Volume 26, Issue 2, Spring 2022
Aristotle on Benefaction and Self-Love
Aristotle claims that the virtuous motive in benefitting others is altruistic. But he also claims in Nicomachean Ethics 9.7 that benefaction is an expression of self-love. This essay examines the account of benefaction with an eye to resolving the tension between these claims. By drawing out Aristotle’s comparison between reproduction and benefaction, I show that Aristotle conceives of self-love principally in terms of activities whose causal effects redound not only to the beneficiary but also to the benefactor. With this understanding of self-love, we better understand the relationship between self-love and benefaction and between self-love and friendship.