Friendship, a Subject of Moral Philosophy
I. IT PERTAINS TO ETHICS TO TREAT FRIENDSHIP—(FOR) SIX REASONS.
a. First. — 1538
After the previous discussions we must pass on to a consideration of friendship, for it is a kind of virtue or at least accompanies virtue.
b. Second. — 1539-1540
Besides, friendship is especially necessary for living, to the extent that no one, even though he had all other goods would choose to live without friends. Indeed the rich, the rulers and the powerful seem to need friends most of all. What purpose do goods of fortune serve if not for the beneficence which is especially and most laudably exercised towards friends? Or how will goods of fortune be preserved and retained without friends? For the greater they are the less secure they become. In poverty and other misfortunes people consider friends their only refuge. Likewise friendship helps young men to guard against wrongdoing; it helps old men to support their deficiencies and faltering movements arising from weakness. Friendship is even useful to people in their prime for the performance of good actions, since two persons working together either in intellectual endeavor or external activity are more effective.
c. Third. — 1541
By nature the parent feels friendship for its offspring not only among men but also among birds and many other animals. There is also friendship among people who are of the same race with one another, and notably among men in general. Hence we have praise for lovers of their fellow men. Even when traveling abroad we see that every man is a familiar and a friend of every other man.
d. Fourth. — 1542
States, it seems, are maintained by friendship; and legislators are more zealous about it than about justice. This is evident from the similarity between friendship and concord; but legislators most of all wish to encourage concord and to expel discord as an enemy of the state.
e. Fifth. — 1543
If people are friends there is no need of justice, but just men do need friendship. Likewise what is just seems to be especially favorable to friendship.
f. Sixth. — 1544
Friendship is not only necessary but also noble. We praise those who love their friends; and a multiplicity of friendships seem to be a good thing. People even identify good men and friends.
2. WHAT MATTERS ARE TO BE TREATED IN THE QUESTION OF FRIENDSHIP.
a. He presents an obvious doubt.
i. Conflicting opinions—on friendship in human affairs. — 1545
On this subject not a few things are uncertain. Some philosophers contend that friendship is a kind of likeness, and that friends are like one another. Hence the saying: “Like seeks like,” “Birds of a feather flock together,” and other proverbs of this sort. Others, on the contrary, hold that all similar individuals are mutually opposed.
ii. (Conflicting opinions) on friendship in things of nature. — 1546-1547
Likewise some seek less superficial reasons, those more rooted in nature. Euripides, for instance, maintained that the parched earth longs for rain and when majestic heaven is filled with rain, it longs to fall on the earth. Heraclitus held that contrary contributes to contrary, that the most excellent harmony results from opposites, and that all things have their origin from strife. But others were of a contrary opinion, especially Empedocles who contended that like desires like.
b. The kind of doubts to be resolved. — 1548
Certainly questions belonging to cosmology should be passed over as not pertinent to our present purpose. But we must give our attention to whatever subjects are human and refer to man’s morals and passions. Thus, whether all men are capable of friendship or whether evil men can be friends, and whether friendship is of one kind or many kinds.
c. He rejects an error. — 1549-1550
In fact some philosophers thought that there was only one kind of friendship because it is susceptible of more and less; they did not accept the sufficient indication that things which differ in species admit of more and less. But we have treated these matters before.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1538. After the Philosopher has determined the moral and intellectual virtues and continence, which is something imperfect in the genus of virtue, he now turns his attention to friendship which is founded upon virtue as an effect of it. First he explains by way of introduction what he intends to do. Then [Lect. 2], at “Perhaps these questions etc.” (B. 1155 b 17), he begins to treat friendship. He develops the first point in two ways. First  he shows that it pertains to ethics to treat friendship. Next , at “On this subject etc.,” he shows what matters are to be treated in the question of friendship. In regard to the first item he offers six reasons to explain what we must consider about friendship. He states first what has to be treated, after the previous discussions, in examining the subject of friendship, viz., we must consider the things pertaining to the study of moral philosophy, omitting what belongs to the field of the cosmologist. The first reason [1, a] why we must investigate friendship is that the consideration of virtue is the concern of moral philosophy. Friendship is a kind of virtue inasmuch as it is a habit of free choice—this will be explained later (1559, 1602-1604, 1645, 1831). Also it is reduced to the genus of justice as offering something proportional (a point that will also be discussed later), or at least it accompanies virtue insofar as virtue is the cause of true friendship,
1539. He gives the second reason [1, b] at “Besides, friendship.” Moral philosophy considers all things that are required for human living; and among these friendship is especially necessary, to such an extent that no one in his right mind would choose to live in the possession of great external goods without friends. Indeed friends seem most necessary for the wealthy, the rulers, and the powerful, who have abundant external goods. First, for the enjoyment of these goods; there is no advantage to be derived from goods of fortune if no one can be benefited by them, but a benefit is especially and most laudably done for friends. Second, for the preservation of such goods that cannot be retained without friends. The greater the goods of fortune, the less secure they are because many people secretly covet them. Nor are friends useful only in good fortune but also in adversity.
1540. Therefore, in poverty people look upon friends as the one refuge. So then in any situation friends are needed. Likewise friendship is necessary for young men that the help of friends may restrain them from sin, for they themselves are inclined to desires for pleasures, as has been already remarked in the seventh book (1531). On the other hand, friends are useful to the old for assistance in their bodily infirmities; because they are faltering in their movements from weakness, friends are needed to assist them. But even to those who are at their peak, in the very prime of life, friends are useful for the performance of good actions. When two work together, they are more effective. This is true both in rational investigation where one sees ‘what the other cannot see, and external activity in which one is especially a help to the other. Thus it is evident that we must investigate friendship as a state necessary for all.
1541. He presents his third reason [1, c] at “By nature the parent.” By nature a parent feels friendship for its child. This is true not only of mankind but even of birds who obviously spend a long time training their young. And the same goes for other animals. There is also a natural friendship between people of the same race who have common customs and social life. There is above all that natural friendship of all men for one another by reason of their likeness in specific nature. For this reason we praise philanthropists or friends of mankind as, fulfilling what is natural to man. This: is evident when a man loses his way; for everyone stops even an unknown stranger from taking the wrong road, as if every man is naturally a familiar and a friend of every other man. But those things which are naturally good must be treated by the moralist. Therefore he ought to treat friendship.
1542. At “States, it seems” [1, d] he offers the fourth reason, pointing out that states seem to be preserved by friendship. Hence legislators have greater zeal for maintaining friendship among citizens than even justice itself which is sometimes omitted, for example, in the infliction of punishment, lest dissension be stirred up. This is clear from the fact that concord and friendship are similar. Certainly lawmakers especially want this harmony and eliminate from the citizenry as much as possible contention inimical to the security of the state. Because the whole of ethics seems to be ordered to the good of the state, as was said at the beginning (25), it pertains to ethics to treat friendship.
1543. He states the fifth reason [1, e] at “If people,” saying that if men are friends there should be no need of justice in the strict sense because they should have all things in common; a friend is another self and there is no justice to oneself. But if men are just they nevertheless need friendship for one another. Likewise perfect justice seems to preserve and restore friendship. Therefore it pertains to ethics to treat friendship much more than justice.
1544 . He gives the sixth reason [1, f] at “But friendship” explaining that we must treat friendship not only because it is something necessary for human living but also because it is something good, i.e., laudable and honorable. We praise philophiloi, i.e., those who love their friends; and poliphilia (a multiplicity of friendships) seems to be so good that people identify good men and friends.
1545. Then , at “On this subject,” he shows what should be considered on friendship. First [2, a] he presents an obvious doubt about friendship. Next [2, b], at “Certainly questions etc.,” he shows the kind of doubts to be resolved about friendship. Last [2, c], at “In fact some etc.,” he rejects an error of certain philosophers. He considers the first point in a twofold manner. First [a, i] he states conflicting opinions of some thinkers on friendship in human affairs; second [a, ii], at “Likewise some etc.,” on friendship in things of nature. He says first that not a few things regarding friendship are uncertain. This is obvious, primarily from the diversity of opinions. Some contend that friendship is a kind of likeness and that like people are friends of one another. In favor of this they quote proverbs: “Like seeks like,” “Birds of a feather flock together.” Certain birds like starlings do flock together. There are other proverbs of this type. But others, on the contrary, hold that all potters are enemies of each other, since one hinders another’s gain. But the truth of the matter is that, essentially speaking, like is lovable; it is, however, hateful incidentally, precisely as an impediment to one’s own good.
1546. At “Likewise some” [a, ii] he states conflicting opinions about the same subject in things of nature. He says that on this very question some seek loftier, i.e., deeper reasons, more in the manner of cosmologists. Thus Euripides maintained that the parched earth desires rain as if loving its contrary; and that when heaven, worthy of honor on account of its excellence, is filled with rain its longs to fall on the earth, i.e., to send down rain to earth, which is the contrary of its loftiness and fullness. Likewise Heraclitus held that contrary contributes to contrary, as cold things to a man suffering from excessive heat, insofar as the most excellent harmony or equilibrium is produced from different and contrary things. But he said that the contrary does this inasmuch as all things had their origin from strife by means of which the elements, mingled in the beginning, are separated. But others like Empedocles were of an opposite opinion: that like desires like.
1547. Our difficulty is answered: essentially speaking, like is desirable naturally; but incidentally like desires the contrary, inasmuch as it is helpful and medicinal. Cf. his previous discussion on bodily pleasures (1525-1517).
1548. Next [2, b], at “Certainly questions,” he shows the kinds of doubts to be resolved about friendship, saying that cosmological questions must be omitted as irrelevant to our present purpose. Attention should be directed to human affairs as connected with morals and man’s passions; for instance, whether all men are capable of friendship, or whether evil men are incapable of it, and whether there is one kind or many kinds of friendship.
1549. Then [2, c], at “In fact some,” he rejects an error of some philosophers who thought there was only one kind of friendship because all species of friendship are to be compared according to more and less. Thus we say that honorable friendship is greater than useful friendship. But Aristotle says that they have not accepted the adequate explanation that even those things that differ specifically receive more and less inasmuch as they agree generically. For example, we may say that white has more color than black, or by analogy that act is more excellent than potency, and substance than accident.
1550- In conclusion he says that the things just treated pertaining to human activities in regard to friendship were discussed previously in a general way.
Good, the Object of Friendship
A. He explains what friendship is.
1. THE FOUR PARTS OF THE DEFINITION OF FRIENDSHIP.
a. The portion dealing with the object.
i. The object of friendship. — 1551-1552
Perhaps these questions will be clarified by some knowledge about what is lovable, for it seems that man does not love everything but only what is lovable; and this is either a good in itself or a good that is pleasurable or useful. But the useful good seems to be a means of attaining the good in itself or the pleasurable good. Therefore, the good in itself and the pleasurable will be things lovable as ends.
ii. He raises a doubt. — 1553
Do men then love the good simply or what is good for them? These two things sometimes differ. Likewise the same doubt exists about the pleasurable good itself.
iii. He gives the answer.
x. HE STATES HIS SOLUTION. — 1554
It seems though that everyone loves what is good for him; and, as the good in itself is lovable, so what is good for each man is lovable for him.
y. HE ARGUES FOR THE CONTRARY. — 1555
However, everyone loves not what is good for him but what appears good.
z. HE GIVES THE ANSWER. — 1556
But this makes no difference, for what is lovable will be what appears good.
b. The second portion—relates to the quality of love. — 1557-1558
While there are three motives prompting love, certainly the love of inanimate objects is not called friendship. In it there is neither a mutual return nor a will for the good of the objects. Indeed it would be absurd to wish good to wine, although a man does want it to remain unspoiled so he can have it. On the other hand, we say that the good of a friend must be wished for his sake.
c. The third portion—refers to change in the one loved. — 1559
But those wishing good to someone in this way are said to have goodwill when the wish is not reciprocal, for friendship is goodwill with reciprocation.
d. The fourth portion is taken from the condition for mutual love. — 1560
Likewise we must add that goodwill may not lie hidden.
Many men in fact are of goodwill towards those they have never seen inasmuch as they think such people virtuous or useful. It is possible too that one of these persons might feel the same way. Consequently men of this kind seem to be benevolent towards one another but they cannot be called friends when unaware of one another’s feelings.
2. HE CONCLUDES WITH THE DEFINITION OF FRIENDSHIP. — 1561
Therefore, it is necessary for friendship that men wish good to one another, that this fact be recognized by each, and that it be for the sake of one of the reasons previously mentioned.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1551. After the Philosopher has shown in the introduction that it is necessary to clarify friendship and what things are to be determined about it, now he begins to treat friendship. First [A] he explains what friendship is. Then [Lect. 3], at “Since these objects etc.” (1156 a 5), he distinguishes its kinds. Last [Lect. 1, Bk IX], at “In all friendships etc.” (1163 b 32), he states the properties belonging to the different kinds of friendship. He treats
the first point from two aspects. First [A, 1] he investigates the four parts of the definition of friendship. Next [A, 2], at “Therefore it is necessary etc., he concludes with the definition of friendship. First [1, a] he investigates the portion dealing with the object. In regard to this he does three things. First [a, i] he determines the object of friendship. Second [a, ii], at “Do men then love etc.,” he raises a doubt. Third [a, iii], at “it seems though etc.,” he gives the answer. He says first that these questions will perhaps be somewhat clarified if we understand the nature of the thing that is lovable, the object of love from which friendship (or love) receives its name.
1552. Not everything is loved indiscriminately because evil as such is not loved, but man loves what is lovable, and this is either good in itself, i.e., honorable, or it is a pleasurable or useful good. The last or useful good seems to be a means of attaining the honorable and pleasurable goods which are lovable on account of themselves as ends. On the other hand, useful good is lovable on account of another, as a means to an end. But the good and the pleasurable taken in general are not distinguished from one another in substance but only in concept. Something is described as good precisely insofar as it is intrinsically perfect and desirable; and pleasurable inasmuch as the appetite rests in it. However that is not the meaning here: the question here is of man’s genuine good, which belongs to reason; and the pleasurable is taken here as that which appeals to the senses.
1553. Then [a, ii], at “Do men then love, he raises a. doubt on this point: do men love what is the absolute good, or what is good relative to themselves? These sometimes do differ from each other. For instance, to philosophize in itself is good but not in the case of the pauper. The same doubt presents itself in the case of the pleasurable good itself; for an object pleasurable in itself (e.g., a sweet) is not pleasant to one with a sour taste.
1554. At “It seems though” [a, iii] he answers the foregoing question. First [iii, x] he states his solution, saying everyone seems to love what is good for him because every faculty tends to the object proportionate to itself. Thus everyone’s vision sees what is visible to it. As the totally lovable is the totally good, so the lovable for each man is that which is good for him.
1555. Second [iii, y], at “However, everyone,” he argues for the contrary, saying that every man loves not what is really good for him but what seems good for him; for desire tends to an object only as apprehended. Consequently it seems false that what is lovable is what is good for him.
1556. Third [iii, z], at “But this makes,” he gives the answer that this makes no difference to our proposition; for, when some apparent good is loved it is loved as a good for oneself. Hence it can also be said that what is lovable is what appears good.
1557. The second portion which he gives at “While there are” [i, b], relates to the quality of love. He says that while there are three reasons why men love, viz., the good, the pleasurable, and the useful, friendship does not consist in that love which a man is said to have for inanimate things, like wine or gold. He shows this in two ways. First, because in a love of this kind there cannot be the mutual return that is necessary for friendship, for wine does not love man as man loves wine. Second, because we do not love inanimate things in such a way that we will their good. It would be absurd to say that we willed good to wine; but the good which is wine a man wills for himself. Therefore, in loving wine man obviously does not have benevolence towards the wine but towards himself.
1558. If someone says that a man wishes good to the wine because he wishes that it be preserved, we should consider that a man wants the wine to remain unspoiled so he can have it. In this way he does not desire the preservation of the wine for the good of the wine but for his own good. And this is contrary to the notion of friendship, for we say that the good of a friend must be willed for his sake and not for the sake of the one loving.
1559. The third portion [i, c], which he presents at “But those wishing,” refers to change in the one loved. He explains that when people wish good to someone for his sake we call them benevolent but not friends if the wish is not reciprocated so that the loved one wishes good to, and for the sake of, the one loving. The reason is that we say friendship is benevolence with corresponding requital inasmuch as the one loving is loved in return, for friendship has a kind of exchange of love after the manner of commutative justice.
1560. The fourth portion [r, d] is taken from the condition for mutual love; and it is stated at “Likewise we must.” He says that to complete the notion of friendship we must add that it is a mutual benevolence which is recognized. Many men are benevolent towards those they have never seen, for, from reports, they judge these people are just, i.e., virtuous, or useful to themselves. Likewise it is possible that one of them should have the same feeling towards him who is benevolent in this way. Consequently men of this kind seem to be benevolent towards one another but cannot be friends while they are unaware of one another’s feelings.
156z. Then [A, 2], at “Therefore it is necessary,” he concludes with the definition of friendship derived from the premises. He says that it is necessary to the notion of friendship that men wish good to one another, that this fact be recognized by them, and that it be for the sake of one of the things previously mentioned, namely, the good, the pleasurable, or the useful.
Kinds of Friendship
I. HE DISTINGUISHES THE KINDS OF FRIENDSHIP.
A. The distinction. — 1562-1564
Since these objects of love differ from each other in kind, the corresponding love and friendship will also differ in kind. There are then three kinds of friendship corresponding to the objects of love. In each of these a recognized return of love is possible, and those loving can mutually will good according to their love.
B. The particular kinds.
1. FRIENDSHIP BASED ON UTILITY AND THAT BASED ON PLEASURE.
a. He shows just what the different kinds of imperfect ftlendship are.
i. Friendships in an incidental sense. — 1565-1566
Therefore, of those who love one another for utility, one does not love the other for the other’s sake but for the good they mutually gain. The same is true of those who love each other for pleasure, for friends like these do not love witty people because of their character but because they are pleasant companions. Both those who love for utility love for the good they get and those who love for the sake of pleasantness love for the pleasure they enjoy. These do not love a friend because he is a friend but because he is useful or pleasant. Therefore, these friendships are incidental, for a man is loved not for what he is but for some advantage or pleasure.
ii. He shows that they are easily dissolved. — 1567
Since men do not always remain the same, friendships of this kind are easily dissolved; when those who are loved cease to be pleasant or useful, their friends stop loving them. But the useful is not permanent but is one thing now and then another. Consequently if the reason for friendship no longer exists, the friendship itself is dissolved.
b. (He shows) to whom (these friendships) belong.
i. To whom useful friendship belongs.
x. ESPECIALLY AMONG OLD MEN. — 1568
This friendship seems to exist especially among old men who do not seek pleasure but utility.
y. ADOLESCENTS AND YOUTHS WHO SEEK WHAT IS USEFUL. — 1569
It is also suitable for adolescents and youths who seek what is to their advantage. Friends of this kind do not associate much with each other, for sometimes they are not even agreeable to each other. So they do not need such companionship unless it is useful, since they are pleasing to one another only insofar as they hope for some good.
z. THE FRIENDSHIP OF FELLOW TRAVELERS. — 1570
To the same classification some assign the friendship of fellow travelers.
ii. To whom pleasurable friendship (belongs).
x. TO WHOM THIS MAY BE ASSIGNED. — 1571
Young men seem to foster friendship mostly for pleasure because they live according to the passions and follow what is pleasing to them at the moment.
y. THESE FRIENDSHIPS READILY CHANGE.
aa. On the part of the pleasurable objects. — 1572
As they grow older, however, their pleasures undergo change. They quickly make and quickly forsake friends because with the change of pleasure comes at the same time a change of friendship; and youthful pleasure is swift to change.
bb. On the part of those who love. — 1573
Moreover, young people are amorous; they love on account of passion and pleasure, and this is conducive to intense love. For this reason such persons quickly cease to love; oftentimes they fall in and out of love the same day. But they want to remain together all day and live with one another. This is the way their friendship works.
