Aristotle claims that ethics has to do with finding a mean between extremes, but he also claims that some acts, such as murder and stealing, do not admit of a mean. How do you think Aristotle can make this claim without simply making exceptions where it is convenient for his view?

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When considering Aristotle's theory of the mean, it is important to remember that only virtues (e.g., courage, generosity, or civility) are able to be found through calculating the mean between excess and deficiency. This is because an action like murder does not have either an excess or a deficiency. That is to say that there is no excessive way of murdering someone in the same way that obsequiousness might be considered the excess of civility.

Instead, actions such as murder and stealing are better viewed through Aristotle's teleological theory of eudaemonia. Aristotle posits that the ultimate end for a person is a sustainable happiness, or eudaemonia (often directly translated as flourishing). Therefore, actions that take a person closer to eudaemonia are ethical and actions that take them further away from eudaemonia are unethical. For Aristotle, a crucial aspect to achieving eudaemonia is relying on reason to guide one's actions rather than base impulses or appetites.

In this way, Aristotle would likely say that murder and stealing can only considered ethical when supported by reason rather than being driven by a person's emotion.

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