Friendship, Knowledge and Reciprocity in Lysis

José Antonio Giménez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Plato's characterization of philia in Lysis, on one hand, as one-sided belonging to the ultimate object of our desire and, on the other, as interpersonal reciprocal belonging appears problematic. Yonesawa has recently claimed that one can make sense of both uses of "belonging"if we assume that one is the other's friend when each one coincides in being the ultimate object of the other's desire. This paper proposes instead that Lysis' 'reciprocity' of friendship results from friends' right wanting, which presupposes their souls are well-disposed to a true object of desire. To prove this, I will argue that (i) the action and the argument of the dialogue exhibit this kind of reciprocity, (ii) there is a 'unique' ultimate object of desire ('teleological monism'), that consists of a 'knowledge about the good life' and (iii) only the common longing for such knowledge can make possible friends' reciprocal belonging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-337
Number of pages23
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article has been developed with the generous support of the FONDECYT Postdoctoral Fellowship Nº 3,160,472.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Walter de Gruyter Inc., Boston/Berlin 2020.


  • Lysis
  • belonging
  • desire
  • friendship
  • reciprocity


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