Aristotle and the Social Virtues, EN IV, 1126b 10-1128b 9
Keywords:Aristotle, Citizenship, Ethics, Human nature, Political philosophy, Virtues
In EN II, 1108 9-1108 b10 and more precisely in EN IV, 1126b 10-1128b 9 Aristotle analyzes three virtues (friendliness, sincerity, and wit) that, involving language and a sense of humor, concern the fundamental aspects of human nature that constitute sociality to the point that it seems justified to use the label “social virtues” to refer to them. Such virtues, in fact, represent excellence in the context of social relationships, not characterized by affection and friendship but rather by a well-defined bond, sufficient to justify the emergence of specific virtues. This bond is citizenship : a common sense of belonging to the same city produces a crowd that is opposed to estrangement. There is a common end that sustains the polis, by which every estrangement is overcome, and by which reciprocal friendship, the need for truthfulness in relationships, and even ironic moderation in jest and jokes are unequivocal signs. This sphere of social relationships has its own specific nature and consequently this group of virtues has its own autonomy.