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Friendship And Self Love In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

1663 words - 7 pages

IntroductionAristotle, a pupil of Plato is one of the greatest, ancient Athenian philosophers. Nicomachean Ethics is Aristotle's most advanced work on ethics. In fact, Nicomachean Ethics was written around 340 BC. It is most likely to have been named after either his father or son, who were both named Nicomachus. Undoubtedly, friendship is one of the most important elements in the books of Aristotle's ethical principles. Out of the ten books of Nicomachean Ethics, only books eight and nine are on the subject of friendship. Friendship is defined as "the relationship with a person you know well and regard with affection and trust." (Askme.com Online Dictionary: http://dictionary.ansme.com/). "Self-love is defined as concern with only your own wishes and desires." (Encarta Online Dictionary: http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/Dictionary/DictionaryHome.aspx). In natural human nature, people do not want to be lonely. They have an urge to socialize and affiliate, as mankind is a social and political animal. "People are by nature political animals." (Aristotle. Politics i.2.9. 1252). Moreover, friendship is equal to self-love because in true friendships one will love his/her friends as he/she loves him/herself.Friendship And HappinessIn Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle examines happiness, which he defines as "the good towards which every human action is directed." Friendship brings people the most happiness as people need love to survive.. According to Aristotle, an important ingredient of happiness is friendship. "Friendship is the bond between the individual and the social aggregation, between man and the State. Man is essentially, or by nature, a social animal, that is to say, he cannot attain complete happiness except in social and political dependence on his fellow man." (Catholic Encyclopaedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01713a.htm). Here he is saying that friendship seems to be the bond that holds communities together.Without doubt, any individual will feel lonely without friends. In fact, human beings and even other creatures have a natural urge to affiliate. "Many animal species affiliate, collecting in groups, flocks, or schools to migrate or search for food." (Magill p.142). Living creatures depend on one another for survival whether it be physical needs or emotional needs. Without emotional support, no matter how much money or success a person gains, he/she will not be happy. Each individual needs to have family and/or friends to share some of his/her wealth and success with. For instance, if a student gets an "A" on a test, but cannot show it to the busy parents, the student will feel unhappy. This is due to the fact that people have a need to show off their achievements that they have worked very hard for, to the people that they care about. Therefore, without friends whatever success or material goods gained will lose their meaning. Moreover, nobody will choose to live without friends even if he has all the other good things. "For...

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