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Taking an Ethics class, and in a unit of Aristotelean Virtue ethics, we are covering "The Mean."

Is there a word that means roughly, "seeking middle ground for middle ground's sake; compromising to a fault?" Seeking a middle ground or happy medium not because it is optimal or virtuous to do so, but just because it is the midpoint between two extremes of a certain behavior?

Thank you!

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    Does the word appeasing (or appeasement) fit your use case?
    – Jim Mack
    Jun 22, 2021 at 23:23
  • I think it could. Thank you!
    – Just a guy
    Jun 22, 2021 at 23:27
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    To be clear 'appeasing' means 'overly conciliatory' and 'compromising to a fault' but does not mean 'seeking a middle ground' -or-being non-extreme -or- doing something out of esthetic balance (that's all I can figure out of your words) instead of optimality or virtue. So can you clarify which of these you are really seeking?
    – Mitch
    Jun 23, 2021 at 0:38
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    Grovel is the word a critic might use.
    – Xanne
    Jun 23, 2021 at 1:15
  • The answer will require more context. There are different ways people may seek middle ground. Politics is a salient one. In that case, the term centrist seems most fitting. Temperance is a term usually applied to the appetites, in which case it is bound to be understood normatively and hence as a virtue. Still, there are others. Some people are mediocrists by choice, and this refers to their abilities or qualities.
    – Pound Hash
    Jun 26, 2021 at 18:43

5 Answers 5

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It is not an exact match, but an accommodationist is pretty close:

A person who seeks compromise with an opposing point of view, typically a political one.
Lexico

As noted, the word has a political connotation, and is also a term used to describe a judicial interpretation of how government should interact with religion.

... Accommodationists espouse the view that "religious individuals, and/or religious entities may be accommodated by government in regard to such things as free exercise rights, access to government programs and facilities, and religious expression."
Wikipedia

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Appeasing, while nominally neutral, can carry the connotation you mention, that of conciliation just for the sake of ending discussion.

M/W has:

(1) pacify, conciliate, especially : to make concessions to (someone, such as an aggressor or a critic) often at the sacrifice of principles

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  • This is emphasizing making concessions to make another person happy. The question is about the middle ground for the middle ground's sake. Jun 22, 2021 at 23:51
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This reminds me of the Confucius approach to the world called the Doctrine of the (Golden) Mean (Zhong Yong). So you could say that someone is a subscriber of the Golden Mean. You could read more about it here: The Golden Mean

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  • They couldn't subscribe to that idea if they haven't heard of it and all that it entails.
    – Pound Hash
    Jun 26, 2021 at 18:33
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I like temperate as well, but will add centrist to the list. Temperate, to me, implies a character trait, while centrist seems more focused on the center in an active or political sense.

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“mewling” is a good word to capture the weak-willed connotation.

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