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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter investigates what sexual temperance is. It argues that in Aristotle’s view we find two conceptions of temperance, one stringent and one relaxed, and with gradations in between. The stringent view embodies a view deeply suspicious of sexual desire, while the relaxed view contains a generally benign view of sexual desire. The chapter argues that sexual desire can be incredibly powerful, making people yield to its lure. Thus, controlling it is quite hard, and making it harmonious with reason is even harder. Thus, a stringent view of temperance is more plausible. The chapter closes with a discussion of virtuous sexual actions. The discussion emphasizes that temperance need not always be a part of virtuous sexual actions and that other virtues play a role, and it emphasizes the crucial role that the notion of “right end” plays in it.

Keywords: sex, temperance, sexual desire, Aristotle, virtue

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