Nicomachean Ethics

In Nicomachean Ethics (Ross, 1990), Aristotle described the best life as one lived in moderation; that is, one lived according to the golden mean. As examples, he described courage as the mean between cowardice and foolhardiness, temperance as the mean between abstinence and self-indulgence, and generosity as the mean between meanness (stinginess) and extravagance. A life of moderation requires the rational control of one’s appetites. Even the best of humans, however, are capable of acting hedonistically rather than life. However, according to Aristotle, most cases of apparent prophecy by dreams are to be taken as mere coincidences:


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[Just as] mentioning a particular person is neither token nor cause of this per- son’s presenting himself, so, in the parallel instance, the dream is, to him who has seen it, neither token nor cause of its fulfillment, but a mere coincidence. Hence the fact that many dreams have no “fulfillment,” for coincidences do not occur according to any universal or general law. … For the principle which is expressed in the gambler’s maxim: “If you make many throws your luck must change,” holds good [for dreams] also.

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