Women and the Virtue of Friendship in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics


Nicomachean Ethics

How to Cite

Women and the Virtue of Friendship in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. (2023). The Political Science Reviewer, 47(2), 35-56. https://politicalsciencereviewer.wisc.edu/index.php/psr/article/view/797


Many scholars have studied Aristotle's accounts of women in the Politics, but not as much attention has been given to the way he treats women in the Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle’s inquiry into the human good there, and his attention to virtue, does not distinguish male and female. When he writes the Ethics, and searches for the human good, and the virtues that constitute it, it seems as if he forgets that the human race is divided into men and women. And yet, when Aristotle turns to discuss friendship—the only subject to which he devotes two whole books—he cites women as exemplars of friendship on five different occasions throughout both books. Considering the centrality of friendship to Aristotle’s thought in the Ethics, requiring, in its highest form, both moral and intellectual virtue, his placement of these references to women seem to draw attention to their particular importance, as well.