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Following the previous book that discussed on pain and pleasure, we are introduced to the
discussion about friendship. For it being virtue or implies virtue, then with a view to leaving, it is
very necessary for without friends no one would choose to live. even those who have material
goods like in the case of reach men and even those who posses offices and those in power, they
just but need friends for their mission to be accomplished. There is no use of such prosperity
without the opportunity of beneficence. And this is chiefly exercised towards friend and not
anything else.

It is also thought by men that in poverty and in other problems friends seems to be the only help.
like in the case of encounter with death the family members of the diseased will seek refuge from
their friends for them to be able to give a good burial to their diseased member or even if not
material help, they may even need the company of friends in such occasion. Equally, it helps the
young people to keep from error for the correct each other′s mistakes during their encounter with
one another. It also helps the older people by ministering to their needs by helping them to do the
activities that they are unable to do due to their age and weak bodies. Also, with friends men are
able to think better and act accordingly for they will do it out of a broad mind. This will perfect
their thoughts and actions unlike when they rely only on a single mind.

By nature, parents seem to feel it for their offspring and offspring for their parents. This also cuts
across even among birds and among animals and friendship is felt mutually by members of the
same person may need the help of the other. Therefore, each one is dear and useful to the other.
Being mobile beings, we may need an assistance of another person in our different destinations.
This shows the need of having friends for they will offer you a shoulder to lean on when need

Also, friendship seems too to hold states together and lawgivers to care for it than for justice.
This is because in a case where two or more parties are together and does things accordingly,
then, there is unity and in such state there is no need for laws. In such a place where there is
complete agreement on the way of doing things among a given group, then this people are just to
each other and they are said to be friends.

Having friends is not only necessary but also noble for most of the time we find ourselves
praising those who have friends unlike those who isolate themselves from others. We do praise
them because of their good way of doing things and their success which is achieved through
collaborating with friends. Therefore, there is a great need of having friends in life.

We also think that it the same people that are good men and are friends. Different people have
different thoughts on the idea of friendship. Some define it as a kind of likeness and so to them
like people are friends. Like a thief will associate with another thief, a poor with another poor
and a rich to another rich person. On contrary, also others define it as, “Two of a tread never
agree." Though it is said that people of the same like are friends, like in the case of two thieves

we may judge them friends but they themselves may not agree on some things. They may end up
fighting when one of them takes a bigger portion of what they have stolen together. Therefore
the kind of friendship that surpasses all other kinds is that of the good.


The kinds of friendship are clearly understood if we know the concept of love. This is because
we may not love everything that we are encountered with but only those which are loveable by
their nature for they are good, pleasant or useful. Again it would seem to be this way if some
good or pleasure is produced so that that which is good and the useful that are loveable ends.
“Do men love, then, the good ,or what is good for them?” Sometimes this does not go hand in
hand for it is thought that each loves what is good or pleasant for himself. For this reason, then,
what is good for each man is loveable for him. People do not love what is good but what seems
to be good for them.

There are three grounds on which people love; of the love of the nonliving things and on the love
of such things we do not use the term friendship for there is no mutual love. In a case where one
offers love for a tree or food, we cannot call it friendship for in tern they cannot offer the same
love to the person. Such things they do not have anything to do with feelings thus in such
scenario there is no mutual love between the two. Either, one cannot wish well to a chair for it
cannot in tern respond back. This is only reserved for friends who are mutually related. If one
would do this it is only because the person wants the thing to keep for long for there is something
he/she wants to gain from the thing.

Sometimes people ascribe goodwill to those whom the wish is not reciprocated. In most cases,
most people have goodwill for those people whom they judge to be good or useful to them. An
example is those who meet on face book, twitter, or even what sap. These people call themselves
friends and yet there is no mutual relationship among them. Therefore here there is no friendship.
Equally, in this case you may find it is only one of them who have feelings the other while the
other may not. Hence this cannot be regarded as friendship whatsoever.

Therefore, to be friends there must be mutual love and recognition between the two parties as
bearing goodwill and wishing well to each other. Where these qualifications exist, then there is
no doubt that there is friendship.

Also, in knowing kinds of friendship one should know the object of love. This is because not all
things by nature are loveable but those that are good, pleasant, or useful. In love, there must be
mutual affection between the one who is loving and the one who is being loved. This qualifies


Aristotle opens chapter three with giving the corresponding forms of friendship and love. These
he says are equal to the things that are lovable. About the things that are lovable, Aristotle says in
chapter two that they are three and these are the good, the pleasant and the useful. There exists a
common thread the runs through all the forms of love and friendship: this is that with all, there is
a mutual and recognized love. He says it is mutual because in each because they reciprocate the
same feeling of love. If it is for pleasure, they will both offer that to each other. An example he
gives is of ready-witted people who can offer writings or sayings that are clever and amusing, are
loved because of the pleasure they offer and he or she also gets the pleasure of attaining people’s
affection and attention. If it is for the good, it will be same for both parties involved because
these will wish well to each other qua good. The case is the same for the useful.

