Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

Adrienne Martin

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2021 Elliott N Thornburg


What does it mean to live a good life shared with others? The question fundamentally motivates my inquiry into the ancient ethical theories of Aristotle and the early Stoics. Aristotle’s account of eudaimonia presented in Nicomachean Ethics is selected over the early Stoics for the conception of human nature integral to it honors the importance of partiality in human development and flourishing. The altruism central to an Aristotelian’s perfect friendships by way of goodwill is defended to demonstrate virtuous people have genuine altruistic concern for the sake of their friends as explained by self-referential altruism. Finally, an archetype of kinds of virtuous relationships is presented and maintained to show the role of altruism in the many relationships an agent may have to their family, friends, and political community.