2. HE TREATS FRIENDSHIP BASED... ON GOOD BY ITSELF.
a. This friendship is perfect. — 1574
Perfect friendship, however, is friendship between men who are good and resemble one another according to virtue,
b. He proves his statement.
i. This is friendship essentially.
x. NOT INCIDENTALLY. — 1575
for those who are alike in virtue wish one another good inasmuch as they are virtuous, and they are virtuous in themselves.
y. IS THE BEST. — 1576
But people who wish good to friends for their sake are the truest friends; they do this for the friends themselves and not for something incidental.
z. (THIS) FRIENDSHIP REMAINS. — 1577
Therefore, friendship between such men remains as long as they are virtuous; and virtue is a permanent habit.
ii. He shows that it lacks nothing.
x. (IT) COMPREHENDS ... THINGS... FOUND IN OTHER KINDS. — 1578
Likewise each friend is not only good in himself but also to his friend, for the virtuous are good without qualification, and useful and entirely pleasing to one another. This is so because each man’s own actions and the actions of a like nature are pleasing to him. But actions of virtuous men are of this or a similar kind.
y. SUCH FRIENDSHIP (IS) LONG LASTING. — 1579
It is reasonable for such friendship to be long lasting, because absolutely all the qualities necessary for friends are joined together in it. Every 20 friendship is for the sake of good or pleasure, either absolutely or to the one loving and according to a kind of likeness. But all the preceding qualities are found in this friendship essentially; and those who are alike according to this friendship have the remaining goods too, because what is without qualification good is also unreservedly
z. HIS THIRD CONCLUSION. — 1580
These things then are most lovable. Hence love of them should be most intense, and such friendship the noblest.
iii. He shows that (this friendship) is rare.
x. HE EXPLAINS HIS INTENTION (BY TWO REASONS).
aa. First. — 1581
Very likely friendships of this kind are rare, since virtuous men are scarce.
bb. He gives the second reason. — 1582
Besides, time and familiarity are needed. This is so because, according to the proverb, people do not know one another until they eat salt together. But men ought neither to take others as friends nor become friends until each appears to the other worthy of love and is trusted by the other.
y. HE EXCLUDES AN OBJECTION. — 1583
However, those who at once offer the services of friendship show that they wish to be friends but in fact are not unless they are lovable to each other and know it. So then the wish for friendship is quickly made but not friendship itself.
z. HE GIVES A SUMMARY. — 1584
A friendship of this kind is perfect both in regard to duration and the remaining conditions; and in all respects each receives from each the same benefit-as is proper between friends.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1562. After the Philosopher has shown the nature of friendship, he now distinguishes the kinds of friendship. On this point he does two things. First he makes his distinction. Then [Lect. 13], at “There are three etc.” (B.1162 a 34), he shows which kinds of friendship give rise to complaints or grumblings. He treats his first point from two aspects. First he distinguishes the kinds of friendship which exist between persons of equal rank. Next [Lect. 7], at “There is another etc.” (B. 1158 b 11), he distinguishes the kinds of friendship that exist between persons of unequal rank. On the first point he does two things. First he distinguishes the kinds of friendship. Second [Lect. 6], at “Consequently, the friendships etc.” (B 1158 b), he shows, that these consist in equality. He -discusses the first point from three aspects. First [I] he distinguishes the kinds of friendship. Then [Lect. 5; II], at “Just as in the case etc.” (B.1157 b 5), he treats them in relation to their acts. Last [Lect. 6; III], at “But friendship etc.” (B. 1158 a 3), he treats them in relation to their subjects. On the first point [I, A] he gives the distinction of the kinds. Next [I, B], at “Therefore of those etc.,” he treats the particular kinds.
1563. He says first that there are three kinds of lovable objects, is indicated (1552, 1557), namely, the good as such, the pleasurable, and the useful; these do not differ in kind as three equal species of a genus but are classified by priority and posteriority. Since acts are diversified according to the difference of objects, the types of love will differ in kind according to these three: thus there is one type of love by which a thing is loved for the good, another for the pleasurable, and a third for the useful. Likewise, because love is an act of friendship, there will be three kinds of friendship equal to the three objects of love. One is friendship for the honorable good or the good as such, another for the pleasurable, and a third for the useful.
1564. In each of these the definition of friendship just given is fulfilled, because in each of the three a recognized return of love by someone is possible. Likewise in these three, people can will good to one another according to their love. For example, if men love for the sake of virtue, they wish one another the virtuous good; but if for a good based on utility, they wish one another useful goods; if for a good based on pleasure they wish pleasurable goods.
1565. Next [l, B], at “Therefore of those,” he treats the kinds of friendship just mentioned which are contained under friendship not according to equality but according to priority and posteriority. So he does three things. First [B, i] he treats friendship based on utility and that based on pleasure which share the nature of friendship by posteriority. Then [B, 2], at “Perfect friendship, however etc.,” he treats friendship based on the honorable, i.e., good by itself to which the notion of friendship primarily and essentially pertains. Last [B, 3; Lect. 4], at “But that etc.” (B. 1157), he compares the other kinds of friendship with this kind. He discusses the first point from two aspects. First [i, a] he shows just what the different kinds of imperfect friendship are; then [i, b], at “This friendship,” to whom they belong. On the first point he does two things. First [a, i] he shows that useful and pleasurable friendships are friendships in an incidental sense. Second [a, ii], at “Since men etc.,” he shows that they are easily dissolved.
1566. He says first that of those who love one another for the sake of utility, one does not love the other for the sake of the other but inasmuch as he receives from the other some good for himself. The same is true of those who love each other on account of pleasantness, for the one does not love the other precisely as witty or virtuous in merriment but merely as pleasant to himself. So it is obvious that those who love for the sake of utility love for the good they get, and those who love for the sake of pleasantness love for the pleasure they enjoy. Thus they do not love their friend for what he is in himself but for what is incidental to him, his utility or pleasantness. Therefore, friendships of this sort plainly are not friendships essentially but incidentally, because a person is not loved for what he is but for utility or pleasure.
1567. Then [a, ii], at “Since men,” he shows that friendships of this kind are easily dissolved. They are for the sake of something that is incidental to the persons loved and in this men do not always remain the same. The same man, for instance, is not always pleasant or useful. Therefore, when those who are loved cease to be pleasant or useful, their friends stop loving them. This is very obvious in friendship based on utility, for the same thing is not always useful to a man. it is one thing now, and then another in different times and places. So a doctor is useful for sickness, a sailor for navigation and so on. Since then friendship was cultivated not for the man himself but for the utility he afforded, when the cause of the friendship vanishes the friendship too is consequently dissolved.
1568. At “This friendship” [1, b] he shows to whom these friendships may be attributed. First [1, b, i] he shows to whom useful friendships belong; then [1, b, ii], at “Young men seem etc.,” to whom pleasurable friendship. He notes three classes of men who avail themselves of useful friendship. First [i, x] he says that this friendship seems to exist especially among old men who are not looking for what is pleasurable for the delight of body and sensitive nature, but rather what is useful for help needed for their natural deficiency.
1569. Second [i, y], at “It is also,” he says that is the kind of friendship pursued by adolescents and youths who seek what is useful. They seem quite incapable of possessing mutual love or even of remaining constant companions because sometimes they are not agreeable to one another; neither does one need the companionship of another except for utility. Their association with one another is pleasurable to them inasmuch as it holds some hope of good for which this association is useful.
157o. Third [i, z], at “To the same,” he says that to friendships based on utility some reduce even the friendship of fellow travelers who seem to love one another for the advantage that one derives from another on his journey.
1571. Next [1, b, ii], at “Young men seem,” he shows to whom pleasurable friendship may be attributed. On this point he does two things. First [ii, x] he explains to whom this friendship may be assigned, saying that friendship based on pleasure belongs most of all to youths. This is so because they live according to the impulses of passion since they have not been strengthened in rational judgment by which the passions are regulated. Because all passions terminate at pleasure and pain, as we stated in the second book (296, 441), youths principally seek what is pleasurable at the present moment. The passions belong to the sensitive part of man which is chiefly concerned with the present. But to love a present thing because it is productive of future pleasure coincides with the notion of the useful.
1572. Then [ii, y], at “As they grow older,” he shows that these friendships readily change in two ways: first [y, aa], on the part of the pleasurable objects, because other things become pleasing to them with the passing of time. It is not in the same thing that children, adolescents, and youths alike find pleasure; and so they easily make friends and easily forsake them because with the change of pleasure comes a change of friendship. But youthful pleasure is characteristically swift to change since the nature of youth consists wholly in a state of change.
1573. At “Moreover, young people” [y, bb] he shows the same thing on the part of those who love. He says that young people are volatile, i.e., quick and vehement in their love because they love not from rational choice but from passion and inasmuch as they are very desirous of pleasure. Therefore they love passionately and intensely. Since passion vanishes as quickly as it appears, such persons as easily fall in love as they cease to love; many times they even fall in and out of love the same day. But as long as the friendship endures these people want to remain together all day long and live in the other’s presence inasmuch as they enjoy the company of each other. This is the way their friendship works.
1574. Next [B, 2], at “Perfect friendship, however,” he treats the principal kind of friendship which is for the good of virtue. First [2, a] he points out that this friendship is perfect. He says that the friendship between good men and those alike in virtue is perfect friendship.
1575. Then [2, b], at “for those who,” he proves his statement by~ explaining the qualities of this friendship. First [2, b, i] he shows that this is friendship essentially and not incidentally. Second [2, b, ii], at “Likewise each,” he shows that it lacks nothing. Third [2, b, iii], at “Very likely etc.,” he shows that it is rare. He handles the first point in a threefold manner. First [2, b, i, x] he shows that the friendship just referred to is friendship essentially and not incidentally. Those who are alike in virtue wish one another good inasmuch as they are virtuous. But they are good in themselves, for virtue is a kind of perfection making man good and his work good. It is clear then that such men wish good to one’ another in themselves. Therefore they have friendship essentially.
1576. Second [2, b, i, y], at “But people who,” he concludes from this that friendship of this type is the best friendship; that which is essential is always better than that which is incidental. Since this is friendship essentially and the others incidentally, the virtuous who wish good to friends for their sake and not for the sake of something that may come from them are the highest type of friends.
1577. Third [2, b, i, z], at “Therefore friendship,” he infers further: from the fact that men of this kind love one another by reason of their goodness, their friendship consequently remains as long as they are good in virtue. But virtue is a permanent habit and does not change easily, as is clear from discussions in the second book (305). Therefore this friendship is lasting.
1578. At “Likewise each” [2, b, ii] he shows that this friendship lacks nothing that belongs to the notion of what is perfect, as is evident in the third book of the Physics (Ch. 6, 207 a 10; St. Th. Lect. 11, 385). On the first point he does three things. First [2, b, ii, x] he shows that this friendship comprehends those things that are found in other kinds of friendship. He explains that each friend is good not only simply or in himself but also in relation to his friend, because those who are virtuous are also good without qualification and useful to one another and completely pleasing. This is so because each man takes pleasure in his own actions and in actions similar to his own. Likewise the actions of virtuous men are those belonging to one man as proper to him and to another as similar to these; for operations that are according to virtue are not contrary to each other but all are according to right reason. So then it is obvious that the friendship of virtuous men comprehends not only good in an unqualified sense but also pleasure and utility.
1579. Then [2, b, ii, y], at “It is reasonable,” he concludes further that it is reasonable for such friendship to be long lasting and not readily transient, because it contains absolutely everything necessary for friends. Every friendship is for the sake of good or pleasure: either in itself (for example, when what is loved is in itself good and pleasurable) or in relation to the one loving which is to be good and pleasurable not in itself and properly but according to a kind of likeness to what is really and properly good and pleasurable. in fact all the preceding things are found in this friendship not incidentally but essentially; and those who are alike according to this friendship have the remaining goods too, because what is simply good is also pleasing. Since this friendship has all the requisites of friendship, it is not easily broken up, for a defective thing is usually set aside.
i58o. His third conclusion [2, b, ii, z], at “These things then,” observes that this friendship is the noblest kind because the state in which all the reasons for loving are united is most lovable. Objects of this kind are honorable goods because they are good without qualification and at the same time pleasurable and useful. Hence love in these cases should be most complete, and such friendship the noblest.
1581. Next [2, b, iii], at “Very likely,” he shows that this friendship is rare-an indication of its perfection, for perfection in any class is rather unusual. On this point he does three things. First [iii, x] he explains his intention. Then [iii, y], at “However, those who etc.,” he excludes an objection. Last [iii, z], at “A friendship of this kind then etc.,” he gives a summary. He explains his intention by two reasons. The first [x, aa] is that this friendship exists between virtuous men. But such men are scarce because of the difficulty of attaining the mean, as was pointed out in the second book (370). Consequently it is very likely that such friendships are rare.
1582. Then [x, bb], at “Besides, time,” be gives the second reason. Friendship between men of this kind requires a long time and mutual association so that they can decide among themselves who are virtuous and their friends. This is so because, according to the proverb, people do not come to know one another before they eat a peck of salt together. But one man ought not to take another as his friend until he appears to the other worthy of being loved and is believed to be so. This rarely occurs. Consequently such friendships are uncommon.
1583. Next [iii, y], at “However, those who,” he excludes an objection concerning those who seem to become friends at once. He says that people who quickly offer the services of friendship show that they want to be friends; nevertheless they are not yet friends until they know that they are lovable to one another. Thus it is clear that a man quickly acquires a wish for friendship but not friendship itself.
1584. Last [iii, z], at “A friendship of this kind,” he concludes with a summary that this friendship is perfect both in regard to duration because it is lasting, and in regard to the other conditions. It contains everything found in the other kinds of friendship; and friends perform like services for each other—a thing that is necessary for friendship because friends are alike in virtue.
Useful and Pleasurable Friendships Compared
(B) 3. HE NOW COMPARES THEM.
a. The other kinds ... are like perfect friendship.
i. In regard to the reason for loving. — 1585
But the friendship for pleasure has a likeness to this friendship, for virtuous men are pleasing to one another. The same can be said about utilitarian friendship since virtuous men are also useful to one another.
ii. In regard to the duration of friendship.
x. HOW ENDURING (THESE) FRIENDSHIPS ARE.
aa. Two reasons why these... are lasting.
a’ The first reason. — 1586-1587
But here again friendships are to a great extent lasting when an equal return, of pleasure for instance, is made by each friend; and not only by a return of pleasure, but also by a return of the same pleasurable object, as happens among the witty. This does not occur between a lover and his beloved, however, for they do not take pleasure in the same things: one in seeing the beloved, the other in receiving the attention of the lover. But when beauty fades, the friendship sometimes breaks up, because the lover is no longer attracted by the beloved and the other no longer receives the adulation of the lover.
b’ The second reason.
Again, many persons remain friends when they become accustomed to each other’s natural dispositions, these being similar. 1588
bb. Why they lack permanency. — 1589
Where people do not exchange pleasure but profit in matters of love, their friendship is less intense and also less enduring.
y. WHICH OF THESE IS MORE ENDURING. — 1590
Likewise, people who are friends by reason of utility break up their friendship when utility ends because they were not lovers of one another but only of profit.
b. How they differ.
i. Any type of men can become friends. — 1591
Therefore, for the sake of pleasure and utility bad people may be friends to one another, or good men may be friends to bad men; and those who are neither good nor bad may be friends with any sort of person. But it is plain that only virtuous men love each other because of themselves, for vicious men do not find pleasure in one another unless some advantage is forthcoming.
ii. The second difference. — 1592-1593
Only the friendship between virtuous men is unchangeable. For it is not easy to believe some evil about a person who often has been proved and never found acting unjustly, and in whom we have discovered whatever is considered worthy of true friendship. But in other types of friendship there is nothing to prevent all such kinds of suspicions from occurring. Indeed men designate as friends both those who love for utility, like alliances between states which seem to be contracted with a view to advantage, and those who love for pleasure, like children. Consequently we too should call men of this sort friends.
c. He summarizes what has been discussed. — 1594-1595
There are then many kinds of friendship. First and principally is the friendship between good men qua good. The remaining types are called friendship by analogy, for some men are friends in virtue of something good or something akin to good; even what is pleasurable seems to be good to those who are fond of pleasures. But these friendships do not combine very well nor do the same persons become friends from motives of utility.
Things that are incidental are not bound together in all respects. But friendship is divided into these species: evil men can be friends for pleasure or utility, this being their point of resemblance. On the other hand, good men are friends for one another’s sake, i.e., in virtue of their goodness. The good then are friends in an absolute sense, but the others only incidentally and because of their resemblance to the good.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1585. After the Philosopher has treated the three kinds of friendship, he now [B, 3] compares them. On this point he does three things. First [3, a] he shows in what respect the other kinds of friendship are like perfect friendship. Then [3, b], at “Therefore, for the sake etc.,” he shows how they differ. Last [3, c], at “There are then etc.,” he summarizes what has been discussed. He treats the first point in a twofold manner. First [a, i] he shows the likeness of the other kinds of friendship with perfect friendship in regard to the reason for loving. He explains that friendship for pleasure has a likeness to perfect friendship to the extent that virtuous men are pleasing to one another. Similarly, utilitarian friendship is like perfect friendship in this that virtuous men are useful to one another.
1586. Second [a, ii], at “But here again,” he shows the likeness in regard to the duration of friendship. On this point he does two things. First [ii, x] he shows how useful and pleasurable friendships endure. Next [ii, y], at “Likewise, people who etc.,” he shows which of these is more enduring. He discusses the first point from a double aspect. First [x, aa] he proposes two reasons why these two kinds of friendship are lasting; and in this they resemble perfect friendship. Then [x, bb], at “Where people etc.,” he states the reasons why they lack permanency. Initially [aa, a] he says that friendships even among those who are friends for utility and pleasure endure for the most part, since such persons make the same and an equal return to one another, for example, pleasure for pleasure. Because there is a variety of pleasures differing in kind and number according to the variety of pleasurable objects, the durability of friendship requires not only a return of pleasure but a return by the same kind of pleasurable object; this occurs among the witty, when one delights in the banter of the other. But this does not necessarily happen among persons who love one another sexually, since sometimes they do not take pleasure in the same things.
