Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 8, Chapter 1 (1154b35-1155b15)

By Aristotle

Book 8, Chapter 1 (1154b35-1155b15)

  • Aristotle wants to discuss friendship as a virtue in this section. He begins by emphasizing how crucial it is for a happy life.
  • Aww. Aristotle's such a softie.
  • Friendship's necessary even for the wealthy and young, who need protection and saving from mistakes (respectively).
  • The old require friends to help them get by, and the strong benefit by having friends who will help them do good things and think through difficulties.
  • There is a kind of friendship between parent and child, and also for those who are like each other. Aristotle says that we naturally gravitate toward people who are most like us.
  • "Like-mindedness" is like friendship and helps larger groups of unrelated people to get along for the common good (think legislators/lawgivers).
  • Friendship breeds just behavior. And while those who are just are also good, they still need friendship between them to make things pleasant.
  • Aristotle says that friendship is especially praiseworthy. A person with many friends is considered a worthy person.
  • But some "perplexities" about friendship exist.
  • Are friends alike? Or do opposites attract? Are they actually competitive with one another?
  • More important and relevant to the conversation at hand: can anybody participate in friendship? Can, for instance, evil people be friends to anyone?
  • Also, is there more than one type of friendship?