Aristotle On Friendship


Philosophical Ethics
December 6, 1995

Friendship is undoubtedly one of the most important elements in the
books of Aristotle\'s ethical principles. Aristotle takes the idea of friendship
to a serious degree. He categorizes them into three groups or types of
friendships. This report will attempt to define each type of friendship as well
as identify the role of friendship in a society.
Aristotle considers friendship to be a necessity to live. He claims
that no individual would chose to live without friends even if the individual
had all of the other good things in life. He also describes friendship as a
virtue and as just. Given the above statements on friendship, it is safe to say
that Aristotle felt that friendship is something that every human must have in
order to reach a peaceful state of mind. It has all of the qualities of good as
long as both parties of a friendship are considered good. Therefore, the role
of friendship in a society is to promote goodness between all parties involved
in it.
As previously mentioned, Aristotle has identified three different types
of friendships. The first is friendship based on utility. This is a friendship
in which both parties become involved with each other for their own personal
benefit. An example would be a working relationship with an individual. These
are people who do not spend much time together, possibly because they do not
like each other, and therefore feel no need to associate with one another unless
they are mutually useful. They take pleasure from each other\'s company just for
their own sake. Aristotle uses the elderly and foreigners as examples of
friendships based on utility.
The second type of friendship is a friendship based on pleasure. This
friendship is made between two people that wish to gain pleasure from one
another. Aristotle uses the young as an example here. Friendship between the
young is grounded on pleasure because the lives of the young are regulated by
their feelings, and their main interest is in their own pleasure and the
opportunity of the moment. They are quick to create and destroy friendships
because their affection changes as fast as the things that please them do.
Aristotle felt that this sort of pleasure changes rapidly. The young also have
a tendency to fall in love, thus creating an erotic friendship which is swayed
by the feelings and based on pleasure.
Finally, we have what is considered the by Aristotle as the perfect
friendship. This is called the friendship based on goodness. This kind of
friendship is between those that desire the good of their friends for their
friend\'s sake not their own. Each friend loves the other for what he is, not
for a particular quality. This type of friendship can last as long as the
friends remain good. The friendship just might last forever. Aristotle
considers it a permanent friendship because in it are all of the attributes that
friends ought to possess. This friendship differs than the others mentioned
because all the parties involved have each other\'s qualities. There is no need
to use the other for pleasure or utility. They are in it for each other.
As you can see, Aristotle held friendship in high regard. He considered
it something to better the society as well as the individual. His definitions
of the types of friendships can make one relate to his or her own friends. One
can try to determine the type of friendships that one may have or wish to have
with his or her friends. It would certainly be a challenge in today\'s day and
age to find a friendship based on goodness. Perhaps it can be achieved.

Category: Philosophy