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Aristotle Essay

615 words - 3 pages

It may seen odd but writers from Paper Masters have researched and found that Aristotle takes much of his notion on friendship from politics. Research papers on Aristotle's view of friendship looks at the philosophy of Aristotle and explicates how this philosophy boils down to politics and virtue in a man.

Aristotle's treatment of friendship, including his definitions of friendship, is found within his work on ethics, the "Nicomachean Ethics." Friendship is included within his discussion of his general ethical theory. Aristotle bases his ethical theory on two constructs:

Politics
Virtue
In most of the "Nicomachean Ethics," Aristotle discusses these two major subjects as separate subjects; or when they are discussed in relation to each other, they are discussed mostly with respect to what proportion of each is found in political activities or the conditions or state of a person's life. ...view middle of the document...

As Aristotle begins the "Nicomachean Ethics," "Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim as some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." Aristotle then makes the distinction between the two subjects which are the major subjects of his ethical theory--i. e., politics and virtue--and which are also the bases for his two definitions of friendship.

As Aristotle elaborates his theory of ethics, one learns that virtue is the highest good. But before he deals with virtue, Aristotle presents in the opening of the "Nicomachean Ethics" another perspective on ethics which bears on his conception of friendship. "As there are many actions, arts, and sciences, their ends also are many." The ends of the "master arts" have preference over the ends of the subordinate actions, arts, and sciences for "it is for the sake of the former that the latter are pursued." The example Aristotle uses is the art of riding which includes bridle-making, as well as other tasks and skills concerned with equipment for horses necessary or desirable for the art of riding. There would be no sense in making a bridle if there were no art of riding. Since the craft of making a bridle goes into the art of riding, the art of riding is the higher, or preferred, end. Similarly, the activity of friendship is subordinate to the virtue of friendship because virtue is the higher good. As the craft of making a bridle contributes to the higher end of the art of riding, so does the part of friendship which is the activity contribute to the higher end of the virtue of an individual who is a part of the friendship. Virtue is the focus of the various activities, qualities, and ends Aristotle covers and analyzes in the "Nicomachean Ethics." The activities, qualities, and ends are evaluated on the basis of how they contribute to virtue or interfere with it or take from it. The more an activity, quality, or end contributes to virtue, the higher ethical value it has; and the more it impedes or takes from virtue, the lower its ethical value, with some activities, etc. being unethical.

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