Aristotle goes on to expound on each of the different forms of love and friendship. I will begin
with that of pleasure. These love for the sake of what is pleasant for them, they do not care about
the object which offers them the pleasure. A good example is of one of a man who was called
Damocles. He worked for Dionysius a tyrant who ruled Syracuse in the fourth century B.C.
Damocles was charged with keeping the tyrant in a good mood. This he did through comedy,
drama, optimism and flattery of which he was the master. The tyrant never minded whether
Damocles was happy, where he slept and what he ate, all he wanted was him to make him feel
good. Today it is the same with those who attend comedy shows in theatres, after the
entertainment, no one minds to know where the entertainer is; rather they all disperse to their

Another characteristic Aristotle give to this form of love and friendship is that it is not
permanent. He says it is easily dissolved because if the party does not remain itself, that is
pleasant. In reference to the afore given story, once the tyrant could feel that Damocles was no
longer entertaining, he would get rid of him. Another example is of our artists in our world
today, once a musician’s songs are no longer appetizing to the listeners, and then everybody
forgets him or her. The same is for a comedian and all those in the entertainment business. For
those who are in the form of love called “Eros” it is common since many go for the appearance
which can easily fade and in the due course, a separation.

Thirdly is that it is mainly among young people. This is because they live under the guidance of
emotion, and pursue what is immediately before them. They are also amorous. To this, I say
amen. It is mainly the young that you will find in disco nights, music shows and concerts, and
broken friendships and relationships. He goes to say this changes with increasing age, and so the
fall out.

The second is the friendship of the Useful which also has some similar qualities like the former.
This he also called utilitarian. They love for sake of what is good for themselves too. For
example, in business, one is loved as long as he is useful the company that has employed him or

her and for the employee it is all about the pay. In this case just like in the pleasant form, it also
does not last long; it is dissolved in as long as the parties do not remain themselves. This is very
evident in the business sphere where if one gets a better pay somewhere else and again if a more
proficient employee is got.

He says this kind of friendship exists mainly among old people for at that age, people pursue the
useful not the pleasant. This is true because at this stage, people are after building a good life for
the present and the future for themselves or for their children if they have any. He includes those
who pursue utility from their prime years of age for some people tend to do so at a very tender
age that by the time they are mature, they have made a fortune for them.

Then lastly he deals with the friendship of men who are good and alike in virtue, this he says is
the perfect friendship. He elaborates why he says it is the perfect friendship by giving its
qualities. These include:-

Those involved in this form of love are good themselves and wish each other good qua good. For
Aristotle, a good man must be a virtuous person which he dealt with in book two. He says
“Moral virtue is a mean …, that is a mean between two vices, the one involving excess, the other
deficiency.” It is natural for someone who is good to wish well for the other, and this is without
qualification, that is to mean not depending on the aspects of whether someone is pleasant of
useful as in the former cases.

He says that this kind of friendship is permanent because goodness is everlasting. These parties
involved in this kind of love are friends as long as each is good, and since goodness is
everlasting then dissolution has no space to take place. Though he acknowledges that such
friendships are infrequent, to him it is not a surprise, because such men are naturally rare. They
are rare because it requires time and familiarity; this he elaborates with a proverb, “Men cannot
know each other till they have eaten salt together.” This is true because each has to first study the
moral life of the other thus gaining trust in him or her.

Aristotle argues that all the qualities friends should have are to be found here in this form of
friendship that is the pleasurable, the usefulness and the goodness. These are the qualities each
party has and since they are reciprocated, they can never exist in any friendship that is better than
this one.


In this chapter, Aristotle draws a line to differentiate the friendship of good men from the other
two forms since confusion may arise due to the resemblance in a few qualities they share. An
example is that friendship of pleasure since people who are good are pleasant to each other and
there is a possibility that this form of friendship can be permanent in as much as the friends still
get the pleasure from each other. But as argued earlier in the previous chapter, with the youthful
days passing by the friendship in most cases passes too. In today’s society this is evident
between lovers for they admire each others physical beauty which can be lost in a very short
space of time and once it is lost, it only takes the good person to keep the friendship. That means
these went beyond physical beauty to the level of characters of which with time, have become
familiar to each other and consequently alike, thus leading us back to the qualities of the perfect

The same is to be said of those who are utilitarian, because good people are also useful to each
other. This friendship can also be permanent if the friends get the same thing from each other and
in this case from the same source also. This also as argued in chapter three is impossible because
there is a goal to be achieved and once it has been achieved, the friendship will be dissolved. For
example in business, people create friendship to attain profits and once these have been attained,
what reasons do they have to keep the friendship alive. This is also true among nations, they only
make strong ties with nations that can support them in various needs and if by any chance they
can no longer get those rewards, the relationship will not be strong.

More to this Aristotle says, “ it possible for bad men to be friends of each other or good men of
bad men, or one who is neither good nor bad to be a friend to any sort of person.” This is
possible in the case of utility and pleasure. This is very possible since each looks for what is
good for himself or herself. A good entertainer can easily be a friend of a tyrant since he helps
the tyrant relax from all his troubles and too for the one who seeks profits because he can work
the bad man provided he is the best at a certain piece of work. This leaves a room for the vices to
occur in these kinds of friendship for bad men will be bad to deal with while the other tolerates
them due to his advantage. As is expected, once again the friendship of the good men surpasses
these for it can only be among the virtuous. It is free of all evil like slander, mistrust and many

He concludes this chapter by once again ascertaining that, even though the friendships of
pleasure and that of utility are called thus, they do not qualify that name for they are inferior to
the perfect one and not as important as they seem to be but just a resemblance to it.


