The purpose of my paper is to show that the virtue which Aristotle calls philia, not in the strong sense of friendship, but in the weaker one of amiability (cf. NE 1126 b 10 – 1127 a 12), represents a particular kind of bond, related to the fact of being part of a community, and therefore has a very strong relationship, although the two do not coincide, with that kind of friendship which Aristotle calls politike philia, civic friendship. My thesis, then, is that there is a strong relationship, among Aristotelian ethical works, between philia/amiability, like-mindedness (homonoia), and politike philia. The key to discovering this link is the Aristotelian account of social relations: in Aristotle’s opinion, the polis is not a commercial alliance, as if it were a public limited company, in which the common good depends on the fact that everyone has a strong economic interest in the company, but is a common life in which citizens are concerned about each other’s moral goodness. The link between them is therefore a kind of friendship, which is of course civic and therefore does not presuppose love. In the political context, the knowledge of the nature of the constitution, in fact, is a sufficient condition for there being benevolence towards other citizens. Since philia/amiability shows deep analogies with homonoia as well, for both represent, in different ways, peculiar features of the citizenship, the thesis I want to support is not that philia/amiability, homonoia and politike philia coincide, but that philia/amiability and homonoia are two different expressions of the same disposition, namely politike philia: according to my view, the former is the expression of politike philia on a relational and moral side, while the latter represents the attitude of the citizens towards each other when implicated in political decisions.
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