On the final books 8–10 of Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics.
What does friendship have to do with ethics? Aristotle thinks that friends are necessary for the good life (i.e., eudaimonia or happiness, which is the goal of ethics), and that the only true friends, as opposed to those who merely entertain us or are useful to us, are virtuous people. They’re the only ones who won’t outlive their usefulness, whom you can really count on.
On the other hand, the number one virtue (according to our last episode on this book) is reason, and the good life is the contemplative one, which doesn’t sound all that social, so how do reason and friendship connect?
Mark, Wes, and Dylan are joined by PEL blogger Ana Sandoiu to try to figure out why we all love each other (but just as friends!): is it because of our uniqueness, or is it because of some generic characteristic like virtue, as Aristotle seems to be saying?
Ana’s translation of the book is this one by Robert Bartlett and Susan Collins.
Attend the free-for-Citizens seminar on Augustine’s Confessions on Oct. 17, 9pm EST.
End song: “A Few Gone Down” from The MayTricks’ Happy Songs Will Bring You Down (1994). Download the whole album for free.
Aristotle picture by Sterling Bartlett.