In this context, Aristotle shows that virtue is the foundation of the truest kind of friendship, as
well as the good man. “As in regard to virtues some men are called good in respect if a state of
character, others in respect of an activity so too in case of friendship.”In order for us to know
someone has the quality goodness, virtue is the foundation for us to say someone is good. In case
of friendship, virtue will enable us to know the truest or perfect kind of friendship, and its
qualities such as unchanging and long lasting.

At this juncture, he gives out a common understanding of the incomplete kind of friendship that
“for those who live together delight in each other and confer benefits from each other, but those
who are asleep or locally separated are not performing but are disposed to perform the activities
of friendship”. This kind of friendship is based on utility where people derive benefits from each
other. This kind of friendship is short lived due to the fact that human needs are apt to change. In
this case when one ceases to get benefits from the other this kind of friendship also ceases. This
is because friends are motivated by their utility not by anything essential to the nature of the
friend. This kind of friendship is imperfect or incomplete. In addition this kind of friendship will
not last for so long. Therefore we have to bear in mind that the kind of friendship which will last
for so long is the one whose foundation is virtue and not otherwise.

Distance does not break off the friendship only its activity. This is due to the fact that friendship
is not only an action but also a state of character. It should be clear that friendship is not
dissolved only because friends are far apart and not actively engaged in friendliness toward one
another. Therefore “ distance does not break does not break off the friendship absolutely, but
only the activity of it. But if the absence is lasting it seems that actually men forget each other.
This can occur during the time when a friend has already passed away, and in this context the
absence of this friend is lasting. This makes men to forget their friendship. Hence the saying,
“out of sight out of mind”. This means that when one is out of our sight for the long period of
time, in this context he or she can be out of our mind. That is why men forget each other.

He also shows that nature tends to void the painful and aim at the pleasant. Due to this “no one
can spend his days one whose company is painful or not pleasant since nature seems above all to
avoid the painful”. This is relevant even in our today’s world where people like to spend the days
with those whose company is pleasant. When we observe very well, we will find that, those who
approve each other but do not live together seem to be well disposed rather than actual friends.
This one is not enough, true friends are to live together so that in moment of sorrows we can be
able to know, if either these friends love each other with unconditional love or are motivated by
pleasure and utility. In order also to know the real and perfect kind of friendship, the two friends
must live together and face challenges in life together, in this case if the two friends are
motivated by pleasure and utility it will be easy to note. Furthermore friendship will cease
especially during the painful moment. This is due to the fact that friends are motivated by wealth
and not something essential to the nature of the friend.

Living together is one of the characteristics of friends. Those friends who live together, face
different challenges in life together, and in this context we can know if their friendship is one of
the good or not. Those who face different challenges and remain trustful and optimistic to each
other are the ones who are needed. “For there is nothing so characteristic of friends as living on
together. Since while it people who are in need desire benefits, even those who are supremely
happy their days together”. So it is clear that even those who become friends for the sake of
pleasure and utility are to come together so as to fulfill their motives. This entails that friendship
is very important in life, due to the fact that even those who think they lack nothing, need
friends. This can be seen in our contemporary world where some people are very reach, but they
look for friends. This entails that friendship is a very important aspect in the life of human

At this juncture, he defines the truest kind of friendship as “that of the good, for that which is
without qualification good or pleasant seems to be lovable and desirable”. This kind of
friendship is between two people possessing similar virtues, wish well to each other, for the sake
of the other, and not for the sake of benefit, they receive from each other. In addition friendship
based on goodness of a character is the best kind of friendship, because these friends love each
other for who they are, not for what they stand to gain from one another. Moreover, friendship
based on goodness, people admire others’ goodness and help one another to strive for goodness.

Goodness as an enduring quality in the perfect kind of friendship. In this context friendship
based on goodness tend to be long lasting, this is because friends do not love each for the sake of
pleasure or utility but friends love each other the way they are. Good friends are useful and
pleasant to one another, therefore good people can be friends for each other’s sake. The good
man is both lovable and desirable to the good man. Therefore the quality good is very important
to the truest kind of friendship because is an enduring quality which makes it to last for so long.
The truest kind of friendship lasts for so long because of this quality goodness, this is an
enduring quality. Other kinds of friendship do not last for so long, due to the absence of this
unchanging quality known as goodness.

In this context, he distinguishes friendship from love as follows “for love may be felt just as
much as toward lifeless things (because love is a feeling), love can be directed toward non
human objects example stones, phones, and cars”. While friendship is a state of character in this
case we talk of mutual love which involves choice and choice springs from the state of character,
and men wish well to those they love for their sake not as the result of a feeling but as a state of
character. Moreover friendship is goodwill in return and cannot be expressed to lifeless things as
love. Therefore someone cannot say that he is a friend of a stone, this will not work due to the
fact that friendship is good will with reciprocation.

Friendship is a kind of equality between good people. This is because the good man in becoming
a friend becomes good to the other. Due to this argument friendship is said to be equality because
a good friend makes an equal return in good will and in pleasantness. All this elements are found

in the perfect kind of friendship, which is the friendship of the good. In addition the equality
Aristotle emphasizes is not in terms of wealth but in terms of goodness among the two people
possessing similar virtues.

