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[1242a] [1]

Specified sorts of friendship are therefore the friendship of relatives, that of comrades, that of partners and what is termed civic friendship. Really friendship of relatives has more than one species, one as between brothers, another as of father and son1: it may be proportional, for example paternal friendship, or based on number, for example the friendship of brothers—for this is near the friendship of comrades, as in this also they claim privileges of seniority. Civic friendship on the other hand is constituted in the fullest degree on the principle of utility, for it seems to be the individual's lack of self-sufficiency that makes these unions permanent—since they would have been formed in any case merely for the sake of society. Only civic friendship and the deviation from it are not merely friendships but also partnerships on a friendly footing; the others are on a basis of superiority. The justice that underlies a friendship of utility is in the highest degree just, because this is the civic principle of justice. The coming together of a saw with the craft that uses it is on different lines—it is not for the sake of some common object, for saw and craft are like instrument and spirit, but for the sake of the man who employs them. It does indeed come about that even the tool itself receives attention which it deserves with a view to its work, since it exists for the sake of its work, and the essential nature of a gimlet is twofold, the more important half being its activity, boring.2 And the body and the slave are in the class of tool, as has been said before.3 [20] Therefore to seek the proper way of associating with a friend is to seek for a particular kind of justice. In fact the whole of justice in general is in relation to a friend, for what is just is just for certain persons; and persons who are partners, and a friend is a partner, either in one's family4 or in one's life. For man is not only a political but also a house-holding animal, and does not, like the other animals, couple occasionally and with any chance female or male, but man is in a special way not a solitary but a gregarious animal, associating with the persons with whom he has a natural kinship; accordingly there would be partnership; and justice of a sort, even if there were no state. And a household is a sort of friendship—or rather the relationships of master and slave is that of craft and tools, and of spirit and body, and such relationships are not friendships or forms of justice but something analogous, just as health5 is not justice but analogous to it. But the friendship of man and wife is one of utility, a partnership; that of father and son is the same as that between god and man and between benefactor and beneficiary, and generally between natural ruler and natural subject. That between brothers is principally the friendship of comrades, as being on a footing of equality—“ For never did he make me out a bastard,
But the same Zeus, my lord, was called the sire
Of both—
6 for these are the words of men seeking equality.

1 These two clauses look like an interpolation.

2 Not its ἕξις, its shape, hardness, etc.

3 Aristot. Eud. Eth. 1241b 17-24.

4 i.e. 'friend' in the sense of 'relation.'

5 Perhaps the text is corrupt.

6 Soph. Fr. 755 (Jebb and Pearson; 684 Nauck). The third line is completed in a quotation by Philo, θνητῶν δ᾽ οὐδείς. (For τῷδε dative of agent see Kuhner-Gerth, i. 422).

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, 7.1241b
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