(Ars Rhetorica)
BOOK 2.4:
A Definition of Love/Friendship

 Aristotle adapted by L. Dysinger, O.S.B. from Aristotle, Rhetoric J. H. Freese, Ed. Aristot. Rh. 2.4.  Greek: Ars Rhetorica. Aristotle. W. D. Ross. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1959.

BOOK 2.4
A Definition of Love (or friendship?)


2.4. Let us now state who they are that one loves (philousi) or hates

and why,

after we have defined love (philian) and loving (philein).

4.τίνας δὲ φιλοῦσι καὶ μισοῦσι,

καὶ διὰ τί,

τὴν φιλίαν καὶ τὸ φιλεῖν ὁρισάμενοι λέγωμεν.

 Definition of philein


[2] Loving (philein), then, may be [defined as:] [2] ἔστω δὴ τὸ φιλεῖν

TO will for someone what we consider good,

[cf. Aquin.ST.;  Catech.1766]

τὸ βούλεσθαί τινι ἃ οἴεται ἀγαθά,

for their sake

ἐκείνου ἕνεκα

but not for ours, [cf. RB 72.7]

ἀλλὰ μὴ αὑτοῦ,

and insofar as it is within our power to procure [that good] for them.

καὶ τὸ κατὰ δύναμιν πρακτικὸν εἶναι τούτων.



 A friend is one who loves and is loved in return, and those who think their relationship is of this character consider themselves friends. [3] This being granted, it necessarily follows that he is a friend who shares our joy in good fortune and our sorrow in affliction, for our own sake and not for any other reason. For all men rejoice when what they desire comes to pass and are pained when the contrary happens, so that pain and pleasure are indications of their wish. [4] And those are friends who have the same ideas of good and bad, and love and hate the same persons, since they necessarily wish the same things; wherefore one who wishes for another what he wishes for himself seems to be the other's friend.

φίλος δέ ἐστιν ὁ φιλῶν καὶ ἀντιφιλούμενος: οἴονται δὲ φίλοι εἶναι οἱ οὕτως ἔχειν οἰόμενοι πρὸς ἀλλήλους. [3] τούτων δὲ ὑποκειμένων ἀνάγκη φίλον εἶναι τὸν συνηδόμενον τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς καὶ συναλγοῦντα τοῖς λυπηροῖς μὴ διά τι ἕτερον ἀλλὰ δι᾽ ἐκεῖνον: γιγνομένων γὰρ ὧν βούλονται χαίρουσιν πάντες, τῶν ἐναντίων δὲ λυποῦνται, ὥστε τῆς βουλήσεως σημεῖον αἱ λῦπαι καὶ αἱ ἡδοναί. [4] καὶ οἷς δὴ ταὐτὰ ἀγαθὰ καὶ κακά, καὶ οἱ τοῖς αὐτοῖς φίλοι καὶ οἱ τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐχθροί: ταὐτὰ γὰρ τούτοις βούλεσθαι ἀνάγκη, ὥστε ἅπερ αὑτῷ καὶ ἄλλῳ βουλόμενος τούτῳ φαίνεται φίλος εἶναι.

[5] We also like those who have done good either to us or to those whom we hold dear, if the services are important, or are cordially rendered, or under certain circumstances, and for our sake only; and all those whom we think desirous of doing us good. [6] And those who are friends of our friends and who like those whom we like, and those who are liked by those who are liked by us; [7] and those whose enemies are ours, those who hate those whom we ourselves hate, and those who are hated by those who are hated by us; for all such persons have the same idea as ourselves of what is good, so that they wish what is good for us, which, as we said, is the characteristic of a friend. [8] Further, we like those who are ready to help others in the matter of money or personal safety; wherefore men honor those who are liberal and courageous and just. [9] And such we consider those who do not live upon others; the sort of men who live by their exertions, and among them agriculturists, and, beyond all others, those who work with their own hands. [10] And the self-controlled, because they are not likely to commit injustice; [11] and those who are not busybodies, for the same reason. And those with whom we wish to be friends, if they also seem to wish it; such are those who excel in virtue and enjoy a good reputation, either generally, or amongst the best, or amongst those who are admired by us or by whom we are admired. [12] Further, those who are agreeable to live or spend the time with; such are those who are good-tempered and not given to carping at our errors, neither quarrelsome nor contentious, for all such persons are pugnacious, and the wishes of the pugnacious appear to be opposed to ours.

