Temperance is the dispositional or habitual appetite for and pleasure-taking in food, drink, or sexual activity insofar as a correct concerned understanding involving reflection and practical wisdom about the important things of human life on which such appetites and pleasures touch has properly adjusted, qualified, or moderated those appetites and pleasures. It differs from self-control inasmuch as self-control presupposes improper (or at least untoward) appetitive urges, urges that have not been rationally tempered (or tempered enough, or tempered relative to context). Human temperance differs from the kind that non-human animals can exhibit, in that human rationality allows us to reflect on and evaluate our appetites. This chapter also examines Aristotle’s account of xsnormative rationality as it applies to virtues, namely, his doctrine of the mean, and contrasts Aristotle’s way of thinking about the generic rationality of appetites with a ‘Kantian’ approach that considers appetites essentially non-rational.
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