Aristotle claims that friendship is “a virtue or involves virtue”

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Aristotle describes virtue as a moral code that binds humanity to behave or act morally. According to Aristotle, virtue is the base of moral being and entails moral guidelines. It portends how humans can be good and possess the right intentions in their actions. Aristotle states that morality is critical to our human existence. Virtue must be the guiding force that informs the individual’s claim of well-being. Aristotle writes that virtue is morality and its elements are shown in our daily activities. How we talk and treat each other defines whether we have virtue or not. Lack of morality in our operations or interactions is wrong. Aristotle states that virtue is a moral ideal, which must be applied in our actions to bring or achieve moral standards. Friendship is a virtue and involves virtue.

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Friendship is a show of concern for a person. Care may take different styles or forms. Such includes keeping secrets and assisting friends when they are in need. Aristotle describes friendship as a moral aspect of our life and character. We must adopt right for the association to be moral. Friendship is not meeting and having coffee with long discussions of politics, football or gossip but the genuine concern for the person you consider a friend. Real concerns involve understanding your friend’s needs, desires, weaknesses and strengths and accepting these factors in their lives. Aristotle states that the concern must, at least, have building blocks of virtue to be defined as friendship. Philis, which means love, is the primary element that defines virtue in friendship. Phylis is the type of love shown to colleagues, neighbors, friends and the level of interaction that represents the intimacy involved in the bond. However, love is not a substitute of friendship. As well, relationships cannot be replaced with love. Therefore, a relationship is based on specific concerns of every person with a full knowledge of their character.

Equally, Aristotle separates three distinctive features that may make one have a friendship. These include utility, pleasure, and virtue, which are significant ways of evaluating association. Firstly, one may keep an individual as a friend because of how useful he or she is to them. Secondly, you can consider one a friend because of the pleasure he or she brings to you and when they stop giving you pleasure; you cease to be friends. Consequently, one can have a friend because of virtue, which means that you are friends with a person because they are virtuous and you appreciate their character and how they treat you. Even though all the distinguishing factors show concern for other people, virtue is the principle factor that morally defines and sustains a friendship. Virtue sediments morality on friendship, and both individuals involved understand each other based on merit. In essence, purity represents a true friendship.

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A friendship should not be applicable when one person in the friendship gains while the other loses or is taken for granted because his or her concerns are pure. Virtue is the moral measure, upon which, our conscience guides us so that we can be concerned about the other party, with moral obligations in our minds. Morality demands that moral right applies in the friendship. Therefore, mutual caring is the common ground in the friendship as a virtue because of the good character or behavior they uphold. To have a mutual care means that the parties, in the friendship, have put a value or a sense of significance in each other, and they both play a significant role in the relationship. A mutual caring in a friendship is a moral good. It is healthy for attachment growth and leads to trust. Virtue, in a friendship, should bring care and emotion when; an individual succeeds, is happy or going through a tough time.

According to Aristotle, natural variations create imperfection in our lives and without virtue in friendship, our desires and selfishness can destroy the friendship. Aristotle states that man is imperfect. Aristotle states that morality is the guideline that put checks and balances in our acts. Aristotle claims that friendship is a necessity for any rational human being and must be considered when things are going both well and bad. Aristotle defines a relationship as fine when it involves virtue. He writes that whoever is lovable or worthy of choice can be viewed as a friend. The argument is that one cannot befriend a person they do not love. If you cannot see praise and worthiness in a person, then chances are low for you to become friends. Virtue, in friendship, defines the intention of both individuals involved. It requires a mutual goodwill from each other and must be shown in actions. Our actions, when a friend is in a dilemma, determine whether we have virtue or not.

Aristotle states that virtue, in friendship, lead to good but not evil. The concept of morality guides moral behavior in the relationship. Aristotle conjectures that, wishing an individual well is a necessary condition for friendship. In the absence of this condition, one cannot claim to be a friend. Aristotle asserts that the wishing right for a friend must only be for his or her sake. It cannot be your right will and does not meet the threshold to warrant friendship. It is significant for Aristotle to distinguish a complete and incomplete association. He defines utilities and a pleasure oriented relationship as incomplete because they do not wish the other individual well, in the relationship. It means that utility or pleasure friendship, can only wish you good when you are used to the friend you give pleasure or assists. Conversely, if you cease to support or provide comfort to your friend, then he or she can no longer wish you well. Therefore, an incomplete friendship has no real virtue. The good will subjected to the incomplete friendship is unqualified, and one should not act on that friendship because it lacks morality.

Aristotle asserts that, where there is no merit, there is no friendship, which means that if you view friendship as advantageous to you before your friend, then virtue does not exist. However, if you put the interests of your friends first, then that friendship has virtue. Aristotle postulates that only two virtuous people can have a complete bond. Morality is fully observed in a whole relationship since they both have goodwill. Therefore, the separation between concern for the other person and perfect friendship is affirmed. The insecurity associated with incomplete attachment makes it lack the full good will. Aristotle states that virtue must be a part of friendship for it to last. Aristotle manages to separate friendship derived from taking advantage of another person, which lacks virtue and full good will and complete friendship that have the proper will of every individual involved in the bond.

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Love in friendship brings stability and deserves praise. As well, it deserves uplifting, considering that love takes a lot of time to develop, and friends must take chances to know and understand each other. Consequently, patience is a virtue that both friends must have with each other. Aristotle claims that the growth of friendship can help individuals treat other people with respect and love. The aspect of virtue in friendship brings a moral right hence morality prevails where people have a real friendship. Conversely, friends must have a shared activity as part of having an active association. The passive connection should be minimized because it reduces contact with a friend and creates distance. The silence may bring to question, the friendship, regardless of how virtuous it may sound. A shared activity creates a bond between friends. Therefore, is important to note that typical activities must be moral. A complete or noble friendship is sustainable only when both parties are honest and engage in virtuous life. Either of the parties may feel uncomfortable when one party begins to steer of their moral life. The significance of virtue in friendship allows one to evaluate their personal lives and actions. Virtue judges whether they are spending time with the right person. It is important that friendship develop character and morality.

In summary, friendship is instrumentally good for our well-being. It bonds with people. As a result, we communicate our feelings and emotions driven by the need to be better in life. We seek the approval and guidance from our friends. However, if we have incomplete friends, then we risk bad counsel and influence. Aristotle infers to virtue as a measure of good friends and bad friends. Virtue is instrumental in the growth of satiable friendships. It is only through moral behaviors that we can determine good friends. Utility and pleasure friendship holds no moral ground, as friends in this regard, seek their needs and what they can gain, instead of focusing on the good will of the friend. Consequently, utility and pleasure friendship has no element of love. If you cease to provide for their needs, then you are no longer a friend. Aristotle asserts that true friendship is that which is virtuous.

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  1. Aristotle, and Terence Irwin. Nicomachean ethics: Translated with introduction, notes, and glossary. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1999.
  2. Wedgwood, Ralph. “Rationality as a virtue”. Analytic Philosophy 55, no. 4 (2014): 319-338. doi:10.1111/phib.12055.
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