Political Theory 37 (6):754-779 (2009)

The essay sheds light on Aristotle's understanding of friendship and its relation to political life. The author challenges the usual view that Aristotle postulates three distinct kinds of friendship. Instead the author argues that Aristotle understood there to be only one kind of friendship, and that other "friendships" were to Aristotle "unfinished" and thus not friendship at all. Aristotle shows that the relation between friendship and politics is grounded in friendship's possibility for human beings, and not as something cherished for its actuality. By looking at proper friendship as possibility and not actuality, we could only ever interpret the infamous statement attributed to Aristotle—"my friends, there are no friends"—not as illuminating of what friendship is but rather as a nostalgic diagnosis of the decay of the possibility of friendship, and hence of politics. By extension, and more poignantly, interpreting Aristotle's work on friendship in this light, we stand ready to reinterpret the mobilization of Aristotelian friendship for contemporary understandings of democratic practice
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DOI 10.1177/0090591709345463
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Civic Friendship and Thin Citizenship.R. K. Bentley - 2013 - Res Publica 19 (1):5-19.

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