14 March 2012
Minor Essay No. 2
Think about one or more of your friendships in light of what Aristotle writes about friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics. Write an essay that reﬂects on both -- your friendship(s) in terms of Aristotle’s ideas and/or Aristotle’s ideas in terms of your friendship(s). You may refer to relevant sections of the Ethics by line number as needed, but the main idea here is to reﬂect on your real life experience of friendship and consider how Aristotle’s ideas compare to your experience.
In this essay, I will refer to Aristotle’s description of friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics in order to evaluate and reflect on my own relationships and how they compare. Introduction
In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Books VIII and IX are focused on the idea of friendship and defining it. He asserts that friendship is a necessary and desirable aspect that all virtuous individuals require to live a full and satisfying life. He continues to describe three different types of friendships based on the reasons the two persons established a relationship, however some of these are not as genuine or equal and are therefore imperfect. Moreover, he appears to imply that a good friendship involves the participation in virtuous activity together and thus promotes one's happiness. The central concept Aristotle seems to promote in Book IX is that a real friend is “another-self” so by being good to a true friend you are in a way being good to yourself.
The Three Forms of Friendship
Aristotle begins to explain his taxonomy of friendship according to three different reasons to befriend another person:
They are good, they are useful, and/or they are pleasant. These reasons establish the foundations of which the friendship is built-on and for each there are different aspects that are present in the relationship. If one pursues a friendship based on the premise that they are pleasant, according to Aristotle, the...
Cited: Cahn, Steven M. "Nicomachean Ethics." Classics of Western Philosophy. 7th ed. Indianapolis:
Hackett Pub., 1977. 295-303. Print.
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