The relationship between friendship and justice

Paper Topic: - The relationship between friendship and justice

The term friendship is very confusing if not clearly understood. According to Aristotle, the term refers to acting selflessly and expecting no repayment in return.  As a result, doing the right thing or being ethical in one's movements and choices make people the best of friends. It is also interesting that the term friendship is not without some form of drawback. There are cases where although someone may be acting as a friend then the term justice is never implemented. Going out of one's way to impress a college as a way of getting something from them is another form of friendship. The paper thus looks at three types of friendships and in doing so tries to justify the statement, "where there is friendship, justice is not vital, yet where there is equity friendship is still necessary."

There are three forms of association as discussed by Aristotle. There is friendship for use, pleasure, and Philia or real friends. Although they all have the characteristics of friendship, they have a unique way of being completely different. They, however, seem to be linked to the simple understanding of the concept of dependency on a relationship. That said the idea of justice is what differentiates the three.

Friendship for pleasure is the first of the three types of bonds. There are cases where people have the tendency to befriend others because they are amusing or entertaining. In this form of friendship, the friends are always after ensuring that they are pleased. It is interesting that this type of friendship is not based on any other kind of characteristics. They are more tired to the wit or attractiveness of their friends, and as such, they get to change rapidly. It is no surprise then that they get to find friends fast, in this case, and also prone to lose them the same way. With this in mind one is in a position to understand Aristotle's statements that the young "...quickly become friends and quickly stop..." and " and stop loving quickly..."  (Joachim et al.,1156b01-05)

Case in point most young people usually have the tendency to aim at pleasure. It is mostly because the young seek for the guidance on emotions, and give priority to what makes them happy. It is because they prioritize on what's ahead. In this form of friendship; the concept of friendship is not really about reflecting justice. The only reason they call themselves friends is that of the common grounds of pleasure. Apart from that nothing more selfless is involved. It acts like what one offers is one's worth, but if one stops being useful, then they cease to be friends. 

Friendships of use are based on mutual advantage. That is to say, the only reasons why people tend to be close or even associate with each other are because of the good that seem to bring to this friendship. In this case, both parties involved in this form of friendship wish the other party something of use. Just like the pleasure friends they tend to end very abruptly. They will stop being good friends immediately the other stops being useful to the other. They might be only close because they get to benefit from each other. However, when that importance stops being forthcoming, they end that form of friendship. To call them friends is an overstatement they are more like acquaintances. Aristotle argues that "....are at such a time of life pursue not what is pleasant but what is beneficial" to support the acquaintance argument (Joachim et al.,1156a24-25).   

Take for instance when friendship is developed because of business partnership. It might be good friends and even interact when need be, but that friendship stops immediately once one of them feels that the association is not necessary anymore. The only reason such a bond exists is that both parties get to benefit and nothing more.

In the case of real friendship, the characteristics and partnerships are very different from the two. To describe this form of friendship Aristotle calls it "... complete sort of friendship between people who are good and alike in virtue..."  (Joachim et al., 1156 b07-08). Here there is mutual affection where both the parties get to feel like both of them are delighted being around each other. There is mutual valuing; that is the aspect of looking at each other as being valuable in so many ways, the issues of ethics in behavior is given priority. The point of equality is highlighted in this form of friendship. One is not able to be friends with someone they see as being inferior or superior to them. The aspect of value or worth is thus never a factor no matter the station or position one occupies in society. That said it seems to break every boundary of what it means to be valuable or friends to someone that encompasses both ethics and justice.

While comparing a case where friends assume that they may have played a significant role in influencing their others, they also motivate themselves to act better and be better in the long run. They thus impact not only their character but live a positive life. They may also desire to push their friendship to become better.

The concept of friendship is found to influence the good for both parties. It is strange that the idea of the friendship looks at deserved justice in both cases. The truth behind such association is based on the other parties' interests being met. That is the only reason they keep such a friendship. It goes on to show how the concept of justice is the reason why they try so much to be close and make a friendship association between themselves. It is the need to have a business partner that makes people be friends and tolerate being together. The reasons they can have such an association is because their friendship makes them have a great and wonderful partnership.

In true friendship, however, the concept of justice is not necessary. No one expects payment or return of assistance or help given to the other party. Everyone is also content that justice is merely a friendship that they get from the other party. Regardless of the position, someone might be in the friendship is mutual. The shared concept is used to mean that both sides do not look at the bond that they have as being dependent on an idea or a universal concept.


True friendship by all extent looks at the concept of justice factored into the relationship. It is never about one party benefiting or both sides looking at a single benefit that brings them together but rather the immense benefits that both sides get. As such it justifies the concept of true friendship, and there is no need for the separation of the idea of justice and friendship.
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