Other Selves

Kritike 4 (1):199-218 (2010)
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Aristotle regarded highly the concept of friendship. For him, friendship—being one of the virtues just like truth, justice, courage, etc.—is something that affects not just human behavior but even the state’s as well . However, the English language has set a limit to its use and thus diminished its meaning. While the Greek for friendship, which is φιλια can be translated as love, when using the English language one cannot say that as A and B are friends, it must be that A and B are lovers. But for the Greeks, A and B are friends, if and only if, A and B are lovers. In fact, φιλια is where half of the word philosophy comes from. Why is it that even when tracing the etymology of philosophy, one uses “love of wisdom” instead of “friend of wisdom?” This is not the case for Aristotle. Aside from just regarding highly friendship by considering it as affecting the individual and the collective’s behavior toward others, Aristotle goes further by claiming that friendship is a necessary ingredient, not just to have an orderly life and state, but in order to have a eudaimon life, i.e., a happy life. Thus, for Aristotle, without friendship, a person cannot be happy.
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