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Friendship as the Primary Purpose of Law


A significant aspect of the legacy of John Finnis is the restoration of friendship to a central place in moral, political, and legal theory building on the classical tradition in Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas. This essay surveys the implications of friendship for law by way of exploring Finnis’s treatment of friendship in several of his works, including friendship as a condition for discourse, friendship as an especially important illustration of the central case, the relationship between friendship and the common good, and the place of civic friendship in a political community. The essay concludes with a discussion of friendship with God.





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