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Aristotle Ideas on Happiness, Justice and Friendship

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Aristotle Ideas on Happiness, Justice and Friendship

According to Aristotle there should be good relationships at the working places. For the good relationships to come up there should be happiness, justice and also friendship in the place of work. Happiness is the knowledge of good things and practicing what promotes good. For one to be happy in life he or she should be virtuous and learn to practice virtues rather than vices. It is also important to always make the right choices and be in the middle ground not always at the extreme ends.

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To make a good choice one should know what he or she is doing, know why he is doing that and finally consider the consequences which will come out after doing that. Happiness can only be achieved when the society around has learnt to practice what is good. Individuals make up a society and when the individuals practice good things the society at large becomes good. To be happy you should also have friends who will spice up your life and make you happy all the time.

Justice is having an equilibrium ground between the two boundaries whereby people are given precisely what they deserve not more or less and thus being fair to them. Justice is usually practiced in groups, communal relations and public merits. Equal should be treated with equality and inequality treated with inequality for justice and fairness to prevail in all circumstances. One should get back good after doing good while a wrong doer should always be punished. Aristotle states that when someone has done a favor to you he should always receive something from you. Aristotle states that justice is the highest of all virtues and it is usually the median between the two extremes for example acting unjustly one should suffer unjustly. Justice is in a relation to other people and the society at large not only towards specific people and you. Justice is the practice of comprehensive virtue and its complete because those who posses it can use it not by themselves but also in relation with other people. (Ross and Urmson, 1984)

Friendship is to have good spirit for one another and wish good for each other and also be aware of others good will. A good friend always wants his partner to have the best and be happy all the time and does to the other what he wants to be done to him. A good friend should not only look at what he or she can receive from his friends but should also concentrate on what he can give his friends. According to Aristotle friendship can be based on three things which include; usefulness, pleasure and friends for total commitment therefore friendship can be formed depending on these characters which best unite friends together. Friendship for usefulness is the relationship formed because each individual regards the other as a source of an advantage which he can benefit from and this friendship is usually termed as imperfect. Imperfect friendships are usually defective and are short lived because when the purpose if the friendship ends the relationship breaks.

Friendship for pleasure is when a relationship is formed on the basis of the pleasures someone is receiving from one another for example entertainment, status, money and so forth. These relationships are imperfect because the parties involved usually have very little confidence on each other, disagree often and are ready to end their relationship unexpectedly. A friendship that involves total commitment is usually practiced by those who spent most time together, do things together and have constant interaction. This is a perfect friendship and cannot be practiced by people with different moral development so for friends to have this relationship with total commitment they should have same ethical development which makes them equal. Aristotle says that friendship involves giving and receiving but it is more of giving than receiving. Therefore a good relationship is formed when the parties involved are equally virtuous and thus forming a perfect friendship. The giving virtue is the greatest in a friendship and friends who are committed in giving each other their worth form a long lasting friendship.

A long lasting relationship is formed whereby the parties involved are true to each other, loves and likes the other person the way they are and for their sake, having a good will for each other and thus making friendship a reciprocal of good will for each other. In an everlasting friendship there should be room for forgiveness after one wrongs the other because in a true friendship mistakes always occur and they should not be taken as an excuse of ending the friendship. The parties should look for a good common ground where both the parties are not oppressed but are able to bear with the situation. Getting angry in a relationship is allowed but as it is stated it the holy Bible one should not get angry from dawn till sunset so one should be able to forgive and forget for the sake of the other and the sake of their friendship.

A perfect friendship is a friendship among people who are equal and have common virtues so a friendship should not be based on the usefulness and benefits one gets from his friend or the pleasures he gets or the character of the other but it should be on the basis of the good will for each other and thus joining factor in all friendships is the wish for the good of each other. Friends are very important in ones own life and one should have friends to be able to exercise his or her virtues because when one makes friends and realizes the benefits he or she is getting in the friendship and also that his friend benefits he will notice that the relationship is good for him. Therefore friendship should be taken for the sake of ones friend and also for the sake of own good because by doing this we are able to achieve our happiness. So in a perfect friendship there should be self-sacrifice and caring for the other more than we care for ourselves thus practicing ethical virtues which bring about a long lasting friendship. (Ross and Urmson, 1984)

Aristotle has also talked about self-love. This involves loving your self as a person, appreciating how you are and respecting your decisions as you make them. Self-love also involves acting in a way that is suitable for you and best fits and pleases you all the time and knowing what is best for you and doing it with a lot of confidence. One cannot have love for other people which brings about friendship when he or she doesn’t love his or her self. However self-love should be to a certain limit to avoid pride by having too much of self-love which may make one not to interact well with his or her friends because he may see himself superior than others which is not allowed in a friendship. The search of one’s own happiness to be properly understood it requires one to practice ethical virtues which will be of great value not only to the friends but to the society at large and therefore self-love is predestined when it is extended to have a lion’s share of things which should be shared equally.