The truest kind of friendship is very rare due to the fact that virtuous men are scarce. This kind of
friendship takes time to develop and is the best. These kinds of friends are very rare because
virtuous men are very scarce. In our today’s world friends are motivated by their own utility and
pleasure, not by anything essential to the nature of the nature of the friend. Therefore in our
today’s world people are looking for some benefits. That is why this truest kind of friendship is
not common. Many people engage in incomplete kinds of friendship where the quality goodness
is not found. Hence these kinds of friendship are temporal.


Aristotle shows the greatest marks of friendship. In this context friendship arises less rapidly
between sour and elderly people. In as much as they are less good tempered and enjoy
companionship less, also men may also bear good will to each other for they wish one another
well and aid one another in need but they are hardly friends because they don’t spend their days

The friendship of a perfect type is by nature directed to one person. “One cannot be a friend to
many people in the sense of having friendship of the perfect type with them”. It is just like love,
one cannot be in love with many people at once, and it is nature to be felt towards one person. It
is clearly that it is not easy for many people to please one greatly. It is very hard because one
must acquire experience of the other person and familiar with him. In addition superabundant
love is not designed by nature for many but for one only. This is evident in sexual love
according to which one man cannot be at the same time love many women in an excessive
manner. Therefore, the perfect friendship of virtuous cannot be extended to many people but to
only one person.

It is possible for many people to please one due to utility or pleasure, but this will not last for so
long. These kinds of friendship are short lived due to the fact that one’s needs are apt to change.
In this case when one ceases to get benefit from the other, the friendship also ceases. This is due
to the fact that friends are motivated by their own utility and pleasure, not by anything essential
to the nature of the friend. Therefore many people are useful or pleasant these services take little

Friendship based on pleasure is most loved by many people. The reason behind is that “both
parties get the same thing from each other and delight in each other. In this context we consider
good looks or other pleasant qualities. Therefore this kind of friendship changes quickly
especially when those qualities which motivated the two to be friends change.

Aristotle shows that generosity is found more in the young people, due to the reason that young
people do not look for friends in terms of qualities like the wealth someone possesses. Therefore
the young love other people the way they are that is why Aristotle says “for generosity is found
more in the friendship of the young.

Friendship based on utility is for the commercially minded. In this kind of friendship both people
derive some benefit from each other. In context each person wants to gain something from the
other. This kind of friendship is motivated by utility, due to this is short lived because when one
ceases to get both from each other friendship ceases.

Friendship is one of the essential components of the good life, “that’s why even people in
positions of authority seem to have friends who fall into distinct classes. Some people are useful
to them and others are pleasant to them. But due to their desire for pleasure, they seek for ready
witted people, and their other friends who are very clever at doing what they are told.


This chapter seven of the book eight of Nicomachean ethics. Aristotle discusses the friendship
between unequals. This means that there are some moments where one partner is superior to
another. He gives examples of unequal’s like the friendship between father and the son, husband
and wife, ruler and the subject. Man and the wife and general can be the relationship between the
elder and young person.

In simple terms, the friendship of the father to the son is different to the friendship of the son to
the father. Likewise, of the husband to the wife and parents to the children, this entitles that for
any kind of friendship that exists, the virtue and formation is different. That is why Aristotle says
that It is clear that partners don’t receive the same things from one another and should not seek to
receive it. Therefore Aristotle meant that the friendship that has one partner who is superior to
another; the more useful partner should receive more love than he gives so that there may be
equality because equality seems to be the characteristics of friendship. For example the
friendship between the father and the son, when the father provides all the basic needs to the son,
that is when the child is given school fees and studies well and performs better. Ant when the
son gives due respect to the father for he brought him to the world, then Aristotle says that this
friendship in sense arises equality. Though equality apparently doesn’t have the same meaning in
friendship as it does in matters of justice that is not strict equality (equal is primarily
proportionate to merit and its quantitative sense). For the entire friendship, there is no exact line
of demarcation to show that such friendship has inequality. Aristotle said so because most people
wish good to their friends but in contrary, they look much for their own goods most of all.

In chapter eight, Aristotle discusses about giving and receiving love. He says that most people
because of ambition seem to wish to receive love rather than to give it. In our environment we

see that men like to pretend giving more love that they receive because it is like honoured. Most
of these people that we give love are those who occupy positions of power because it raises their
hopes and we can receive a favour on our pretence. For example in our philosophicum
community one of our brother may pretend that is in love with the formatters by spying his
fellow brothers so that he can be honoured, pleased by the formatters and expects to be favoured
like when they are evaluating though is not behaving well to his fellow brother sand he may
favoured in that process. But Aristotle does not call it love; instead he calls it honour and gives
us the way of enjoying friendship by giving love for its own sake and not in pretence of the
benefits that we receive. In simple terms he is trying to say that we should not have love which is
conditional. For example when you see someone has something you do not have and you would
love to get it from him or her then you pretend that you love such person but in your back of
your mind you want something from him.

Aristotle also says friendship appears to consist in giving rather than to receiving love. In most
cases our mothers give us love more than they expect from us. They feel very well when they see
or hear that we have succeeded in anything we do. For example the mother of the superior
general of the Apostles of Jesus, the mother of the Holy Father they feel better then even her son
because of the love they have to the son, though we don’t give the same love as they do to us.
Aristotle says this kind of friendship will last longer.

