Explain Aristotle’s theory of the median

Read Sandel’s ch. 8, Who Deserves What? and Watch Sandel’s Episode 10. Answer ONE of the following in your short essay. Also, post a peer response. Remember, as usual, to cite from the book (see rubric for more).

1. Explain Aristotle’s theory of the median or golden mean. Give examples.

2. Come up with at least one criticism of Aristotle’s theory of moral virtue. Explain.

3. What does teleological thinking mean? Give one of your own examples. What strength AND weaknesses does it have?

GO TO: (http://www.justiceharvard.org/watch/)

AND WATCH : Episode 10 Aristotle: Telos and Freedom (see ch. 8)

Aristotle believes the purpose of politics is to promote and cultivate the virtue of its citizens. The telos or goal of the state and political community is the “good life”. And those citizens who contribute most to the purpose of the community are the ones who should be most rewarded. But how do we know the purpose of a community or a practice? Aristotle’s theory of justice leads to a contemporary debate about golf. Sandel describes the case of Casey Martin, a disabled golfer, who sued the PGA after it declined his request to use a golf cart on the PGA Tour. The case leads to a debate about the purpose of golf and whether a player’s ability to “walk the course” is essential to the game.

How does Aristotle address the issue of individual rights and the freedom to choose? If our place in society is determined by where we best fit, doesn’t that eliminate personal choice? What if I am best suited to do one kind of work, but I want to do another? In this lecture, Sandel addresses one of the most glaring objections to Aristotle’s views on freedom—his defense of slavery as a fitting social role for certain human beings. Students discuss other objections to Aristotle’s theories and debate whether his philosophy overly restricts the freedom of individuals.

Please show you are watching the videos by citing the Sandel lecture minute:second (in case I want to go back to it). Similarly with the audio lecture; comment on it and incorporate it into your discussion. Finally, cite the book, by putting in the page number, e.g. Sandel 22.


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