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Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
Aristotle made several efforts to explain how moral conduct contributes to the good life for human agents, including the Eqikh EudaimonhV (Eudemian Ethics) and the Magna Moralia, but the most complete surviving statement of his views on morality occurs in the Eqikh Nikomacoi (Nicomachean Ethics). There he considered the natural desire to achieve happiness, described the operation of human volition and moral deliberation, developed a theory of each virtue as the mean between vicious extremes, discussed the value of three kinds of friendship, and defended his conception of an ideal life of intellectual pursuit.
But on Aristotle’s view, the lives of individual human beings are invariably linked together in a social context. In the Peri PoliV (Politics) he speculated about the origins of the state, described and assessed the relative merits of various types of government, and listed the obligations of the individual citizen. He may also have been the author of a model PoliteiaV Aqhnawn (Constitution of Athens), in which the abstract notion of constitutional government is applied to the concrete life of a particular society.
Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in excellence; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good in themselves.
In the sequence of the emotional development of the individual, friendships come after parental bonding and before the pair bonding engaged in at the approach of maturity. In the intervening period between the end of early childhood and the onset of full adulthood, friendships are often the most important relationships in the emotional life of the adolescent, and are often more intense than relationships later in life. However making friends seems to trouble lots of people; having no friends can be emotionally damaging in some cases. Friendships play a key role in suicidal thoughts of girls.
A study by researchers from Purdue University found that post-secondary-education friendships (e.g. college, university) last longer than the friendships before it.
Children with Autistic spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome and autism usually have some difficulty forming friendships. This is due to the autistic nature of some of their symptoms, which include but are not limited to preferring routine actions to change, obsessive interests and rituals, and usually lacking good social skills. This does not mean that they are not able to form friendships, however. With time, moderation, and proper instruction, they are able to form friendships after realizing their own strengths and weaknesses. Children with ADHD may not have difficulty forming friendships, but they may have a hard time keeping friendships because of impulsive behavior and hyperactivity. Children with inattentive ADD may not have as much trouble keeping and maintaining friendships, but inattentiveness may make it more difficulty.
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A topic of moral philosophy much discussed by Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics, but less so in the modern era, until the re-emergence of contextualist and feminist approaches to ethics. In friendship an ‘openness’ of each to the other is found that can be seen as an enlargement of the self. Aristotle writes that ‘the excellent person is related to his friend in the same way as he is related to himself, since a friend is another self; and therefore, just as his own being is choiceworthy for him, the friend’s being is choice-worthy for him in the same or a similar way.’ Friendship therefore opens the door to an escape from egoism or belief that the rational course of action is always to pursue one’s own self-interest, although escaping through the door would require finding what is covered by Aristotle’s ‘same or similar way’. It is notable that friendship requires sentiments to which Kant denies moral importance. It is a purely personal matter, requiring virtue, yet which runs counter to the universalistic requirement of impartial treatment of all, for a friend is someone who is treated differently from others. One problem is to reconcile these apparently conflicting requirements
384—322 , Greek philosopher, b. Stagira. He is sometimes called the Stagirite.
Aristotle’s father, Nicomachus, was a noted physician. Aristotle studied (367—347 ) under Plato at the Academy and there wrote many dialogues that were praised for their eloquence. Only fragments of these dialogues are extant. He tutored (342—c.339 ) Alexander the Great at the Macedonian court, left to live in Stagira, and then returned to Athens. In 335 he opened a school in the Lyceum; some distinguished members of the Academy followed him. His practice of lecturing in the Lyceum’s portico, or covered walking place (peripatos), gave his school the name Peripatetic. During the anti-Macedonian agitation after Alexander’s death, Aristotle fled in 323 to Chalcis, where he died.
Aristotle’s extant writings consist largely of his written versions of his lectures; some passages appear to be interpolations of notes made by his students; the texts were edited and given their present form by Andronicus of Rhodes in the 1st cent. Chief among them are the Organum, consisting of six treatises on logic; Physics; Metaphysics; De Anima [on the soul]; Nicomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics; De Poetica [poetics]; Rhetoric; and a series of works on biology and physics. In the late 19th cent. his Constitution of Athens, an account of Athenian government, was found.
Aristotle was appointed as the head of the royal academy of Macedon. During that time he gave lessons not only to Alexander, but also to two other future kings: Ptolemy and Cassander. In his Politics, Aristotle states that only one thing could justify monarchy, and that was if the virtue of the king and his family were greater than the virtue of the rest of the citizens put together. Tactfully, he included the young prince and his father in that category. Aristotle encouraged Alexander toward eastern conquest, and his attitude towards Persia was unabashedly ethnocentric. In one famous example, he counsels Alexander to be ‘a leader to the Greeks and a despot to the barbarians, to look after the former as after friends and relatives, and to deal with the latter as with beasts or plants’.
By 335 BC he had returned to Athens, establishing his own school there known as the Lyceum. Aristotle conducted courses at the school for the next twelve years. While in Athens, his wife Pythias died and Aristotle became involved with Herpyllis of Stageira, who bore him a son whom he named after his father, Nicomachus. According to the Suda, he also had an eromenos, Palaephatus of Abydus.
It is during this period in Athens from 335 to 323 BC when Aristotle is believed to have composed many of his works. Aristotle wrote many dialogues, only fragments of which survived. The works that have survived are in treatise form and were not, for the most part, intended for widespread publication, as they are generally thought to be lecture aids for his students. His most important treatises include Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, De Anima (On the Soul) and Poetics.
Aristotle not only studied almost every subject possible at the time, but made significant contributions to most of them. In physical science, Aristotle studied anatomy, astronomy, embryology, geography, geology, meteorology, physics and zoology. In philosophy, he wrote on aesthetics, ethics, government, metaphysics, politics, economics, psychology, rhetoric and theology. He also studied education, foreign customs, literature and poetry. His combined works constitute a virtual encyclopedia of Greek knowledge. It has been suggested that Aristotle was probably the last person to know everything there was to be known in his own time.
Near the end of Alexander’s life, Alexander began to suspect plots against himself, and threatened Aristotle in letters. Aristotle had made no secret of his contempt for Alexander’s pretense of divinity, and the king had executed Aristotle’s grandnephew Callisthenes as a traitor. A widespread tradition in antiquity suspected Aristotle of playing a role in Alexander’s death, but there is little evidence for this.