Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

LCL 73: 516-517

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Aristotle

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iἘν πάσαις δὲ ταῖς ἀνομοειδέσι1 φιλίαις τὸ ἀνάλογον ἰσάζει καὶ σῴζει τὴν φιλίαν, καθάπερ εἴρηται, οἷον καὶ ἐν τῇ πολιτικῇ τῷ σκυτοτόμῳ ἀντὶ τῶν ὑποδημάτων ἀμοιβὴ γίνεται κατ᾿ ἀξίαν,35 2καὶ τῷ ὑφάντῃ καὶ τοῖς λοιποῖς. ἐνταῦθα μὲν1164 a οὖν πεπόρισται κοινὸν μέτρον τὸ νόμισμα, καὶ πρὸς τοῦτο δὴ πάντα ἀναφέρεται, καὶ τούτῳ μετρεῖται· ἐν δὲ τῇ ἐρωτικῇ ἐνίοτε μὲν ὁ ἐραστὴς ἐγκαλεῖ ὅτι ὑπερφιλῶν οὐκ ἀντιφιλεῖται, οὐθὲν ἔχων φιλητόν, εἰ οὕτως ἔτυχεν, πολλάκις δ᾿ ὁ5 ἐρώμενος ὅτι πρότερον ἐπαγγελλόμενος πάντα 3νῦν οὐθὲν ἐπιτελεῖ. συμβαίνει δὲ τὰ τοιαῦτα,

  • 1ἀνομοειδέσι Lb: ἀνομοιοεδέσι.
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Nicomachean Ethics, IX.

Book IX

iIn all dissimilara friendships, it is proportion, as has The claims of Friendship (ctd.): three difficulties solved cc. i-iii. c. i. First Difficulty: how and by which party is the due return for a service to be measured? Answer: its measure should be the value of the service to the recipient. been said, that establishes equality and preserves the friendship; just as, in the relations between fellow-citizens, the shoemaker receives payment for his shoes, and the weaver and the other craftsmen 2for their products, according to value rendered. In these business relationships then a common measure has been devised, namely money, and this is a standard to which all things are referred and by which they are measured. But in sentimental friendships, the lover sometimes complains that his warmest affection meets with no affection in return, it may be because there is nothing in him to arouse affection; while the person loved frequently complains that the lover who formerly promised everything now fulfils 3none of his promises. Such disputes occur when

  • aOr ‘heterogeneous,’ i.e. friendships between dissimilar people, e.g. one pleasant and the other useful, so that the benefits they confer on each other are different in kind. This class of friendship has not been named before, though it has been recognized, e.g. viii.. iv. 1, 2. It is however incorrectly stated here that the notion of proportion has been applied to it; for the benefits exchanged in such friendships, though different in kind, are not ‘proportional,’ but actually equal in amount or value, just as much as in the friendships where they are the same in kind; see viii. vi. 7. The term ‘proportion’ has hitherto been used of ‘unequal’ friendships, where the superior party bestows more benefit (of whatever kind) than he receives, and equality is only restored by his receiving more affection than he bestows: see viii. vii. 2, xiii. 1 (and also xiv. 3, to which at first sight this passage might be taken to refer). No doubt a friendship might be both ‘dissimilar’ and ‘unequal.’ That between a good man and a superior in rank who also surpasses him in goodness, which seems to be contemplated at viii. vi. 6, is a complex example of this nature; the great man confers both material benefit and moral edification, the good man returns moral edification only, but makes up the deficit by the greater regard which the great man’s superior goodness enables him to feel.
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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-nicomachean_ethics.1926