In conclusion Aristotle states that happiness, justice and friendship go hand in hand and each should be practiced to support the other and thus we can say that it is like the body with many parts that are interdependent on each other and are all very important. We can say each one of them is very important and critical and ensures that the other virtues are practiced.  He states that happiness is an ethical virtue which is very valuable and should be practiced for the good of each other describing good as the final end which is practiced without the longing for another end. When one is happy it means that he or she has all other things which complete his life thus making him happy and no other good is required because happiness is the best of all goods. When justice is practiced in one’s life it makes him happy because he gets what is right for him without limit and having a balanced ground for everything. Friendship is a thing which one cannot live without because life without friends is not appealing because one is not able to practice virtues he or she is supposed to practice at large. Friendship should be practiced in a way that it benefits who is practicing it, his friends and the society at large as friendship is not one sided to only benefit one party and sideline the other one. (Ross and Urmson, 1984)

Human Relationship at Work

This drives us into asking ourselves questions that are around work;

Can the workers have a line relationship that can cut across from the lowest level to the highest in the hierarchy?

It also makes us to question ourselves on what kind of relationship can exist and how it can affect our working?

What does a good manager require in his relationship with the workers for the success of the company?

Can we have relationships that extend outside our work place and how appropriate can it be to our work?

What treatment does one expect to get from others and how does he/she treat them in turn when they are working?

According to Aristotle it is a mandate to have friends at work but the relationship between workers and their top managers is an imperfect relationship because these people have different moral development and so we can say that their relationship is purely based on usefulness only. The manager has a good relationship with a worker simply because he expects him or her to work well and give good results for the success of the company. The manager cannot tolerate those who are lazy and are slow in giving results since they only cost the company and expect pay package in the long run. The manager also maintains a good relationship in order to have a good working environment without having to push people around in pursuit of results due to lack of cooperation.  In return the employee has no choice but to maintain a good relationship so that he cannot be retrenched due to poor performance and will also be paid a reasonable pay according to his or her contribution.

The friendship that exists among the workers themselves can be due to work or for usefulness because they are working together. This can be termed as a perfect friendship because the employees are in the same level in their working environment and they also have equal moral development. We can also say when the workers relationship among themselves is based on usefulness is an imperfect relationship because after achieving their objectives in the work place the friendship may come to an end.

Therefore it is important to have friends at work because it creates a good environment for working and also leads to the company registering a good turnover as compared to working with foes and expecting success. It works negatively for the success of the company when workers quarrel outside their work place because they may bring their differences into the working place. (Ross and Urmson, 1984)

Aristotle states that a good manager should be a person who totally practices virtues rather than vices. He should be able to make useful decisions and not only base his decisions on the benefit he can get form the workers. A good manager should treat all workers with great respect and appreciate their work and also practice justice without bias for the happiness of the workers. Good managers practice leadership that involves and allows the workers to participate in decision making thus enhancing his relationship with the workers and promoting cohesion in the company. Successful manager’s first listens to the workers decision and then make their decision based on what the workers have given out and even allow them to criticize what is not good for them and the company and are allowed to give their best contribution. A manager should not put all the power to himself and make decisions and implement them without the consent of the workers but he should involve the workers in the managerial process. Managers should unite the workers and make them work in unity.

Relationships outside the work with the workers are appropriate but the workers should be very careful how they relate with each other outside the work and they should not affect their working with things arising from the outside relationships. For example when workers disagree on something when they are outside the working place they usually bring the differences in to the work and thus affecting how they work and they are not able to produce good results as they could have done without having the differences. Workers should learn the boundaries of each other when they are outside the working place and act differently from how they act when they are at work. They should not bring their personal differences into the work therefore the relationship for usefulness is most appropriate at work and a friendship for pleasure and total commitment can be appropriate outside the working place. (Ross and Urmson, 1984)

Aristotle says that everybody likes to be treated with respect and honor in and outside the working place. We should treat others the way we expect to be treated by them and we need to treat them like human beings who have equal rights as us. Nobody should be undermined no matter the status, race, age, sex e.t.c Employees should be treated like important people in the organization not just like things which bring good results and success in the company. One should be treated in a good manner for doing well and be punished for doing bad things. Being treated well does not only involve having a good relationship with the managers and the workers but also entails appreciating one’s contribution to the success of  the company and showing them how important they are in the organization. Employees may have choices and desires which are different from the missions and visions of the organization and the management should try and integrate the employees’ needs with those of the company so that the employees can feel that they are a part of the company and thus work towards the same goal that is making the company successful.

In conclusion, Aristotle gives the idea that relationships at work are very important to create good working conditions so long as they do not affect the operation of the organization. In the modern world his ideas should be incorporated in the working places because they help the managers to manage the organization and bring about success as per the current world. (Ross and Urmson, 1984)


Ross, W.D and Urmson J.O. (1984): The Complete Works of Aristotle: Princeton.

Princeton University Press

Cite this Aristotle Ideas on Happiness, Justice and Friendship

Aristotle Ideas on Happiness, Justice and Friendship. (2016, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/aristotle-ideas-on-happiness-justice-and-friendship/

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