Human beings are designed to be social, it’s our nature. Starting at a young age we develop friendships. According to Webster dictionary, a friendship is, “The state of being friends; friendly relation, or attachment, to a person, or between persons.” Aristotle does into depth about why friendship is vital to human thriving, the true definition of friendship, as well as the different types of friendships that exist.
The topic of Books VIII and IX of Aristotle’s Ethics is friendship. The term “friendship” can be easily be translated to “philia” which is the term that Aristotle is most interested in. Even though he focuses on classifying the different types of friendships and the forms that they are represented in, his main subject in Books VII and IX is to show the relation between proper activity and friendship.
Aristotle begins with the suggestion that there are three main reasons why a person might like someone else. The first reason, because the person is good, useful, or pleasant. When two people identify that the other person is someone of good character, and they spend time with each other they form a friendship. If there is a large difference in age, then their moral development is also very different. A good example of this is the friendship between a parent and a child. These types of relationships are based on the other person’s good character. He is assuming that human beings have the same reasons and foundations that create a beneficial friendship. When Aristotle says that unequal friendships based on character are lacking, he is pointing out that we create the best relationships when we connect with one another and spend time with each other. When friendships consist of people with t...
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...e and one wishes what is best for the other person. Unlike the other two forms that friendship takes on, virtue is long lasting. This is so because two people who are of equal good character care for each other and wish the best for one another. Aristotle does tell us that some like qualities exist between the three different forms of friendship; however the relationship will not last long if it lacks good intentions. Friendship of virtue and good character only exists among good people.
Throughout life we develop friendships. Some may be long lasting and virtuous, while other are short and based on our needs. Aristotle helps us to categorize friendships and sets a standard for what a pure relationship consists of. As he redefines friendships, Aristotle gives us answers as to why we seek people based on our needs, pleasure, and how we create virtuous relationships.
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