aims of friendship

After all of the discussion of the perfect friendship, it seems fair to investigate the motives for friendship. To what end is friendship directed? Aristotle believes that “friendship… consists in the pursuit of a common social life” which, in turn, is the means to the good life. He doesn’t view friendship as merely an instrument to a higher end, however; in fact, he states that “affection is enjoyed for its own sake.” Cicero joins him in this assertion. Although friendship offers many benefits, these benefits are not the end of friendship but simply the result of affection: “Friendship does not follow upon advantage, but advantage upon friendship.” According to Cicero, advantages are subordinate to affection. Little more is said by writers about the aims of friendship, which may indicate the truth of the idea that it is desirable for what it is and not as a means to some higher good.

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