Summary and Analysis Book VIII: Chapter IV



The two inferior kinds of friendship described in Chapter III are less permanent than perfect friendship for many reasons, all of which depend on the kinds of utility or pleasure which provide their basis. Perfect friendship can only exist between good men, but the inferior kinds can exist between bad men, good and bad men, or between men who are neither good nor bad. Only true friendship is proof against gossip, slander, and all the other things which can break up or impede friendships of the lesser kind.

In fact, in the truest sense of the word, the inferior kinds are not really friendships at all, and are only called so by analogy or metaphor, which is justified by the fact that there is some good in the best of them, derived from the kind of goodness which can be found in pleasure or genuine utility.