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Friendship then being divided into these species, inferior people will make friends for pleasure or for use, if they are alike in that respect,1 while good men will be friends for each other's own sake, since they are alike in being good.2 The latter therefore are friends in an absolute sense, the former accidentally, and through their similarity to the latter. 5.

It is with friendship as it is with the virtues; men are called good in two senses, either as having a virtuous disposition or as realizing virtue in action, and similarly friends when in each other's company derive pleasure from and confer benefits on each other, whereas friends who are asleep or parted are not actively friendly, yet have the disposition to be so. For separation does not destroy friendship absolutely, though it prevents its active exercise. If however the absence be prolonged, it seems to cause the friendly feeling itself to be forgotten: hence the poet's remark3 “ Full many a man finds friendship end
For lack of converse with his friend.

” [2]

The old and the morose do not appear to be much given to friendship, for their capacity to please is small, and nobody can pass his days in the company of one who is distasteful to him, or not pleasing, since it seems to be one of the strongest instincts of nature to shun what is painful and seek what is pleasant. [3] And when persons approve of each other without seeking such other's society, this seems to be goodwill rather than friendship. Nothing is more characteristic of friends than that they seek each other's society: poor men desire their friends' assistance, and even the most prosperous wish for their companionship (indeed they are the last people to adopt the life of a recluse); but it is impossible for men to spend their time together unless they give each other pleasure, or have common tastes. The latter seems to be the bond between the members of a comradeship.4 [4]

Friendship between good men then is the truest friendship, as has been said several times before. For it is agreed that what is good and pleasant absolutely is lovable and desirable strictly, while what is good and pleasant for a particular person is lovable and desirable relatively to that person; but the friendship of good men for each other rests on both these grounds.5 [5]

Liking6 seems to be an emotion, friendship a fixed disposition, for liking can be felt even for inanimate things, but reciprocal liking7 involves deliberate choice, and this springs from a fixed disposition. Also, when men wish the good of those they love for their own sakes, their goodwill does not depend on emotion but on a fixed disposition. And in loving their friend they love their own good, for the good man in becoming dear to another becomes that other's good. Each party therefore both loves his own good and also makes an equivalent return by wishing the other's good, and by affording him pleasure; for there is a saying, ‘Amity is equality,’

1 i.e., in being pleasant or useful to each other; or possibly ‘since they are alike in loving pleasure or profit.’

2 Or possibly ‘since they like each other as being good.’

3 The source of this is unknown.

4 The ἑταιρεῖαι, or Comradeships, at Athens were associations of men of the same age and social standing. In the fifth century they had a political character, and were oligarchical in tendency, but in Aristotle's day they seem to have been no more than social clubs, whose members were united by personal regard, and were felt to have claims on each other's resources. See chaps. 9.2, 11.5, 12.4, 6; 9.2.1, 3, 9; Bk. 10.6.

5 i.e., good men love each other because they are both good and pleasant absolutely and good and pleasant for each other.

6 This sentence would come better after the following one.

7 Cf. 2.3.

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