Aristotle gives us the characteristics of a good friendship by saying that, it needs those with
similar virtue who offer steady fast love because they are steady fast themselves, who don’t
wrong to their partner and who will prevent the partner to do so. For example in our seminary
formation, when my brother is going to miss prayers may be he is sleeping and I awake him.
unlike friendship for utility sake, For example between the poor and the rich, for so this kind of
friendship does not last long because if one lacks he aims t and one gives something else in
return. So when one partner does not give, the friendship ceases. In simple terms they are friends
for a moment of time due to certain need such as pleasure or material advantages. Another
example I can give between a boyfriend and a girlfriend of these days, when the boy convinces
the girl and it happens that the girl has given herself unto him, the love will cease because the
boy gradually gets used and fed up.


From the former chapter, where we discussed how friendship is associated in giving and
receiving affection, let us now move to another step where we will discuss about friendship and
justice in the state.

Friendship and just involves same person as the beholder of them in relation to fellow men. That
is to say that, as it is that friends have something in common, they share it in a view of what is
called ‘just’. In most cases, friends hold in common what they love and not what one loves as a
reason of them being friends.“Brothers and comrades have all things in common, but the others

to whom we have referred have definite things in common – some more things, others fewer
because friends, too, some are more and others less truly friendships.1

There for the question of justice differs because of the type of the friendship that exist between
partner. Example the just for parents in regard with their children, brother with regard to bosom
and fellow citizen is not the same. The gravity of unjust differs because unjust act increases in
proportion as the person to whom it is done is a closer friend. Example, refusing a help to a
brother than to refuse it to a stranger, it is more unjust because is naturally that, the element of
justice increases with the closeness of the friendship.2Then the law givers in the state should
practice just to their people as they aim at some partial advantage. There for as it is to the
friendship that they share things in common, the state or community, has to share the advantages
in common.

But Aristotle gives a warning that “some communities seem to arise for the sake of pleasure,
religious guilds and social clubs; for these exist respectively for the sake of offering sacrifice and
of companionship.3 Not for the present alone but for the future. Example YCS Club members,
who went for a night vigil, spending a night by discussing ethical, things including
homosexuality and youth behavior in general. Many said they enjoyed the company they had,
mostly that of ladies in spite of sleepless night. The matters discussed will help the society in
general as discussed because they will share the knowledge with people outside that discussion


From the former chapter that we discussed about friendship and just in the state, let us now move
forward to discuss about different political systems and corresponding communities that may

Before pointing anything in this chapter, we should know that this chapter will be fully known or
understood in chapter eleven, where he has discussed about how the city regulates and organizes
smaller communities within it. The different types of constitutions encourages different sorts of
organizations and different types of friendships which are kingship, aristocracy and timocracy.

Kingship is the best type of political system because the king considers the advantages of his
subjects. “For someone is a king only if he is self-sufficient and superior in all goods; and since
such a person needs nothing more, he will consider the subjects’ benefits, not his own”. 4 From
the above expression, it shows that being a king is like in our time that, the presidents of America
follow. For anyone to be USA president, he or she must give an accountability of what he or she
owns, and they consider richness even before nominating them for election. That is why they
serve people rather than African leaders who grab public resources because there is no leaders’

The basic works of Aristotle edited by Richard McKeon, New York: Random House, 1941, p.1098.
Nicomachean Ethics, translated by Martin Ostwald, p.231.
Opicit, pg. 1069.
Nicomachean Ethics, translated by Terence Irwin, p.130.

property accountability, thus gives way to corruption because there is no evidence. Real example
is former president of Tanzania, Benjamin William Mkapa who owned Kiwira mining deposit
and big hotel in South Africa. Unfortunately it was revealed and under force, they were returned
to public owned assets. People like this ones, are called titular kings. That is, king by name. That
is to say that this leader was a president by name5. He says a wicked king turns into a tyrant.

Aristocracy is the form of political system that involves one who fails to promote mass welfare
and he appoints other of his same behavior who will rule as few wicked men contrary to honest
men who are to go according to the constitution for states’ benefits. These are just two examples
among many. The top leaders in Tanzania are close friends or relatives of the president. And so it
is in Uganda, that those in charge of important offices are the men that cannot say anything
contrary to what the president says. That is why even if the president is weak, he may rule for
good number of years without stepping down. In simple terms, we say these people will rule by
focusing their wishes rather than those of the state.

The transition of these few people will develop to oligarch, which is characterized by the
distribution of city’s goods contrary to people’s worth and assignment of offices to their
friends.“The association of brother on the other hand, resembles timocratic rule: they are equal
except to the extent that they differ in age”6 and the transition from this type of Political system
is democracy. Democracy is the rule by the people where by the property distribution is equal. It
is the best of all because the genuine people are the ones leading.

The relevance of these political systems as discussed above is; father is like the king who has the
great concern to his children. That is to say, the king is paternal rule. The rule of the master and
the slave is tyrannical because everything is operated on the advantage of the master. The rule of
a man and a woman appears to be aristocratic because women sometimes are heiresses and
“these cases of rule do not accord with virtue, but result from wealth and power, as is true in
agarchies”. Lastly, the community of the brothers is like a timocratic system because they are
equal except difference in age. Aristotle says that in this type of friendship, if the age differs very
much, then their friendship will no longer be brotherly.

Opicit, p. 234.
Opicit, p. 235.

