We focus here on some familiar kinds of cases of conflict between friendship and morality, and, on the basis of our account of the nature of friendship, argue for the following two claims: first, that in some cases where we are led morally astray by virtue of a relationship that makes its own demands on us, the relationship in question is properly called a friendship; second, that relationships of this kind are valuable in their own right.
We argue that companion friendship is not importantly marked by self-disclosure as understood in either of these two ways. One's close friends need not be markedly similar to oneself, as is claimed by the mirror account, nor is the role of private information in establishing and maintaining intimacy important in the way claimed by the secrets view. Our claim will be that the mirror and secrets views not only fail to identify features that are in part constitutive of close (...) or companion friendship, but that they miss the mark quite broadly and fail to capture anything significant and distinctive about the ways in which friendship has an impact on the self. The article will proceed as follows. In the first section we outline our account of the self in friendship. In the next two sections we examine the mirror and secrets views and develop our own view in counterpoint to these. In the final section we defend our own account by showing how it provides the governing conditions which do distinguish friendship from other kinds of relations between persons. (shrink)
Many philosophers have portrayed Kant as having little of interest or merit to say about personal relationships--especially marriage. I argue that we can glean a compelling ideal of marriage from Kant’s ethical theory if we draw on Kant’s ideal of friendship (and on the formula of humanity, on which that ideal is based). Indeed, Kant himself often compares marriage and friendship, though he says that it is friendship rather than marriage that contains the maximum of reciprocal love (...) balanced with respect. I suggest that we cannot forge this Kantian ideal of marriage, however, without challenging Kant on a number of points. I argue that we must disregard a variety of Kant’s views about women and men, soften Kant’s insistence on both equality and distance between friends, and place more importance on the emotion of love in both friendship and marriage. (shrink)
This book explores for the first time an idea common to both Plato and Aristotle: although people are separate, their lives need not be; one person's life may overflow into another's, so that helping someone else is a way of serving oneself. Price considers how this idea unites the philosophers' treatments of love and friendship (which are otherwise very different), and demonstrates that this view of love and friendship, applied not only to personal relationships, but also to the (...) household and even the city-state, promises to resolve the old dichotomy between egoism and altruism. (shrink)
In Nicomachean Ethics 10.7, Aristotle says that the contemplative wise person living the happiest and most self-sufficient life will need other people less than a person living a life of practical virtue. This seems to be in tension with Aristotle's emphasis elsewhere on the political nature of human beings. I analyze in detail Aristotle's most elaborate defense of the need for friends in the happy life in Nicomachean Ethics 9.9 to see whether and how he resolves the need for friends (...) with the self-sufficiency of the happy life. The virtue-friendship described in the chapter does turn out to be more compatible with the self-contained unity of a happy life than other sorts of friendship, because collaboration in virtuous activities integrates the friend into one's activities. This is true even for contemplative friendship, where, as Aristotle suggests in the ornate final argument of 9.9, the friends collaboratively contemplate human nature and take pleasure in the goodness of human life. The unity achieved in this kind of friendship is an imitation of God's self-contemplative and self-contained unity. Nonetheless, I conclude, there is no evidence that Aristotle did not think that friendship was conditioned on human failings and so that friends would be less necessary for those leading the most excellent contemplative lives. (shrink)
A combination of social forces has thrown marriage into question in westernised societies at the end of the millennium. This uncertainty creates space for new ways of thinking about marriage. In this context, we examine the idea of marriage as friendship. We trace its genealogy in the work of Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor and then subject it to critical scrutiny using some of Michel de Montaigne’s ideas. We ask how applic- able the ideal of higher (...)friendship is to marriage and what might be gained and lost by a synthesis of marriage and friendship. Grounding the discussion in historical sources is valuable because the topic is so little explored in the contemporary philosophical literature. This approach also allows any enduring value in these historical texts to be elicited. (shrink)
This is the first book to offer a comprehensive account of the major philosophical works on friendship and its relationship to self-love. The book gives central place to Aristotle's searching examination of friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics. Lorraine Pangle argues that the difficulties surrounding this discussion are soon dispelled once one understands the purpose of the Ethics as both a source of practical guidance for life and a profound, theoretical investigation into human nature. The book also provides fresh (...) interpretations of works on friendship by Plato, Cicero, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne and Bacon. The author shows how each of these thinkers sheds light on central questions of moral philosophy: is human sociability rooted in neediness or strength? is the best life chiefly solitary, or dedicated to a community with others? Clearly structured and engagingly written, this book will appeal to a broad swathe of readers across philosophy, classics and political science. (shrink)
: If liberal theory is to move forward, it must take the political nature of family relations seriously. The beginnings of such a liberalism appear in Mary Wollstonecraft's work. Wollstonecraft's depiction of the family as a fundamentally political institution extends liberal values into the private sphere by promoting the ideal of marriage as friendship. However, while her model of marriage diminishes arbitrary power in family relations, she seems unable to incorporate enduring sexual relations between married partners.
