“Sunaisthetic” friendship and the foundations of political anthropology

Thumbnail Image
von Heyking, John
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
International Political Anthropology
Aristotle’s friendship teaching has been called the “peak” of his moral teaching. His understanding of sunaisthesis (joint perception/awareness) as the activity of virtue friendship has been called the “peak of the peak”. Furthering this line of inquiry, this paper considers how friendship is embedded in the nature of the intellect in sunaisthesis. By considering the manner that Aristotle thought the very activity of thought is to know and to love one’s friend, we see how friendship constitutes the foundation of politics, while also pointing beyond politics to the contemplation of the good. Friendship is built into the very way human beings think and act toward one another as moral agents, which shows its foundational role for political life. Because sunaisthesis cannot be judged by a standard or rule outside of itself, the paper considers the emphasis Aristotle places on the practice of friendship.
Permission to include this article granted by International Political Anthropology.
Friendship , Thought and thinking , Aristotle , Ethics , Political science
von Heyking, J. (2008). “Sunaisthetic” friendship and the foundations of political anthropology. International Political Anthropology, 1, 179-193.