the six required sources