[5] καὶ τοὺς πεποιηκότας εὖ φιλοῦσιν, ἢ αὐτοὺς ἢ ὧν κήδονται, ἢ εἰ μεγάλα, ἢ εἰ προθύμως, ἢ εἰ ἐν τοιούτοις καιροῖς, καὶ αὐτῶν ἕνεκα, ἢ οὓς ἂν οἴωνται βούλεσθαι ποιεῖν εὖ. [6] καὶ τοὺς τῶν φίλων φίλους καὶ φιλοῦντας οὓς αὐτοὶ φιλοῦσιν. καὶ τοὺς φιλουμένους ὑπὸ τῶν φιλουμένων αὐτοῖς. [7] καὶ τοὺς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐχθροὺς καὶ μισοῦντας οὓς αὐτοὶ μισοῦσιν, καὶ τοὺς μισουμένους ὑπὸ τῶν αὐτοῖς μισουμένων: πᾶσιν γὰρ τούτοις τὰ αὐτὰ ἀγαθὰ φαίνεται εἶναι καὶ αὐτοῖς, ὥστε βούλεσθαι τὰ αὐτοῖς ἀγαθά, ὅπερ ἦν τοῦ φίλου. [8] ἔτι τοὺς εὐποιητικοὺς εἰς χρήματα καὶ εἰς σωτηρίαν: διὸ τοὺς ἐλευθερίους καὶ ἀνδρείους τιμῶσι καὶ τοὺς δικαίους: [9] τοιούτους δ᾽ ὑπολαμβάνουσι τοὺς μὴ ἀφ᾽ ἑτέρων ζῶντας: τοιοῦτοι δ᾽ οἱ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἐργάζεσθαι, καὶ τούτων οἱ ἀπὸ γεωργίας, καὶ τῶν ἄλλων οἱ αὐτουργοὶ μάλιστα. [10] καὶ τοὺς σώφρονας, ὅτι οὐκ ἄδικοι. [11] καὶ τοὺς ἀπράγμονας διὰ τὸ αὐτό. καὶ οἷς βουλόμεθα φίλοι εἶναι, ἂν φαίνωνται βουλόμενοι: εἰσὶ δὲ τοιοῦτοι οἵ τ᾽ ἀγαθοὶ κατ᾽ ἀρετὴν καὶ οἱ εὐδόκιμοι ἢ ἐν ἅπασιν ἢ ἐν τοῖς βελτίστοις ἢ ἐν τοῖς θαυμαζομένοις ὑφ᾽ αὑτῶν ἢ ἐν τοῖς θαυμάζουσιν αὐτούς. [12] ἔτι τοὺς ἡδεῖς συνδιαγαγεῖν καὶ συνδιημερεῦσαι: τοιοῦτοι δ᾽ οἱ εὔκολοι καὶ μὴ ἐλεγκτικοὶ τῶν ἁμαρτανομένων καὶ μὴ φιλόνικοι μηδὲ δυσέριδες πάντες γὰρ οἱ τοιοῦτοι μαχητικοί, οἱ δὲ μαχόμενοι τἀναντία φαίνονται βούλεσθαι,

