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Honors Program
HONR 1101
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Emily McClure Nicomachean Ethics Book 8 i) Aristotle argues that there are three kinds of friendship. He says that there is friendship based on utility, friendship based on pleasure, and that the last one is essentially the truest form of friendship. He says that true friendship encompasses both of the other two naturally. Friendship based on utility is basically just being friends in order to gain something from each other. Friendship based on pleasure is being friends because they make them happy (on the immediate surface of life, but this is not a deep feeling of happiness). True friendship is one where neither necessarily seeks to gain anything from the other but both genuinely just enjoy being together, and, most importantly, the feelings of goodwill are reciprocated. Aristotle says, “But those who wish for the good things for their friends, for their friends’sake, are friends most of all, since they are disposed in this way in themselves and not incidentally” (168).An example of a friendship based on utility in my life would be my oral presentation partner in Spanish class. We need each other in order to do our presentation and to do it well, and we are friends, but neither of us look to hang out with the other outside of class. I found it harder to come up with an example of friendship based on pleasure because I have trouble distinguishing the guidelines. I think this example fits though: it is like having certain friends in classes who you like to chat with and enjoy seeing but that you don’t hang out with outside of class. Aristotle’s definition of true friendship perfectly suits what is modernly called “best friends”: people who honestly care for each other’s happiness and well-being. ii) Aristotle talks about how to define friendship – whether it is a passion, activity, or characteristic.At one point, he mentions that it is a virtue, which would mean that it is a characteristic according to his logic in Book 2 (“Virtue, therefore, is a characteristic…” (35)). In Book 8 he asserts, “For friendship is a certain virtue” (163), which can encompass or accompany passions and activities as well. Friendship is the cause of activities, and can be caused by passion, but friendship itself is more of a characteristic. In my life, this seems true. Friendship causes me to do certain activities with certain people or for certain people. Naturally, we love to do things with our friends; wanting to spend time with another person is the essence of friendship. Passion is
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