Aristotle and Iranian Ethicists

Friendship as a Moral and a Political Paradigm


  • Mohammad Jafar Amir Mahallati Oberlin College



Friendship, peacemaking, ethics, bounty, justice-plus, religion, political philosophy, cosmopolitanism


From Aristotle to the end of the Middle Ages, friendship was considered to be a core notion in Western political philosophy. However, as Von Heyking and Avramenko argue, friendship has lost its prominent politico-philosophical status in the modern era, particularly in the Western liberal tradition. In the Muslim tradition, and specifically in the history of Iranian thought, friendship as a moral paradigm went through a different course of development. In this article, I will present a comparative view of friendship as reflected in the works of Aristotle and three major Iranian ethicists: Ab? ?Al? A?mad Miskawayh (d. 1030), Ab??l-Q?sim ?usayn al-R?ghib al-Isfah?n? (d. ca. 1108) and Na?ir al-D?n ??s? (d. 1274). I will examine friendship-related perspectives rooted in the Irano-Islamic philosophical traditions that represent a significant but overlooked dimension of Iranian cosmopolitanism valuable for modern peacemaking approaches beyond such concepts as: “justice before peace,” “liberal peace” and “cold peace.”

Author Biography

Mohammad Jafar Amir Mahallati, Oberlin College

Presidential Scholar in Islamic Studies and Nancy Schrom Dye Chair of Middle East and North African Studies Religion Department


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How to Cite

Mahallati, M. J. A. (2019). Aristotle and Iranian Ethicists: Friendship as a Moral and a Political Paradigm. Comparative Islamic Studies, 13(1-2), 17–46.