Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

Friendship in Aristotle's Writings College

Friendship is arguably the most relevant philosophical matter expounded upon in The Nicomachean Ethics. While other virtues may not be practiced on a daily basis, friendship and the implications of such a relationship are somewhat more consistent. Living necessitates interactions and relationships with other people, and Aristotle’s view on friendship offers insight that can be incorporated into everyday life. Aristotle uses his discussion of friendship and its relation to justice to create a foundation for his argument about the function of politics, the “science of the human good,” in society (Aristotle, I, 2, 3). In light of his philosophical dissection of friendship and justice, Aristotle would support a government with a philosopher king as the head of the polis—like Plato presents—though Aristotle’s political system would focus more on the individual fostering of virtue than the creation of a perfect society.

The virtue of true friendship, as Aristotle defines it, deals with the mutually reciprocated relationship between two good people who bear goodwill towards one another for the other’s sake (VIII, 2, 144). Though Aristotle’s definition seems intuitive, a relationship must meet many qualifications in order to be...

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