The Byzantine philosopher Michael Psellos (1018–1078 AD) describes in his ethics two kinds of virtue: practical and intellectual virtues. Practical virtues are defined as a middle term between two extremes as is known from the Aristotelian tradition. His innovation is to define also a middle regarding the intellectual virtues. He says that the highest object of knowledge is not graspable for the human intellect because it exceeds his powers. Whoever strives to understand the highest object of knowledge, the essence of god, is determined to fail. Thus, the best objects that the human intellect can contemplate are situated below god, in the “middle”. The concept of the middle is thus present twice in Psellos’ ethics: once in the practical virtues and once in the intellectual virtues.
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