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Aristotle on the Perfect Life$
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Anthony Kenny

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198240174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240174.001.0001

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Friendship and Self-Love

Friendship and Self-Love

(p.43) 4 Friendship and Self-Love
Aristotle on the Perfect Life

Anthony Kenny

Oxford University Press

Love and friendship differ from the virtues in being relationships: the other person enters in not just as an object that receives the good activity, but also as an intrinsic part of love itself. Political attachment, likewise, consists in a relationship to a structured social context. Therefore, these components of the good life are minimally self-sufficient, vulnerable in an especially deep and dangerous way. On the contrary, friendship, love, and politics seem dispensable. Hence, some say that the pursuit of self-sufficiency demands the cultivation of a solitary life. The difficulty continued through the centuries to haunt the Aristotelian tradition; and it took on renewed intensity in a Judaeo Christian context. For according to both the Old and the New Testament, friendship and mutual love are possible not just between human beings, but also between man and God. Theologians disagreed about the degree of self-love which was permissible, or necessary, in the love of God above all things which was essential for salvation.

Keywords:   love, friendship, Aristotle, political attachment, self-sufficient, mutual love, salvation

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