Friends, Friendship, and Loving Others: Aristotle and Aquinas


in Eros Unveiled

Published in print April 1996 | ISBN: 9780198267669
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683336 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Friends, Friendship, and Loving Others: Aristotle and Aquinas

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It has sometimes seemed surprising to modern readers that Aristotle, when he discusses friendship in the Ethics, does not notice loving each other as a particular mark of friendship. By assuming that such ‘virtue friendship’ is the main focus of Aristotle's attention, and that the broader use of the term philia is merely a concession to popular usage and secondary, it is easy to conclude that what Aristotle is really interested in is what one calls friendship after all. This chapter explores whether the notion of friendship fits even with ‘virtue friendship’ as it is often called, and considers the meaning of the verb philein. With the help of St Thomas Aquinas, the chapter also analyses why it is that Aristotle's account has little to do with loving or liking. Rehabilitating the unfortunate Aquinas, the chapter draws some analogies between philia and Christian charity.

Keywords: Aristotle; friendship; Ethics; philia; virtue friendship; philein; St Thomas Aquinas

Chapter.  9998 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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