The relevance of Aristotle’s theory of friendship
The importance of friendship to human life, human development and preservation is indisputable in Aristotle‟s perspective. This lends credence to the preponderant consideration and analysis Aristotle gives in the discussion of the concept. Aristotle provides two major reasons why friendship is necessary for human, namely, the fact that friendship is virtue or implies virtue, and secondly, that friendship brings about happiness. Virtue and happiness are exclusively human phenomena. Happiness as it relates to friendship here is such that is based on the reciprocal feeling between friends who see the other not as a subservient tool of exploitation or as a self-instrument and means of self-aggrandizement, but as an alter ipsa, the other self whose welfare and of course interest is the object of the other friend. In other words, friendship is for its own sake and not as a means or instrument for self-actualization. On the basis of the above, this paper examines Aristotle‟s theory of friendship with a view to highlighting the nature, reason and importance of friendship in our time. The argument is that man has no alternative to being friendly because his very nature without friendship could render human life essentially meaningless and absurd. Friendship, the research argues, is an act of being human, and being human is irrational and hopelessly impossible without friendship. While drawing from Aristotle‟s understanding and analysis, the work opines that besides being natural, friendship is epistemological, anthropological, ethical and social.
Keywords: Friendship, Human Development, Happiness, Virtue, Other-Self