Friday, February 28, 2014

Friendship and Truth

I was reading in St. Thomas Aquinas' Commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics this morning on the
 subjects of truth and friendship. Aristotle wrote: "However, it seems indeed better, and in fact especially obligatory on philosophers, to sacrifice even the rights of friendship for the sake of truth. While it is commendable to have love for both, we ought to honor truth as sacred above our friend." I assume Aristotle is speaking of Plato, his mentor. Though he loved Plato, he loved truth more. Aquinas comments, "That truth should be preferred to friends he proves in this way. He is the greater friend for whom we ought to have the greater consideration. Although we should have friendship for both truth and our fellow man, we ought rather to love truth because we should love our fellow man especially on account of truth and virtue. . . Now truth is a most excellent friend of the sort to whom the homage of honor is due. Besides, truth is a divine thing, for it is found first and chiefly in God. He concludes, therefore, that it is virtuous to honor truth above friends." I think St. Augustine also wrote on this subject somewhere. He spoke how truth is divine and even secular intellectuals value it of utmost importance. Here we see that Christianity and the life of the mind interconnects.

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