1587. But the lover takes pleasure in seeing the beauty of the beloved; and the beloved in receiving favors from the lover. On the termination of these circumstances, pleasurable friendship sometimes breaks up when the attractiveness of the one and the favor of the other cease.
1588. At “Again, many persons etc.” [aa, b’] he gives tile second reason for durability. . fie explains that even in friendship based on utility and pleasure many remain friends when one loves the ways of the other, like one lustful person loves the ways of another, or one miser loves the ways of another; not that such ways are attractive of themselves but by reason of habit inasmuch as both persons have like habits. But likeness is essentially a cause of friendship unless it incidentally hinders the good of the individual, as we stated previously (1566). Since evil habits acquired from custom are enduring, such a friendship is lasting.
1589. Then [x, bb], at “Where people,” he states the reason why friendship is deficient in durability. He says that people who do not make a return of one pleasurable object for another but of a useful object for a pleasurable one are less friends because of slighter likeness to one another. Hence their friendship is less enduring.
1590. Next [ii, y], at “Likewise, People who,” he compares the durability of the two kinds of friendship. He says that men who are friends by reason of utility break up their friendship when utility ceases, because they were friends, not of one another, but of the utility they seek. But pleasure comes more from the beloved in himself, than does utility which sometimes is in an external object.
1591. At “Therefore, for the sake” [3, b] he states two differences by which the two kinds of friendship deviate from perfect friendship. First [b, i] he infers from the discussions that for the sake of pleasure and utility any type of men can become friends with one another, for example, the good with the good, the bad with the bad, and even those who are neither virtuous nor vicious with both (i.e., the good and the bad), and with each other. But only good men make friends in that perfect friendship by which men are loved for their own sakes; evil men do not provide anything except utility by reason of which they can love one another or find mutual pleasure.
1592. He gives the second difference at “Only the friendship” [b, ii], saying that only friendship between virtuous men, which is the perfect kind, is of itself unchangeable. Friendship is destroyed especially when one friend finds in the other something opposed to their friendship. But this is impossible in friendship between the virtuous. A man does not readily believe some evil about one whom he has often proved and never found doing any wrong and in whom he has discovered whatever is considered worthy of true friendship. Consequently, such a friendship does not break up because it is friendship essentially and not incidentally, and because it is perfect containing in itself everything requisite for friendship—the reasons have been given before (1578-1582); and also because it does not admit as an obstacle to friendship what is now offered as a reason.
1593. But in other kinds of friendship nothing hinders one from believing evil of another and acting unjustly to another. Therefore, some would not be termed friends according to these types of friendship. But people have usually designated as friends of this kind both those who love for the sake of utility (friendship is said to exist among states because of the advantage of mutually fighting against their common enemies) and those who love one another for the sake of pleasure, as is evident among children. So we should follow the customary way of speaking and call such men friends.
1594. Last [3, c], at “There are then,” he summarizes what has been said about the kinds of friendship, stating that there are many kinds of friendship. That between good men, as good, being friendship in the primary and proper sense, while the remaining kinds are called friendship from a likeness to this. Some men are called friends according to these types of friendship to the extent that there is present a likeness to true friendship. It is clear that what is pleasurable seems to be a kind of good to those who love pleasures. So this friendship has a likeness to that which is an unqualified good; and the same argument prevails in the case of useful friendship.
1595. However, these two kinds of friendship are not so combined that friends for utility and friends for pleasure are identical, for things that are incidental are not united in all cases, for instance, what is musical and white.The kinds of friendship just treated are friendships incidentally, as we have pointed out (1566), hence they are not always combined. If then, according to the division of friendship into the foregoing species, the evil can be friends among themselves, to that extent they are like one another in one or other of these aspects. But only the good are friends essentially; others are friends by way of resemblance, to the extent that they resemble the good.
The Act and Habit of Friendship
II. HE NOW TREATS (THE KINDS OF FRIENDSHIP) IN RELATION TO (ITS) PROPER ACT.
A. He distinguishes friendship by reason of habit and act.
1. HE DISTINGUISHES THE KINDS OF FRIENDSHIP BY WAY OF HABIT AND ACT. — 1596
Just as in the case of the virtues, some men are called good by reason of habit and others by reason of performance; so in friendship, some actually live together pleasantly and do good for one another, others who are asleep or separated by place do not actually perform the works of friend ship although they have its habit. Distance indeed, does not sever friendship itself but only prevents the acts of friendship.
2. HE SHOWS THAT SOME LOSE FRIENDSHIP BY LACK OF FRIENDLY ACTS.
a. He explains his proposition.
i. First, about those... separated... for a long time. — 1597
However, if the absence is prolonged, it apparently makes people forget friendship. So goes the proverb: “Out of sight, out of mind.”
ii. He shows the same thing about the old and the morose. — 1598
Neither old men nor morose men seem inclined to friendship because there is very little that is pleasant in them. No one can continually live with a gloomy person or with one who is unpleasant, for nature avoids the painful and seeks the pleasant.
iii. About a third class of men. — 1599
But those who get along with one another and yet do not live together are more like well-wishers than friends.
b. He proves what he had assumed. — 1600
Nothing is so characteristic of friends as living together; the needy desire assistance but even the happy (who especially do not like to be alone) wish to spend their time with their friends. Men, however, cannot associate with one another unless they are pleasant and rejoice in the same things; this is found in the friendship of those who are comrades.
3. HE SHOWS THAT FRIENDSHIP ESPECIALLY BETWEEN VIRTUOUS MEN ARISES FROM... THE VERY ACT OF FRIENDSHIP. — 1601
Friendship, then, between the virtuous is friendship in the best sense, as we have noted many times. The reason is that what is wholly good and pleasurable seems to be lovable and worthy of choice; and a thing of this nature is lovable and worthy of choice by everyone. But it is for these two reasons that one virtuous man is good in the eyes of another virtuous man.
B. He proves what he had assumed.
1. HE STATES HIS PROPOSAL. — 1602
Affection resembles an emotion but friendship itself is similar to a habit.
2. HE PROVES HIS PROPOSITION.
a. First (reason). — 1603
Affection, however, may be bestowed even on lifeless objects. But a return of love for love is accompanied by deliberate choice, and what is done by choice is from habit.
b. Second reason. — 1604
Men wish good to friends for their sake, not from passion but from habit.
3. HE ANSWERS AN IMPLIED OBJECTION. — 1605-1606
Likewise, those who love a friend love their own good; for when a good man becomes a friend he also becomes a good to his friend. So each loves what is good for himself and repays equally both in goodwill and in pleasantness. The reason is that friendship is a kind of equality. What has been said applies especially to the friendship which exists between virtuous men.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1596. After the Philosopher has distinguished the kinds of friendship, he now [II] treats them in relation to the proper act of friendship. On this point he does two things. First [II, A] he distinguishes friendship by reason of habit and act. Second [II, B], at “Affection resembles etc.,” he proves what he had assumed. He discusses the first point from three aspects. First [A, 1] he distinguishes the kinds of friendship by way of habit and act. Then [A, 2], at “However, if etc.,” he shows that some lose friendship by lack of friendly acts. Last [A, 3], at “Friendship then etc.,” he shows that friendship especially between virtuous men arises from the nature of the very act of friendship. He says first that, as in other virtues some men are called good or virtuous by reason of habit (for example, the brave or the generous) even when they are not performing the act of virtue, but others are called virtuous for actually performing a virtuous action; so too in friendship some are friends actually inasmuch as they live together pleasantly and do good for one another—two things that seem to belong to the act of friendship. But others are not actually performing the works of friendship, although they are so disposed by habit that they are inclined to perform such works—this is obvious of friends who are asleep or locally separated from one another. Indeed, separation does not sever friendship itself but only friendship’s activity. Thus it is evident that the habit of friendship remains even when its expression ceases.
1597. Then [A, 2], at “However, if the absence,” he shows how in some cases friendship ceases from a lack of friendly acts. First [2, a] he explains his proposition. Second [2, b], at “Nothing is so etc.,” he proves what he had assumed. He explains his proposition in regard to three classes of men. First [a, i], about those who are separated from one another for a long time. He says that if the absence of friends from one another is prolonged, it seems to cause forgetfulness of a previous friendship. In this way other habits are also weakened and finally disappear from lack of use. As habits are acquired by practice, they must be preserved by practice, for everything is preserved by its cause. For that reason it has become proverbial that many friendships are destroyed through a man’s neglect to call upon his friend, to converse and associate with him.
1598. Second [a, ii], at “Neither old men,” he shows the same thing about the old and the morose. He says that neither the old nor the morose, i.e., people severe in word and social intercourse, seem to be friendly or disposed for friendship because they are not inclined to the activity of friendship, namely, association. Very little that is pleasant is found in them. For this reason they are not easy to live with, for no one can spend his days (i.e., a long time) with a man who is gloomy or with one who is unpleasant. Men and other animals find it natural to avoid pain and seek pleasure which appears to be simply repose of the appetite in a desired good.
1599. Third [a, iii], at “But those who,” he shows the same thing about a third class of men, viz., those who are acceptable to one another in this, that one approves the ways and conduct of the other although for some reason the two never live together. Such persons, he says, are more like well-wishers than friends because friendship requires living together for some time.
1600. Next [2, b], at “Nothing is so, “ he proves what he had assumed, namely, that living together is required for friendship as its proper act. He says nothing is so characteristic of friends as living together. Previously (1595) he stated that two works belong to the act of friendship: living together and bestowing favors on one another—this is to bring a friend some benefit, a thing that not all but only the needy seek from friends. Even happy people, i.e., those with abundance (who do not like to be alone) desire to spend their days (i.e., a long time) with friends. Nor can men associate with one another if they are not mutually pleasant and do not rejoice in the same things—two qualities found in the friendship of those who are brought up together. So then it is evident that the principal act of friendship is to live with one’s friends.
1601. At “Friendship then” [A, 3] he concludes from the premises that friendship between virtuous., men is friendship in the best sense, as we have frequently noted (1574-1579, 1592). That seems to be lovable and absolutely worthy of choice in itself which is wholly good and pleasurable. But something of this nature, i.e., good or pleasurable in itself is lovable and worthy of choice for everyone. But one virtuous man is lovable to another and worthy of choice for these two reasons: each is good and pleasant without qualification, and each is good and pleasant to the other. Consequently, virtuous men especially can live pleasantly with one another.
1602. Then [II, B], at “Affection resembles,” he proves what he had previously assumed: that friendship may be predicated not only according to act but also according to habit. On this point he does three things. First [B, 1] he states his proposal, saying that affection seems to indicate passion. But friendship seems to indicate habit and to be like other habits.
1603. Second [B, 2], at “Affection, however,” he proves his proposition by two reasons. The first [2, a] is that one-sided love can be bestowed even on lifeless objects, as we are said to love wine or gold. But mutual love—which belongs to the notion of friendship, as we have indicated (1557)—is accompanied by deliberate choice, for this is found only among rational beings. But what is done by choice is not done from passion but rather from habit. Therefore friendship is a habit.
1604. He gives the second reason at “Men wish” [2, b], saying that by friendship men wish good to friends for their friends’ sake. If men wished good for their own sake they would love themselves rather than others. But to love others for their sake is not from passion because passion, since it belongs to the sensitive’ appetite, does not go beyond the particular good of the one loving. Consequently, it remains that this is from habit; and so friendship is a habit.
1605. Third [B, 3], at “Likewise, those who love,” he answers an implied objection. It has just been said (1601) that what is good to anyone is lovable to him. It seems contrary to this, that a man loves his friend for the friend’s sake. But he answers that those who love a friend love what is good to themselves. When a person, who is a good in himself ‘ becomes a friend to someone, he also becomes a good to his friend. So each, in loving his friend, loves what is good for himself; and each makes an equal return to his friend both in the fact of willing —as he wishes good to his friend—and in the kind of willing. He wishes good to his friend not for his own but for the friend’s sake. The reason is that friendship is a kind of equality precisely as it requires mutual love. This seems to be an addition above the mode of virtue, for in any virtue the act of the virtuous man is enough. But in friendship the act of one is not sufficient but the acts of two mutually loving one another must concur. For that reason the Philosopher did not state absolutely that it is a virtue but added “or at least accompanies virtue,” because it seems to add something above the notion of virtue.
1606. The observations that have been made about friendship seem to be especially applicable to friendship between virtuous men.
Friendship in Relation to Its Subject
III. HE NOW DISCUSSES (FRIENDSHIP) IN RELATION... TO FRIENDS THEMSELVES.
A. He treats the aptitude and ineptitude of some... for friendship. — 1607-1608
But friendship among morose and elderly people occurs less frequently inasmuch as they are more peevish and have little taste for conversations that especially seem to be the marks and cause of friendship. For this reason youths make friends quickly but not old people, for they cannot become friends of those whose company they do not enjoy. The same reason holds for austere persons who, nevertheless, entertain kindly feelings toward one another; for they wish each other well and assist one another in their needs. However, they do not really become friends because they do not live together nor take pleasure in one another’s company-activities that are especially characteristic of friendship.
B. (He treats) the number of friends.
1. HE SHOWS THAT IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO BE A FRIEND TO MANY BY... PERFECT FRIENDSHIP.
a. First (reason). — 1609
It is not possible to be a friend of many people by perfect friendship, as neither is it possible to be in love with many persons at the same time. Perfect friendship has a likeness to excess, but it is designed by nature for one object only.
b. Second reason. — 1610
Then too it is difficult for many to be exceedingly pleasing at the same time to the same person. But perhaps this would not be expedient.
c. Third reason. — 1611
Besides, friendship implies familiarity and experience which are very difficult.
2. HE SHOWS THAT THIS HAPPENS IN TWO OTHER KINDS OF FRIENDSHIP. — 1612
In friendships for the sake of utility and pleasure many may be pleasing to one. The reason is that many can be useful and pleasant, and their services can be rendered in a short time.
3. HE COMPARES THE TWO KINDS OF FRIENDS.
a. He states his proposition. — 1613
Friendship between such persons, however, seems rather to be for the sake of pleasure since the same activities may be performed by both: they may find delight in one another and in the same things. The friendships of the young are like this.
b. He proves his proposition by two reasons.
i. First. — 1614
Their friendship seems more generous than friendship for utility, which is for gain.
ii. Second. — 1615
But fortunate people have no need of useful friends, although they do need pleasant friends for they must live with others. People can bear unpleasantness for a time but no one can continuously endure something unpleasant—not even good itself if it were displeasing.
c. He infers a corollary. — 1616
For this reason people look for pleasant friends; even those who are friends for virtue’s sake must also be pleasant and good to one another. Thus they will have all the requisites for friendship.
C. (He treats) the differentiation of friends.
1. HE STATES HIS PROPOSITION. — 1617
Men in power seem to have different classes of friends, some of whom are useful and others pleasant to them; for the same persons are not likely to be friends in both ways.
2. HE PROVES (IT). — 1618
Nor do the powerful seek pleasant friends who are also virtuous nor friends useful for honorable projects But to provide amusement they desire some who are witty, and others who are industrious in doing whatever they are commanded. Such qualities, however, are rarely found in the same person.
3. HE ANSWERS AN OBJECTION. — 1619-1620
It has been said, though, that a man can be a pleasant and useful friend at the same time, as in the case of the virtuous person. But a virtuous man does not become a friend of one who is eminent unless the latter is surpassed by the former in virtue. If this does not happen, there is no proportionate equality. But such people (who excel the good man in virtue) are not easy to find.
D. He shows that the kinds of friendship discussed consist in equality.
1. HE EXPLAINS HIS PROPOSITION. — 1621
Consequently, the friendships discussed consist in equality, for friends both do and wish the same things for one another; or they exchange one thing for another, for instance, pleasure for utility.
2. HE SHOWS HOW THE TWO KINDS (OF FRIENDSHIP) COMPARE WITH THE DEFINITION OF FRIENDSHIP. — 1622-1623
We have explained that these are less perfect and also less enduring friendships. Indeed according to their similarity or dissimilarity to the same thing they seem to be or not to be friendships. Inasmuch as they have a likeness to friendship based on virtue they seem to be friendships; for one kind has pleasure and the other utility. But perfect friendship has both. They differ, however, for perfect friendship is unchanging and permanent while the others quickly change; on account of this dissimilarity the latter do not seem to be genuine friendships.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1607. After the Philosopher has distinguished the different kinds of friendship, he now [III] discusses these friendships in relation to their subject, that is, to friends themselves. This aspect he treats from three angles. First [III, A] he treats the aptitude and ineptitude of some persons for friendship; then [III, B], at “It is not possible etc.,” the number of friends; last [III, C], at “Men in power etc.,” the differentiation of friends. He says first that the more peevish they are, the fewer friendships morose and elderly people form because, presuming on themselves, they follow their own way, For that reason they cannot agree with others: they have little taste for conversation with others both because they are intent on themselves and because they are suspicious of others. But concord and conversation with friends seem especially to be the works of friendship and its cause.
1608. Consequently youths, who find much pleasure in conversation and readily agree with others, quickly make friends. This does not happen with old people, for they cannot become friends of those whose company and conversation they do not enjoy. The same reason holds for morose persons who are quarrelsome and critical of what others do. But such people, i.e., the elderly and the severe, can be benevolent inasmuch as they affectively wish good to others and even effectively assist them in their needs. However they do not really become friends because they do not live with nor take pleasure in the company of their friends-activities that seem to be the special works of friendship.
1609. Then [III, B], at “It is not possible,” he treats the number of friends. He explains this point in a threefold manner. First [ B, 1 ] he shows that it is not possible to be a friend to many people by the perfect friendship that exists between virtuous persons. Second [B, 2], at “In friendships etc.,” he shows that this happens in two other kinds of friendship: those for utility and pleasure. Third [B, 3], at “Friendship between etc.,” he compares the two kinds of friends with one another. He shows first, by three reasons, that it is not possible for a person to be a friend of many people by perfect friendship built on the good of virtue. The first [1, a] is that, since this friendship is perfect and best, it has a likeness to excess in loving-if the extent of love be considered. But if we consider the notion of loving there cannot be an excess. It is not possible for virtue and a virtuous person to be loved excessively by another virtuous person who regulates his affections by reason. Superabundant love is not designed by nature for many but for one only. This is evident in sexual love according to which one man cannot at the same time love many women in an excessive manner. Therefore, the perfect friendship of the virtuous cannot extend to many persons.
1610. He gives the second reason [I, b] at “Then too it is difficult.” It is this. In perfect friendship friends are exceedingly pleasing to one another. But it is not easy for many to be exceedingly pleasing at the same time to the same individual, because few are to be found who do not have something displeasing to a person affected in some way by man’s many defects and conflicting dispositions. Thus it happens that, while one is very pleasing, another may not be. Perhaps it is fortunate and desirable that many cannot be exceedingly pleasing to one man who, while associating with many, would not be able to care for himself. Therefore, one cannot be a friend to many by perfect friendship.
