What does mediocrity mean?
'‘‘ Always going the middle ground leads to mediocrity' what does this quote mean in relation to '‘‘ virtue as the middle ‘‘ of Aristotle?
The statement means to regard the constant struggle to find the middle ground as a path to mediocrity, something that is neither very good nor very bad. The result is far removed from a commendable top performance or the best.
In relation to what Aristotle means by virtue as the middle, the statement can either be used to clarify a difference and to distinguish the middle in Aristotle (Greek: μεσότης [mesotes]) from mediocrity, or it is based on a misinterpretation that erroneously equates the middle in Aristotle with average and mediocrity.
Because Aristotle refers to a middle, which in one respect is a middle, in another respect (axiological [value-related] dimension) on the other hand optimum / maximum.
Virtue / excellence / ability (ἀρετὴ; the Greek word ἀϱετή [arete] means the origin of the word - ἄϱιστος [aristos] = "best" is as a superlative an increase of ἀγαϑός [agathos] = "good" - something like "bestness" or an outstanding being good) is according to the statement of Aristotle, Metaphysik 5, 6, 1021 b 20 a completion / perfection (Greek: τελείωσις).
In the case of virtues of the understanding / excellence / virtues of the understanding / dianoetic virtues (Greek: ἀϱεταὶ διανοηϑικαί [aretai dianoetikai]) there is no excess. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 6, 1 - 13 examines craftsmanship / technique (Greek: τέχνη), prudence / practical reason (Greek: φρόνησις), reason / spirit (Greek: νοῦς), wisdom (Greek: σοφία), wellbeing (Greek: ίεὐ .βουυ) ), Understanding (Greek: σύνεσις), insight / judgment in relation to the cheap (Greek: γνώμη) and their relationship to one another.
The doctrine of virtue as the middle (μεσότης [mesotes]) relates to excellence / virtues of character / character virtues / ethical virtues (Greek: ἀϱεταὶ ἠθικαί [aretai ethikai]),
Aristotle understands character virtues in general and the individual character virtues as the right middle between an excess (Greek: ὑπεϱβολή [hyperbole]; exaggeration / excess) and a too little (Greek: έλλειψις [elleipsis]; lagging / lack).
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 2, 6, 1106 b 36 - 1107 a 8: “The virtue / excellence (ἀρετὴ [arete) is thus a choosing / intentional attitude (ἕξις [hexis]), which lies in the center related to us determined by reasonable deliberation, by which the prudent would determine the mean. But it is the middle of two wickednesses, one of excess and one of lack. And furthermore it is the middle insofar as the wickedness partly lag behind what should be in the passions and actions, partly overshoot, but the virtue / excellence both finds and chooses the mean. Therefore, according to its essence / substance (οὐσία [ousia]) and its concept, which indicates what it is, virtue is the middle, but with regard to the best and the good it is extreme. "
The middle (μεσότης) in Aristotle is an attitude that is oriented towards a passion, and the behavior appropriate to a situation. It is not to be confused with average and mediocrity, whereupon popular ideas about a golden mean (Latin: aurea mediocritas) run out slightly. Nor is it something that is always quantitatively exactly the same for everyone and always: the middle of the matter has the same distance from the two extremes and is one and the same for all people (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics2, 5, 1106 a 29 - 31). The mean in relation to human beings, on the other hand, is neither too much nor too little, but not for all as one and the same (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics2, 5, 1106 a 31-32). An example is the amount of food consumed.
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