Confucius and Aristotle on the goods of friendship

This essay discusses the goods of <span class='Hi'>friendship</span> as they are articulated by Confucius, Mencius, and <span class='Hi'>Aristotle</span>. 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 <span class='Hi'>Aristotle</span>’s account of <span class='Hi'>friendship</span>, I argue that <span class='Hi'>friendship</span> 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 <span class='Hi'>Aristotle</span> agree that the good <span class='Hi'>friendship</span> 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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