[13] And those are liked who are clever at making or taking a joke, for each has the same end in view as his neighbor, being able to take a joke and return it in good taste. [14] And those who praise our good qualities, especially those which we ourselves are afraid we do not possess; [15] those who are neat in their personal appearance and dress, and clean-living; [16] those who do not make our errors or the benefits they have conferred a matter of reproach, for both these are inclined to be censorious; [17] those who bear no malice and do not cherish the memory of their wrongs, but are easily appeased; for we think that they will be to ourselves such as we suppose them to be to others; [18] and those who are neither given to slander, or eager to know the faults of their neighbors nor our own, but only the good qualities; [19] for this is the way in which the good man acts. And those who do not oppose us when we are angry or occupied, for such persons are pugnacious; and those who show any good feeling towards us; for instance, if they admire us, think us good men, and take pleasure in our company, [20] especially those who are so disposed towards us in regard to things for which we particularly desire to be either admired or to be thought worthy or agreeable. [21] And we like those who resemble us and have the same tastes, provided their interests do not clash with ours and that they do not gain their living in the same way; for then it becomes a case of “ Potter [being jealous] of potter.

[13] καὶ οἱ ἐπιδέξιοι καὶ τῷ τωθάσαι καὶ τῷ ὑπομεῖναι: ἐπὶ ταὐτὸ γὰρ ἀμφοτέρως σπεύδουσι τῷ πλησίον, δυνάμενοί τε σκώπτεσθαι καὶ ἐμμελῶς σκώπτοντες. [14] καὶ τοὺς ἐπαινοῦντας τὰ ὑπάρχοντα ἀγαθά, καὶ τούτων μάλιστα ἃ φοβοῦνται μὴ ὑπάρχειν αὐτοῖς. [15] καὶ τοὺς καθαρείους περὶ ὄψιν, περὶ ἀμπεχόνην, περὶ ὅλον τὸν βίον. [16] καὶ τοὺς μὴ ὀνειδιστὰς μήτε τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων μήτε τῶν εὐεργετημάτων: ἀμφότεροι γὰρ ἐλεγκτικοί. [17] καὶ τοὺς μὴ μνησικακοῦντας, μηδὲ φυλακτικοὺς τῶν ἐγκλημάτων, ἀλλ᾽ εὐκαταλλάκτους: οἵους γὰρ ἂν ὑπολαμβάνωσιν εἶναι πρὸς τοὺς ἄλλους, καὶ πρὸς αὑτοὺς οἴονται. [18] καὶ τοὺς μὴ κακολόγους μηδὲ εἰδότας μήτε τὰ τῶν πλησίον κακὰ μήτε τὰ αὐτῶν, ἀλλὰ τἀγαθά: [19] ὁ γὰρ ἀγαθὸς ταῦτα δρᾷ. καὶ τοὺς μὴ ἀντιτείνοντας τοῖς ὀργιζομένοις ἢ σπουδάζουσιν: μαχητικοὶ γὰρ οἱ τοιοῦτοι. καὶ τοὺς πρὸς αὐτοὺς σπουδαίως πως ἔχοντας, οἷον θαυμάζοντας αὐτοὺς καὶ σπουδαίους ὑπολαμβάνοντας καὶ χαίροντας αὐτοῖς, [20] καὶ ταῦτα μάλιστα πεπονθότας περὶ ἃ μάλιστα βούλονται αὐτοὶ ἢ θαυμάζεσθαι ἢ σπουδαῖοι δοκεῖν εἶναι ἢ ἡδεῖς. [21] καὶ τοὺς ὁμοίους καὶ ταὐτὰ ἐπιτηδεύοντας, ἐὰν μὴ παρενοχλῶσι μηδ᾽ ἀπὸ ταὐτοῦ ᾖ ὁ βίος: γίγνεται γὰρ οὕτω τὸ “κεραμεὺς κεραμεῖ. ” [Hes. WD 25]

” [22] And those who desire the same things, provided it is possible for us to share them; otherwise the same thing would happen again. [23] And those with whom we are on such terms that we do not blush before them for faults merely condemned by
public opinion, provided that this is not due to contempt;
[24] and those before whom we do blush for faults that are really bad. And those whose rivals we are, or by whom we wish to be emulated, but not envied,—these we either like or wish to be friends with them. [25] And those whom we are ready to assist in obtaining what is good, provided greater evil does not result for ourselves. [26] And those who show equal fondness for friends, whether absent or present; wherefore all men like those who show such feeling for the dead.

