“Ethics Book 8” by Aristotle (349 BC)

Be calm, my bitches.

“Ethics Book 8” by Aristotle (349 BC)

Ch. 1

  • Friendship is an indispensable requirement for life
    • Rich & powerful men need them for an outlet for beneficence to safeguard prosperity
    • It’s poor men’s only resource
    • The young need it to stop themselves from doing stupid things
    • The old need it to supplement their failing abilities
    • Parents & children have a natural affection to each other
    • Even animals have friends within their species
  • Politicians want to promote it to promote peace
    • Has a role in justice
  • Considered noble to be friendly & to have friends
    • Has a role in men’s character & emotions

Ch. 2

  • Let’s examine liking & love
    • Not everything is loved but what is is good, pleasant or useful
    • Do men like what’s good? Or what’s good for them?
      • Those aren’t always the same things
  • People like what’s good for themselves & what is really good is absolutely lovable
    • What’s good for a particular person is lovable to him
    • People like what seems to be good for them
  • To be friends, men must:
    • 1 – feel goodwill for each other & wish each other’s good
    • 2 – be aware of each other’s goodwill
    • 3 – the cause of goodwill must be one of the lovable qualities
      • Not for an inanimate object
      • Mutual goodwill for each other

Ch. 3

  • 3 kinds of friendship
    • 1 – love because friends are useful to each other
    • 2 – love out of mutual pleasure
    • 3 – complete love
      • 1 & 2 – don’t last long because pleasure & utility may fade or disappear
    • Most friendships of utility happen in the young, old & those in the prime of life – because we seek to gain at all stages of life
      • These friends don’t always speaks often because the utility of those friendships isn’t always there – only when needed
      • Most frequent among the old – only as needed
  • The young have friends out of pleasure because the young live their lives based on emotion & pursue what’s pleasant
    • As what pleases them changes with age, friendships change
      • The young fall in love easily & this changes things
    • The young choose to spend a lot of time with friends because that’s how they get enjoyment from friendships
  • Best friendships occur between those who have similarities in virtue & want to help each other to further their virtues
    • Those last as long as virtues remain the same [usually a long time]
    • Those are good absolutely & are profitable to one another
    • Affection based on good or pleasure in absolute & relative senses
      • Those are rare & require time & intimacy to develop coinciding virtues & an amount of trust built up between them over the years

Ch. 4

  • Complete friendships are perfect while the other have their flaws
    • Pleasure & utility friendships seem perfect because they’re based on pleasure & good men are useful & pleasant to one another
    • Friendships based on pleasure or utility are bound to crumble when circumstances change or distance separates friends
      • These friends didn’t love each other but what they got from each other
    • These friendships can exist between 2 bad men, 1 good & 1 bad, or somewhere between
    • Only good men can have the complete friendship since bad men can only use each other to their own advantage
  • Friendships between good men alone are proof enough against calumny because good men won’t listen to lies about friends they know well & prefer to trust their own opinion
  • The term “friend” is confusing because it can mean any of the 3 types
    • Children make friends & we can call them “friends” even though the depths & complexity of the friendship isn’t possible
  • Men don’t make friends for pleasure & utility at the same time – very rare
  • Inferior people make friends for pleasure or use but good men make friends for their own sake

Ch. 5

  • As with other virtues, men are called “good” in 2 senses
    • Having a virtuous disposition
    • Realizing virtue by action
  • Friendships:
    • Having good & friend disposition, even away from friends
    • Being friendly in one another’s company
  • Separation doesn’t destroy a friendship but it does prevent its exercise
    • Prolonged absence causes the feeling to be forgotten
  • The old & morose aren’t given to friendships because they have limited capacity to please & prefer to spend time alone, making them unlikely candidates for friendship
    • Without something to enjoy or appreciate, there’s no ground for goodwill or friendship
    • People have to provide each other with at least something to be considered “friends”
  • Friendship between good men is the truest form of friendship because there is a particular & absolute form
  • Likely is an emotion but friendship is a fixed disposition
    • When men wish for the good of those they love for their own sakes, the good will depends on disposition not emotion

Ch. 6

  • Sour & elderly people make friends with great difficulty because they don’t enjoy friendships as much & they are more likely to be bad-tempered
    • Younger men make friends with great ease because they delight in the company more & aren’t so sour
    • Men might bear goodwill to each other but friendship means spending time together
  • You can’t be great friends with too many people because it’s like being in love with many people – you have to be able to spend lots of time with each other, which is very hard to
  • The young tend to have friendship based pleasure because they like the same things
    • Friendships based on utility don’t need utility-based friendships they’re focused on pleasant friendships
  • Those in authority have friends of different classes
    • Some pleasant, some useful – rarely both
  • A good man is both pleasant & useful but doesn’t befriend a man who surpasses him in station unless he’s also surpassed him in virtue – very rare
  • These friendships are based on equality: pleasure for pleasure, utility for utility or a combination of the 2
    • Usually less of a true friendship & less permanent
    • When the same thing isn’t exchanged, it’s usually out of utility & often appears not to be real friendships

Ch. 7

  • Another form of friendship involves inequality
    • Father-son, elder-younger, husband0wife & ruler-subject
    • Those aren’t the same but have similarities
    • Each side of the inequality gets something different from the relationship
      • When each one brings to the relationship what he ought to, then the relationship becomes excellent
    • The love shouldn’t be equal either the better & more useful should be more loved than he loves
  • Equality in justice is not the same as equality in friendship
    • Equality in justice is based on merit
    • Equality in friendship is primarily quantitative
      • It’s obvious if there’s a different in virtue/vice between 2 parties & when it’s too much, they are no longer friends
      • The gods can’t be friends with people because there’s a huge gap between their virtue & man’s virtue
  • Kings don’t expect to be friends with inferiors, just as wise men can’t expect to be friends with wise men
  • A man who wishes good to his friend for his own sake, he is wishing the greatest good

