Aristotle is a famous philosopher who made significant contributions to fields such as mathematics, ethics, and biology. Under ethics, Aristotle explains that observing the Golden Mean’s principles is the best way for one to build their character and virtue. The Golden Mean is an important ethical standard that forms the basis for solving many ethical problems. Under the golden mean ethical standards, Aristotle explains that finding the mean between excess and deficiency is the definition of virtue (Lawrenz 11). An example of the golden mean principle is courage, which is the mean between cowardice and rashness. A courageous person weighs the danger at hand and then decides what to do, unlike a rash person who is fearless and rushes headlong into any danger. A coward falls on the side of excess as they fear everything without judgment. I agree with Aristotle’s standard of the golden mean because it offers people a moderate choice between two extremes.

The first reason why I agree with Aristotle is that too much of something is a bad thing, while too little of something is equally bad. An excellent example of this is humility as deficiency and pride as excess (Niemiec 465). The mean between the two is modesty, which is a virtue. Too much humility can make one be undervalued and even have low self-esteem. When a person becomes too humble, they fail to recognize their strengths and abilities, and others could end up taking advantage of them. Although humility is seen by many as a virtue, a person still needs to acknowledge any special abilities and talents and the remarkable achievements in their life. A humble person should not just allow themselves to be trampled upon by others in the name of humility. Aristotle encourages one to be modest, and I agree with this idea. A modest person knows their worth and respects themselves, but they do not make a point of announcing all of their achievements in public and looking down upon others.

Just life deficiency is a vice, so is the opposite, which is excess. I agree with Aristotle on the idea that having too much of something is bad. Using the same example of modesty as a virtue, the excess of this virtue is pride. Pride is generally frowned upon as a vice, and this is rightfully so. A proud person makes a point of showing others how superior they are, and this ends up making them very arrogant. People must be careful to moderate their pride and make sure they choose modesty instead. A modest person is much more pleasant to deal with as they do not look down upon others as a proud person does.

Another reason why Aristotle’s Golden Mean ethics is useful is that he allows for modification of the mean to suit individual situations. Not everyone is born with the same temperaments and abilities, and this is why the mean has to be relative. A perfect example of this is a trained police officer witnessing a burglar attempt to break into the house. The officer immediately runs to the burglar, disarms them, and arrests them. The officer knows that he has tools such as a Taser and gun in case of resistance, which will help him. Compare this situation to a civilian witnessing an attempted armed burglary. It would be foolish of the civilian to step in without the necessary training or weapons. Using this scenario, the virtue of courage is relative to the two individuals. For the civilian, the courageous this to do is to call the authorities, while stepping in himself would be rash. On the other hand, the officer would be cowardly for failing to step in, but immediate action on his part is deemed a courageous act. Tailoring the golden mean to an individual situation is one of the main reasons I agree with the golden mean principle.

Works Cited

Lawrenz, Jürgen. “Confucius, Aristotle, and the Golden Mean: A Diptych on Ethical Virtues.” The European Legacy (2020): 1-21.

Niemiec, Ryan M. “Finding the golden mean: the overuse, underuse, and optimal use of character strengths.” Counselling Psychology Quarterly 32.3-4 (2019): 453-471.