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.
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.
Crete by making wings out of feathers and wax.
Daedalus urges Icarus to avoid two extremes: complacency (a deficit) and hubris (an excess), instructing him not to soar too low or too high. If he flew too low, the moisture of the sea would clog his wings, and if he flew too high, the sun’s heat would melt them.
Instead, Icarus should take a moderate road in between the extremes, remaining alert and cautious.
As a result, the story of Icarus is a superb illustration of Aristotle’s approach to character virtues – set habits that help a person avoid vices of excess and deficiency.
Choose any one of Aristotle’s character virtues (excluding mildness, which is the virtue under consideration).