Contemplative Friendship in Nicomachean Ethics

Review of Metaphysics 65 (4):765-794 (2012)

Authors
Daniel Maher
Assumption College
Abstract
In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle’s two forms of human happiness correspond to two forms of human virtue and, I argue, to two forms of virtuous friendship. I propose that the most properly human form of happiness is achieved in contemplative friendship. This friendship is a genuinely contemplative approximation of divine life and still a specifically human life consisting in discursivespeech with others. Contemplative friends wish the good to one another as human beings and thus fulfill what friendship is more completely than do friends occupied with moral virtue. Aristotle’s text shows, first, that discussion and thinking can be shared more perfectly than can moral action and, second, that intellectual virtue completes human nature more fully than does moral virtue.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph2012654141
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