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Friendship and the Discovery of the Self

Friendship and the Discovery of the Self

Chapter:
(p.159) 6 Friendship and the Discovery of the Self
Source:
Aristotle's Dialogue with Socrates
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226080543.003.0007

Friendship made its first appearance in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics in what seemed to be a rather incidental manner. Aristotle's comments in Book I about examining the idea of the good, which seem to express a conflict between allegiance to a friend and the quest for the truth, contain a model in miniature for the apparent tension that runs through the Ethics as a whole between the political nature and the rational nature of the human being. The argument begins in Book VIII with a model of “perfect friendship” as a relationship between those who are alike in virtue and drawn together by recognition in the other of the sense of completeness each experiences in himself. Book IX designates the friend as “another self,” which leads for the first time to the recognition of the human being not as soul but as self. This chapter examines the arguments in Ethics about friendship and the self, happiness, justice, eros, and philosophy.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, virtue, friendship, truth, happiness, self, justice, eros, philosophy

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