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In the myth of Icarus, the young Icarus and his father, Daedalus, attempt to escape from Crete by fashioning wings from feathers and wax. 

Daedalus warns Icarus to avoid the two extremes, first of complacency (a deficiency) and then of hubris (an excess), telling him to fly neither too low nor too high. If he were to fly too low, the sea’s dampness would clog his wings and if here were to fly too high, the sun’s heat would melt them. 

Instead, Icarus should navigate a temperate path in between the extremes, remaining attentive and taking care.

The story of Icarus, therefore, provides a good illustration of Aristotle’s approach to virtues of character – fixed habits by which a person avoids vices of excess and of deficiency.

 


ASSIGNMENT:

Choose any 
one
 of Aristotle’s virtues of character (except for mildness, the virtue concerned with anger) and explain it in terms of [a] the feelings, passions, desires, and/or actions involved in it and [b] the two vicious extremes – of excess and deficiency – that the virtue avoids.

Here is Aristotle’s list of virtues and where they can be found in Nicomachean Ethics (listed by book and chapter and the Bekker numbers):

· bravery (or courage) – II.7 (1107b1-5) and III.6-7 (1115a6-1116a15)

· temperance (or moderation) – II.7 (1107b5-10) and III.10-11 (1117b24-1119a21)

· generosity (or liberality) – II.7 (1107b10-16) and IV.1 (1119a23-1122a18)

· magnificence – II.7 (1107b17-23) and IV.2 (1122a19-1123a34)

· magnanimity – II.7 (1107b24-1108a) and IV.3 (1123a35-1125a35)

· truth-telling (or honesty about oneself) – II.7 (1108a20-23) and IV.7 (1127a14-1127b35)

· wit (or good humor) – II.7 (1108a24-27) and IV.6 (1126b12-1127a13)

· friendliness – II.7 (1108a27-31) and IV.8 (1128a1-1128b9)

· shame (a quasi-virtue) – II.7 (1108a32-1108b1) and IV.9 (1128b10-35)

Remember, you only need to choose 
one
 to explain.

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