DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.8279447

The subjects of φιλία in Nicomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics. Two different extensions for the same theme

by Sara Pavan

With the present contribution I will attempt a comparison between the notion of φιλία as outlined in the Nicomachean Ethics and in the Eudemian Ethics with respect to a particular component of it, namely the extent to which this term can be applied in the two texts. Usually the comparison these two different redactions is focused on the definition of friendship and the development of the argument. Nevertheless,
in literature there is not agreement on these, insofar as the text is confused especially in the Nicomachean Ethics. So my aim is to focus on an apparently marginal aspect such as the extension of the term φιλία. The examples and references given by Aristotle in the two treatises highlight a different extension of what can be included in a friendship relationship. In particular, the Nicomachean Ethics only briefly considers the possibility that friendship relations may extend to animals or other living beings, while the possibility of friendships towards inanimate objects is discarded. Eudemian Ethics, on the other hand, presents a much greater occurrence of casuistry and includes objects, animals, and gods. In the end I briefly consider Magna Moralia position. This analysis does not necessarily highlight a strong doctrinal difference between the two Aristotelian ethical treatises, but certainly a different sensitivity of the audience and an unequal expository purpose.

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