Love and Friendship in Plato and Aristotle

By A. W. Price | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

M. Guyau, Esquisse d'une morale sans obligation ni sanction, 246-7:

The character of life that has permitted us to unite egoism and altruism to a certain degree -- a union which is the moralists' philosophical stone -- is that which we have called moral fecundity. It is necessary that individual life should diffuse itself for another, in another, and, if need be, give itself. Well, this diffusion is not contrary to nature: it is, on the contrary, according to nature; furthermore, it is the very condition of true life. The utilitarian school has been forced to halt, more or less hesitantly, before this perpetual antithesis of 'I' and 'thou', of mine and thine, of the personal interest of each and the general interest of both; but living nature does not halt at this cut-and-dried, and logically inflexible, division: intellectual life is diffusive for another because it is fecund, and it is fecund for the very reason that it is life. From the physical point of view, as we have seen, the individual needs to procreate another individual, so that this other becomes virtually a condition of ourselves. Life, like fire, only conserves itself in communicating itself. And that is true, of our intelligence no less than of the body: it is as impossible to confine intelligence within itself as flame -- it is made to radiate. There is the same diffusive force in our sensibility: we have to share our joy, we have to share our grief. It is our whole nature that is sociable: life does not know the absolute classifications and divisions of the logicians and metaphysicians; it cannot be completely egoistic even if it wished to be. We are everywhere open, everywhere invading and invaded. That is a corollary of the fundamental law with which biology has supplied us: Life is not only nutrition, it is production and fecundity. To live is to spend as well to acquire.

-206-

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Love and Friendship in Plato and Aristotle
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vii
  • Contents ix
  • NOTE TO THE READER x
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • 1 - Friendship and Desire in the Lysis 1
  • 2 - Love in the Symposium 15
  • 3 - Love in the Phaedrus 55
  • 4 - Perfect Friendship in Aristotle 103
  • 5 - Aristotle on the Varieties of Friendship 131
  • 6 - The Household 162
  • 7 - The City 179
  • Epilogue 206
  • Appendix 1 - Homogeneity and Beauty in the Symposium 207
  • Appendix 2 - Psychoanalysis Looks at the Phaedrus 215
  • Appendix 3 - Plato's Sexual Morality 223
  • Appendix 4 - Aristotle on Erotic Love 236
  • Afterword (1997) 250
  • List of Modern Works Cited 273
  • Index 281
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