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Friendship, Knowledge and Reciprocity in Lysis

José Antonio Giménez
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  • Department of Philosophy, Universidad de Los Andes, Monseñor Álvaro del Portillo 12455, Santiago 7550000, Chile
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Published Online: 2019-06-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2019-0008


Plato’s characterization of philia in Lysis, on one hand, as one-sided belonging to the ultimate object of our desire and, on the other, as interpersonal reciprocal belonging appears problematic. Yonesawa has recently claimed that one can make sense of both uses of “belonging” if we assume that one is the other’s friend when each one coincides in being the ultimate object of the other’s desire. This paper proposes instead that Lysis’ ‘reciprocity’ of friendship results from friends’ right wanting, which presupposes their souls are well-disposed to a true object of desire. To prove this, I will argue that (i) the action and the argument of the dialogue exhibit this kind of reciprocity, (ii) there is a ‘unique’ ultimate object of desire (‘teleological monism’), that consists of a ‘knowledge about the good life’ and (iii) only the common longing for such knowledge can make possible friends’ reciprocal belonging.

Keywords: Lysis; friendship; reciprocity; desire; belonging


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About the article

Published Online: 2019-06-08

This work was supported by the Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico, (Grant Number: Fondecyt Post-Doctoral Project N° 3160472, Funder Id: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100002850).

Citation Information: Apeiron, ISSN (Online) 2156-7093, ISSN (Print) 0003-6390, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2019-0008.

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