J Med Ethics 16:157-159 doi:10.1136/jme.16.3.157
  • Research Article


  1. E Telfer
  1. University of Glasgow.


      The kind of temperance discussed is the virtue of moderation concerning the pleasures of eating and drinking. A person lacks this moderation if either his desire for such pleasures causes conflicts with his own standards of appropriate behaviour or the standards themselves attach too much importance to the pleasures concerned. Opinions vary about the proper status of these pleasures, but people surely value them too highly if they place them above their health or the moral duty not to cause unnecessary suffering. Temperance concerns medicine because of its connection with health, ethics because it involves not only the good life for the individual but also the welfare of other creatures.