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FRIENDSHIP AND THE COMMON GOOD IN ARISTOTLE

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Author(s): FRED GUYETTE

Journal: Agathos : an International Review of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 2069-1025

Volume: III;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 107;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Aristotle | friendship | common good | justice

ABSTRACT
For theorists of political liberalism, individual rights take priority over the good. Communitarians hold, however, that a society focused exclusively on individual rights will be made up of atomistic selves who cannot sustain any commitment to the common good. Aristotle’s discussions of friendship and the common good can contribute to the conversation concerning the polis and its ends. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics emphasizes homonoia, but his Politics envisions “political friendship” more as a space for agonistic struggle. Aristotle knows about the destructive effects of pleonexia, and he describes several community-building virtues that are opposed to it: justice, temperance, and liberality. Aristotle also claims that the genre of tragedy can inform a commitment to work for the common good.
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