October 29 – Asteroid 280 Philia

There isn’t a great deal to say about 280 Philia, discovered on this day in 1888 by Johann Palissa at Vienna Observatory, except that it is in the main belt, is about 46km in diameter, has an absolute magnitude of 10.7, and takes 1,845 days to orbit the Sun at a little over 17.3km/second.

Detail of The School of Athens, by Raphael. Aristotle (right) holds a copy of the Nicomachean Ethics. The other chap is Plato.

Detail of The School of Athens, by Raphael. Aristotle (right) holds a copy of the Nicomachean Ethics. The other chap is Plato.

Philia is usually translated into English as “brotherly love” (as in Philadelphia), but Aristotle, in his Nicomachean Ethics, gave it the broader meaning of friendship, which he then sub-divided into three distinct types, according to why they were formed. These are (i) “friendships of utility”, which we would probably call acquaintances; (ii) “friendships of pleasure”, such as those formed by people who meet through a common hobby, and (iii) “friendships of the good”, the highest level of friendship, formed by those who enjoy each other simply for who they are.


 

 

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