Chapter Eleven

In this chapter, Aristotle looked at the friendship and Justice which are involved in these three
type of constitution that to say Monarchy, Aristocracy and Democracy.

Monarchy; this refers to the system of Government where by king or Queen is a ruler. In this
type of constitution, the friendship between a king or a queen and his or her subject depend
greatly on the success offered to the king or the queen by his or her subject. And the king or the
queen caters for all their well being as a reward or appreciation for the good work done; as a
‘shepherd cares for his sheep’ and a Homer called Agamemnon ‘shepherd of the people’.

In the same way as a friendship between a father and his children, but here the benefits conferred
is greater than that of a king or a queen and his subject. And it is natural for a father to cater for a
well being of his children which Aristotle refers to as a ‘greatest good’. And he is responsible for
nurturing and upbringing. This is also applied to ancestors as well. Naturally a father is to rule
over his sons, ancestors over descendants and a king to his subjects. That is why ancestors are
given a due respect. Justice in this kind of constitution depends on merit as well as a friendship.

Aristocracy; This refers to the form of government in which power is in the hands of a small,
privileged ruling class. In this kind of constitution, friendship flows and rotates among the people
of high class only. This too accord with virtue and the one who is virtuous, gets ‘more of what is
good’. The same is the case to the justice.

Timocratic Government; this is a form of government in which political powers is in direct

proportion to property ownership. In this type of constitution, the idea here is ‘for the citizen to
be equal and fair’. The properties owners and those in power should treat all classes of people
with equal and fair treatment and so too with friendship and justice. And once this is not
followed, any slight deviation from this type of constitution, friendship and justice will hardly

Tyranny; this is the form of government in which all power belongs to one person. In this kind
of constitution there is ‘little or no friendship’. Friendships here only exist between the party
with a common goal or interest. For example, the former president of Uganda IDI AMIN DADA
(1971- 197) Who called himself with these titles: His Excellency president for life, Field

Marshal (self proclaimed) Alhaji Dr. Idi Amine Dada, VC, DSO, MC Conqueror of British
Empire. Whose regime was characterized by human right abuses, political repression, ethnic
persecution, extrajudicial killings and estimated number of people killed 100,000 – 500,000 by
International observers and Human rights groups.

And also between craftsman and a tool, soul and body, master and a slave there is nether
friendship nor justice because only the one who uses it benefit, and for Aristotle there is no
friendship and justice with life less things. So too there is no friendship between a horse and an
ox, nor to a slave qua slave and there is nothing in common to both parties, the slave is a living
tool and the tool ‘a lifeless slave. ‘qua slave’ then, one cannot befriends him, but ‘qua man’ one
can, because it seems there to be some justice between man and any other who can share in a
system of law or be a party to an agreement; therefore friendship can also exist because he is a
man. In tyrannies friendship and justice hardly exist, in democracy they exist more fully because
the citizens are treated equally and they seem to have much in common.


In every kind of friendship, there is association, and is upon an individual to choose which kind
of friend he or she should have; is it a kindred kind of friendship that is (between family and
relatives)? Or with the people of work place, or country mate, tribe mate or with the people you
are traveling with, or only simply a friendship for the sake. And this too depend on what binds
them together.

The friendship of kinsmen (friendship between relatives) is the most common and it forms the
majority that is why it is grounded on the parental friendship. For parents love their children as
being of their stock and children too love their parents because from them that they are
originated. And for parents they love their children as soon as they are born, but for the children
this take time after when they have acquired a bit of understanding or after when their sensory
organs have developed a power of discrimination. And in most cases mothers always love their
children more than the fathers do. This I think mothers after carrying pregnancy for nine months
and after going through lab-our pain and this make mothers to love more. And is by virtue that
parents should love their children and it is in them that they see themselves which Aristotle
referred to as ‘a sort of other selves’. While the children love their parents as being born of them.

And for brothers they love themselves for they are born of the same parents and their identity
makes them identical to each other. That why people talk of ‘the same blood, the same stock’.
Though they exit in separate individuals, they are in fact the same thing. There are two things
that can contribute greatly to friendship. 1. Common upbringing, 2. Similarity of age.
Friendship between children and parents is something good and superior for in them that they
can conferred the ‘greatest benefits’ since they are the causes of their being and nourishment.
And is the duty and responsibility of the parents to educate their children right up from the early
stage and in this way they create pleasant friendship and utility. Friendship between brothers
when it is good is like that of comrades especially they are like each other from their very birth.
And those of the same parents and brought up together through a kind of similar education
always have the same character.

Friendship in other kinsmen are found in due proportion. For example between man and wife
friendship exist by nature and is a natural inclination for a man to form couples more than a
cities. And a house is more of a necessity than a city. And a reproduction is more common to
man with the animals. With the other animals it is only for the sake of reproduction, but the
human beings it goes beyond this it include other purposes of life. For example women are by
nature that they are responsible for girl’s child up bring that why any kind of misconduct of a
girl, normally they say how were you brought up by your mother?, and so too fathers to their
sons. And it is right up from the beginning that the functions between a man and a wife are
divided and this help to put their gifts and talents into a common use, through which utility and
pleasure seem to exist in this kind of friendship which is also base on virtue. And if everyone is
virtuous, everything will be in perfect delight. Children are the bond of unity in this kind of
friendship. That is why those without children in their friendship or marriage they easily break
up. For the children are good for both and these holds them together.