1611. He gives the third reason [i, c] at “Besides, friendship etc.” It is this. In perfect friendship we must become acquainted with a friend by habitual association. But this is very hard and cannot happen with many people. Therefore, one does not have many friends by perfect friendship.
1612. Next [B, 2], at “In friendships,” he shows that in the other two kinds of friendship, which are based on utility and pleasure, it is possible for a man to have many friends who are pleasing to him; and this for two reasons. First, because many can be useful and pleasant. Second, because a long period of trial is not required, it suffices that for a short time people provide one another with pleasure, for example, or even some utility.
1613. Then [B, 3], at “Friendship between such,” he compares the two kinds of friends. First [3, a] he states his proposition: with those just mentioned, among whom one can have many friends, friendship for pleasure’s sake seems to be more like true friendship; on condition, though that the same thing is done by both, namely, each affords pleasure to the other, for in this way they rejoice in the same things—a characteristic of friendship. In fact, this is an indication that there is one pleasure for those who delight in the same things. But the case is different when pleasure is occasioned on the part of one and utility on the part of the other. However, such are the friendships among youths that on either side they love each other for the sake of pleasure.
1614. Second [3, b], at “Their friendship,” he proves his proposition by two reasons. The first [b, il] is that in pleasurable friendship friends love one another more generously than in useful friendship in which a profitable return is sought—this friendship seems to be a kind of business affair. Hence friendship for the sake of pleasure is more powerful, as more resembling perfect friendship, which is most generous inasmuch as by it friends are loved for their own sakes.
1615. He gives the second reason [b, ii] at “But fortunate people.” It is this. Fortunate men, i.e., the rich, have no need of useful friends since they are sufficient unto themselves, but they do have need of pleasant friends, for they must live with others; and this is impossible without pleasantness. People can bear unpleasantness for a time. But no man can continuously endure something unpleasant; he could not even stand good itself if it were displeasing. Consequently men who do not find pleasure in virtuous activities cannot persevere in them, So then it is evident that pleasurable friendship is more effectual than useful friendship, as being necessary to a great number and to more generous people.
T616. Third [3, c], at “For this reason,” he infers a corollary from the discussions. Since even an honorable good would be intolerable if it were distasteful, it follows that friends for virtue’s sake must be pleasant to one another. They must be not only good in themselves, but also good to one another. Thus they will have the requisites for friendship.
1617. Next [III, C], at “Men in power,” he treats the distinction of friends. On this point he does three things. First [C, 1] he states his proposition, that men situated in positions of power are accustomed to different kinds of friends in such a way that some are useful to them and others pleasant. It is not usual for the same men to be their friends in both ways.
1618. Second [C, 2], at “Nor do the powerful,” he proves his proposition from the fact that these powerful men do not seek the pleasures of virtue—this type of pleasure has utility connected with it. Nor do they seek friends useful in the attainment of honorable good—this utility has a pleasure attached to it. For amusement they seek witty or entertaining people, like comedians. But for utility they desire other friends (dinos) i.e., shrewd in executing whatever is commanded, either good or bad. These two qualities, viz., shrewdness and jocularity, are not found in the same person because skillful people are not given to jesting but to serious matters. Hence it is evident that the powerful have different kinds of friends.
1619. Third [C, 3], at “It has been said, though,” he answers an objection. Someone can object that friends of the powerful are at the same time pleasant and useful because, as was explained previously (1585), a good or virtuous person is at the same time pleasant and useful. But Aristotle answers that the virtuous man does not become a friend of one eminent in power or riches unless the virtuous person is surpassed in virtue by the powerful. If this is not the case, the more powerful one who is surpassed in virtue does not make himself proportionately equal, i.e., does not give proportionate compensation to the virtuous man; that is to say, as the virtuous person defers to him as the more powerful so he should defer to the virtuous man as the better.
1620. Usually, to the extent that men excel in power and riches they think themselves better; and we are not accustomed to find men in power who also excel in virtue or defer to the virtuous as the better.
1621. Then [III, D], at “Consequently, the friendships,” he shows that the kinds of friendship discussed consist in equality. He treats this point in a twofold manner. First [D, 1] he explains his proposition, concluding from the premises that the kinds of friendship just treated consist in equality. Since this is obvious about friendship for the sake of virtue, he proves the proposition in regard to friendship based on utility and pleasure: either men wish and do the same things for one another, i.e., return pleasure for pleasure or utility for utility, or they exchange one for the other, i.e., utility for pleasure or vice versa.
1622. Next [D, 2], at “We have explained,” he shows how the two kinds compare with the definition of friendship. He says that from the discussions obviously the kinds of friendship which are less proper are less lasting than the perfect friendship of the virtuous, according to whose likeness or unlikeness friendships seem to be or not to be denominated. Inasmuch as they resemble perfect friendship they seem to be friendship according as one of them has pleasure and another utility. Perfect friendship has both.
1623. But in respect to other qualities they are dissimilar according as perfect friendship is unchanging and lasting. The remaining kinds, however, quickly change; they also differ in many other particulars, as is evident from the previous discussions (1594-1595). On account of this dissimilarity they do not seem to be species of true friendship.
Friendship Between Unequals
I. HE DISCUSSES THE FRIENDSHIPS OF A SUPERIOR FOR A SUBORDINATE.
A. He distinguishes the classification of this friendship from the previous kinds. — 1624-1625
There is another kind of friendship that consists in an inequality, as the friendship of a father with a son, or—in general—of an older with a younger person, of a husband with a wife, and of a ruler with his subject.
B. He distinguishes friendships of this type from one another.
1. HE STATES HIS PROPOSAL. — 1626
These friendships, though, differ from one another because the friendship of parents for children is not the same as the friendship of ruler for subjects; nor is the friendship of a father for a son the same as that of a son for a father; nor of a husband for a wife, as of a wife for a husband.
2. HE EXPLAINS HIS PROPOSAL BY TWO REASONS.
a. First. — 1627
Indeed the virtue and function of these persons is different.
b. Second. — 1628
Different, too, are their motives for loving. Therefore their affections and friendships differ.
C. He shows how these friendships are preserved.
1. IN THIS THAT THEY MUTUALLY OFFER WHAT THEY SHOULD.
a. They mutually offer what is proper. — 1629
Certainly the same benefits are not received by each from the other, nor should they be sought. When children give to their parents what is due the authors of their being and which parents give to children what is due their offspring, there will exist between them a lasting and virtuous friendship.
b. These reciprocations are... according to proportionality. — 1630
In all friendships according to inequality love must be given proportionately. Thus the superior party is loved more than he loves; the same is true of the person who is more useful or more excellent in any way at all. When love is bestowed according to excellence a kind of equality will arise that seems to belong to friendship.
c. How this applies to justice and friendship in a different manner.
i. He gives the difference. — 1631-1632
Equality, however, does not seem to be applicable to justice and friendship in the same way. Equality in justice is accounted first according to excellence and then according to quantity. But in friendship quantitative equality must be considered first and then what is in conformity with excellence.
ii. He makes it clear by an indication.
x. HE STATES THE INDICATION. — 1633
This is clearly the case if there is a great difference in virtue or vice or anything else, for men do not then remain friends; nor do they even expect to be friends.
y. HE GIVES THREE EXAMPLES. — 1634
This is evident in the case of the gods because they greatly exceed men in good things; it is clear too of kings, for people in humbler walks of life are not likely to have royal friends; it is true also of the best and wisest men with whom individuals of no distinction do not become friends.
z. HE ANSWERS AN IMPLIED QUESTION. — 1635
In such matters then it is not possible to determine exactly at what point men can be friends, for, when many qualities are absent friendship still remains. But if the persons are far removed from one another, like men from God, the friendship ceases.
iii. He solves a doubt.
x. HE RAISES IT. — 1636
From this a doubt arises that men do not perhaps wish their friends the greatest goods, for example, that they become gods; for then the friends will not benefit them.
y. HE SOLVES (IT).
aa. First. — 1637
If it was correctly stated that a man wishes good things to a friend for his sake, we must suppose that the
friend remains much the same person as he is. One wishes the most excellent goods to his friend as he is a man;
bb. Second. — 1638
but perhaps not all goods, for every one wishes good to himself most of all.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1624. After the Philosopher has distinguished the kinds of friendship that consist in equality, he now distinguishes the kinds of friendship that exist between unequal persons. He treats two aspects of this subject. First he determines the things pertaining in general to the distinction of such friendships. Then [Lect. 9], at “As we noted at the outset etc.” (B. 1159 b 25), he treats the distinction of these friendships according to their particular natures. On the first point he does two things. First [I] he discusses the friendships of a superior for a subordinate, as father for son, husband for wife. Second [Lect. 8; II], at “Between opposites, however etc.” (B. 1159 b 12), he discusses friendships existing between opposites, like a poor man and a rich man, and so on. He treats the first point in a threefold manner. First [I, A] he distinguishes the classification of this friendship from the previous kinds of friendships. Then [I, B], at “These friendships, though etc.,” he distinguishes friendships of this type from one another. Last [I, C], at “Certainly the same benefits etc.,” he shows how these friendships are preserved.
1625. He says first that besides the foregoing friendships, which we said (1562-1595) consist in equality from the fact that they belong to persons having likeness in virtue or utility or pleasure, there is another kind of friendship that consists in inequality (inasmuch as one person excels another), as the friendship of a father with a son, or—in general—of an older with a younger person, or of a husband with a wife, or for the most part of a superior with a subordinate.
1626. Then [I, B], at “These friendships, though,” he differentiates these friendships from one another. First [B, 1] he states his proposal, saying that friendships of this type differ in kind. He assigns two differences, one according to various relations of inequality: the friendship of a father for a son is one kind, and of a ruler for his subject is another. Another difference is according to the contrasting relation of the superior and subordinate; for the friendship of a father for a son is not the same as the friendship of a son for a father, nor is the friendship of a husband for a wife the same as the friendship of a wife for a husband.
1627, Second [B, 2], at “Indeed the virtue,” he explains his proposal by two reasons. The first [2, a] is that, since friendship may be predicated according to habit and act, every friend necessarily should have an habitual disposition to do the things pertaining to friendship as well as the function itself of friendship. But it is clear in the case of the persons just mentioned that the function is not the same, for example of a father toward a son and of a husband toward a wife or even of a son toward a father; and consequently there is not the same virtue. Therefore, they are also different kinds of friendship.
1628. He gives the second reason [2, b] at “Different, too, are.” It is this. In these friendships there are different motives why people love. It is for a different reason that a father loves a son and a son loves a father, and a husband loves a wife. But according to the different reasons for loving there are different kinds of love and so different kinds of friendship.
1629. Next [I, C], at “Certainly the same benefits,” he shows how these friendships are preserved. First [C, 1] he explains that they are preserved by the parties mutually offering what. they should in regard to loving and being loved. Then [Lect. 8; C, 2], at “Because of a desire for honor etc.” (B. 1159 a 13), he explains how loving and being loved are related to friendship. He discusses the first point in a threefold manner. First [1, a] he shows how these friendships are preserved because the parties mutually offer what is proper. Next [1, b], at “In all friendships etc.,” he shows that these reciprocations are considered according to proportionality. Last [1, c], at “Equality, however etc.,” he explains how this applies to justice and friendship in a different manner. He says first that in these friendships the same benefits are not bestowed by each friend, and it is unnecessary to expect in return the same benefits that one bestows. For example, a son ought not to ask of his father the reverence that the son shows the father, as in the previous friendships pleasure was offered for pleasure and utility for utility. But when children show their parents what is due those who have generated them, and when parents show their children what is due their offspring, there will exist between them a lasting and just or virtuous friendship.
163o. Next [I, b], at “In all friendships,” he shows how what is proper is offered in these friendships. He says that in all friendships involving inequality of one person to the other, love is given proportionately, so that the superior party is loved more than he loves; the same is true concerning the person who is more useful, more pleasant, or more excellent in any way whatsoever. For when each person is loved by reason of the worth he manifests, an equality of proportion that apparently pertains to friendship will ensue.
1631. Then [1, c], at “Equality, however,” he shows how this is applicable to justice and friendship in a different manner. First [c, i] he gives the difference. Second [c, ii], at “This is clearly etc.,” he makes it clear by an indication. Last [c, iii], at “From this a doubt etc., he solves a doubt. He says first that equality and proportion, which are considered in the light of one’s excellence, are not found in the same way in justice and friendship. For, as we have noted in the fifth book (935) concerning justice, excellence first must be accounted or judged according to proportion, and then an exchange will be made according to equality. But in friendship, on the contrary, an equality between the persons loving one another first must be taken into consideration and then what is in conformity with excellence must be offered to each.
1632. The reason for this difference is that friendship is a kind of union or association of friends that cannot exist between widely separated persons; but they must approach equality. Hence it pertains to friendship to use an equality already uniformly established, but it pertains to justice to reduce unequal things to an equality. When equality exists the work of justice is done. For that reason equality is the goal of justice and the starting point of friendship.
1633. At “This is clearly” [c, ii] he clarifies his statement by an indication. He discusses this point in a threefold way. First [ii, x] he states the indication . He says that the declaration (1631 1632) of the prime necessity of equality in friendship is obvious from the fact that, if there is a great difference in virtue or vice or any other thing, men do not remain friends; nor is it considered suitable for people to maintain friendship with those who differ considerably from themselves.
1634. Second [ii, y], at “This is evident,” he gives three examples. First, of beings who greatly surpass men in all good things. Hence they do not maintain friendship with men so as to converse and live with them. These separated substances Aristotle calls gods, according to pagan custom. The second example is of kings whose friendship people in humbler walks of life are not likely to have. He takes the third example from the best and wisest of men, with whom individuals of little worth do not become friends.
1635. Third [ii, z], at “In such matters,” he answers an implied question. Someone might ask what barriers can friendship overcome and what barriers can it not overcome. Aristotle answers that in such matters an exact determination is not possible. But it suffices to know in general that many qualities can be absent from one that are present in the other and the friendship still remains. If the persons are far apart, like men from God, then the friendship we are discussing does not survive.
1636, Then [c, iii], at “From this a doubt,” he solves an incidental doubt. First [iii, x] he raises it. He says that from the discussions a doubt arises whether men can wish their friends the greatest goods, for example, that they be gods or kings or most virtuous. It seems not, because then they will no longer have their friends, and in this way they themselves will lose great benefits, viz., their friends.
1637. Next [iii, y], at “If it was,” he solves this doubt in two ways. First [y, aa], when it was explained before (1604) that a man wishes good things to a friend for his sake, we must suppose that the friend himself remains much the same, whatever that may be, after the possession of these goods. A person wishes the most excellent goods to a friend as he is a man, not as he is changed into a god.
1638. He gives the second solution at “but perhaps.” He asserts that a man wishes good to his friend, but not more than to all others, because everyone wishes good to himself most of all. Hence it is not reasonable that a man should wish a friend those goods by which he will lose that friend who is a great good.
Loving and Being Loved as Related to Friendship
(C) 2. HE ... SHOWS HOW LOVING AND BEING LOVED PERTAIN TO FRIENDSHIP.
a. Loving is more characteristic of friendship than being loved.
i. Why some people wish rather to be loved than to love.
x. HE STATES HIS PROPOSITION. — 1639
Because of a desire for honor most people seem to wish to be loved rather than to love.
y. HE CONFIRMS HIS STATEMENT. — 1640
For this reason most men are fond of flattery. Now the flatterer is a friend of humbler status or pretends to be of a humbler status and to love more than he is loved.
z. HE EXPLAINS (IT). — 1641
Being loved seems to be closely connected with being honored, which is something that most men desire.
ii. He compares being loved with being honored.
x. HE SHOWS WHY PEOPLE WISH TO BE HONORED. — 1642-1643
And yet men do not seem to desire honor for its own sake but only incidentally. The common run of men delight to be honored by the powerful because they hope to obtain something they need; they rejoice in the honor as an omen of good to be received. Others want to be honored by virtuous and wise men, desiring to confirm their own opinion about themselves. They delight, therefore, in a sense of their own goodness, having confidence in the judgment so expressed.
y. MEN DELIGHT...IN BEING LOVED. — 1644
People however take pleasure in being loved for the sake of love.
z. HE DRAWS A CONCLUSION. —
Therefore, being loved seems to be better than being honored; and friend. ship is in itself worthy of choice.
iii. He shows that loving is more proper to friendship than being loved. — 1646-1647
Friendship, however, seems to consist rather in loving than in being loved. An indication of this is that mothers take more pleasure in loving than in being loved by their offspring. Some mothers give to others the rearing of their children; and while knowing them to be their children they love them, but do not seek a return of love if it is impossible both to love and be loved. They seem satisfied to know that their little ones are doing well; they love them even if the children in their ignorance cannot offer what is due a mother.
b. He shows that friendship is preserved by loving... proportionately.
i. He shows how friendship is lasting because of the proportion. — 1648-1649
Since friendship consists rather in loving and friends are praised for it, the excellence of a friend seems to be found in loving. For this reason persons who love their friends in proportion to their worth remain friends and their friendship is lasting. In this way, more than any other, those who are unequal will become friends because they will thus be made equal. But then friendship is a kind of equality and likeness.
ii. He compares the different kinds of friendship relative to what has been said before.
x. HE SHOWS WHICH FRIENDSHIP IS MOST ENDURING. — 1650
This likeness is found especially among virtuous men, for they remain stable both in themselves and in friendship with one another. They neither ask others to do wrong nor do wrong themselves; and we may say that they even prevent evil. It is characteristic of virtuous men that they neither sin themselves nor suffer their friends to commit sins.
y. HE SHOWS WHICH FRIENDSHIP IS LEAST ENDURING. — 1651
Evil men, however, have no steadfastness, for they do not long remain the same. They are friends for the short time they rejoice together in evil.
z. HE SHOWS WHICH FRIENDSHIPS HOLD A MIDDLE PLACE. — 1652
But friends for utility and pleasure remain longer in their friendships, for these last as long as pleasure and utility are provided by each party.
II. HE DISCUSSES FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN PERSONS OF DISPARATE CONDITION.
A. Under what species... we may place the friendship between opposites.
1. THIS FRIENDSHIP... SEEMS TO BE FOR THE SAKE OF UTILITY. — 1653
Between opposites, however, friend ship seems to be formed most of all for utility-thus between a poor man and a rich man, an uneducated man and a learned man-inasmuch as one friend seeks what he needs from the other who gives something in return.
2. THIS MAY BE CHARACTERISTIC ALSO OF PLEASURABLE FRIENDSHIP. — 1654
To this type of friendship may be assigned the lover and the beloved, the beautiful and the ugly.
3. HE INFERS A COROLLARY. — 1655
For this reason lovers seem ridiculous at times when they expect as much love as they give-a proper thing if the parties are equally worthy of love. But if they do not have this qualification they appear absurd.
