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Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics on the Sameness of Friendship and Justice

  • Bradford Jean-Hyuk Kim ORCID logo EMAIL logo
From the journal Apeiron


In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle claims that friendship and justice are the same, apparently flouting the not uncommon contrast between friendship and justice. I start by assessing Aristotle’s principle of equality: friends of equal standing engage in exact reciprocity in goods and friends of unequal standing engage in proportional reciprocity. In a number of ways that have gone unnoticed, the equalization principle is a requirement for understanding the sameness of friendship and justice. Just relations and friendship share the same domain, that is, the same relationship of a corresponding community. Moreover, asking how to be just to someone is the same as asking how to be a friend to that person, indicating that the virtue of justice and the virtue of friendship are also the same.

Corresponding author: Bradford Jean-Hyuk Kim, The Polonsky Academy, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, PO Box 4070, Jerusalem 9104001, Israel, E-mail:

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Published Online: 2022-09-01

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