Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 12, 2018

Ethics

Lorenz Moises J. Festin
Pages 109-113

Friendship as Paradigm of Aristotelian ‘eudaimonia

Happiness is essentially an actualization [energeia], whereby a potentiality comes to be realized. Such a process of actualization is then viewed not simply as a means to an end but as instantiating the end itself. In this regard, the exercise of moral virtue may be viewed as forming part of what could be considered happiness. Consequently, a neat differentiation can hardly be made between what constitutes the means and what pertains to the end. As a moral virtue, friendship is an essential element of a happy life. “For without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.” [Nicomachean Ethics, 1155a 5-6] How essential is friendship in happiness? What role does it play in the experience and realization of human ultimate good? And in what way can friendship help us understand the nature of happiness? The paper first argues why it is essential to view eudaimonia as actualization. It then takes into account the nature of friendship, pointing out its parallelism with happiness. And it aims to explain how friendship, insofar as it is paradigmatic of eudaimonia, can clarify the Aristotelian notion of happiness.