David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethics and Information Technology 14 (3):185-199 (2012)
The widespread and growing use of new social media, especially social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, invites sustained ethical reflection on emerging forms of online friendship. Social scientists and psychologists are gathering a wealth of empirical data on these trends, yet philosophical analysis of their ethical implications remains comparatively impoverished. In particular, there have been few attempts to explore how traditional ethical theories might be brought to bear upon these developments, or what insights they might offer, if any. In attempting to address this lacuna in applied ethical research, this paper investigates the ethical significance of online friendship by means of an Aristotelian theory of the good life, which holds that human flourishing is chiefly realized through ‘complete’ friendships of virtue. Here, four key dimensions of ‘virtue friendship’ are examined in relation to online social media : reciprocity, empathy, self-knowledge and the shared life. Online social media support and strengthen friendship in ways that mirror these four dimensions, particularly when used to supplement rather than substitute for face-to-face interactions. However, deeper reflection on the meaning of the shared life for Aristotle raises important and troubling questions about the capacity of online social media to support complete friendships of virtue in the contemporary world, along with significant concerns about the enduring relevance of this Aristotelian ideal for the good life in the 21st century
|Keywords||New social media Virtue friendship Aristotle Reciprocity Empathy The shared life|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Aristotle (1984). The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. Princeton University Press.
Stephanie D. Preston & Frans B. M. de Waal (2001). Empathy: Its Ultimate and Proximate Bases. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (1):1-20.
Hubert L. Dreyfus (2001). On the Internet. Routledge.
Nancy Sherman (1989). The Fabric of Character: Aristotle's Theory of Virtue. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Alexis Elder (2014). Excellent Online Friendships: An Aristotelian Defense of Social Media. Ethics and Information Technology 16 (4):287-297.
William Bülow & Cathrine Felix (2016). On Friendship Between Online Equals. Philosophy and Technology 29 (1):21-34.
Michael T. McFall (2012). Real Character-Friends: Aristotelian Friendship, Living Together, and Technology. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 14 (3):221-230.
Similar books and articles
Deborah L. Kidder & William P. Smith (2011). Slave to Facebook? How Technology is Changing the Balance Between Right to Privacy and Right to Know. Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 22:52-61.
Markku Roinila, Social Media for a Philosopher. New Apps Blog.
Nicholas Everitt (2007). Some Problems with Virtue Theory. Philosophy 82 (2):275-299.
Asaf Bar-Tura (2010). Arendt, Habermas and Facebook: Participation and Discourse in Cyber Public Spheres. Humanities and Technology Review 29:1-25.
R. K. Bentley (2013). Civic Friendship and Thin Citizenship. Res Publica 19 (1):5-19.
Wanda Cizewski (1992). Friendship With God? Philosophy and Theology 6 (4):369-381.
Alan Rolle (2011). Why Doesn't Aristotle Accept My Facebook Friendship Request? Philosophy Now 82:35-35.
Gordon Hull, Heather Richter Lipford & Celine Latulipe (2011). Contextual Gaps: Privacy Issues on Facebook. [REVIEW] Ethics and Information Technology 13 (4):289-302.
Dean Cocking & Jeanette Kennett (2000). Friendship and Moral Danger. Journal of Philosophy 97 (5):278-296.
Joyce L. Jenkins (1999). The Advantages of Civic Friendship. Journal of Philosophical Research 24:459-471.
Mary Healy (2011). Should We Take the Friendships of Children Seriously? Journal of Moral Education 40 (4):441-456.
Lisa Disch (1994). Claire Loves Julie: Reading the Story of Women's Friendship in "La Nouvelle Héloïse". Hypatia 9 (3):19 - 45.
Added to index2012-08-11
Total downloads64 ( #67,026 of 1,907,403 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #77,700 of 1,907,403 )
How can I increase my downloads?