Ch. 8

  • Most people prefer to be love than to love
    • This leads to flattery by men of an inferior position who love superior men by bestowing honors on them
    • Most people enjoy being honored by those in authority
    • They believe their own goodness depends on the honors that actually merely confirm their own opinions of themselves
  • In being loved, people enjoy it for its own sake, which is better than being honored
  • Some mothers hand over their children to others to be raised & prefer to see them prosper more than to give them love directly
    • Friendship relies more on loving than to give them love
  • Unequals can be equalized by providing love & helping the other maintain his virtues
  • Wicked people can’t participate in this because they are so slippery & they only use others for their own wicked purposes
  • Utility based friendships are usually between people with differences – poor-rich, ignorant-learned, etc.
    • One helps the other rise for something in return
    • Lovers may encounter problems with this because they may ask for the same thing they’re giving & the other person doesn’t have it to give back
    • They have to settle for some intermediate state

Ch. 9

  • Friendships & justice are tied together
    • Friendships are involved in politics by way of it being important to have goodwill between members of a society
    • The nature of these relationships & friendships can vary – father-son, brothers, coworkers, soldiers together, strangers
  • What qualifies as “just” or “unjust” is different depending on the nature of the relationship
    • Justice is particularly important – it’s much worse to be evil to a friend than a stranger because it involves betrayal & the destruction of a friend
    • It also magnifies a friend when justice is diplayed
      • When it goes well between friends, it’s a good indicator for the rest of society that people can get along with each other & justice will be the norm & not the exception

Ch. 10

  • 3 types of rule of a state
    • 1 – Monarchy – This can descend into a state of tyranny. A monarch rules a state for the benefit of the subjects & a tyrant rules a state to his own benefit & to the detriment of the subjects
    • 2 – Aristocracy – can descend into an oligarchy when a group of powerful men run the state through an unjust distribution of goods by the ruling class & make it so that the rich rule
    • 3 – Timocracy – can descend into democracy
  • All of these mirror personal relationships
    • Monarchy – father/son
    • Aristocracy – husband/wife
    • Democracy – a household where nobody is in power or makes decisions himself

Ch. 11

  • The link between justice & friendship becomes clearer in examining different forms of government
  • A monarch will show his friendship to his subjects though good acts for them, & also in exerting his superiority
    • This also happens between a father & son where the father gives the son & the son honors the father
  • Husbands & wives are like aristocracies in that the greater gets more of what’s just
  • Brothers are like a timocracy, where they are equal & the relationship is ruled by equity
  • As the governments become perverted, it mirrors relationships where the amount of justice between individuals is lessened
    • Tyranny doesn’t promote justice or friendships because humanity has been degraded & the community has crumbled, leaving only people being tyrannized at the same time, together
  • Once equity is lost, friendships crumble or can’t be formed to begin with – or just shaky friendships
  • Democracy promotes equity & that allows friendships to flourish

Ch. 12

  • In examining friendships within families:
    • Parents love their children because they are a part of them & children love their parents because they come from them
  • Parents’ love is greater because they have the reasoning to understand the nature of the relationship
    • Mothers are more affectionate & loving than fathers due to even better knowledge that they definitely know the children are theirs
    • A parent’s love is very much like love for oneself because it’s a love for someone came from you
  • Brothers’ love for each other is like love for oneself because they are equals, of similar age, they do their activities together & have a great deal of trust between them
  • Children’s love for parents in a relationship is based on an inferior-superior form
  • A marriage is natural for people, forming pairs, which is similar to a city, but a much older tradition
    • Children aren’t the end-all be-all of our own lives & marriage helps share the responsibilities in the home, personal affairs & the family
    • The friendship in marriage allows for & even promotes virtue & justice

Ch. 13

  • Friendships can be based in inequality
    • Equals must maintain equality in love while unequals must maintain what’s proportionate to their superiority or inferiority
  • Complaints or reproaches usually come from friendships of utility
    • It doesn’t make sense that friendships based on trying to emulate each other or doing well by one another should run into many arguments
    • No one is offended by someone trying to emulate him or doing well by him
      • It’s usually reciprocated
    • Friendships of pleasure result in both parties getting pleasure at the same time & not returning it nullifies the friendship, causing loss to both sides
  • Friendships of utility run into problems when one party isn’t pulling his weight in the quid pro quo nature of the relationship
    • If legally bound, as in commerce, the law may step in to enforce or negate the terms of the contractual “friendship”
    • If morally bound, there are no fixed terms but it will dissolve if one party isn’t getting what he thinks he ought to from the friendship
    • We ought to return what we receive & make our friendships based on our ability or willingness to do so
    • It’s debatable if we should measure favor by its use to the receiver because the value to the giver may not match the value to the receiver
      • These friendships only occur if at least one side gets some benefit from them

Ch. 14

  • Friendships based on superiority:
    • The better man expects more because he think the more you put into something, the more you should get out of it
    • If he gets nothing, it’s a public service where the useless man receives requested assistance & the useful man receives honor in exchange
    • This is why men don’t disown their fathers – because sons can never repay their fathers & pay them honor as a form of debt
    • It’s also unnatural for a father to reject assistance to his son unless the son is truly wicked

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