According to Aristotle, there are several goods that an individual should poses so as to be happy. The goods Aristotle is talking about in this case include power, wealth as well as good friends. Further, Aristotle is of the opinion that if someone lacks in a number of benefits such as good friends, their happiness could be significantly compromised. Hence friendship in the light of such argument could be viewed as an important “external good” not only for an individual but also for the society as well.
During his life and times, Aristotle came up with numerous texts on a wide range of subjects including but not in any way limited to physics, logic as well as ethics. However, what remains one of his moist popular works to date is Nicomachean ethics which goes ahead to define and three friendship types including virtuous friendship, friendship of pleasure, and friendship of utility. According to Aristotle, by friendship being a complete virtue, it should significantly be valued and be above justice as well as honor (Aristotle 2007).
Of these three types of friendship, the one that requires that friends be truly selfish or capable of true self-love is friendship of pleasure. It is important to note that all the theories of Aristotle in regard to friendship have an aspect of self-love but in the case of friendship of pleasure, selfishness is informed by the self-love of pleasure. Here, the argument is that an individual sets up the friendship purely for self-gain. Friendship of pleasure is mainly found between young individuals (Aristotle 2007). This is because a significant chunk of their lives are informed by the desire for pleasure and passion. Friendship of pleasure is mainly brought about by passion feelings between lovers.
In the friendship of pleasure category, the friend must be truly elfish and capable of true self-love as the concern here is all about what is pleasant to him or her at the present. This makes it vulnerable to sudden changes and hence it can be regarded as quite unstable. It is also important to note that friendship of utility also exhibits some traits of self-love. It hence follows that the highest good which can be achieved by a person is self-love of virtue. In my opinion, Plato’s Crito and Socrates display base selfishness with each other. This I believe is the case even though the philosophical inclination of Crito is largely in doubt.
It is quite clear from Crito’s dialogue that there have been some conversations which were philosophical between him and Socrates. It is also important to note that Crito comes about as a devoted friend of secretes as a result of his actions. In my opinion the friendship between Socrates and Crito is virtuous friendship. According to Aristotle, virtuous friendship is based on the ability of an individual to wish their partners well regardless of the circumstances. This is perhaps the reason why Aristotle calls it the ideal type of friendship. This friendship is also long lasting and based on the fact that many people are driven by personal gains, it is more often than not hard to come by. The friendship between Crito and Socrates can be taken to be virtuous friendship because of a number of things.
First, it is Crito who tries to show Socrates the relevance of escaping jail. The arguments he presents in this regard are both emotional and logical in that harm could come into secretes’ way if he does not seriously consider escaping jail. Indeed, it is Crito who comes to the aid of Socrates in the final days of his life by seeking to address his various needs. It is also him to whom Socrates speaks to in the last moments of his life.
The fact that their friendship is long-lasting also goes a long way to signify that their friendship is largely virtuous. It is also important to note that when Socrates dies, Crito goes ahead to ensure that he (Socrates) is attended to well and towards that end, he is the one who shuts the mouth as well as eyes of Socrates on his death. One can hence argue that their friendship lasts long past the lifetime of either and hence it can largely be seen as virtuous.
It is important top note that the high view of friendship Socrates displays has been questioned on a number of fronts. To Demonstrate his preference of friendship over other goods, Socrates goes ahead to place the same over justice as well as honor. This is perhaps the reason why in Nicomachean Ethics, he is of the opinion that individuals will always be political by nature. However, it is important to note that in this regard, the argument Aristotle presents in regard to the various types of friendship is largely relevant.
Aristotle (2007). Nicomachean Ethics. NuVision Publications, LLC