Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 9, Chapter 11 (1171a22-1171b29)

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Book 9, Chapter 11 (1171a22-1171b29)

  • Do we need our friends more when things go wrong? Or when everything's great?
  • Aristotle is a realist: in misfortune, we really do need help from our friends. We get by with a little help from our friends. But friendship in good times is "nobler."
  • Being with friends in times of disaster can lift our spirits and distract us from suffering. Knowing that they share some part of our burden is also pleasing.
  • On the flip side, it can be painful to see a friend upset because we're suffering.
  • A "manly man" will be careful about involving his good friends in his troubles just for this reason. Women, apparently, love to involve themselves in misery and don't spare their friends. (Misogynist much, Aristotle?)
  • A good person gets pleasure from sharing his good fortune with friends.
  • Still, a person should let his buds help him out when they can. It's also good to help a friend, even if he doesn't come out and ask for it.
  • Remember, friends exist to do good things for each other. They won't be stopped—and you'll get a bad reputation if you refuse their help all the time.

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