Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

David Leibowitz

Second Advisor

Lisa Leibowitz


In the Lysis, Socrates takes up the question of what friendship is and what it means to be a friend to another. He does so with two young boys who are good friends: the beautiful Lysis and contentious Menexenus. Beyond seeking to define friendship, the dialogue discusses the tension between our inherent self-love and our capacity to care for another for his own sake. The dialogue indicates that friendship would not be possible if human beings were perfectly self-sufficient, yet we also see our friends as far more than a means to our own good. Socrates also speaks of his own desire for a “good friend,” raising the question of friendship’s importance to the philosophic life. Philosophers may need friends to challenge each other’s ideas and to freely discuss dangerous and contentious topics. On account of their self-knowledge and self-sufficiency to the extent possible, friendship between philosophers may also be the truest and most intimate friendship.

Rights Statement

All rights reserved. This copy is provided to the Kenyon Community solely for individual academic use. For any other use, please contact the copyright holder for permission.