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Temperance and the Second-Person Perspective

Andrew Pinsent

Abstract

The virtue of temperance with respect to food and drink is often assumed to be relatively straightforward, a matter of steering a mean between excess and deficiency. Given also that humans share the need to eat and drink with non-human animals, this topic might therefore seem promising to explore for possible connections between evolutionary research on morality and theological ethics. In this paper, however, I argue that many aspects of temperance go far beyond the Aristotelian account and can be understood principally as reflecting the fact that human beings are embodied relational persons. This second-person account can indeed be connected to theological ethics, but it is also one that draws principally from the discontinuities of human and non-human behaviour.

Keywords

Temperance; Second person; Relational virtues

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References

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