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Resemblance as non-accidental homonymy in Aristotle: the case of friendship

Grant number: 17/03295-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2017
Effective date (End): October 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - History of Philosophy
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Marco Antônio de Ávila Zingano
Grantee:Luiz Felipe Bruder González
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/05317-8 - Theories of causation and human agency in ancient Greek philosophy, AP.TEM

Abstract

Recent works (Shields - Order in Multiplicity - Homonymy in the Philosophy of Aristotle. Oxford: Clarendon, 1999 / Ward - Aristotle on Homonymy - Dialectic and Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,2008) have presented 'focal meaning' as the only homonymous conceptual unification strategy available to Aristotle. As alternatives to generic classification, though, these strategies seem to form a more diversified set than these authors recognize, and there are reasons to question the general models that are presented. Focal meaning is only one among many other relations effecting genuine conceptual unifications, and thus making scientific investigation possible. We intend to study the behaviour of one these relations and its proper role in a particular investigation of Aristotle, that presented in books 8 and 9 of the Nicomachean Ethics about the three types of friendship. The relation of resemblance (A¼¿¹ÌÄ·Â) associates the different friendships, but it is not strong enough to prove that any of them is 'friendship' in a non-accidental fashion, nor to exhibit the nature of their relationships to each other. Cooper ('Aristotle on the Forms of Friendship' in Review of Metaphysics, v. 30, n. 4, pp. 619-48, 1977) has shown that all friendships are genuine; on the other hand, we know Aristotle thought of them as presenting a certain hierarchy among themselves, brought about by the 'primary' character of friendship according to virtue. We maintain that Aristotle's investigation of friendship is best analysed if separated in two moments: in a first step, a discussion is presented about the various similarities each type has to the other, and aims at stablishing the common ground on which their proper, hierarchical relations shall be built upon; in a second step, an argument to this purpose is presented, and the priority of virtue friendship is argued for. We show that this analysis in terms of a two-step argument is able to solve difficulties that recent authors have pointed at when trying to understand the relations between the three friendships. If successful, this analysis could have consequences to our way of viewing Aristotle's use of conceptual classification, suggesting itself as a general method available to the philosopher in those cases where generic and/or specific unity is not an option. (AU)

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