B. Explains how contrary may seek-contrary. — 1656
Perhaps one opposite does not seek another in itself but only incidentally, for what is really sought is the mean. This indeed is good for the dry, not that it become wet but reach a middle state. The same is true of the hot. Because these matters are foreign to our study, we may dismiss them.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1639. After the Philosopher has determined that friendship between unequal persons is maintained by a proportionality of loving and being loved, he now [C, 2] shows how loving and being loved pertain to friendship. On this point he does two things. First [2, a] he shows that loving is more characteristic of friendship than being loved. Then [2, b], at “Since friendship etc.,” he shows that friendship is preserved by loving according to excellence or proportionately. He treats the first point from three aspects. First [a, i] he shows why some people wish rather to be loved than to love. Second [a, ii], at “And yet men etc.,” he compares being loved with being honored. Third [a, iii], at “Friendship, however etc.,” he shows that loving is more proper to friendship than being loved. He discusses the first point in a threefold manner. First [i, x] he states his proposition saying that the majority seem to wish rather to be loved than to love; and this because they are lovers of honor. It befits the more worthy, to whom honor is due, rather to be loved than to love.
1640. Next [i, y], at “For this reason,” he confirms his statement. From the fact that many people wish to be loved rather than to love, it follows that they are fond of flattery; they take pleasure in someone fawning upon them. The flatterer is either really a friend of humbler status, since it is characteristic of the lowly to indulge in flattery; or by flattering pretends to be a friend and to love more than he is loved.
1641. Third [i, z], at “Being loved,” he explains his statement (1639) that it is because of honor that men wish rather to be loved than to love. He states that being loved seems to be closely connected with being honored which many desire. Honor indeed is a mark of goodness in him who is honored; and anything that is good or apparently good is loved.
1642. Then [a, ii], at “And yet men” he compares being loved with being honored. On this point he does three things. First [a, ii, x] he shows why people wish to be honored, saying that men apparently desire honor not for itself but incidentally. They seek to be honored especially by men of two classes.
1643. Many are glad to be honored by the powerful, not for the honor itself but by reason of the hope they derive from it. They expect to obtain something they need from those who honor them. So they delight in the honor as a mark of the good disposition or kindly affection of the persons honoring them. But there are others who want to be honored by just men, that is, by the virtuous and wise because in this way they seek to confirm a personal opinion about their own goodness. Thus they really rejoice in the fact that they are virtuous, as it were, accepting this for the judgment of good men who by the very act of honoring them seem to say they are good.
1644. Second [a, ii, y], at “People however,” he teaches that men delight in the fact itself of being loved, since the very possession of friends seems to be the principal external sign of honor.
1645. Third [a, ii, z], at “Therefore, being loved,” he draws a conclusion. Since what is essential is more excellent than what is incidental, it follows from the premises (1642-1644) that being loved is better than being honored inasmuch as friendship is in itself desirable.
1646. At “Friendship, however” [a, iii] he shows in what the excellence of friendship consists: in loving or being loved. He says it consists rather in loving, for friendship is predicated by way of habit, as has been explained (1596, 1602, 1627). But a habit terminates at activity; and loving is certainly an activity, while being loved is rather passivity. Hence loving is more proper to friendship than being loved.
1647. He makes this clear by an example. Mothers who have a strong affection for their children take more pleasure in loving them than in being loved by them. Some mothers give their children to others to rear; knowing the children to be theirs they love them, nevertheless they do not strive much for a return of love, since this is not possible. But it seems enough for the mothers to see that their children do well and are in good health. Thus they love their little ones although the little ones cannot make a suitable return of love because of ignorance, since the children do not know them to be their mothers.
1648. Next [2, b], at “Since friendship,” he shows how friendship is maintained by loving according to excellence or proportionately. First [b, i] he shows how friendship is lasting because of the proportion that love achieves. Then [b, ii], at “This likeness is found etc.,” he compares the different kinds of friendship relative to what has been said before. He says first that, since friendship consists rather in loving than in being loved, friends are praised because they love and not because they are loved; in fact this is the compliment we pay lovers.
1649. Because everyone is praised for his own virtue, the virtue of a lover should be judged according to his love. For this reason persons who love their friends in proportion to their worth remain friends and their friendship is lasting. Thus, when people love one another according to their worth, even those who are of unequal condition can be friends because they are made equal in this way—provided that the one who is more lacking in goodness or some other excellence loves that much more. In this way the abundance of love makes up for the inadequacy of condition. So by a kind of equality and likeness, which properly belong to friendship, people become and remain friends.
1650. Then [b, ii], at “This likeness,” he compares the different kinds of friendship in reference to his previous statements. First [b, ii, x] he shows which friendship is most enduring. He says that the likeness, which causes and preserves friendship, seems to be found especially among virtuous men; for they remain like-minded both in themselves—they do not easily change from one thing to another—and in friendship with one another. This is so because the one has no need for the other to do anything evil for him, which would be contrary to the virtue of the agent. In this way neither of them serves the other in any evil. But if any evil may possibly occur among the virtuous, one rather prevents the other from doing wrong; for it is characteristic of virtuous men that they neither sin themselves nor allow their friends to commit sins.
1651. Second [b, ii, y], at “Evil men, however,” he shows which friendship is least enduring, stating that evil men do not have any steadfastness or stability about them. The reason is that wickedness, to which they adhere, is in itself hateful and so their affection varies when they find nothing in which the will can repose; in this way they do not’long remain like-minded. But they desire things contrary to what they previously wanted. Thus they are friends for a short time, as long as they enjoy the evil in which they agree.
1652. Third [b, ii, z], at “But friends for utility” he shows which friendships hold a middle place in this matter. He says that friends for utility and pleasure remain longer together in friendship than do friends in evil. Utility and pleasure are such that they may be loved. Hence friendships of this kind last as long as pleasure and utility are mutually provided. But it is otherwise with those who are friends for the sake of evil which has no lovableness in itself.
1653. Next [II], at “Between opposites, however,” he discusses friendship between persons of disparate condition. First [II, A] he shows under what species of friendship we may place friendship between opposites. Then [II, B], at “Perhaps one opposite etc.,” he explains how contrary may seek contrary. On the first point he does three things. First [A, 1] he shows that this friendship between persons of disparate condition seems to be for the sake of utility, inasmuch as one friend seeks from the other what he himself needs, and gives something in return to the other. Thus a poor man desires to obtain money from the rich man in return for service.
1654. Next [A, 2], at “To this type” he shows how this may be characteristic also of pleasurable friendship. He states that to this type of friendship we may reduce sexual love by which the lover loves the beloved; for sometimes there is the disparity of beauty and ugliness. On the other hand, in friendship based on virtue, there is no disparate condition because the greatest likeness is found in it, as was noted previously (1580).
1655. Third [A, 3], at “For this reason,” he infers a corollary from the discussion. He says that since sometimes a contrary condition exists in the lover and the beloved, for example, ugliness and beauty, it follows that sometimes lovers are derided who think they are worthy of being loved as much as they love. This is fitting when they are equally worthy of love. But if they have nothing of such a nature that they are worthy to be so loved it is ridiculous for them to ask it.
1656. At’Terhaps one opposite” [II, B] he shows how contrary seeks its contrary. He says that this is not true from the nature of the thing (secundum se) but incidentally, for what is essentially (per se) sought is the mean which is the good of the subject induced to excess by one of contraries. For example, if a man’s body is comfortably dry, perspiration is not good and desirable absolutely (per se) speaking, but as a means to a middle state attained by the moisture. The same reason holds for what is hot and contraries of this kind. Because these matters belong more to the study of physics, he says they will be passed over.
Friendships and Civic Association
A. Every friendship consists in association.
1. HE SHOWS THAT EVERY FRIENDSHIP CONSISTS IN ASSOCIATION.
a. By ... argument. — 1657-1658
As we noted at the outset, friendship and justice evidently deal with the same topics and persons, for in every association there seem to be some kind of justice and also friendship.
b. By customary speech. — 1659
Consequently, fellow voyagers and fellow soldiers are greeted as friends. So too are those who engage in other common ventures; for, to the extent that people share with one another, friendship—and justice too—exists among them.
c. By a current proverb. — 1660
Correctly then the proverb says that friends’ goods are common goods. Indeed friendship consists in mutual sharing.
2. HE SHOWS THAT FRIENDSHIP IS DIFFERENTIATED ACCORDING TO THE DIVERSITY OF ASSOCIATION.
a. He explains the diversity of friendships.... — 1661
Brothers and comrades have all things in common. But other associates have certain definite things in common; some have more in common, others less. In accordance with this some friendships likewise differ in degree.
b. He shows that justice is differentiated according to... association. — 1662
Similarly the notions of justice differ. The same kind of right does not exist between parents and children as between brother and brother; nor are relations between companions the same as between fellow citizens. This is likewise the case in other types of friendship. Therefore, different acts of injustice are found among the persons just mentioned.
c. He shows how justice is differentiated according to... friendship. — 1663-1664
Moreover, acts of injustice are aggravated by being done to close friends. For example, it is more shameful to steal money from a comrade than a fellow citizen; to refuse help to a brother than a stranger; to strike one’s father than someone else. Friendship and justice naturally increase at the same time as they exist between the same persons and are equally extensive.
B. Every association is reduced to civic association.
1. HE SHOWS THAT ALL ASSOCIATION HAS A LIKENESS TO CIVIC ASSOCIATION. — 1665-1666
All associations are like parts of civic association, for men come together for some advantage and acquire something necessary for life. But civic association seems to be formed and to endure for the sake of advantage, so that the citizens might seek and obtain some benefit accruing. Indeed legislators aim at this, and men call that just which contributes to the common good.
2. HE SHOWS THAT OTHER ASSOCIATIONS ARE CONTAINED UNDER CIVIC ASSOCIATION.
a. He shows how some... associations are directed to a particular interest. — 1667
Other associations then seek some private gain. Thus sailors aim at a successful voyage in the hope of making money or something of the sort; fellow soldiers agree on the objective of war whether it be wealth, or victory, or the capture of a city; members of tribes and townships act in a similar way.
b. He shows that even associations... formed for pleasure are really for some utility. — 1668
Still other associations seem to be formed for the sake of pleasure, for example, religious choirs or minstrels; for they were established respectively to perform at the sacrifices and feasts.
c. He shows... that all the other previous associations are contained under civic association. — 1669-1670
But all these were usually placed under civic association that aims not at present gain but at what is profitable all during life. And the people offer sacrifice and arrange gatherings to render honor to the gods and to acquire rest and pleasure for themselves. For the ancient sacrifices and gatherings took place after the harvest as an offering of first fruits, for at this period men had most leisure.
C. He draws a conclusion. — 1671
All these associations seem to be divisions of civic association. Consequently, the various kinds of friendships that we discussed will correspond to these associations.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1657. After the Philosopher has treated the different kinds of friendships existing between unequal persons, he now distinguishes them according to their proper formalities. He handles this in two ways. First he shows that these kinds of friendships are distinguished in much the same way as civic associations. Then [Lect. 10; I], at “There are three kinds etc.” (B.1160 a 30), he distinguishes the kinds of friendships according to the distinctions of civic units. Concerning the first point he gives this argument. [A] Every friendship consists in association. [B] Every association is reduced to civic association. Therefore all friendships must be understood according to civic associations (communicationes). He treats this argument under three aspects. First he proves the first statement [A]; second, at “All associations are etc..” he proves the second statement [B]; third, at “all these associations etc.,” he draws a conclusion [C]. He does two things in regard to the first point. First [A, 1] he shows that every friendship consists in association. Next [A, 2], at “Brothers and comrades etc.,” he shows that friendship is differentiated according to the diversity of association.
1658. First [1, a], by the following argument. As was previously explained (1632) justice and friendship deal with the same things. But justice consists in association’ for every kind of justice has a relation to another, as we stated in the fifth book (885, 886, 906, 909, 934). Therefore friendship too consists in association.
1659. Second [I, b], at “Consequently, fellow voyagers,” he shows the same thing by customary speech. Men are accustomed to call friends those who share in any common undertaking: for example, fellow voyagers who take part in seafaring; fellow soldiers who share in military service. The same is true in other kinds of association, because friendship seems to exist among people to the extent that they share with one another; and because, in accordance with this, justice also exists among them.
1660. Third [i, c], at “Correctly then” he proves his contention by a current proverb. it is generally said that friends’ goods are common goods. Therefore friendship consists in sharing in common (communicatio).
1661. At “Brothers and comrades” [A, 2] he shows that friendships differ according to different modes of association. He discusses this point under three aspects. First [2, a] he explains the diversity of friendships according to the diversity of association. We see that brothers and similar relatives have all things in common, like home, table, and so on. But other friends have particular things as their own; some have more, some less. In accordance with this some friendships are greater, for example, among those who have many things in common; and others are less, as among those who have few things in common. From this it is very evident that if there were no communication there could be no friendship.
1662. Second [2, b], at “Similarly the notions,” he shows that justice is differentiated according to different types of association. The same kind of right is not found in every association, but a different kind. Thus it is obvious that the same right does not exist between father and sons, as between brother and brother. Likewise there is a different justice between etairos, i.e., people of the same age and rearing than between citizens, because they bestow different things on one another as mutually due. The same pattern holds in other kinds of friendship. So it is clear that different types of justice exist between the individuals just mentioned.
1663. Third [3, b], at “Moreover, acts of injustice,” he shows how justice is differentiated according to the diversity of friendship. He says justice and injustice increase in proportion as they are done to closer friends. The reason is that it is just in a greater degree to do good to a closer friend, and unjust in a greater degree to injure him. So it is more offensive and unjust to rob or steal money from a familiar acquaintance or a comrade than from a fellow citizen; likewise, to withhold help from a brother than a stranger; to strike one’s father than to strike someone else.
1664. That justice and friendship are extended at the same time arises from this, that they exist in the same persons and both pertain equally to some communication. This is confirmation of what was stated previously (1661).
1665. Then [B], at “All associations” he shows that all associations are reduced to civic association. He treats this point in a twofold manner. First [B, 1] he shows that all association has a likeness to civic association. Second [B, 2], at “Other associations then etc.,” he shows that all other associations are contained under civic association. He says first that every association has some likeness to the parts of civic association. We see that all associations agree in something useful, in the fact that they acquire something necessary for living. And civic association also appears to have this because fellow citizens seem both to have come together in the beginning and to have remained together for their common interest. This is evident for two reasons.
1666. First, because legislators seem to aim at this most of all, to obtain the general welfare. Second, because men call that just in a state which benefits the citizens generally.
1667. Next [B, 2], at “Other associations,” he shows that other associations are contained under civic association. On this point he does three things. First [2, a] he shows how some of the other associations are directed to a particular interest. He says that associations other than the civic intend some private gain. For example, fellow voyagers intend to acquire money or something of the sort if they are merchants. If they are soldiers they agree in the objective of the war, whether this be riches, victory alone, or capture of a city. In this way, too, those who belong to one tribe or one people agree on some private gain.
1668. Second [2, b], at “Still other associations,” he shows that even associations that are apparently formed for pleasure are really for some utility. He says still other associations seemingly exist for pleasure, e.g., choruses or those who sing together in a choir or a dance, and bands or those who play brass instruments like trumpets and cymbals. Associations of this kind were accustomed to be established for the sake of the religious cult so that men may be more pleasantly detained there, and on account of a wedding or nuptials that the groom and bride may have greater pleasure since they share in such great rejoicing.
1669. Third [2, c], at “But all these,” he shows from the premises that all the other previous associations are contained under civic association. He says that all were usually placed under civic association inasmuch as customarily all are directed by it. He gives the explanation because, as previously observed (1667), other associations are ordered to some private advantage. Civic association, however, does not aim at a private and present gain but at what is useful all during life. He shows this especially in regard to associations of persons providing entertainment; and most of all in sacrifices where it seems less evident.
1670. Aristotle says that people who offer sacrifice in gatherings of this kind intend to render honor to God and to acquire for themselves repose and a little pleasure, which is ordered to the good of living. Wherefore the ancients, also, gathered together after the harvest in the autumn to offer sacrifices, that is, to pay first-fruits. This was a suitable time for men to have leisure both that they might rest from their recent labors and because abundant food was available. So obviously all these things are subjected to the ordering of the state as they pertain to the benefit of living.
1671. At “All these associations” [C] he leads up to the conclusion intended, viz., that all associations are contained under civic association, as parts of it; to this extent others are directed to particular interests but civic association to the common welfare. Now since friendships are formed in relation to associations of this kind, it follows that the distinction of friendships should be observed according to the distinction of civic association.
Distinction of the Kinds of States
I. HE DISTINGUISHES THE KINDS OF STATES ONE FROM ANOTHER.
A. He distinguishes the kinds of states.
1. HE INDICATES THE FORMS OF GOVERNMENT. — 1672-1673
There are three kinds of polity and just as many perversions or corruptions of it. These forms are kingdom, aristocracy, and a third aptly named timocracy from (timos) rewards. This last is usually called by most people simply polity.
2. HE COMPARES THEM. — 1674
Of these, however, the best is kingdom and the worst timocracy.
3. HE SHOWS HOW THEY ARE CORRUPTED.
a. The corruption of kingdom. — 1675-1677
The perversion of kingdom is called tyranny. Both are forms of monarchy but they differ very much, for a tyrant aims at his own selfish interest while a king strives for the good of his subjects. No man is truly a king who is not adequate of himself to rule and does not abound in all good things. Such a one is in need of nothing and therefore will not work for himself but for his subjects. Then too a king not independent of his subjects will resemble a ruler chosen by lot. But the very opposite of a king is a tyrant because he seeks his own profit. Obviously, this corruption is the worst, for the worst is contrary to the best. But a ruler deviates from a monarchy into tyranny, for the perversion of a monarchy is tyranny, and a wicked king becomes a tyrant.
b. The corruption of aristocracy. — 1678
But aristocracy degenerates into an oligarchy through the wickedness of rulers who do not distribute the goods of the state according to merit but usurp all or most of them for themselves; and who always keep the same people in office, aiming at riches for the most part. As a result a few men, and those evil, gain control in place of the very virtuous.
c. The corruption of timocracy. — 1679-1680
And timocracy deteriorates into democracy with which it is coterminous, for timocracy is also the rule of the masses, and all who own property are equal. Nevertheless, democracy has a minimum of perversion, as it departs very little from the character of the polity. Consequently, these are the ways in which polities are most easily transferred, being the least in degree and easiest to make.
B. He points out the kinds of domestic association as.... likeness.
1. HE SHOWS WHAT... CORRESPONDS TO A KINGDOM AND A TYRANNY.
a. He states his intent. — 1681
Likenesses of these very forms of government can be exemplified in domestic affairs.
b. He shows which domestic relation corresponds to a kingdom. — 1682
Certainly the association of a father with his sons has the form of a monarchy, for he takes care of their interests. Hence Homer calls Jove “father” because paternal rule is the ideal of a monarchy.
c. He shows what corresponds to household tyranny. — 1683
With the Persians the authority of a father is tyrannical; they use their sons as slaves. But the authority of a master over slaves is tyrannical, for he uses them to his own advantage. This procedure appears to be right while that of the Persians is wrong, because different kinds of authority are suitable for different kinds of persons.
