Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Lynette G. Mitchell
Ideas about friendship (philia in Greek; amicitia in Latin) were central to Greek and Roman political thought. In the Greek world, traditional ideas of morality and justice were based on the idea that one should help friends (philoi) and harm enemies, an idea that is known as early as the sixth century BCE, noted by Greek poet and political reformer, Solon, and which the fourth-century BCE philosopher Plato develops and challenges in the opening chapters of his Republic. Earlier, in The Lysis , Plato had discussed the notion of friendship in terms of loving and being loved, and asks whether friendship was only possible between the good. Although Plato's treatment of the nature and morality of friendship in The Lysis was ultimately inconclusive, it opened the way for other discussions of friendship that explored the relationship between morality and utility in friendship. In fact, by raising the issue of The ...