iunie 26, 2011


'But we tend to forget about the link between friendship and virtue which forms the basis of Aristotle’s entire discussion. He begins by stating that “friendship is a virtue, or involves virtue.” The first formulation—”friendship is a virtue”—points to the social virtue of amicability (a generalized friendliness without special attachment that avoids the opposing vices of fawning and cantankerousness). The second formulation—that friendship involves virtue—is more interesting (and Aristotle spends the next 26 chapters elaborating its meaning). Since the Greek preposition is meta, a more literal translation would read: “friendship is with virtue.” Aristotle’s curious definition implies that friendship and virtue are themselves friends, for like friends, they are with one another. So, if you want to find friendship, look for virtue, and vice versa. Because friendship is linked to virtue, not every relation commonly called friendship is, in truth, friendship. Aristotle engages in a philosophic version of “unfriending”: gently, he sets out to correct his readers—a correction necessary in every era, but especially ours. Friendships premised on mutual utility, an exceedingly prevalent form of human connection, turn out to be seriously deficient—limited both in scope and duration.'

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