2. (HE SHOWS) WHAT CORRESPONDS TO ARISTOCRACY AND OLIGARCHY.
a. What corresponds to aristocracy. — 1684
But the authority of husband and wife seems to be aristocratic, because the husband has dominion over the affairs pertaining to him according to his dignity and he hands over to the wife whatever pertains to her.
b. Two procedures corresponding to oligarchy. — 1685
On the other hand, when the husband is in charge of everything the rule is changed into an oligarchy, for then he acts unfairly and not according to his greater dignity. And when wives have dominion by reason of being heiresses, authority is not in virtue of excellence but according to riches and power, as is the case in oligarchy.
3. (HE SHOWS) WHAT CORRESPONDS TO TIMOCRACY AND DEMOCRACY.
a. What corresponds to timocracy. — 1686
Among brothers authority seems to be timocratic, for they are equal aside from the difference in age; wherefore if their ages differ much the friendship will not then be called fraternal.
b. What corresponds to democracy. — 1687
Democracy, however, exists in those groups living together without a master (all being on an equal footing); in them the director has weak authority and everyone follows his fancy.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1672. After the Philosopher has explained that the species of friendship are reducible to civic or political association, he now distinguishes them according to the divisions of political association. On this point he does two things. First he distinguishes the species of friendship according to the divisions of political association or states. Then [Lect. 12], at “All friendship then etc.” (B.116i1b 11), he subdivides these kinds of friendship. He treats the first point in a twofold manner. First [I] he distinguishes the kinds of states one from another; second [Lect. 11; II], at “Each form of etc.” (B.1161 a 10), according to these he distinguishes the kinds of friendship. He discusses the first point under two aspects. First [I, A] he distinguishes the kinds of states; second [I, B], at “Likenesses of these etc.,” he points out the kinds of domestic association that resembles them. He handles the first point in a threefold manner. First [A, 1] he indicates the forms of government; second [A, 2], at “Of these, however etc.,” he compares them; third [A, 3], at “The perversion of kingdom etc.,” he shows how they are corrupted.
1673. He says first that there are three forms of polity and just as many corruptions or violations. The three good forms are kingdom or the rule of one; aristocracy or the government by the best, in this that a society is governed by virtuous men. It seems fitting that there be another kind too, although some authors do not recognize it, as is evident in the fourth book of the Politics (Ch. 8, 1293 b 22-1294 a 29; St. Th. Lect. 7, 604-613). This is aptly called timocracy from timos—timos means reward—because under this form of government rewards are bestowed on the poor when they serve in a judicial capacity and penalties are imposed on the rich when they do not, as is clear from the fourth book of the Politics (Ch. 9, 1294 a 30-1294 b 41; St. Th. Lect. 8, 614-620). Some are accustomed to call it by the common name polity from the fact that it is common to rich and poor, as appears in the fourth book of the i (Ch. 3-4, 1289 b 27-1290 b 20; St. Th. Lect. 2, 544-556).
1674. Then [A, 2], at “Of these, however,” he compares these forms of government. He says that the best among these is kingdom in which the best qualified man rules. The worst, i.e., the least good, is timocracy in which many mediocre men govern. In the middle is aristocracy in which a few very good men rule; however, their power of doing good is not so great as in the best form where one ruler has the fullness of power.
1675. At “The perversion of kingdom” [A, 3] he treats of the corruptions or perversions of these political systems. First [A, 3, a] about the corruptions of kingdom; second [A, 3, b], at “But aristocracy degenerates etc.,” about the corruption of aristocracy; third [A, 3, c], at “And timocracy deteriorates etc.,” about the corruption of timocracy. He explains the first point under two headings. First he states his intent, saying that perversion or corruption of kingdom is called tyranny. He makes this clear first by the fact that they agree in kind, for both are forms of monarchy, i.e.. rule by one. Just as one man governs in a kingdom so also in a tyranny.
1676. Then he indicates the difference between them, saying that they are vastly different. It seems that they are contraries since contraries are things that differ greatly and are in the same genus. He manifests this difference by saying that a tyrant in his government aims at what is, useful to himself, but a king strives’ for what is beneficial to his subjects.
1677. He proves this by the fact that a ruler cannot truly be called a king who is not of himself adequate to rule, that is, excelling in all goods both of soul and body and external things, so he is worthy and able to govern. But when he is so endowed he needs nothing, so will not work for his own interest, which the poor characteristically do, but rather for the benefit of his subjects—as the affluent do. A man not excelling in all goods can better be called clerotos, as if chosen by lot to rule, than king. But a tyrant is the very contrary of a king because he seeks his own profit. So obviously this corruption is the worst, for the worst is contrary to the best. But a ruler deviates from a kingship that is best, as we have noted (1676), to a tyranny that is nothing else than a perversion of monarchy or one-man rule; and when a king becomes wicked he is called a tyrant. Hence it is evident that tyranny is the worst perversion.
1678. Next [A, 3, b], at “But aristocracy,” he treats of the perversion of aristocracy, saying that an aristocracy degenerates into an oligarchy which is the government of a few. This happens by the wickedness of the rulers not distributing the goods of the state according to merit but usurping all or the greater part of them for themselves; and always keeping the same people in office, aiming especially at enriching themselves and their friends. By reason of this a few evil men come into power in place of very good men who rule in an aristocracy.
1679. At “And timocracy deteriorates” [A, 3, c] he treats of the perversion of timocracy, saying it deteriorates into democracy, which is rule of the populace. In fact these two are coterminous or bordering upon one another, for they are alike in two ways. First, because timocracy or government of rewards is likewise the rule of the masses, just as democracy is. Second, in both forms of government all who occupy places of honor are equal. On the other hand they differ because in a timocracy the common good of the rich and the poor is intended, but in a democracy the good of the poor alone is aimed at. Hence the perversion inherent in democracy is the least, for it departs very little from timocracy which is a kind of good government.
1680. He concludes then that these forms of government change very much from one to another, and so are easily perverted, as has been pointed out (1675-1679).
1681. Then [I, B], at “Likenesses of these very forms’ “ he distinguishes between states and households according to resemblances to these forms (of rule). First [B, 1] he shows what among them corresponds to a kingdom and a tyranny; second [B, 2], at “But the authority etc.,” what corresponds to aristocracy and oligarchy; third [B, 3], at “Among brothers etc.,” what corresponds to timocracy and democracy. He discusses the first point under three aspects. First [i, a] he states his intent, saying that a model and example of these forms of government can be found in domestic affairs.
1682. Next [i, b], at “Certainly the association etc.” he shows which domestic relation corresponds to a kingdom. He states that association between a father and his sons resembles a kingship because a father has care of his sons, as a king of his subjects. Hence Homer calls Jove “father” because of his royal power. Indeed the rule of a father in his home is a kind of kingship.
1683. Third [i, c], at “With the Persians,” he shows what corresponds to household tyranny. He distinguishes two kinds. The first is the way Persian fathers look upon sons; for they treat their sons as slaves. The second is the way masters manage slaves; masters intend their own profit in the use of slaves. However, these two procedures differ, for the one in which masters employ slaves for their usefulness seems to be right. But the other in which fathers use their sons as slaves seems to be wrong. The reason is that completely different persons should be governed in different ways. Consequently, it is wrong for a man to govern children and slaves in the same manner.
1684. At “But the authority” [B, 2] he shows what in households corresponds to aristocracy and its opposite. He treats his point in a twofold manner. First [2, a] he shows what corresponds to aristocracy. He says that the authority by which a husband and a wife govern a household is aristocratic because the husband has dominion and charge over the affairs that pertain to him according to his dignity and he hands over to the wife those matters that pertain to her.
1685. Second [2, b], at “On the other hand,” he states two procedures corresponding to oligarchy. One occurs when the husband wants to arrange everything and leaves the wife in charge of nothing. This does not accord with his dignity nor with what is best. The other procedure exists when wives have complete authority because they are heiresses, and then their authority does not arise from their excellence but from their riches and power, as in an oligarchy.
1686. Third [B, 3], at “Among brothers” he shows what corresponds to timocracy and its opposite. First [B, 3, a], what corresponds to timocracy. He says that the authority wielded by brothers in a household seems to be timocratic because brothers are equal except for difference in their ages; if their ages are far apart, their friendship seems to be in a way paternal and not fraternal.
1687. Then [B, 3, b], at “Democracy, however,” he shows what corresponds to democracy. He states that a resemblance to democracy exists in groups living together who have no director—companions staying at an inn, for instance. There all are on the same footing; if anyone has authority it is weak, for example, the one in charge of paying expenses. Each member has power in the dwelling, as in a democracy each individual has quasi-equal power and the directors can do little.
Friendships Conform to Kinds of State’s
II. HE... DISTINGUISHES THE KINDS OF FRIENDSHIPS.
A. He states his intent. — 1688
Each form of government seems to involve a kind of friendship inasmuch as justice is present.
B. He explains his statement.
1. FIRST, IN REGARD TO GOOD FORMS OF GOVERNMENT.
a. How friendship can exist on the basis of kingdom.
i. Between a king and his subjects. — 1689
The friendship of a king and his subjects is one of superiority in beneficence, for he confers benefactions on them if he is a good ruler, taking care that his subjects act virtuously; he is regarded as a shepherd of his flock. Hence Homer called Agamemnon the shepherd of his people.
ii. He compares a father’s friendship with a king’s.
w. HE COMPARES (THEM). — 1690
Such too is the friendship of a father.
x. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO FRIENDSHIPS. — 1691
These friendships, though, differ in the greatness of benefits. A father is the cause of his son’s existence (considered the greatest good in this life), rearing, and instruction—benefits that are attributed also to a man’s ancestors.
y. HE PROVES HIS STATEMENT. — 1692
Likewise, by nature a father rules his sons, an ancestor his descendants, and a king his subjects.
z. HE SHOWS THE BASIS OF AGREEMENT FOR ALL SUCH FRIENDSHIPS. — 1693
Friendships of this type imply a kind of excellence in the ruler. For this reason parents are honored; and so Justice is not the same for both parties but must be proportioned to their worth. This is true also of friendship.
b. (How friendship can exist) on the basis of aristocracy. — 1694
But the friendship between husband and wife resembles that found in an aristocracy. For it is in accordance with virtue, and more good is attributed to the better qualified although what is due each one is assigned to him. In this way justice is preserved.
c. (How friendship can exist) on the basis of timocracy. — 1695
Friendship between brothers is similar to that among comrades, for they are equal and around the same age; and persons like this have much the same training and habits. There is a likeness to this in the friendship found in a timocracy, for the citizens aim at equality and virtue; they share power equally and in turn. So their friendship too will be one of equality.
2. NEXT, IN REGARD TO EVIL SYSTEMS.
a. In such systems there is very little friendship. — 1696
On the other hand, as in corrupt forms of rule there is little justice, so there is little friendship.
b. In which of these the least friendship exists.
i. He states his proposition. — 1697
It is minimal in the worst system, for in a tyranny no friendship, or very little, is found.
ii. He proves it. — 1698-1699
In those regimes where nothing is shared by the ruler and the subjects no friendship exists, nor is there any justice; for the subject is like a tool to an artisan, the body to the soul, a slave to a master. These objects are benefitted by the things that use them. But lifeless instruments are not subjects for friendship (or justice); nor are horses or cattle; neither is a master a friend to a slave qua slave, for they have nothing in common. In fact a slave is a living tool, and a tool a lifeless slave.
iii. He shows how the statement should be understood. — 1700
Consequently, there can be no friendship with a slave qua slave but only qua man. Indeed a man can have a kind of justice toward anyone who can share something according to law or agreement. The same too holds for friendship with a man inasmuch as he is a man. There is then little room for friendship or justice under tyrannies.
c. In which of these most friendship exists. — 1701
In democracies, however, friendship is most fully realized, for where all are equal there is much sharing.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1688. After the Philosopher has~distinguished the kinds of political and domestic association, he now [II] distinguishes the corresponding kinds of friendships. He discusses this point in a twofold manner. First [II, A] he states his intent. He says each form of government and political order apparently involves a kind of friendship from the fact that in every polity a kind of justice is found. But friendship and justice are in some way concerned with the same matters, as we have indicated (1658, 1664).
1689. Second [II, B], at “The friendship,” he explains his statement: first [B, 1] in regard to good forms of government; next [B, 2], at “On the other hand etc.,” in regard to evil systems. He treats the first point under three headings. First [i, a] he shows how friendship can exist on the basis of kingdom; then [i, b], at “But the friendship etc.,” on the basis of aristocracy; last [i, c], at “Friendship between brothers etc.,” on the basis of timocracy. On the first point he does two things. First [a, i] he shows how friendship may exist between a king and his subjects. Second [a, ii], at “Such too is etc.,” he compares a father’s friendship with a king’s. He says first that by reason of benefit a superabundant friendship exists between a king and his subjects, as between a benefactor and a beneficiary.
It is proper to a king to confer benefits on his subjects, for if he is a good ruler he takes care that they perform good deeds, and strives to make his subjects virtuous. Hence, inasmuch as he leads his subjects as a shepherd his flock, he is even given the title. Thus Homer called King Agamemnon shepherd of his people.
1690. Then [a, ii], at “Such too is,” he compares paternal with regal friendship. He considers four aspects of this point. First [ii, w] he compares a father’s friendship with a king’s, saying that the friendship of a father is like that of a king.
1691. Second [ii, x], at “These friendships, though ‘ “ he shows the difference between the two friendships, noting that they differ in greatness of benefits. Although the benefaction of a king absolutely speaking is greatest insofar as it extends to all the people, nevertheless the benefaction of a father is greater in relation to one person. A father is the cause of the son’s three greatest goods. First, by generation he is the cause of the son’s existence (considered the greatest good); second, by upbringing, of his rearing; third, of his instruction. These three goods are attributed not only to fathers in regard to their sons but also to the ancestors, viz., the grandfathers and the great-grand fathers in regard to their grandsons and great-grandsons.
1692. Third [ii, y], at “Likewise, by nature,” he proves his statement that the friendship of a father is like a king’s. By nature a father is the ruler of his son and an ancestor of his descendants, just as a king is a ruler of his subjects. Consequently, sons are under the dominion of their father,—and grandsons, of their grandfather, just as subjects are under the dominion of their king.
1693. Fourth [ii, z], at “Friendships of this type,” he shows the basis of agreement for all such friendships. He states two common features: one, that they all consist in a kind of excellence of one person over the other. Since this is obvious in the case of a king and his subjects, he manifests it concerning fathers and sons. Because the father greatly excels, parents are honored by their sons; for honor is due to one who excels-as we pointed out in the first book (214).and the same must be said of ancestors. The other feature is that in friendships of this nature the same thing is not just on the part of each. The king, therefore, must not do the same for his subject as the subj ect must do for his king, nor the father the same for his son as the son for his father. But what is just must be judged for both parties according to worth so that each does for the other what is proper, because in this way friendship between them entails one loving the other in a fitting manner.
1694. Next [1, b], at “But the friendship,” he shows that there is a friendship corresponding to aristocracy. He says that friendship betwen husband and wife is similar to that found in an aristocracy in which a few are entrusted with authority by reason of excellence, on account of which they are loved. Since those in authority are better qualified, more good is attributed to them inasmuch as they are esteemed above others; and nevertheless what is proper to each is assigned to him. Indeed virtuous men constituted in power do not take from their subjects the good that belongs to them. By this procedure justice is preserved in accordance with aristocracy; and the same is true in a friendship between a husband and wife. The husband, being more worthy, is placed over the wife; however, the husband does not direct the affairs belonging to the wife.
1695. At “Friendship between brothers” [1, c] he shows how friendship is understood in accordance with timocracy. He states that friendship between brothers is similar to etairiciae, i.e., friendship between persons of the same age, for brothers are equal and alike in age. Persons of this kind have the same training and habits for the most part because habits follow the way of living, as was indicated in the second book (248, 315). From this there appears an obvious likeness between such a friendship and friendship corresponding to timocracy in which citizens, who are in control, are equal and fair or virtuous. Hence it is just that they rule in turn so that one does not have all the power but a part of it, which makes them equal in power. So too is the friendship among them. This is also clearly observed in friendship among those who are brothers and of a like age or upbringing.
1696. Then [B, 2], at “On the other hand,” he shows how there is friendship corresponding to corrupt forms of government. He discusses this point under three aspects. First [2, a] he shows that in such systems there is very little friendship; second [2, b], at “It is minimal etc.,” he shows in which of these the least friendship exists; third [2, c], at “In democracies, however etc.,” he shows in which of these most friendship exists. He says first that, as there is little justice in perversions, i.e., corrupt forms of rule, so also there is little friendship, for this in some way concerns the same thing as justice.
1697. Next [2, b], at “It is minimal;’ he shows in which corrupt political system friendship is minimal. On this point he does three things. First.[b, i] he states his proposition; second [b, ii], at “In those regimes etc.,” he proves it; third [b, iii], at “Consequently, there can be etc.,” he shows how the statement should be understood. He says first that, since there is little friendship in corrupt regimes, it follows that there is the least friendship in the worst regimes, viz., in tyrannies in which no friendship or very little exists.
1698. Second [b, ii], at “In those regimes,” he proves his proposition. Friendship consists in sharing in common, as we have explained (1655-1660, 1661). Obviously then if nothing is shared between ruler and ruled-as when the ruler aims at his own good—no friendship can exist between them; nor can there be any justice between them inasmuch as the ruler usurps for himself all the good due to the subject. But this happens under tyranny because the tyrant does not strive for the common good but for his own. Thus he acts with his subjects -like a workman with a tool, a soul with the body, or a master with a slave, for the tyrant uses his subjects as slaves.
1699. These three objects just mentioned are benefitted by the persons who use them, to the extent that the objects are moved, i.e., the slave by the master, the body by the soul, the tool by the workman. However, those who use things do not have friendship toward them. Even if they somehow benefit the things, they intend by this the good of the things only as it is related to their own good. This is particularly obvious of an artisan in relation to lifeless instruments which are not objects of friendship or justice because they do not share in the activity of human life. Indeed horses and cattle are not objects of friendship though they do have life. So, too, a master does not have friendship with a slave because they share nothing, but all the good of the slave is the master’s as all the good of a tool is the artisan’s. In fact a slave is, as it were, a living tool and conversely a tool is, as it were, a lifeless slave.
1700. Third [b, iii], at “Consequently, there can be,” he shows how his statement (1699) is to be taken. He says that according to the premises there is no friendship of a master for a slave qua slave, although there is friendship for him precisely as man. A friendship can exist between any two men inasmuch as they can share some thing according to law or arrangement, i.e., agreement or promise. In this way a master can have friendship with a slave as a human being. Thus it is obvious that under tyranny, in which rulers use subjects as slaves, there is little friendship or justice.
1701. Then [2, c], at “In democracies, however,” he shows in which corrupt political system friendship is most fully realized. He says that this occurs in democracy. In this system the rulers strive in many ways for the general welfare inasmuch as they want the common man to be equal to the talented man, and they aim principally at the good of the people. On the other hand an oligarchy takes a middle course since it neither works for the good of the many like a democracy nor for the benefit of one like a tyranny but for the good of a few.
