The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 7, 2007

Philosophy of Culture(s)

Marietta Stepaniants
Pages 137-140

The General and the Particular in Moral Philosophy (The Golden Mean Metaphor)

The golden mean metaphor is suggested as a key to understanding the universal and the particular in moral philosophy since finding metaphorical links provides a way of seeing different traditions in a manner that does not erect absolute boundaries. The choice of the golden mean is made keeping in mind that all cultures recognize the worth of moderation. The prime reason for that lies in human nature which sets human beings apart from all the other living creatures by a goal-oriented activity. As a rational being endowed with will, a human person cannot move toward a goal without adopting a certain strategy of actions. An instinct for self-preservation and astute prudence, personal experience and that of one's own ancestors are all prompting a human being to moderate and commensurate in dispositions and actions for an optimal attainment of the goals. Yet, the same principle is concretized in a particular cultural context (Ancient Greek, Indian, Chinese, Muslim and Russian cases are considered). Along with cultural distinctions, situational, temporal factors are of importance: much depends on whether it is the human person guided by own free will or a certain driving force, public, government, etc., outside and above defines the content of the golden mean.