How Aristotle Uses Friendship Is The Greatest External Good

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How Aristotle Uses Friendship as a Prerequisite to Happiness

Aristotle states that the “proper function of man consists in an activity of the soul in conformity with a rational principle, or, at least, not without it” (Page 17 1098a ll. 3-5). The proper function of man is needed to understand happiness. In this understanding, Aristotle explains that happiness is the highest good one could wish to achieve through human function. Aristotle states “a happy man lives well and fares well”(Page 19 1098b ll. 20-22). This allows the reader to begin questioning what the necessities are in order for one to fare well. One answer to this question may be in regard to friendship. Aristotle asserts that friendship is the greatest external good. According to Aristotle, it is possible to say that a friendless man is able to fare well because “supremely happy and self-sufficient people do not need friends”(Page 263 1169b ll. 2-3). However, “happiness, as we have said, needs external goods as well.” (Page 21 1099a ll. 32-33) With this being said, it can be determined that a friendless man cannot achieve supreme happiness, because, while he may be self sufficient, he is unable to perform acts of good for friends. While the idea of ‘good’ is a subjective analysis that must be observed on a case by case basis, happiness is capable of being defined. Happiness is the ultimate ends to a mean. In performing the proper function of man (rationality) we are using means to achieve ends,
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