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Armando Fernandez Extra-Credit Paper In what sense being a good man, and a good friend, is consistent with self-love?

In Nicomachean Ethics Book IX Chapter 8, Aristotle explains in what sense being a good man, and a good friend, is consistent with self-love. To do this Aristotle makes a distinction between different instances of self-love, one that is worthy of reproach and one that is not. Aristotle claims that the instance that is worthy of reproach is the conventionally accepted notion of self-love. It is the most common since it is characterized by the pursuit of goods which many assume are the best through the facilitation of their affective part of the soul. The instance that is not worthy of reproach is the rare case and the one that should be desired, for Aristotle. This instance of self-love is characterized by loving ones and obeying ones rational part of the soul. Because Aristotle believes this is the most controlling and important part of the human being, loving this part entails loving oneself most wholly. And since Aristotle believes proper use of ones rational part allows them to aim towards the fine, which results in the greatest common and individual good, then being a self-lover is not only consistent with being a good man and a good friend, but it is necessary. In order to see how Aristotles idea of a self-lover is consist with his idea of a good man and good friend, first Ill briefly define what is a good man and a good friend to Aristotle. Then Ill show how exactly Aristotles definition of being a self-lover entails being a good man and a good friend. Rooted within Aristotles idea of a good man is his hylomorphic and teleological theory of human beings. First he asserts that any human act is ultimately for the sake of happiness. Thus, happiness is the highest good and human end, since he believes happiness is self-evident and self-sufficient. Because Aristotle believes a things teleology is ultimately embedded in its form, its function. Aristotle believes that because the soul is unique to living bodies, it serves as the form and essence which actualize the potential body matter. So, for Aristotle, to understand the teleology of the human being we must look towards the soul and question what makes it distinct for human beings in comparison to other living bodies or animals. Aristotle comes to the conclusion that it is the ability to reason which is distinct for human beings. So, for Aristotle, to reason well and in accordance with right and complete virtues is what makes a good man, because they are the most capable of reaching their end, happiness. (NE Book 1. Ch7. S20) From this we can see why Aristotle believes the rational part constitutes the whole of the human being, and why obeying the rational part of the soul results in the highest good for each individual, and the common good. To Aristotle, the type of self-lover that is eager above all to do just or temperate actions or any other actions in accord with the virtues, and in general always gains for himself what is fine, no one will call him a self lover or blame him for it. Aristotle believes this person awards himself with what is finest and best of all because he gratifies and obeys the rational part of the soul, which is the most controlling part of himself. They obey their rational part which allows them to aim and identity the fine, the good, but it also allows them to figure out the means towards this aim. In contrast, the self-lover who does not make use of their rational part is reproachable. For Aristotle, this instance of self-love is one that is characterized by the eagerly pursuit of the self-gratification of appetites in general feelings and the non-rational part of the soul. Because these self-lovers dont fully

obey their rational part, they aim towards the wrong things, and away from the good, the fine. These appetites and aims for Aristotle include money, honors, and bodily pleasures, which are often pursued in competition and thus may result in the harm of others. Now, how does aiming at the fine necessarily benefit your friends? Aristotle believes the good person will labor for his friends and native country, and will die for them if he must. [He] will sacrifice money, honors, and contested goods in general, in achieving fine for himself. He will sacrifice all these things, so his friends can benefit. This is because the most whole self-lover will choose the fine at the cost of everything. Aristotle believes loving and obeying ones rational part allows one to aim towards the fine, which is unqualified and the object of desire. Aiming towards the fine allows and requires one to want to act virtuously and correctly, which is necessary to have the best friendships and live in the best community. Because to Aristotle the best friendships consists of seeing ones friends as another self. And if one loves oneself wholly, he will aim towards the fine and would want the same for his friends since he loves them equally. In comparison, the vicious person is in conflict with himself because they have done actions they hate, and thus shun their life in regret. He will be pleased by others company, so he can forget what hes done. But there remains nothing lovable about himself, thus he cannot love himself and share his own enjoyments. (NE.BkIX.Ch4) So, we can see the true and correct self-lover is one who has a pleasant and stable life due to a pursuit of the good, which allows him to correctly love others how he loves himself. But ultimately, this self-lover is not entirely selfless since he must always think of himself first in aiming for the fine. But neither is he selfish because it is this very act of just self-love that results in a common good. Aristotle takes the value of friendship further and in BkIXCh8 claims that it is even more virtuous to have friends. This is because it can serve as an actuality of our own virtue since it is the cultivation of our own virtue which results in the best friendship. And in the observance of our friends virtue we find pleasure because it is almost as if it is our own, since the best friend exists almost as another self. This makes it easier to have continuous virtuous activity since being reminded of ones relation to others and their company cultivates their virtue. This is because through this cultivation we contemplate and perceive virtuous activity, which Aristotle believes is good by nature since it is activity of the soul. To conclude, for Aristotle, being the most self-lover consists of loving and obeying ones rational part. This allows one to aim towards the fine, which results in the common good and finest good for the individual. And through self-love and pursuit of the fine we are able to love our friends as another self, this being the best of friendships. Because you love them for their own sake just as you would love yourself for your own sake as a self-lover. So, when we aim towards and desire the fine, we wish the same for our friends. And observance of our virtuous friends and their virtuous activity is even like an actuality of our own virtue. They are virtuous since the best friendships consists of similar aims. This observance becomes an enhancement and cultivation of our own virtue since we can more directly perceive and contemplate virtue more continuously. Thus, for Aristotle, being a self-lover is necessary to aim towards the fine and thus be a good man, and thus a good friend. And through the best friendships we may even come to enhance and more actualize our virtuous activity as a good man. In this sense being a self-lover is consistent with being a good friend, and a good man.