What is a friend? If someone were to ask this question, it would get many contending answers. Some may say a friend is someone who has common interests, others may say it’s someone who is incredibly generous and enjoyable. These are two different types of friends, but are they true friends? How does one know if a friend is real or false. As Aristotle explains in Book 8 of Nicomachean Ethics, there are many forms of friendship, yet only one is true. A true friendship is one not only of mutual giving or common interest, but of mutual benefit. A true friend is someone who helps bring one closer to the God within them, bettering them as a person.
Aristotle divides friendships into three categories: friendships of utility, of pleasure, and of the good. Aristotle says that the first two types of friendship are not true friendships. He says, “Those who love for utility or pleasure, then, are fond of a friend because of what is good or pleasant for themselves, not insofar as the beloved is who he is, but insofar as he is useful or pleasant.” A way to better understand Aristotle’s interpretation of friendship is to divide the term into the two parts from which it is conjoined, friend and relationship. A friendship, in its most basic definition, is a connection between two people. Taking this and applying it to what Aristotle says in 1156a 15-17, one can see that a friendship of utility or pleasure is not a true friendship. The relationship which is seen in friends of utility and pleasure is not between two people, but between one person and another’s resources; therefore, this relationship is not a friendship. This type of relationship only exists when a person is receivin...
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... children. “Now those who wish goods to their friend for their friend’s own sake are friends most of all.” If God wishes infinite goods upon His children, that would make Him man’s best friend. Though because God is the maximum of everything, “His goodness is infinite, he is abundant in it, the earth is full of it, all creatures partake of it.” So in wishing infinite good upon us, He also wishes for us to be closer and more like Him. That would mean that the closer we are to God, the better a friend we are.
What is a true friend? A true friend is someone who is trust and praiseworthy.
A true friend is someone God-like. Not God-like in that they have the power to fly, or any other sort of childish fantasy, but in that they are caring and wish good for their friend. A true friend wishes good for their friend’s own sake, without asking for concessions in return.
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