Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 8, Chapter 8 (1159a14-1159b24)

By Aristotle

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Book 8, Chapter 8 (1159a14-1159b24)

  • People love flattery because they want to feel loved by those who are inferior.
  • Being honored by the powerful feels even better, because it's a mark of success.
  • There are others who love to be honored by good people. It confirms to them that they're worth loving and honoring, and it fulfills their desire to be loved.
  • Friendship, though, is more about loving others than being loved.
  • Moms are a good example of this, since they love to love their children, even if their kids are total snots to them. (But seriously, you should call your mom more).
  • Loving, then, is a virtue that belongs to friends. And it's through love that equality might be brought to an unequal relationship, if the difference between the two can be made up in love.
  • This constitutes a likeness in terms of virtue, even if there's little else in common.
  • Wicked people can't partake in this benefit. They're changeable in their ways and don't love "friends" for their goodness but only for their utility or ability to amuse.
  • Relationships between the wicked often happen between opposites, since they're not really interested in loving the person for something they have in common. It's all about convenience.
  • Sometimes, though, opposites attract for a different reason. Maybe each person is aiming for the "middle term" to correct their own dispositions and to stabilize themselves.
  • This is why, Aristotle says, an ignorant person will seek out the wise, or the ugly person a beautiful one.

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