Throughout Book VIII of Ethics, Aristotle covers the subject of friendship. Within the text, he states what he believes are the only three types of friendship and which one is the best out of those three. His response to which one is the best coincides with what I believe is the best kind.

Aristotle defines friendship as a kind of mutual well-wishing. From that he describes how we humans divide our friendships into three categories: of utility, of pleasure, and of virtue. When talking about utility, Aristotle is referencing to a kind of economic relationship where material goods are the primary concern. He goes on to add friendship of pleasure which he views as the most common. This involves similar humor or common interests. Aristotle believes that these first two are short-lived because they only last while the common interests are intact or that the relationship is still beneficial. That of virtue is the true friendship because they share in human excellence and it is a leisurely relationship.

I agree with this claim because I have had all three types of friendships and I can say that those of virtue have lasted the longest. Those of utility and pleasure are beneficial while they lasted, but at some point they come to an abrupt halt. On the other hand, when they are of virtue, it is much harder to stop sharing in excellence. By making this distinction clear, Aristotle is able to show which kind of friendship humans should engage in.

Advertisements