Subdivisions of Friendship
I. HE STATES A GENERAL PRINCIPLE.
A. For distinguishing the kinds of friendship. — 1702
All friendship then involves common participation (communicatio), as has been pointed out.
B. He distinguishes... (those) that seem to have less in common. — 1703
One may, however, set apart from other friendships those between blood relatives and comrades.
C. He distinguishes friendships that seem to have more in common. — 1704
But civic friendships—existing between fellow tribesmen, and fellow voyagers—and others of this kind have more evident signs of association; this seems an acknowledged fact. Among these also will be placed friendship between fellow travelers.
II. HE GIVES SPECIAL TREATMENT TO SOME PARTICULAR KINDS OF FRIENDSHIP.
A. Friendship between relatives.
1. HE DISTINGUISHES THE KINDS OF FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN BLOOD RELATIVES.
a. He treats a father’s friendship for his son.
i. In what way paternal friendship is related to other friendships.... — 1705
Friendships between relatives, however, seem to be of various kinds and to depend on paternal friendship.
ii. He gives the reason for this friendship. — 1706
Parents indeed love their children as part of themselves. But children love their parents as the authors of their existence.
iii. He compares a father’s friendship with a son’s.
x. HE RANKS PATERNAL FRIEND-SHIP ABOVE FILIAL (FOR THREE REASONS).
aa. First. — 1707
Now parents know the identity of their children better than children know the identity of their parents.
bb. Second. — 1708
Moreover, the procreator is nearer to the offspring than the offspring to the procreator, for the product belongs to the producer, e.g., a tooth or a hair or the like to its owner; but the producer does not belong to the product at all, or belongs to it only in a minor way.
cc. Third. — 1709
But length of time produces the same result. Parents love their children from birth but children love their parents only after a lapse of time and the acquisition of reason or understanding.
y. (HE RANKS) MATERNAL (FRIENDSHIP) ABOVE PATERNAL. — 1710
From these observations it is obvious that mothers love their children more (than fathers do).
z. HE CLARIFIES HIS STATEMENT. — 1711
Undoubtedly parents love their children as themselves, for their offspring are, as it were, the parents themselves existing separately. But children love their parents because begotten by them.
b. (He treats) the friendship of brothers for one another.
i. He gives the basis of this friendship. — 1712
Brothers, though, love one another—being generated by the same parents, for identity of origin with them makes the brothers identical with one another. For this reason brothers are said to be of the same blood, of the same stock, and so on. They are then the same, existing as different individuals.
ii. He shows the means of strengthening this friendship. — 1713
Similarity in upbringing and age is a great aid to friendship, for “men of a year like to draw near,” and people living the same way are comrades. Hence fraternal friendship resembles that, of comrades.
c. (He treats) the friendship of other blood relations. — 1714
Nephews, however, and other kindred are linked together by derivation from brothers who are the sons of the same parents. They are more closely or distantly related as they are nearer or farther removed from their common ancestor.
2. HE POINTS OUT THE CHARACTERISTICS OF EACH DIVISION.
a. Of paternal friendship.
i. First (characteristic). — 1715
Children have friendship for their parents—and men for their gods—as for something transcendently good. The reason is that parents are in a special way the causes of their children’s existence, upbringing and training.
ii. The second. — 1716
Such friendship contains more pleasure and utility than an outsider’s friendship inasmuch as parents and children live more in common.
b. Of fraternal friendship. — 1717
Friendship among brothers has all the features of friendship among comrades; and it has them more perfectly when the brothers are virtuous and alike in general inasmuch as they are closer to one another. For (a) they love each other from birth; (b) they have the same parents, rearing, and education and so are alike in character; (c) their friendship has been fully and convincingly tested by time.
c. Of friendship between other blood relatives. — 1718
In the case of other relatives a proportionate communication of friendship is found.
B. (He treats) friendship existing between husband and wife.
1. HE ASSIGNS THE REASON FOR THIS FRIENDSHIP.
a. He offers the proper reason.
i. He assigns the particular reason for... friendship... common both to men and other animals. — 1719-1720
Between man and wife a natural friendship seems to exist, for they are more inclined by nature to conjugal than political society. This is so because the home is older and more necessary than the state, and because generation is common to all animals.
ii. Another reason. — 1721-1722
Only to this extent do other animals come together. Men, however, cohabit not only to procreate children but also to have whatever is needed for life. Indeed, from the beginning, family duties are distinct; some are proper to the husband, others to the wife. Thus mutual-needs are provided for, when each contributes his own services to the common good.
b. He shows how this friendship shares the general reasons for friendship. — 1723
Therefore, this friendship seems to possess both utility and pleasure. But it can exist for the sake of virtue if the husband and wife are virtuous, for each has his proper virtue and they can delight in it.
2. HE POINTS OUT THE MEANS THAT CAN STRENGTHEN THIS FRIENDSHIP. — 1724
Children seem to be a bond of union. Hence sterile couples separate more readily, for children are a common good of both parties; and what is common maintains friendship.
3. HE ANSWERS A QUESTION. — 1725
To ask how man and wife—and friends in general—ought to live together is the same as to ask how they ought to be just. And justice does not seem to be observed in the same towards a friend, a stranger, a comrade, and a fellow student.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1702. After the Philosopher has distinguished the kinds of friendship according to the species of political and domestic association, he now subdivides the kinds of friendships. On this point he does two things. First [I] he states a general principle for dividing and subdividing friendships. Then [II], at “Friendships between relatives, however etc.,” he gives special treatment to some particular kinds of friendships. He discusses the first point under three aspects. First [I, A] he proposes a general principle for distinguishing the kinds of friendship, concluding from the premises that all friendship consists in common participation (communicatio), as has been pointed out (1698).
1703. Second [I, B], at “One may,” he distinguishes, by reason of common participation, the kinds of friendship that seem to have less in common. He says that, according to the diversity of common participation, friendship can be distinguished in itself and from others into consanguineous (or that between blood relatives) and companionate (or that between comrades). Blood relatives have a common origin, and comrades a common upbringing.
1704. Third [I, C], at “But civic friendships,” according to this he distinguishes friendships that seem to have more in common. He states that civic friendships (i.e., those among fellow tribesmen, fellow voyagers or men sailing together) and all others of this kind (for example, between fellow soldiers or fellow students) have more evident signs of association than the friendships of blood relatives or comrades; for in the former we must clearly acknowledge that association is the cause of friendship. (Friendship between fellow travelers can be placed in this category.) But the friendship of blood relatives or comrades does not have any present and permanent mode of communicating, and so is less obvious.
1705- Then [II], at “Friendships between relatives, however,” he treats in particular some kinds of friendship: first [II, A], friendship between relatives; second [II, B], at “Between man and wife etc.,” friendship existing between husband and wife. On the first point he does two things. First [A, 1] he distinguishes the kinds of friendship between blood relatives. Next [A, 2], at “Children have friendship etc.,” he points out the characteristics of each division. He discusses the first point under three headings. First [A, 1, a] he treats a father’s friendship for his son; second [A, 1, b], at “Brothers, though etc.,” the friendship of brothers for one another; third [A,1, c], at “Nephews, however etc.,” the friendship of other blood relations. He handles the first point in a threefold manner. First [A, 1, a, i] he proposes in what way paternal friendship is related to other friendships between blood relatives. He says that friendship between blood relatives seems to have great variety, i.e., to be divided into many species by reason of the different grades of consanguinity; nevertheless, all such friendships depend on paternal friendship as a starting point. This will be clear from what follows.
1706. Second [A, 1, a, ii], at “Parents indeed,” he gives the reason for this friendship. He says that parents love their children as part of themselves; they are generated from the seed of their parents. Hence the son is a separated part of the father, so to speak. Consequently this friendship is nearest to the love of a man for himself, from which all friendship is derived, as will be indicated in the ninth book (1797). With reason then paternal friendship is considered to be the starting point. But children love their parents as the source of their existence, much like a separated part would love the whole from which it is separated.
1707. Third [A, 1, a, iii], at “Now parents are,” he compares a father’s friendship with a son’s. He discusses this point in a three-fold fashion. First [iii, x] he ranks paternal friendship above filial; next [iii, y], at “From these observations etc.,” maternal above paternal; last [iii, z], at “Undoubtedly parents etc.,” he clarifies his statement. He gives three reasons for the initial assertion. The first is this [x, aa]. The more a man knows the causes for love, the more reasonable it is that he love more. It has been noted (1076) that parents love their children as part of themselves. But children love their parents as the authors of their existence. Now fathers can know their offspring better than their children can know they are their children, for the parents know the generative action (which produced the child) but the children do not since they were not yet born. Hence it is reasonable for parents to love their children more than children their parents.
1708. He assigns the second reason [x, bb] at “Moreover, the procreator.” It is this. The basis for love in every friendship of blood relatives is the relationship of one person to another. But the principal or begetter is nearer to the begotten than the thing made to the maker or the begotten to the begetter. The offspring is—as it were—a separated part of the procreator, as we have indicated (1706, 1707). Hence it seems to be compared to the procreator as a separable part to the whole, for example, a tooth or a hair or the like. But such parts, which are. separated from the whole, have an affinity to the whole because the whole includes them in itself, and not the opposite. For that reason the whole seems not to belong to the parts at all or to belong to them less than if the converse were the case; for even if a part pertains to the whole, nevertheless it is not identical with the whole itself, as all the parts are included in it. Consequently, it is reasonable that parents love their children more than children their parents.
1709. He gives the third reason [x, cc] at “But length of time etc.” Obviously friendship is strengthened with the passage of time. But it is evident that parents love their children for a greater length of time than do children their parents. Indeed parents love their children as soon as they are born. But children love their parents only after some time has elapsed and they attain intelligence or the use of reason, or at least the capacity to distinguish their parents from others. For, in the beginning, children call all men fathers and all women mothers, as mentioned in the first book of the Physics (Ch. 1, 184 b 12; St. Th. Lect. 1, II). It is reasonable then for parents to love their children more than children love their parents.
1710. Then [iii, y], at “From these observations,” he compares a mother’s love with a father’s. He says that it can be clearly shown from the previous considerations why mothers love their children more than fathers do. The first reason he gives does not need proof because mothers know better than fathers who their children are. Likewise in regard to time, for mothers before fathers conceive the affection of love for their children because they are more constantly in their company. But the second reason is applicable in one part but not in the other. For the father disposes the son’s principal part, the form; and the mother disposes the matter, as is noted in the treatise De Generatione Animalium (Bk. II, Ch. 1, 731 b 13 sq.).
1711. Next [iii, z], at “Undoubtedly parents love,” he clarifies what he stated in the second reason, that children are closer to their parents than the converse. This is so because parents love their children as themselves. Children generated by their parents are as it were the parents themselves, differing from them only in the fact of their distinct existence. On the other hand, children love their parents not as though they were part of their parents but as begotten by them.
1712. At “Brothers, though” [A, 1, b] he explains fraternal friendship. First [A, 1, b, i] he gives the basis of this friendship. Then [A, 1, b, ii], at “Similarity in upbringing etc.,” he shows the means of strengthening this friendship. He remarks first that brothers love one another because they are begotten by the same parents. Things that are identical with one and the same thing are identical in some fashion with one another. Since then children are identical in some way with their parents, as has been observed (1711), the children’s identity with the parents makes the children identical in some way. Consequently we say that brothers are the same by blood, by stock, and so on. Although the parents’ blood (the common origin) is entirely the same, this identity also endures in some measure even in the children who are separated from their parents and from one another.
1713. Then [A, 1, b, ii], at “Similarity in upbringing,” he explains how this friendship is strengthened. He observes that fraternal friendship is fostered greatly by the fact that brothers are reared together and are nearly the same age, since it is natural for people alike in years to love one another. Likewise, companions or persons of common upbringing usually have an identical manner of life which is a cause of mutual love. Consequently, fraternal friendship resembles friendship between comrades or persons brought up together.
1714. At “Nephews, however” [i, c] he defines the friendship of other blood relatives. He states that nephews and other kindred are connected with one ‘ another by relationship of generation and friendship to the extent that they derive their origin from brothers, sons of the same parents. In fact they are called blood relatives because they are descended from these very persons. Such people are said to be more or less related inasmuch as they are nearer or farther removed from their procreator, i.e., original ancestor, for the first must be the measure of all.
1715. Next [A, 2], at “Children have friendship,” he indicates the characteristics of these friendships: first [2, a], of paternal friendship; second [2, bi, at “Friendship among brothers etc.,” of fraternal friendship; third [2, c], at “In the case etc.,” of friendship between other blood relatives. To the first friendship he assigns two characteristics. The first [2, a, i] is that children have friendship for their parents as to a kind of superior good. The reason is that parents are special benefactors-the cause of their children’s existence, upbringing, and training. Man’s friendship for God is also of this nature.
1716. Then [2, a, ii], at “Such friendships,” he states the second characteristic. Friendship between children and parents has pleasure and utility in a greater degree than outside friendship in proportion as they live a life more in common. Because of this they become especially useful and pleasant to one another.
1717. At “Friendship among brothers” [2, b] he gives the characteristic of fraternal friendship. He observes that the same features are found in friendship of brothers as in the friendship of comrades or persons living together. And if brothers are just or virtuous and entirely alike in their habits, then friendship is greater from this common upbringing inasmuch as they are closer to one another. This is due to three considerations. First, to length of time, since they love each other almost as soon as they are born. Second, to a more perfect likeness. Brothers born of the same parents seem more alike in their ways and hence appear to have the same natural disposition; they have been reared together and trained in a similar fashion by their parents. Third, this is due to the proof of friendship since they have put each other to the test; and for that reason their friendship is highest and firmest.
1718. Next [2, c], at “In the case,” he assigns the third characteristic of friendship between other kinsmen. He says that matters pertaining to friendship between other kindred should be understood in proportion to, fraternal friendship since other blood relatives are descended from brothers, as indicated above (1714).
171g. Then [II, B], at “Between man and wife,” he treats friendship between husband and wife. He discusses this point under three headings. First [B, 1] he assigns the reason for this friendship. Second [B, 2], at “Children seem to be etc.,” he points out the means that can strengthen this friendship. Third [B, 3], at “To ask how man and wife etc.,” he answers a question. On the first point he does two things. First [B, 1, a] he offers the proper reason for this friendship. Then [B, 1, b], at “Therefore, this etc.,” he shows how this friendship shares the general reasons for friendship. He treats the first point from two aspects. First [B, 1, a, il he assigns the particular reason for the friendship that is common both to man and other animals. Next [B, 1, a, ii], at “Only to this extent etc.,” he gives another reason restricted to men. He remarks first that a natural friendship seems to exist between man and wife. He proves this by recourse to a higher principle; for man is by nature a political animal, and it is more natural for him to be a “conjugal” (conjugale) animal. Aristotle presents two arguments.
1720. The first is that antecedent and necessary things seem to belong to nature more completely. But domestic society, to which the union of man and wife pertains, is antecedent to civil society; for the part is antecedent to the whole. Domestic society is also more necessary because it is ordered to acts necessary for life, viz., generation and nourishment. Obviously then man is inclined by nature more to conjugal than political society. The second reason is that generation of offspring, to which the union of man~and wife is ordered, is common to other animals and therefore follows the nature of the genus. So it is clear that man is by nature more a conjugal than a political animal.
1721. Then [B, 1, a, ii], at “Only to this extent,” he indicates the proper reason for conjugal friendship which belongs to man alone. He concludes from the premises that pairing of male and female among other animals exists exclusively for generation of offspring, as has been noted (1720). But union of male and female among men occurs not only for the procreation of children but also for the functions needed in human living. These functions—it is immediately apparent—are so divided brtween man and woman that some are proper to the husband, like external works; and others to the wife, like sewing and other domestic occupations. Thus mutual needs are provided for, when each contributes his own services for the common good.
1722. Obviously then conjugal friendship among men not only is natural as among other animals—where it is directed to the work of nature, viz., generation—but also domestic as directed to a sufficiency for family life.
1723. At “Therefore, this” [B, 1, b] he shows how this friendship shares the common reasons for friendship. He observes that from previous statements conjugal friendship obviously has utility inasmuch as it furnishes a sufficiency for family life. Likewise it provides pleasure in the generative act, as is the case with other animals. But when the husband and wife are virtuous, their friendship can be based on virtue. In fact there is a virtue proper to both husband and wife that renders their friendship delightful to each other. Clearly then friendship of this kind can be based on virtue, utility, and pleasure.
1724. Next [B, 2], at “Children seem,” he indicates a means of making this friendship strong. He remarks that children seem to be a cause of a stable and lasting union. Hence, sterile couples who fail to have children are separated more readily. In fact, divorce was granted in former times because of sterility. And the reason for this is that children are a common good of both husband and wife whose union exists for the sake of children. But what is common continues and preserves friendship which also consists in sharing (communicatio), as has been pointed out (1702).
1725. At “To ask how man and wife” [B, 3] he answers an inquiry, viz., how a man and wife ought to live together. He himself replies that to ask this is the same as to inquire how justice exists between man and wife; for they ought to live together in such a way that each fulfills what is just to the other. This will be different for different persons, for the same justice must not be observed toward friend, stranger, comrade and disciple. Therefore, a study of this kind belongs to domestic ethics or political science.
Quarrels and Complaints in Friendship
I. HE INDICATES WHAT MUST BE DONE TO AVOID QUARRELS IN FRIENDSHIPS. — 1726-1727
There are three kinds of friendship, as was noted at the outset. In each of them some men are friends on a basis of equality and others on a basis of superiority. (Virtuous people become friends, and a more virtuous person becomes a friend of a less virtuous person; people having the same and different usefulness become friends for pleasure or utility.) Equal friends must be equated in affection and in the other aspects of friendship, but unequal friends must bestow something proportionate to superior merits.
II. HE POINTS OUT THE FRIENDSHIPS IN WHICH QUARRELS OCCUR.
A. He proposes his intention. — 1728
It is to be expected that complaints and quarrels take place solely or especially in friendships for utility.
B. He explains it.
1. COMPLAINT... DOES NOT OCCUR IN FRIENDSHIP FOR VIRTUE. — 1729-1730
But friends by reason of virtue are prompt to help one another, for this is the peculiar characteristic of virtue and friendship. And when each person is intent on serving his friend complaints and contentions do not occur. Indeed no one is going to inflict pain on a person who loves him and acts well towards him, but a grateful recipient does a favor in return. Even the greater benefactor receiving what he desires will not complain of his friend, for each seeks what is good.
2. (COMPLAINT) DOES NOT HAPPEN OFTEN IN FRIENDSHIP FOR PLEASURE. — 1731
Nor do complaints often occur in friendships for pleasure, for friends have simultaneously what they desire in the enjoyment of each other’s company. And a person will appear ridiculous to complain of another’s unpleasantness since he can terminate the relationship when he wishes.
