Chapter

Courage, the Doctrine of the Mean, and the Possibility of Evaluative and Emotional Coherence

Michael Stocker

in Plural and Conflicting Values

Published in print October 1992 | ISBN: 9780198240556
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598463 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198240554.003.0006

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

 Courage, the Doctrine of the Mean, and the Possibility of Evaluative and Emotional Coherence

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According to Aristotle's Doctrine of the Mean, virtue and a good life involve a mean of feeling and action. This chapter focuses on David Pear's claim that the Doctrine is conceptually incoherent. It argues that there are serious difficulties in understanding what it could be for courage and its feelings to be in a mean. Courage involves plural and incommensurable values, victory and danger, and the respective emotions, confidence and fear––it is difficult to see how these can be resolved into a mean. It is argued that this problem can be solved by seeing how incommensurable value and emotions can fuse into complex wholes of disparate and incommensurable values and emotions, and can thus be assessed as lying or not lying in a mean.

Keywords: Aristotle; courage; the Doctrine of the Mean

Chapter.  15409 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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