As we have already seen Aristotle identified three forms of friendship and each of them is
divided into two kinds that between the equals and also that between the un equals, that means in
all the three forms of friendship that is, that of utility, pleasure and that based on virtue, the
friends can be equal or unequal. For example a good man can make friendship with the good one
and also a good man can also make friendship with the worse. Also in the friendships of pleasure
and utility the friends can be equal or un equal in the benefits they confer.

According to Aristotle there are complaints and reproaches that arise mostly in the friendships of
utility, but for those who become friends on the basis of virtue try to do well for one another and
there cannot be complaints and quarrels, for a man who loves the other tries not to offend him by
doing good for him and the other also responds by doing good to his fellow. if a man offers more
of the services to his friend than what he gets from his friend he cannot complain of his friend for
not giving back what is in equivalence to what he offers since he does not aim at any gains from
the friendship rather he aims at doing well for his friend without any expectation for a return as a
man of good will.

For freindships of pleasure there are lesser complaints that arise also, because both the friends
get what they desire or aim at, at the same time. if people enjoy spending time together they both
enjoy and benefit at the same time and if a man complains of his friend for not rendering him
what he deserves by giving him lesser attention or even boring him thus not affording him
pleasure as they spend their time together he would seem ridiculous because it is in his choice
not to spend his time with someone who does not please him. For example say if two friends
enjoy spending their leisure time together chatting and making some stories and one of them
happens to complain of his friend for boring him , then the blame goes to him for he can choose
not to spend his time with him. For friendships of utility, they are full of complaints and this is
so because partners use one another for their own interests or for their own satisfactions, they
always want to gain more from the friendship. Therefore complaints and quarrels arise when one
thinks he or she has not got what he or she is supposed to get and therefore starts to blame his or
her friend since they do not get all they want and desire.

Now for Aristotle he compares this kind of friendship to justice that as justice is of two kinds,
one which is written and the other which is legal that is one is by agreement between the two of
the parties and the other is just as according to the law, therefore the friendship of utility is also
of the same kind like justice where one is moral and the other legal. For the legal type is on fixed
terms ,purely commercial and it entails immediate payment ,though there is a room for
postponement as it involves some element of friendliness but the debt remains clear which one
must pay after the time for postponement is over . the moral type is not based on fixed terms it is
like one giving a gift to his friend or one does whatever he does just as doing for a friend, but one
expects to receive the same amount or even more as not having given but lent. And if it happens
that a man who was well off when the friendship was contracted and is now worse when
dissolving the other friend must complain and this happens just because “while men wish for
what is noble, they choose what is advantageous.” now it is noble doing something good for
someone without expecting any repayment but it is the receiving of the benefits that is the one
which is advantageous. Therefore Aristotle stands for the mean that if we can we should return
back what is equivalent to what we received.

Now according to Aristotle if the friendship aims at utility “the advantage to the one who
receives is the measure” for it is he who requests for the service and the other helps him on the
expectation that he will receive the equivalent, therefore the assistance of the giver is as great as
the advantage of the receiver and therefore he must return as much as he received.

For friendship that are based on virtue complaints do not arise but the intension of the doer is a
sort of measure in this case the giver intends to do good to his friend without qualifications and
expectation of the return and it is in this purpose that lies the essential element of virtue.


Aristotle continues also to identify some of the differences that arise in the friendships based on
superiority. This is where of the two friends one is the superior and the other is the inferior and in
this sense they are unequal. In such kind of friendship there happens to be some differences that
come as a result of each of them expecting to get more from the friendship. The better man and
the most useful expect to get more out of the friendship as they argue that a “useless man should
not get as much as they should”. They continue in the argument that it would become like a

public service and not friendship if the inferior do not respond with the worth of the benefits they
receive .they think as it is the case for any business partnership the one who invests more gets
more out, so it should be the same case within such a kind of friendship according to them. But
on the other hand the man who is inferior and is in the state of need makes the opposite of the
argument as they claim that “it is part of a good friend to help those who are in need”. For it
could be of no importance to be a friend of a good man or a powerful man, if one expects
nothing out of it.

Aristotle says looking at all the parties it could be right for both the friends that is the inferior
and the superior and the inferior to claim for what is more out of the friendships than the other
not more of the same thing as offered exactly but the superior could probably receive more of the
honor and the inferior more gain as he puts it that “for honor is the prize of virtue and of
beneficence while gain is the assistance required by the inferior”. That is the inferior offers honor
as appreciation to the superior for what he has received from him and for the inferior gains as the
assistance he required. For example a man who contributes nothing to the common stock is not
honored, for the public gives honor to the man who benefits the public. Therefore Aristotle says
this is how the unequal should be associated “the man who is benefited in respect of wealth or
virtue must give honor in return repaying what he can”. For friendship requires of a man to do
what he can to give what he can not exactly the equivalent as that cannot be easily done but what
one can manage for example. One gives honor to the gods for the favors they have done for him
or if a father offers most of the material needs to his son the son is expected to give honor to his
doing for him. For no one can provide in return as an equivalent a parent have done for him and
that’s for a man who does his best to give them what he can is regarded as a good man. There
fore the basis for a relationship between unequal should be that, whoever gets more of one
benefit should compensate the other by allowing him more of the remaining benefits or strive to
give back what he can in the equivalence of his superiority or inferiority.


