By Lorraine Smith Pangle
This accomplished account of the most important philosophical works on friendship and its dating to self-love emphasizes Aristotle's exam of friendship within the Nicomachean Ethics. Lorraine Pangle argues that the problems surrounding this dialogue are dispelled once one is familiar with the aim of the Ethics as either a resource of sensible advice for all times and a profound, theoretical research into human nature. The ebook presents interpretations of works on friendship by means of Plato, Cicero, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne and Bacon.
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Extra resources for Aristotle and the Philosophy of Friendship
Whereas Plato’s Symposium may be characterized as addressed mainly to those, especially among the young, who may hope to find in a life of philosophy an answer to their deepest longings for happiness, Aristotle’s 42 The Three Kinds of Friendship Nicomachean Ethics is explicitly addressed to the mature men who are the pillars of the community, including the fathers of youths who may be drawn to follow Socrates’ lead, men who are not philosophic but whom Aristotle seeks to make well disposed to philosophy.
But he introduces a potentially significant shade of difference in his analysis when he states that it is “the good” that is loved or lovable “simply,” or without qualification, even if what each individual loves in fact is the good for himself (1155b23–25). 2 Here also, at 1155b21–23, he suggests that what is simply pleasant is, like what is simply good, that which is perceived or experienced as such by a serious human being in a flourishing condition. This mention of the pleasant as a parallel case shows that Aristotle is not making any claim that the simply good is good in some absolute way, wholly apart from its being good or pleasant for something, if only for itself.
28 I believe, however, that there would be more depth and significance than Bolotin suggests to a friendship of two truly wise, mature, and good men – a friendship such as Plato must have had for Aristotle at the end – and by extension, that there is more depth and significance in those aspects of the friendships of other good men that rest on no other need but the friends’ desire for company, and also on their admiration of one another, and that 222d5–6 shows Socrates’ support for this possibility.