Friendship and Self-Love

Anthony Kenny

in Aristotle on the Perfect Life

Published in print July 1992 | ISBN: 9780198240174
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680106 | DOI:
Friendship and Self-Love

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Love and friendship differ from the virtues in being relationships: the other person enters in not just as an object that receives the good activity, but also as an intrinsic part of love itself. Political attachment, likewise, consists in a relationship to a structured social context. Therefore, these components of the good life are minimally self-sufficient, vulnerable in an especially deep and dangerous way. On the contrary, friendship, love, and politics seem dispensable. Hence, some say that the pursuit of self-sufficiency demands the cultivation of a solitary life. The difficulty continued through the centuries to haunt the Aristotelian tradition; and it took on renewed intensity in a Judaeo Christian context. For according to both the Old and the New Testament, friendship and mutual love are possible not just between human beings, but also between man and God. Theologians disagreed about the degree of self-love which was permissible, or necessary, in the love of God above all things which was essential for salvation.

Keywords: love; friendship; Aristotle; political attachment; self-sufficient; mutual love; salvation

Chapter.  6106 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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