Self Love & Friendship Essay

727 words - 3 pages

In Aristotle’s The Nicomachean Ethics, he explicates the basic principles of friendship. However, he does not only explain friendship between two people. Aristotle delves further into the topic and sheds light on “intrapersonal” friendship – friendship with oneself. Although this idea of comprehending the relationship people have with their own selves might seem intricate and hard to understand, Aristotle applies the same principles of interpersonal friendship to the kind of friendship people have with themselves. By distinguishing which type of friendship internal friendship belongs to, defining what a friend is, and attributing that definition to both good men and bad men, Aristotle relates friendship to self-love.
Earlier in The Nicomachean Ethics, specifically in Book VIII, Aristotle states that friendship is threefold. There are three types of friendship which deal with three different concepts: utility, pleasure, and goodness. The first kind is where both parties essentially use each other for material goods. In this case, the two people do not love each other, but only love the profit they benefit from. The second kind is friendship of pleasure, where both entities enjoy the other’s qualities, such as intelligence, appearance, etc. Finally, there is the friendship of goodness. This friendship is said to be the most true and perfect. In this relationship, both individuals admire each other’s goodness and desire goodness for one another. One might ask, where does internal friendship fit into this threefold system? This can be figured out through a process of elimination. First, one must divide this person into two entities: the person and themselves. Immediately, we can eradicate the friendship of utility, for the person cannot receive material goods from themselves, they simply “have” things. We can also remove the friendship of pleasure since these things change about people. For instance, people can gain or lose weight or increase or decrease their intelligence. Finally, we can attribute internal friendship to that of the good. This is valid because the good person, who does good things, desires goodness for himself. This friendship also does not include conditional aspects...

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