[22] καὶ τοὺς τῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιθυμοῦντας, ὧν ἐνδέχεται ἅμα μετέχειν αὐτούς: εἰ δὲ μή, ταὐτὸ καὶ οὕτω συμβαίνει. [23] καὶ πρὸς οὓς οὕτως ἔχουσιν ὥστε μὴ αἰσχύνεσθαι τὰ πρὸς δόξαν, μὴ καταφρονοῦντες. [24] καὶ πρὸς οὓς αἰσχύνονται τὰ πρὸς ἀλήθειαν. καὶ πρὸς οὓς φιλοτιμοῦνται, ἢ ὑφ᾽ ὧν ζηλοῦσθαι βούλονται καὶ μὴ φθονεῖσθαι, τούτους ἢ φιλοῦσιν ἢ βούλονται φίλοι εἶναι. [25] καὶ οἷς ἂν τἀγαθὰ συμπράττωσιν, ἐὰν μὴ μέλλῃ αὐτοῖς ἔσεσθαι μείζω κακά. [26] καὶ οἳ ὁμοίως καὶ τοὺς ἀπόντας καὶ τοὺς παρόντας φιλοῦσιν: διὸ καὶ τοὺς περὶ τοὺς τεθνεῶτας τοιούτους πάντες φιλοῦσιν.

In a word, men like those who are strongly attached to their friends and do not leave them in the lurch; for among good men they chiefly like those who are good friends. [27] And those who do not dissemble with them; such are those who do not fear to mention even their faults. For, as we have said, before friends we do not blush for faults merely condemned by public opinion; if then he who blushes for such faults is not a friend, he who does not is likely to be one. And men like those who are not formidable, and in whom they have confidence; for no one likes one whom he fears. [28] Companionship, intimacy, kinship, and similar relations are species of friendship. Things that create friendship are doing a favor, [29] and doing it unasked, and not making it public after doing it; for then it seems to have been rendered for the sake of the friend, and not for any other reason.

καὶ ὅλως τοὺς σφόδρα φιλοφίλους καὶ μὴ ἐγκαταλείποντας: μάλιστα γὰρ φιλοῦσι τῶν ἀγαθῶν τοὺς φιλεῖν ἀγαθούς. [27] καὶ τοὺς μὴ πλαττομένους πρὸς αὐτούς: τοιοῦτοι δὲ οἱ καὶ τὰ φαῦλα τὰ ἑαυτῶν λέγοντες: εἴρηται γὰρ ὅτι πρὸς τοὺς φίλους τὰ πρὸς δόξαν οὐκ αἰσχυνόμεθα: εἰ οὖν ὁ αἰσχυνόμενος μὴ φιλεῖ, ὁ μὴ αἰσχυνόμενος φιλοῦντι ἔοικεν. καὶ τοὺς μὴ φοβερούς, καὶ οὓς θαρροῦμεν: οὐδεὶς γὰρ ὃν φοβεῖται φιλεῖ. [28] εἴδη δὲ φιλίας ἑταιρεία οἰκειότης συγγένεια καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα. ποιητικὰ δὲ φιλίας χάρις [29] καὶ τὸ μὴ δεηθέντος ποιῆσαι καὶ τὸ ποιήσαντα μὴ δηλῶσαι: αὐτοῦ γὰρ οὕτως ἕνεκα φαίνεται καὶ οὐ διά τι ἕτερον.

[30] As for enmity and hatred, it is evident that they must be examined in the light of their contraries. The causes which produce enmity are anger, spitefulness, slander. [31] Anger arises from acts committed against us, enmity even from those that are not; for if we imagine a man to be of such and such a character, we hate him. Anger has always an individual as its object, for instance Callias or Socrates, whereas hatred applies to classes; for instance, every one hates a thief or informer. Anger is curable by time, hatred not; the aim of anger is pain, of hatred evil; for the angry man wishes to see what happens; to one who hates it does not matter. Now, the things which cause pain are all perceptible, while things which are especially bad, such as injustice or folly, are least perceptible; for the presence of vice causes no pain. Anger is accompanied by pain, but hatred not; for he who is angry suffers pain, but he who hates does not. One who is angry might feel compassion in many cases, but one who hates, never; for the former wishes that the object of his anger should suffer in his turn, the latter, that he should perish. [32] It is evident, then, from what we have just said, that it is possible to prove that men are enemies or friends, or to make them such if they are not; to refute those who pretend that they are, and when they oppose us through anger or enmity, to bring them over to whichever side may be preferred. The things and persons that men fear and in what frame of mind, will be evident from the following considerations.

