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friends there is no need for justice, but people who are just still
need the quality of friendship; and indeed friendliness is considered
to be justice in the fullest sense. It is not only a necessary thing
but a splendid one.
Aristotle makes this assertion in Book
VIII, Chapter 1. Neither friendship nor justice
is listed in Aristotle’s table of virtues and vices, because both
are more general than the particular virtues and vices listed there.
In Book V, Aristotle explains that justice comprehends all the virtues,
since acting justly consists essentially of acting in accordance
with all the virtues.
Aristotle bases his conception of justice on a conception
of fair exchange, and does the same for friendship. Friendships
are balanced by the fact that each friend gives as much as receives.
Hence, justice and friendship are closely connected.
Citizens in the Greek city-states were expected to take
a very active role in the government of their city-state, so justice
and civic duty would have been a concern for all. A complete life
could not have been lived in solitude, so justice and friendliness
between fellow citizens was essential.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Nicomachean Ethics!