An Aristotelian Perspective on Canine Friendship




Olbrey, Christa

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As "man's best friend" dogs have taken an important role by the side of humans. Dogs are different from other animals in that humans have adopted these four legged followers for help in daily tasks and even companionship. People took notice of the dog's faithful nature and work ethic, breeding for physical and mental traits that allow dogs to fit better into human society. We brought dogs into our lives and, with this, assumed responsibility for their well-being. Many dogs are treated kindly by humans, in a way that one would treat a friend. This thesis argues that “man's best friend" is not simply an idiomatic expression, but possesses meaning that some people truly identify with in their relationships with dogs. In his Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle outlines types of friendships and what kind of reciprocity should be expected out of each kind of friendship. I use Aristotle's model of friendship to explain how dogs and humans can be considered friends through a philosophical framework. Thinking of dogs as potential friends provides a different perspective to how we might treat dogs in a variety of social and ethical situations, such as pet ownership and animal experimentation.



Aristotle., Friendship., Canine friendship., Dogs., Human dog relationships.