3. COMPLAINING AND QUARRELING TAKE PLACE FREQUENTLY IN UTILITARIAN FRIENDSHIP. — 1732
Disputes, however, are frequent in friendships for utility. For people using one another for advantage always are looking for something, and think they have less than their due. They complain of not receiving as much as they need when they are so deserving. On the other hand their benefactors say they have not sufficient to give as much as the beneficiaries want.
III. HE EXPLAINS THE CAUSE OF QUARRELING.
A. In respect to equals.
1. HE ASSIGNS THE CAUSE.
a. In friendship based on utility.
i. He states the cause. — 1733-1734
As justice is of two kinds: one unwritten, and the other legal; so utility in friendship is of two kinds: one moral and the other legal. And, when exchanges are not made according to the same kind of utility quarrels arise and friendships are broken up.
ii. He explains his statement.
x. IN REGARD TO LEGAL UTILITY. — 1735
Now legal utility is expressed in agreements. This is either of a commercial type, in hand to hand dealings; or of a liberal type in allowing a period of delay, though the quid pro quo is determined. In the latter case the debt is clear and unambiguous, yet the postponement indicated a friendly attitude. For this reason some states do not permit judicial action over such agreements but assume that people dealing in good faith should honor it.
y. IN REGARD TO MORAL UTILITY. — 1736-1737
Moral utility, however, is not expressed in definite words, but the gift is made to any other as to a friend. But the giver expects something equal or better in return, as if he were not making a gift but a loan; and when the exchange and repayment do not take place he will complain. This happens because all or most men approve what is noble but choose what serves their interests. Now it is noble to confer a benefit without expecting another in return but it is profitable to receive a benefit.
b. He tells how to avoid such quarrels. — 1738-1739
But when a person can, he should make a return worthy of what he has received, doing this of his own accord. For a man must not make someone a friend against his will; he makes a mistake in the beginning by accepting a gift from a person from whom he should not have taken it. Indeed the gift is not from a real friend nor from someone acting for the sake of a real friend. In this case the recipient must arrange payment as is done on fixed terms, and actually repay if he can; if he cannot, he is not expected to do so even by the giver. Therefore when possible he should repay; but he should consider at the outset the person from whom he is going to receive a benefit and the kind of benefit offered, so that he may accept or decline the benefit.
2. HE BRINGS OUT A DIFFICULTY.
a. He proposes the difficulty. — 1740
It is uncertain, though, whether repayment should be measured by the utility to the recipient, and made according to it, or by the kindness of the giver.
b. He gives the reason for the difficulty. — 1741
For people who receive benefits belittle them; they say they receive such as are insignificant to their benefactors and obtainable from others. Conversely, benefactors maintain that they give the best they have-things not to be had from others-and that they give them in times of danger and great need.
c. He solves the difficulty. — 1742-1743
Therefore, in useful friendship the measure is the utility to the receiver. For he needs the help and it is given to him on the assumption of an equal return. Now the help of the benefactor will be only as much as the recipient gets from it, and he must repay what he received, or even more for that would be more generous. In friendships of virtue, however, complaints do not arise. Here the intention of the giver has a likeness to a measure, for intention is the essential element in virtue and moral practice.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1726. After the Philosopher has distinguished the kinds of friendships, he now shows how complaints or grumblings arise in friendships. He does this under three headings. First [i] he indicates what must be done to avoid quarrels in friendships. Second [II], at “It is to be expected etc.,” he points out the friendships in which quarrels occur. Third [III], at “As justice is of two kinds etc.,” he explains the cause of quarreling. He says first there are three kinds of friendship: for virtue, for pleasure, and for utility; and in any one of these, men can be friends on terms of equality or of merit. He takes up each kind on this very point.
1727. A friendship for virtue may exist between equally virtuous men or between a more virtuous and a less virtuous man; a friendship for pleasure, between equally pleasant men or between a more pleasant and a less pleasant man; a friendship for utility may provide advantages in equal measure or in a greater and less measure. If then friends would be equal in any kind of friendship, they must be equated both in respect to loving--so that each loves the other equally~and in respect to the other requirements such as the courtesies of friends. But if they were unequal each must bestow something in proportion to his superiority or inferiority.
1728. Then [II], at “It is to be expectcd,” he points out the friendships in which quarrels occur. First [II, A] he proposes his intention. Next [II, B], at “But friends by reason of etc..” he explains it. He observes first that it is reasonable for complaints and quarrels-according as one friend accuses another or complains about him-to take place either solely or especially in friendship for utility.
1729. At “But friends by reason of” [II, B] he explains his intention. First [B, 1] he shows that complaint or quarreling does not occur in friendship for virtue. Then [B, 2], at “Nor do complaints etc.,” he points out too that it does not happen often in friendship for pleasure. Last [B, 3], at “Disputes, however etc.,” he shows that complaining and quarreling take place frequently in utilitarian friendship. He remarks first that virtuous friends are prompt to help one another, because doing good for a friend is the proper function of virtue and friendship. And when each strives to serve his friend, complaints and contentions cannot possibly arise.
1730. Indeed no one wants to cause sorrow to a person who loves him and acts well towards him; but if the recipient of a benefit is grateful he will be anxious to give another benefit in return. Although the person who is supposedly more excellent may not receive as much as he gave, nevertheless—if allotted what he desires—he will not complain of this friend. What both desire is the good, i.e., the proper and honorable, and this will be the thing that does not exceed the friend’s means.
1731. Next [B, 2], at “Nor do complaints,” he explains how it is with friendship for pleasure. He says that complaints and quarrels, though possible at times, do not arise very often in friendships based on pleasure; for if friends enjoy one another’s company each has what he desires, viz., pleasure. For that reason there is no place for a quarrel. But if one person does not find another pleasant it is ridiculous to complain of him not being pleasant, since the one has it in his power not to stay in the other’s company.
1732. At “Disputes, however,” [B, 3] he indicates the case of friendship for utility, observing that this friendship suffers especially from complaints and quarrels. For those who use one another for advantage always want more than is given them and think they receive less than their due. Consequently, they complain of not receiving as much as they need, especially when they are deserving of so much. But, on the other hand, their benefactors say they haven’t enough to give what the beneficiaries want.
1733. Then [III], at “As justice is of two kinds,” he gives the reason for quarreling in friendship for utility: first [III, A] in respect to equals; next [Lect. 14; III, B], at “Disagreements happen etc.,” in respect to unequals (B.1163 a 24). He handles the first point in a twofold manner. First [A, 1] he assigns the cause. Then [A, 2], at “It is uncertain, though etc.,” he brings out a difficulty. He discusses the first point from two aspects. First [1, a] he proposes the cause of quarrels in friendship based on utility. Second [1, b], at “But when a person etc.,” he tells how to avoid such quarrels. He treats the first point under two headings. First [a, i] he states the cause. Then [a, ii], at “Now legal utility etc.,” he explains his statement. He affirms first that justice is of two kinds. One is unwritten but implanted in reason and is called natural justice by him on a previous occasion (1081) ‘ The other is written in the law and is called legal justice in the fifth book (1081).
1734. Likewise, utility properly acquired in friendships is of two kinds. One is moral, according as a person provides another with help (utilitatem) in conformity with moral practice. The other is legal utility, according as a person provides another with help in conformity with a statute of law. Now complaints arise in useful friendships especially when an exchange of utility is not made according to the same standard. One bestows help according to the requirements of law, but the other demands it according to moral practice. And in this way friendship is broken up.
1735. Next [a, ii], at “Now legal utility,” he clarifies his statement: first [ii, x] in regard to legal utility; then [ii, y], at “Moral utility, however etc.,” in regard to moral utility. He notes first that legal utility is expressed in definite words or pacts entered into by agreement of both parties. This is twofold. One is entirely formal—after the manner of buying and selling done from hand to hand—e.g., when someone immediately takes what is promised him for service rendered. The other is more liberal allowing a period of delay, although the quid pro quo must necessarily be determined. Thus the debt is clear and unambiguous, but the postponement of it is a kind of friendly gesture. For this reason some do not require a judicial exercise of justice but honor their word in business dealings; and it is thought they should be loved for this.
1736. At “Moral utility, however” [ii, y] he explains what moral utility is. He says it is not expressed in definite words or compacts made by agreement, but without any contract externally declared a person gives to someone else what is usually given gratis to a friend. However, the man who makes a worthy gift intends and expects in return something equal or even better, as if he were not making a gift but a loan. But when an exchange does not take place in such a way that the recipient restores and pays equal or more, the giver will accuse the recipient and complain of him.
1737. After that he assigns the cause of these actions. He remarks that what he just said, viz., the person who gives gratis seeks a return, happens because all, or most people, wish or approve what is noble but actually choose what serves their interests. But that a man confer a benefit on another without intending a benefit in return is noble. Consequently, men want to appear to confer benefits in this way in order to be acceptable to others. But it is profitable to receive benefits. Therefore, whatever else they may pretend, men choose what is profitable.
1738. Then [x, b], at “But when a person,” he shows how quarreling of this kind is to be avoided. He says the recipient of a benefit, when he can, should make a return worthy of the gifts he has received; and he should do this of his own accord because a man should not make someone a friend against his will, in the sense of being willing to accept gratis from a person who is unwilling to give gratis. But the man who accepts a benefit made a mistake in this at the outset in accepting a favor of a person from whom he should not have taken it. For he does not receive a benefit from a real friend nor from one who bestowed it for the sake of him to whom it was given but for an expected advantage. Hence the recipient of a benefit ought to repay the giver on fixed terms or compacts made by agreement. And if he can return to the giver the equal of what he received, he ought to insist on making complete repayment. But if he is unable to repay, neither he who bestowed nor he who accepted the benefit thinks it proper to demand this.
1739. We should remark then that, when possible the recipient ought to make repayment to the kind of benefactor who is intent on repayment. But when a man accepts a benefit he ought to consider at the beginning the person from whom he is receiving it, whether from a friend freely giving or from one who seeks repayment. Likewise he ought to consider under what conditions he is accepting the benefit, whether he could make a return or not, so that he may accept or decline the benefit.
1740. Next [A, 2], at “It is uncertain, though” he raises a difficulty on the matters discussed. First [2, a] he proposes the difficulty, stating it is doubtful whether the recommended repayment ought to be measured by the utility conferred on the recipient of the benefit or by the action of the bestower of the benefit.
1741. Second [2, b], at “For people who receive etc.,” he gives the reason for the difficulty. Recipients of bpriefits in attempting to belittle the favors obtained say they received what was only a trifle for their benefactors, such as they themselves were able to get from others. On the contrary, though, benefactors wanting to extol their benefits maintain that they gave the best they had, which were such as could not be gotten from others, and that they gave these in times of danger and great need.
1742. Third [2, c], at “Therefore, in useful friendship etc.,” he solves the difficulty by saying that repayment ought to be measured by the utility accruing to the recipient’s benefit. He is the one who needed the benefit and it is sufficient for him to attempt an equal return. Indeed the help of the benefactor was only as much as the receiver obtains from it; and if it effects more it is better. In friendships of virtue, however, complaints do not arise, as has been indicated (1729-1730).
1743. Nevertheless a return must be made in them; and here the intention or will in the giver of the benefit has a likeness to a measure, because a measure in any genus is the principal element in that genus. But the excellence of virtue and moral practice lies in intention. For that reason, in friendship based on virtue a return ought to be made according to the will of the person who bestowed the benefit even if someone obtained little or no help from it.
Complaints in Friendships Between Unequals
B. How complaints occur.
1. THE DISAGREEMENT USUALLY HAPPENING IN THESE FRIENDSHIPS. — 1744
Disagreements happen too in friendships between unequals. Here each thinks he deserves more, and when he does not get it the friendship is broken up.
2. HE GIVES THE REASON FOR DISAGREEMENT.
a. The reason motivating the superior parties. — 1745-1746
For the better person thinks that more is coming to him, since greater benefit is due to a better person. The more useful friend is of a similar mind, arguing that the useless man should not receive an equal share, for we would have a kind of public benefaction and not friendship if the advantages of friendship were not allotted according to the value of the benefits bestowed. In this view friendship ought to be considered a business partnership: those who invest more should get bigger returns.
b. The reason influencing the inferior parties. — 1747
But the needy and the less worthy say the opposite, maintaining it is the part of a good friend to assist those in need. What would be the use, they say, of having a good or powerful friend if nothing is to be gained from him?
3. HE DEFINES THE TRUTH.
a. He proposes the truth. — 1748
Both seem to estimate correctly what is just. And each ought to get from the friendship something more, not of the same thing though, but the superior should receive greater honor and the inferior greater gain.
b. He explains it.
i. By argument. — 1749
Honor certainly is compensation for acts of virtue and kindness while gain provides assistance against need.
ii. By illustration. — 1750-1751
It seems to happen this way in civil affairs, for the man who does not contribute any good to the community is not honored. But he who benefits the community receives a common good—honor is just that. A person cannot expect to be honored by the community and simultaneously made rich. Indeed no one could bear to have the smaller share in everything. But one person losing in wealth receives honor, and another expecting gifts receives riches; thus each is equated in proportion to merit, and friendship is preserved—as has been explained. Therefore, our friendship with unequals should be so conducted that the friend, who benefits us in money or virtue, is recompensed in the way that is possible, namely, in honor.
iii. He proves an assertion previously made. — 1752
Friendship indeed asks what is possible, not what is equal in value, for not all benefits can be repaid in honor as is evident in honors due to God and parents. No one can ever repay them what they deserve, although the man who serves them to the best of his ability appears to be virtuous.
c. He deduces a corollary.
i. First he concludes. — 1753
Therefore, a son is not at liberty to disown his father, though a father may disown his son.
ii. He clarifies his conclusion by two reasons.
x. FIRST. — 1754
For a debt ought to be paid. But in discharging it the son can give nothing equal to the blessings bestowed. Therefore he will always be in debt. Now creditors have the power to dismiss their debtors; and a father, his son.
y. SECOND. — 1755-1756
At the same time no one ever seems to disown his son unless he is extremely wicked, for even aside from natural friendship it is human not to refuse help. But if a son is bad he will avoid supplying his father’s needs, or at least will not be in a hurry to do so. For the majority are willing to accept benefits but avoid conferring them as something unprofitable This is the extent of our discussion of these questions.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1744. After the Philosopher has shown the manner in which complaints arise in useful friendship between equals, he now shows how complaints occur in friendships between unequals [III, B]. He discusses this point under three headings. First [B, 1] he states the disagreement usually happening in these friendships. Next [B, 2], for “For the better person etc.,” he gives the reason for disagreement. Last [B, 3], at “Both seem etc.,” he defines the truth. He remarks first that some difference and discord among friends exist also in friendships between unequals when each, the superior and the inferior, thinks it right that he should have more. If he does not get it the friendship is broken up for this reason.
1745. Next [ B, 2 ], at “For the better person,” he offers the reason for this disagreement. First [2, a] he states the reason motivating the superior parties; then [2, b], at “But the needy etc.,” the reason influencing the inferior parties. He observes first that in friendship for virtue the better person thinks it reasonable for him to receive the greater benefit; for if good is due to the good man then more good is due to the better one. Likewise, in friendship for utility the more useful person thinks he should receive the greater benefit.
1746. It is not fitting, they contend, that he who is less useful should reccive the equal of the more useful partner; for this would be a kind of public benefaction or service and not friendship, if the advantages arising from friendship were not distributed according to the value of works so that the man who does better work would have more. In fact they think that, as in business enterprises, the bigger investors receive larger returns from the general fund, so also in friendship the person who contributes more to friendship should receive more.
1747. Then [2, b], at. “But the needy” he gives the reasons influencing the inferior parties. The needy in useful friendship and the less worthy in virtuous friendship argue to the contrary; they maintain that it is the role of a friend excelling in good to provide adequately for friends in need. In fact there would not seem to be any advantage for an inferior person to have a virtuous or powerful friend if nothing ought to be received from him.
1748. At “Both seem” [B, 3] he defines the truth. First [3, a] he proposes the truth; then [3, b], at “Honor certainly etc.,” he explains it; last [3, c], at “Therefore, a son etc.,” he deduces a corollary from the discussion. He says first that each, the superior and inferior, seems to estimate correctly what is just, because something more—not of the same thing though—ought to be given to each: to the superior, greater honor, but to the needy, greater gain.
1 1749. Next [3, b], at “Honor certainly,” he clarifies his statement (1748): first [b, i] by argument; and second [b, ii], at “It seems to happen etc.,” by illustration; third [b, iii], at “Friendship indeed etc.,” he proves an assertion previously made. He notes first that more honor ought to be given to the superior person because honor is a suitable compensation for acts of virtue and kindness—in which worthy people excel. On the other hand, gain provides assistance against need which inferior persons feel.
1750. At “It seems to happen” [b, ii] he manifests the same point by an example. We see it happen this way in civil affairs, for the man who does not contribute any good to the community is not honored. But he who bestows some benefit on the community is given a common good, honor. It is not easily possible for someone to get riches and honors from the community simultaneously. Indeed no one could bear to have the smaller share of everything, honor and riches alike. But the person who loses money by the expenses incurred in serving the community is given honor by the state, and the person who expects gifts for his service is given riches.
1751. It was pointed out previously (1693) that the observance and recognition of excellence creates a proportionate equality among friends, and thus preserves friendship. As states confer honors on some and wealth on others according to their excellence, so we must handle unequal friends. We should render honor to one who performs a useful service by bestowing riches or who does virtuous acts; we should do this in such a way that compensation is made—perhaps not in the equivalent but in that service which is possible.
1752. Then [b, iii], at “Friendship indeed,” he proves that it is sufficient to return what is feasible. The reason is that friendship asks of a friend what is possible but not always what is equal in value, since this would be absolutely impossible at times. Surely not all benefits can be repaid in adequate honor, as is obvious in honors rendered to God and parents who can never be worthily recompensed. However, if a man serves God and parents according to his ability, he seems to be just or virtuous.
1753. At “Therefore, a son” [3, c] he deduces a corollary from the discussion. First [c, i] he concludes that it is not lawful for a son to disown his father but it is lawful sometimes for a father to disown his son.
1754. Second [c, ii], at “For a debt etc.,” he clarifies his conclusion by two reasons. The first is [ii, x] that the son being indebted to the father for the benefits received ought to repay. But he is unable to make a repayment that the benefits deserve. Therefore he will always remain in debt. For this reason he is not at liberty to disown his father. But creditors have the power to dismiss their debtors, so a father has the power of dismissing his son.
1755. He states the second reason at “At the same time no one” [ii, y], observing that no son seems to forsake his father and disown him except out of excessive wickedness. Because of the natural friendship between father and son, it is human that no one should thrust out a person who has supported him. Thus it would be most wicked for a son to expel his father. But if a son is bad the father ought to put him out, or at least not work hard to provide adequately for him, since the son would thereby increase in wickedness. For the majority are willing to accept benefits but avoid assisting others as something unprofitable.
1756. He concludes by way of summary that he has discussed those questions pertaining only to the kinds of friendship. Thus he finishes the teaching of the eighth book.