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Self-Love and Friendships

In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle describes the three different types of friendships: virtue, pleasure and utility.He describes how each friendship is different and how some friendships last and some don’t.According to Aristotle, the relationship between friendships and self-love is friendships break down into self-love, the type of self-love one has determines what types of friendships one can maintain.

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Aristotle explains how in self-love one loves themself the most, or loves their partner the most, but should a man love himself most, or some one else?

By breaking down friendships into self-love and using the truth tables, one can find the relationship between friendship and self-love. According to Aristotle, a friendship of utility is for the old. This type of friendship is easily broken and is based on what the other person in the relationship has brought to that relationship. One is in this relationship of utility because it is beneficial to them; one gets something out of it from the other person in it. This relationship is based on the benefits one can gain from being in this relationship (Page 130).

This friendship is easily broken because when one no longer benefits there is no need for the friendship. The relationship of utility is a selfish relationship. The friendship of pleasure is to be seen in younger people. This usually involves the feelings between two lovers. This is when people get greater pleasure than when they are alone. This friendship is much like the friendship of utility where the relationship only lasts as long as the pleasure is still there. The friendship of virtue is the highest friendship one can have.

In this relationship, both artners are alike in virtue, and they wish well to each other. This relationship, unlike utility and pleasure, is hard to obtain because these types of people are hard to come by. A virtuous relationship is long lasting as well because of their moral virtue. Friendship of virtue is seen to be permanent because the people involved meet all the qualities that friends should have. (Book Viii, chapter 3). Aristotle states that there are two different types of self-love.

Many people who love themselves the most are characterized as selfish and egotistical, these people re seen as a disgrace. When people are egotistical they value things only in their personal interest Someone who is only interested in their own self-interest won’t do anything if they can’t get something out of it that will benefit them. When one looks for the greatest share of wealth, honor and bodily pleasures, their self-love is bad. It is problematic to think these are the best things. These people are motivated by greed and self-interest.

Aristotle claims if this one has the bad type of self-love then they should love their friend the most. If they can relate to their self as their own friend, then this is the self-love they should have, to love their friend the most. “A man’s best friend is one who wishes well to the object of his wish for his sake, and these attributes are found most of all in a man’s attitude towards himself, and so are the other attributes by which a friend is defined. ” (Book ‘X, Chapter 8). According to Aristotle, people who look for utility or pleasure are not treating themselves well.

One should love a friend for who they are, and one should love their self for the same eason. A person who seeks for personal goodness will aim at a virtuous life. (Page When one looks at self -love and the different types of friendships, utility, pleasure and virtue, they need to take into consideration the two different types of “or”. A friendship can be either “x/or” virtuous or “and/or” virtuous. “X/or” is when the friendship is exclusively virtuous meaning one or the other friendship, not both. The “and/or” relationship can be a virtuous relationship or another friendship exclusively and both.

One who has the bad or negative self-love can have an “Wor” virtuous relationship or an “and/or”, business and pleasure relationship. A person who has the good type of self-love is increasing virtue so they can strive to be a person who is living a life well-lived. In this self-love, one can have an “and/or” virtuous relationship. The use of the truth tables will help determine which type of “or” goes with the correct relationship. One who has virtuous friend love “and/or” self-love has a balanced life.

One who has egotistical self-love “x/or” virtuous friend love, has love or another, but the love can only increase or decrease and never grow. It is important to remember that according to Aristotle, one who is not virtuous cannot be in a virtuous relationship. Aristotle explains how the three relationships, pleasure, utility and virtue can differ. Aristotle states how each relationship needs certain characteristics in order to be obtained and who can interact in such a relationship. When one loves them self the most, a person can be in all three relationships.

When one loves their friend the most, they can only be in a virtuous relationship. The relationship of utility and pleasure both are relationships that are based on benefits and once those benefits are gone, the relationship ends. I believe that many people have friendships of utility and not so much virtuous relationships. Not many people can say they have been friends with the same person for a long time. I agree with Aristotle when he says virtuous relationships are rare because of that. According to Aristotle, the relationship between friendships and self-love is friendships break down into self- love.

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