Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics provides a sensible account for what true moral virtue is and how one may go about attaining it. Aristotle covers many topics that help reach this conclusion. One of them being the idea of mean between the extremes. Although Aristotle provided a reliable account for many philosophers to follow, Rosalind Hursthouse along with many others finds lose ends and topics which can be easily misinterpreted in Aristotle's writing.
Aristotle explains his concept of "mean between the extremes" by the following quote: "In everything that is continuous and divisible it is possible to take more, less, or an equal amount, and that either in terms of the thing itself or
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When Aristotle uses the bent stick example, he is just showing a comparison between someone dragging themselves away from the bad extreme and trying to straighten a bent stick. They are both hard to do but they must be done for the overall good. When you straighten the bent stick, you are drawing it away from one side and bringing it back to the middle, just as one must do with themselves. Rosalind Hursthouse does a very good job in discussing Aristotle's concept of phronimos. Hursthouse believes that the phronimos is different from a person who is not truly virtuous but nonetheless hits the mean between the extremes on a particular occasion in the sense that the phronimos is a master in all the v-rules presented by Aristotle in his account. It is these v-rules that help the phronimos be as good at making decisions and making the right choices as Aristotle suggests he is. Hursthouse says that even though these v-rules exist, they do not capture what gives the phronimos his special knowledge. Therefore, she goes on to say "What is special about the phronimos's knowledge is the especial understanding he brings to these rules, his unique mastery of the concepts involved. All the difficult work, one might say, is done by this superior understanding, not by the rules themselves. To lack phronesis is to lack such mastery; so these rules, the v-rules, cannot be fully understood by those