Abstract and Keywords
On Aristotle’s account of philia in the Nicomachean Ethics, friends who love each other because of their virtue rather than their incidental properties are most fully friends, because they love each other for who they really are. Alongside his picture of ideal virtue, Aristotle offers a realistic account on which people can develop virtue to varying extents and in different domains. His character friends are good but imperfect people who love each other for the specific way virtue takes shape in their lives, share interests and delight in each other’s company, bring out the best in each other, and pursue each other’s good for the other’s own sake. If one brackets his faulty conception of female nature, his account of moral development allows a character friendship of equals between husbands and wives, even in societies where women’s opportunities are severely limited.
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