What favour is

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Favour seems to be friendship, but is not the same as friendship; for favour occurs both towards strangers and without their knowing it, but not friendship — these have been discussed earlier.  But it is not love either, since it has no intensity or desire, elements that are both present in love. Besides, love involves intimacy, whereas favour may occur all of a sudden, as it is for instance with athletes; for we come to be favourable to them and to share the same wishes, but we would not do anything for helping them; for, as we have said, we come to be favourable suddenly and love them only superficially.

It seems, then, that favour is a beginning of friendship, as it is with love where the pleasure that one receives in the view of its beloved person is the beginning of love; for no one falls in love unless he has first been delighted by the view, while this, namely the joy by the view of the person, is not enough for one to say that he is in love, but one falls in love when both craves for the beloved person during its absence and desire its presence. Thus it is not possible for one to be friend without being favourable, whereas those who do so are not necessarily in love; for they wish only what is best for those they are favourable to, not that they would give them some help, nor would they take some trouble in favour of them.

This is the reason why one might say, speaking metaphorically, that favour is an inactive friendship, which when it is prolonged and takes on intimacy becomes friendship, but not the sort of friendship based on profit nor that based on pleasure; for these sorts of friendship do not produce favour.  For he who has been benefited by another renders his favour in return for what has happened to him, doing so what is right; while he who wishes for some one to do well in the hope of improving his situation through him seems to be favourable not to him but rather to himself, just as he is not a friend either, if he attends on him for some benefit.

In general, favour arises on account of some excellence or goodness, when one man seems to another good or brave or something of the sort, as in the case of the athletes just mentioned.

Bibliography: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (1166b.30 to 1167a.21) 
Translation: George Kotsalis

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