Sunday, October 30, 2005

Vernon - 'The Trouble with Friends'

"Not since the Greeks, Nietzsche reflected, has friendship been thought a problem worthy of a solution. Nietzsche, you note, does not say that the Greeks solved the problems associated with friendship. The arguably leading ancient “philia-philosopher”, Aristotle, for example, seems caught on a conundrum. His discussion in the Nicomachean Ethics , though full of illuminating thoughts on the nature and value of friendship, also reads as if friendship was something of a mystery to him: if a happy life requires self-sufficiency, so that you are not reliant on others for your happiness, then how can a happy life also include friends, as it seems uncontroversial to say it must? Alternatively, Plato's main dialogue on friendship, Lysis , explicitly ends inconclusively. We will look ridiculous, Socrates says to his interlocutors Lysis and Menexenus, since although we think we are friends, we have not been able to say what friendship is." - The Philosopher's Magazine.

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