[30] περὶ δ᾽ ἔχθρας καὶ τοῦ μισεῖν φανερὸν ὡς ἐκ τῶν ἐναντίων ἔστι θεωρεῖν. ποιητικὰ δὲ ἔχθρας ὀργή, ἐπηρεασμός, διαβολή. [31] ὀργὴ μὲν οὖν ἐστιν ἐκ τῶν πρὸς αὑτόν, ἔχθρα δὲ καὶ ἄνευ τοῦ πρὸς αὑτόν: ἂν γὰρ ὑπολαμβάνωμεν εἶναι τοιόνδε, μισοῦμεν. καὶ ἡ μὲν ὀργὴ ἀεὶ περὶ τὰ καθ᾽ ἕκαστα, οἷον Καλλίᾳ ἢ Σωκράτει, τὸ δὲ μῖσος καὶ πρὸς τὰ γένη: τὸν γὰρ κλέπτην μισεῖ καὶ τὸν συκοφάντην ἅπας. καὶ τὸ μὲν ἰατὸν χρόνῳ, τὸ δ᾽ ἀνίατον. καὶ τὸ μὲν λύπης ἔφεσις, τὸ δὲ κακοῦ: αἴσθεσθαι γὰρ βούλεται ὁ ὀργιζόμενος, τῷ δ᾽ οὐδὲν διαφέρει. ἔστι δὲ τὰ μὲν λυπηρὰ αἰσθητὰ πάντα, τὰ δὲ μάλιστα κακὰ ἥκιστα αἰσθητά, ἀδικία καὶ ἀφροσύνη: οὐδὲν γὰρ λυπεῖ ἡ παρουσία τῆς κακίας. καὶ τὸ μὲν μετὰ λύπης, τὸ δ᾽ οὐ μετὰ λύπης: ὁ μὲν γὰρ ὀργιζόμενος λυπεῖται, ὁ δὲ μισῶν οὔ. καὶ ὁ μὲν πολλῶν ἂν γενομένων ἐλεήσειεν, ὁ δ᾽ οὐδενός: ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἀντιπαθεῖν βούλεται ᾧ ὀργίζεται, ὁ δὲ μὴ εἶναι. [32] φανερὸν οὖν ἐν τούτων ὅτι ἐνδέχεται ἐχθροὺς καὶ φίλους καὶ ὄντας ἀποδεικνύναι καὶ μὴ ὄντας ποιεῖν καὶ φάσκοντας διαλύειν, καὶ δι᾽ ὀργὴν ἢ δι᾽ ἔχθραν ἀμφισβητοῦντας ἐφ᾽ ὁποτέραν ἂν προαιρῆταί τις ἄγειν.


2 Aristotle's opinion of husbandry, in which tillage and planting, keeping of bees, fish, and fowl were included, was not nearly so favorable as that of Xenophon in his Oeconomicus. In two lists of the elements of a State given in the Politics, it comes first at the head of the lower occupations. In its favor it is said that it forms the best material of a rural democracy, furnishes good sailors, a healthy body of men, not money-grabbers like merchants and tradesmen, and does not make men unfit to bear arms. On the other hand, it claims so much of a man's time that he is unable to devote proper attention to political duties, and should be excluded from holding office. He further says that husbandmen, if possible, should be slaves neither of the same race nor hot-tempered, for they will work better and are less likely to revolt; or, as the next best alternative, barbarians or serfs. The favorable view taken by Aristotle here and in the Oeconomics probably not his does not agree with that put forward in the Politics.


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