Too Many Friends or None at All? A “Difference” Between Aristotle and Postmodernity

Diogenes Laertius preserved a saying of Aristotle, “He who has friends can have no true friend.” This was mistranslated by Erasmus and gave rise to the words Montaigne attributed to Aristotle, “O mes amis, il n’y a nul amy.” Kant and Nietzsche both used the saying in this sense, which is in fact a contresens. The original Greek words carried much of the sense of ancient friendship, being a warning against polyphilia and a reminder that intimacy is the central value of friendship. This meaning was turned upside down to become an emblem of the lonely subject at the core of modernity
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