Friendship By Aristotle: The Three Levels Of Friendship

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Aristotle argued in his book Nicomachean Ethics that “we praise those who love their friends” (Curzer, 2012). To him, there are three levels of friendship. These include friendships of utility, friendship for the sake of pleasure, and “perfect friendship” or friendship of virtue (Pangle, 2002). This paper shares my perspective on these three levels of friendship on whether they still apply in the contemporary life. In addition, the paper advances its discussion to share a personal reflection on whether the highest level of friendship is attainable, and if so, under what criteria. The first level of friendship according to Aristotle is based on utility, where both parties derive some benefit from each other (Pangle, 2002). To him, this kind of utility friendship is shallow as it is “easily dissolved”. Aristotle uses the example of trade and claims that friendships based on utility are often found between opposite people, in order to maximize their trade. The second level of friendship is based on pleasure, where both people are drawn to the other’s wit, …show more content…

Naturally, human beings are social beings and cannot live without friends. Friendship is an essential part of the structure of human existence. Today’s people are seeking and participating in relationships because they believe that it is good to have friends so as to experience pleasure, to be honored, to be healthy, and to prosper in life. Even in the inferior kind of friendships, people cooperate for the common advantage or pleasure. Irrespective of qualifications, career, personal perspectives, cultural differences, and interests, all people seek for love and acknowledgement from others (Curzer, 2012). This means that at a particular time, every individual will seek for a friendship, whether based on utility, pleasure, or even virtuous

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