Aristotle Answers: Basic arguments

This page refers to the ‘Basic arguments’ exercise on Aristotle.

The claim is “it is important what kind of habits we form at an early age.”
Premise 1 is “it is our actions that make us good or bad.”
Premise 1.1 is “if we do good things we will become good people; if we do bad things we will become bad people.”

It seems that the doctrine is a generalisation based on observations: too much exercise strains the body, too little leads to atrophy and so on. Aristotle says that we must use the evidence of sensible things to throw light on the nature of insensible ones. Thus, it seems likely from this passage that Aristotle conceived of the justification for the doctrine of the mean as an inductive generalistation supported by empirical evidence.

A builder is a skilled builder regardless of whether he enjoys his work or not; all that matters is that his buildings are well-constructed, but a person is not moral simply because he does good acts; their acts must be accompanied by the right attitude or feeling.

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