Ethics By Aristotle Summary and Analysis Book VIII: Chapter XIV - The Mutual Obligations of Unequal Friends

Summary

There are often mutual recriminations in unequal friendships because each party thinks he is entitled to more than he has and such a state of affairs often leads to a break-up. The superior partner may claim that more is due him on principle and the inferior partner that he is entitled to a return in proportion to the effort he has put into building the friendship. In such disputes, it is possible that both claims may be partly right. Each partner really is entitled to a larger share and the difficulty is due to mutual misunderstanding of what is properly due to each. Perhaps the superior partner is entitled to a greater share of honor and the inferior to more of the profit. There is no hard rule for solving this kind of problem and no friendship can ask what is impossible (i.e., to demand full value on an absolute scale). The basis for relations between unequals should be that whoever gets more of one benefit should compensate the other by allowing him more of the remaining benefits.

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According to Aristotle, three conditions must be fulfilled for friendship to exist between two people. One of those conditions is




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