Austere Friends: The Stoics and Friendship

Apeiron 26 (1):57 - 75 (1993)
Greek eudaimonists often discuss the nature and value of friendship. The prominence of such discussions results from the utility of the conception of friendship in formulating and testing central ethical doctrines. As they engage in a radical revision of ordinary ethical concepts, the Stoics challenge us to relinquish conventional beliefs about friendship. Ideal Stoic moral agents are passionless and austere. Yet, the Stoics not only contend that these relatively affectless temperaments have friends but that, in fact, friendship is possible for no one else. Their extraordinary detachment from the external world also seems to disqualify sages from real friendship. This essay examines the Stoic conclusions about friendship and the coherence of their distinctive view
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