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Aristotle and Cicero Understanding of Friendship - Research Paper Example

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Aristotle and Cicero Understanding of Friendship

The same would be done in light of their famous sayings and quotations. Discussion One of the biggest differences between Aristotle and Cicero’s understanding of friendship is the fact that Aristotle has gone on to divide friendship into three categories based on the motivations and predispositions behind the friendship. The first type of friendship, according to Aristotle is friendship based on utility. Elderly people and the ones in the Middle Ages having a common ground would engage in such friendships since the circumstances are such that they are able to derive utility out of their friendship. However, utility is not permanent and as soon as utility vanishes, so does the friendship. The second type of friendship is based on pleasure, which takes place amongst people in the early years and the adult life where they are seeking pleasure and entertainment from the people around them. These friendships do not last for long because as soon as the taste of the people changes, they prefer to look for new friends who match their current taste (Price, 1990). However, the third type of friendship based on goodness and virtue where both the friends are virtuous. Their goodness binds each other and hopes the best for his friend. As Aristotle says, “The best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.” (Pangle, 2003) These friendships are long lasting and enduring but at the same time difficult to find. The bond between true friends is so strong that that Aristotle has gone to refer that as, “A true friend is one soul in two bodies” (Stern-Gillet, 1995) Cicero has also endorsed many of these ideas of Aristotle, as it is evident from the following sayings of Cicero. “For how many things, which for our own sake we should never do, do we perform for the sake of our friends” “The rule of friendship means there should be mutual sympathy between them, each supplying what the other lacks and trying to benefit the other, always using friendly and sincere words.” “A friend is, as it were, a second self” (Cicero & Shuckburgh, 2007) However, when Aristotle defines the highest and the most delightful form of friendship as the one based on goodness and virtue, Cicero has a different dimension for the same. As he says, “As in the case of wines that improve with age, the oldest friendships ought to be the most delightful” (Cicero, 2006) Cicero shares many similarities in his definition and concept of true friendship but when Aristotle has not mentioned anything but virtue as the prime element of to determine the delight, intimacy and rank of friendship, Cicero believes that, it is the time, which makes the difference in friendship. Quite understandably, over the period, friends develop a greater and more meaningful understanding amongst each other that compliments their friendship (Pangle, 2003). Another distinction between Aristotle and Cicero views on friendship could be the level of importance that they assign to friendship and its existence in the running of society. Cicero says, “Friendship is nothing else than an accord in all things, human and divine, conjoined with mutual goodwill and affection. “Thus nature has no love for solitude, and always leans, as it were, on some support; and the sweetest support is found in the most intimate friendship (Price, 1990) Although, Cicero endorses the concept that friendship is present in nature and in fact, nature in itself is a ...Show more


Running Head: Aristotle and Cicero’s understanding of friendship Aristotle and Cicero’s understanding of friendship Aristotle and Cicero’s understanding of friendship Introduction Friendship has been one of the mist fascinating concepts in the human civilization and history…
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Aristotle and Cicero Understanding of Friendship essay example
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