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καθ᾽ αὑτὸν αἱρετὸς φίλος] This is an application of the general principle in § 2, that good in general is in itself desirable, to the special case of friendship. That a good friend, or the friendship of the good, is desirable in itself is made to appear in the course of a long and subtle argument in Eth. N. IX 9, of which the conclusion is (at the end of the chapter) δεήσει ἄρα τῷ εὐδαιμονήσοντι φίλων σπουδαίων. The words most in point here are, εἰ δὴ τῷ μακαρίῳ το<*> εἰναι αἱρετόν εστι καθ̓ αὑτό, ἀγαθὸν τῇ φύσει ὂν καὶ ἡδύ, παραπλήσιον δὲ καὶ τὸ τοῦ φίλου ἐστιν, καὶ φίλος τῶν αἱρετῶν ἂν εἴη.

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