FRIENDSHIP IN ARISTOTLE VIS-À-VIS MODERN DAY CONCEPTION OF FRIENDSHIP. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON PHILOSOPHY
1.0 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Quite a number of things are fanciful to human being; wealth, prestige, power, good health and host of others. However, all these things make more meaning only when shared with others. Therefore, friends are “sine qua non” to human existence. It is on this ground that Aristotle would say, “for man is a social being, and designed by nature to live with others”.1Every human being needs the other to live a fulfilled life. No man is an Island. No man can boast of living well in a place alone, he needs the other person.
As regards friendship, there are different conceptions as there are scholars who philosophize on that. Each expresses his or her own notion of friendship. Though there are different notions among scholars about friendship, most of the differences perhaps are as a result of cultural differences and background.
It is an obvious fact that not all types of friendship seek to the development of both the individual and the entire society. This, I believe is the major fact why friendship as a term has been misconstrued and misconceived. Sequel to this, some regard friendship as a thing to be avoided because of the negative connotations that often go with it.
1.1 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY.
Over the years, people (including philosophers) have looked at the concept of friendship from various perspectives. Such people include Plato, Cicero, Epicureans, Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, Aristotle, etc., each of these philosophers has his view of friendship.
However, the purpose of this work is to discuss how modern day people understand friendship using Aristotle’s conception of friendship as a paradigm. This work will investigate why people make friends. In the same vein, it has as its purpose to find out whether friendship is intrinsically good or bad.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM.
In spite of the fact that friendship is a “sine qua non” to human existence, it has over the years passed through different hardships. Even the early Greeks and Romans were victims of this. Thus Aristotle laments over the failure of friendship with, “O my friend, there is no friend”.2 Empedocles on his side, contrasts friendship with strife. This motivated Aristotle to exalt friendship in his ‘Nicomacheaan Ethics’.