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Nicomachean Ethics   


This is why it would not seem open to a man to disown his father
(though a father may disown his son); being in debt, he should repay,
but there is nothing by doing which a son will have done the
equivalent of what he has received, so that he is always in debt. But
creditors can remit a debt; and a father can therefore do so too. At
the same time it is thought that presumably no one would repudiate a
son who was not far gone in wickedness; for apart from the natural
friendship of father and son it is human nature not to reject a son's
assistance. But the son, if he is wicked, will naturally avoid aiding
his father, or not be zealous about it; for most people wish to get
benefits, but avoid doing them, as a thing unprofitable.-So much for
these questions.
Nicomachean Ethics
By Aristotle
Written 350 B.C.E 1
In all friendships between dissimilars it is, as we have said,
proportion that equalizes the parties and preserves the friendship;
e.g. in the political form of friendship the shoemaker gets a return
for his shoes in proportion to his worth, and the weaver and all other
craftsmen do the same. Now here a common measure has been provided in
the form of money, and therefore everything is referred to this and
measured by this; but in the friendship of lovers sometimes the lover
complains that his excess of love is not met by love in return though
perhaps there is nothing lovable about him), while often the beloved
complains that the lover who formerly promised everything now performs
nothing. Such incidents happen when the lover loves the beloved for
the sake of pleasure while the beloved loves the lover for the sake of
utility, and they do not both possess the qualities expected of them.
If these be the objects of the friendship it is dissolved when they do
not get the things that formed the motives of their love; for each did
not love the other person himself but the qualities he had, and these
were not enduring; that is why the friendships also are transient. But
the love of characters, as has been said, endures because it is
self-dependent. Differences arise when what they get is something
different and not what they desire; for it is like getting nothing at
all when we do not get what we aim at; compare the story of the person
who made promises to a lyre-player, promising him the more, the better
he sang, but in the morning, when the other demanded the fulfilment of
his promises, said that he had given pleasure for pleasure. Now if
this had been what each wanted, all would have been well; but if the
one wanted enjoyment but the other gain, and the one has what he wants
while the other has not, the terms of the association will not have
been properly fulfilled; for what each in fact wants is what he
attends to, and it is for the sake of that that that he will give what
he has.
But who is to fix the worth of the service; he who makes the sacrifice
or he who has got the advantage? At any rate the other seems to leave
it to him. This is what they say Protagoras used to do; whenever he
taught anything whatsoever, he bade the learner assess the value of
the knowledge, and accepted the amount so fixed. But in such matters
some men approve of the saying 'let a man have his fixed reward'.
Those who get the money first and then do none of the things they said
they would, owing to the extravagance of their promises, naturally
find themselves the objects of complaint; for they do not fulfil what
they agreed to. The sophists are perhaps compelled to do this because
no one would give money for the things they do know. These people
then, if they do not do what they have been paid for, are naturally
made the objects of complaint.
But where there is no contract of service, those who give up something
for the sake of the other party cannot (as we have said) be complained
of (for that is the nature of the friendship of virtue), and the
return to them must be made on the basis of their purpose (for it is
purpose that is the characteristic thing in a friend and in virtue).
And so too, it seems, should one make a return to those with whom one

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