The Problem of Courage in Aristotle's Doctrine of the Mean

Roman Hloch


The doctrine of the mean represents one of the main pillars of Aristotle's ethics and is closely linked with his notion of ethical virtues. These are flexible with regard to the context of the practical situation. However, the notion of courage differs from other ethical virtues. First, there is a problem of two emotions that Aristotle attributes to the virtue of courage. Next, he restricts the area of courage solely to warfare. This paradigm of warfare results in courage lacking ethical virtues' flexibility and becoming rigid. These key elements threaten the plausibility and coherence of Aristotle's doctrine of the mean. The mistake, however, is not in the doctrine of the mean itself, but in Aristotle’s incorrect application of the doctrine of the mean to courage.


Aristotle; ethics; courage; contextuality; doctrine of the mean; ethical virtues

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Copyright (c) 2019 Roman Hloch

Published by the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
ISSN: 1212-9097