Confucius and Aristotle on the goods of friendship

This essay discusses the goods of friendship as they are articulated by Confucius, Mencius, and Aristotle. It is argued that since Confucius and Mencius tend to conceive personal relationships in hierarchical terms, they do not directly address the goods of symmetrical friendships. Using Aristotle ’s account of friendship, I argue that friendship is necessary for the cultivation of virtue outside the family. This is supported by discussing the virtues of generosity, trust, and wisdom as they develop within family life and then are refined in friendships. Lastly, as Confucius, Mencius, and Aristotle agree that the good friendship is necessarily a virtuous one, I consider what value aesthetic friendships have
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DOI 10.1007/s11712-010-9185-y
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