Friendship is undoubtedly one of the most important elements in the books of Aristotle s ethical principles. Aristotle takes the idea of friendship to a serious degree. He categorizes them into three groups or types of friendships. This report will attempt to define each type of friendship as well as identify the role of friendship in a society.
Aristotle considers friendship to be a necessity to live. He claims that no individual would chose to live without friends even if the individual had all of the other good things in life. He also describes friendship as a virtue and as just. Given the above statements on friendship, it is safe to say that Aristotle felt that friendship is something that every human must have in order to reach a peaceful state of mind. It has all of the qualities of good as long as both parties of a friendship are considered good. Therefore, the role of friendship in a society is to promote goodness between all parties involved in it.
As previously mentioned, Aristotle has identified three different types of friendships. The first is friendship based on utility. This is a friendship in which both parties become involved with each other for their own personal benefit. An example would be a working relationship with an individual. These are people who do not spend much time together, possibly because they do not like each other, and therefore feel no need to associate with one another unless they are mutually useful. They take pleasure from each other s company just for their own sake. Aristotle uses the elderly and foreigners as examples of friendships based on utility.
The second type of friendship is a friendship based on pleasure. This friendship is made between two people that wish to gain pleasure from one another. Aristotle uses the young as an example here. Friendship between the young is grounded on pleasure because the lives of the young are regulated by their feelings, and their main interest is in their own pleasure and the opportunity of the moment. They are quick to create and destroy friendships because their affection changes as fast as the things that please them do. Aristotle felt that this sort of pleasure changes rapidly. The young also have a tendency to fall in love, thus creating an erotic friendship which is swayed by the feelings and based on pleasure.
Finally, we have what is considered the by Aristotle as the perfect friendship. This is called the friendship based on goodness. This kind of friendship is between those that desire the good of their friends for their friend s sake not their own. Each friend loves the other for what he is, not for a particular quality. This type of friendship can last as long as the friends remain good. The friendship just might last forever. Aristotle considers it a permanent friendship because in it are all of the attributes that friends ought to possess. This friendship differs than the others mentioned because all the parties involved have each other s qualities. There is no need to use the other for pleasure or utility. They are in it for each other.
As you can see, Aristotle held friendship in high regard. He considered it something to better the society as well as the individual. His definitions of the types of friendships can make one relate to his or her own friends. One can try to determine the type of friendships that one may have or wish to have with his or her friends. It would certainly be a challenge in today s day and age to find a friendship based on goodness. Perhaps it can be achieved.