Friendship is clearly necessary and splendid, but people disagree on its precise nature. It consists
of a mutual feeling of goodwill between two people.

There are three kinds of friendship. The first is friendship based on utility, where both people
derive some benefit from each other. The second is friendship based on pleasure, where both
people are drawn to the other’s wit, good looks, or other pleasant qualities. The third is
friendship based on goodness, where both people admire the other’s goodness and help one
another strive for goodness.

The first two kinds of friendship are only accidental, because in these cases friends are motivated
by their own utility and pleasure, not by anything essential to the nature of the friend. Both of
these kinds of friendship are short-lived because one’s needs and pleasures are apt to change
over time.

Goodness is an enduring quality, so friendships based on goodness tend to be long lasting. This
friendship encompasses the other two, as good friends are useful to one another and please one
another. Such friendship is rare and takes time to develop, but it is the best. Bad people can be
friends for reasons of pleasure or utility, but only good people can be friends for each other’s

On the whole, friendships consist of equal exchanges, whether of utility, pleasantness, or

goodness. However, there are some relationships that by their nature exist between two people of
unequal standing: father-son, husband-wife, and ruler-subject. In these relationships, a different
kind of love is called for from each party, and the amount of love should be proportional to the
merit of each person. For instance, a subject should show more love for a ruler than the reverse.
When there is too great a gap between people, friendship is impossible, and often two friends
will grow apart if one becomes far more virtuous than the other.

Most people prefer being loved to loving, since they desire flattery and honor. The true mark of
friendship, though, is that it consists more of loving than of being loved. Friendships endure
when each friend loves the other according to the other’s merit.

Justice and friendship are closely connected, for they both tie communities together. Since
justice, friendship, and community are closely related, it is far worse to abuse a close friend or
family member than it is to abuse a stranger.

There are three kinds of political constitution: monarchy, aristocracy, and timocracy. Tyranny is
the corruption of monarchy, where the tyrant looks out for his own interest rather than that of his
subjects. Oligarchy is a perversion of aristocracy, and democracy is a perversion of timocracy,
but neither is as bad as tyranny. Monarchy is analogous to the father-son relationship, aristocracy
to the husband-wife relationship, and timocracy to the relationship between brothers. Corrupt

political institutions are like those relationships where no friendship exists, as in the master-slave

Problems between friends occur most frequently within friendships based on utility. On the
whole, the person who receives a service, and not the giver, should determine the value of that
service. In unequal friendship, it is important that each person receive an appropriate benefit. A
poor person cannot give money to a rich benefactor, but can give whatever honor is within the
poor person’s means.

In discussing friendship, Aristotle seems intent on discussing every kind of interpersonal

relationship and deals at some length with family relationships and political institutions.
Nonetheless, his model of ideal friendship is that which exists between two aristocratic men of
great virtue. These men are not bonded together through need, utility, or familial duty, but rather
through mutual respect and virtue.

Aristotle explains that friendship is the act of loving rather than the act of being loved. It is
important that friendship be active, since Aristotle treats friendship as related to pleasure and
happiness. Friendship is one of the essential components of the good life, and the value of
friendship is in having and enjoying it.

While we in the modern world certainly place a high note on friendship, it carries far more
importance for Aristotle. When you read through modern works on ethics, it is difficult to find an
extended discussion of friendship at all, as Aristotle’s does. Friendship is no longer significant to
us because we live in a world where individualism dominates. While most people are not single
mindedly selfish, we generally assume that we each choose our own path in life, which is defined
by a personal set of goals and values. Friends are a help and a comfort along the way, but we
cannot expect them to share all our goals and values.

Aristotle’s worldview is significantly different because he thinks of human life as having an end
goal, toward which it is heading. For Aristotle, city-states are tightly knit communities where no
strong distinction exists between public and private life. All citizens share the same goals and
values, so the pursuit of happiness must be a cooperative work.

The close connection between friendship, the community, and the individual explains why we
find a discussion of political constitutions in the middle of Book eight. According to Aristotle,
citizens should not cooperate simply because the laws compel them to. Rather, they should
cooperate out of a friendly feeling that comes from sharing their lives and goals with one
another. Both political and family relationships should be determined primarily by love and duty.
Laws exist only as safeguards for when the appropriate friendly feelings break down.

Monarchy, aristocracy, and timocracy are all considered to be good forms of government
because they all extend privileges according to merit. In a monarchy, the king is of more noble
stature than any of his subjects, and so he has every right to govern absolutely so long as he cares
for them. An aristocracy consists of a small ruling elite who again are the most noble, and a
timocracy also proffers benefits according to each person’s due. This conferring of benefits
according to merit is the principle of distributive justice, which Aristotle discusses in Book five.

When merit ceases to determine privilege in a state, that state slides from one of these forms of
government to a corrupt form. For instance, a tyrant is a king who no longer cares for his
subjects and so is no longer virtuous and worthy of his place.

It may seem strange that Aristotle lists democracy among the corrupt forms of government, as
we generally think of democracy as one of the greatest inventions of the Greeks. Aristotle uses
“democracy” to mean a kind of mob rule, where those who are afforded the most privilege are
not necessarily those who most deserve this privilege.