|dc.description.abstract||Most scholarship concerning Plato?s Lysis focuses on the failure of Socrates?
elenchus in its endeavor to define friendship. However, this construal of the dialogue is
shortsighted. If one analyzes the dialogue?s dramatic subtext then one will discover a
fairly complete theory of friendship attributable to Plato. This issue is critical, for the
Lysis is a significant influence on Aristotle?s ethical theory. Thus, unless one grasps the
relationship between Aristotle?s ethical theory and this particular dialogue, then one
could argue that one does not really understand Aristotle?s motivations regarding his
usage of friendship as the defining normative force of his political community.
Similarly, understanding the Lysis is paramount to understanding Kant?s theory
of friendship as well, for Kant can be interpreted as a virtue ethicist. And, analogous to
other virtue ethicists such as Aristotle and Plato, Kant espouses a perspective on
friendship, which utilizes friendship as the social cohesion of the moral community.
However, unlike Plato and Aristotle who argue that friendship exists for the sake of the
other person, Kant?s theory claims that one must participate in friendships for the sake of duty. This departure raises various issues regarding his understanding of friendship, for
example, are friendships genuine?
For Kant, friendship enables those involved to gain a greater understanding of the
moral law and nurture relationships which will facilitate that goal. In this respect, like
good Aristotelians help one another attain eudaimonia, good Kantians help each other
strive towards holiness. Hence, for Kant, the empirical facets of our relationships such as
aspiring towards eudaimonia, are not as important as gaining a better understanding of
the moral law. Thus, to whom the actions are geared does not matter; it is the actions
themselves, which are important. In this respect, while the virtuous will genuinely desire
to help their friend, they do not genuinely help their friend in the Ancient Greek sense,
since their actions are performed for duty?s sake. Nevertheless, Kant introduces
humanistic qualities to friendship, e.g. trust, respect, and self-disclosure, which advances
its study into the present day.||