Instrumentalism about moral compromise in politics appears inconsistent with accepting both the existence of non-instrumental or principled reasons for moral compromise in close personal friendships and a rich ideal of civic friendship. Using a robust conception of political reconciliation during democratic transitions as an example of civic friendship, I argue that all three claims are compatible. Spouses have principled reasons for compromise because they commit to sharing responsibility for their joint success as partners in life, and not because (...) their relationship involves strong affective attitudes of goodwill, solidarity, trust, and the like. Since shared responsibility for ends is an inappropriate element in the political relationship between citizens, the members of a divided society may manifest the constitutive attitudes of political reconciliation without any commitment to principled reasons for moral compromise. (shrink)
This essay looks at the impact that technology is having upon friendship. For as we all know, it is nothing at all to see friends at a restaurant table all engaged in texting rather than talking to one another.
Consequentialism involves a kind of strong impartiality which seems incompatible with the sort of partiality manifested in friendships. Consequentialists such as Kagan respond that friendship does not, in fact, require partiality. Against this, I argue that friendship cannot exist without expressions of personal feeling, and that such expressions necessarily involve a kind of partiality. Because her every action is determined by the goal of maximizing the impersonal good, a consequentialist cannot use her actions (including actions of speech) to (...) express her feelings for her fellows. I argue that we should expect this problem to afflict sophisticated as well as straightforward consequentialism. Finally, I consider and reject the suggestion that the consequentialist agent, who has no particular friends, can be considered a friend to everybody. (shrink)
One way to approach the question of whether there are non-derivative partial reasons of any kind is to give an account of what partial reasons are, and then to consider whether there are such reasons. If there are, then it is at least possible that there are partial reasons of friendship. It is this approach that will be taken here, and it produces several interesting results. The first is a point about the structure of partial reasons. It is at (...) least a necessary condition of a reason’s being partial that it has an explicit relational component. This component, technically, is a rela- tum in the reason relation that itself is a relation between the person to whom the reason applies and the person whom the action for which there is a reason concerns. The second conclusion of the paper is that this relational component is also required for a number of types of putatively impartial reasons. In order to avoid trivialising the distinction between partial and impartial rea- sons, some further sufficient condition must be applied. Finally, there is some prospect for a way of distinguishing between impartial reasons that contain a relational component and partial rea- sons, but that this approach suggests that the question of whether ethics is partial or impartial will be settled at the level of normative ethical discourse, or at least not at the level of discourse about the nature of reasons for action. (shrink)
Friendship, in its nature, purpose, and effects, has been an important concern of philosophy since antiquity. It was of particular significance in the life of Gilles Deleuze, one of the most original and influential philosophers of the late twentieth century. Taking L'Abécédaire de Gilles Deleuze -- an eight-hour video interview that was intended to be aired only after Deleuze's death -- as a key source, Charles J. Stivale examines the role of friendship as it appears in Deleuze's work (...) and life. Stivale develops a zigzag methodology practiced by Deleuze himself to explore several concepts as they relate to friendship and to discern how friendship shifts, slips, and creates movement between Deleuze and specific friends. The first section of this study discusses the elements of creativity, pedagogy, and literature that appear implicitly and explicitly in his work. The second section focuses on Deleuze's friendships with Foucault, Derrida, Claire Parnet, and Félix Guattari and reveals his conception of friendship as an ultimately impersonal form of intensity that goes beyond personal relationships. Stivale's analysis offers an intimate view into the thought of one of the greatest thinkers of our time. (shrink)
This article examines Derrida’s insistence on the contretemps that breaks open time, paying particular attention to Politics of Friendship and the way in which this book envisages the ‘untimely’ as both interrupting, and making possible, friendship. Although I suggest that Derrida’s temporal deconstruction of the Aristotelian distinction between utility and ‘perfect’ friendships is convincing, I also argue that Derrida’s own account of friendship is itself touched by time, in the peculiar sense of ‘touched’ that connotes affected and (...) wounded. Derrida’s work instantiates what Husserl might call a transcendental pathology, in that it intermittently instantiates an ethics of non-presentist time (the time which is also the transcendental condition for the event of friendship), and, by contrast, disparages the significance of what we might call an ethics of phronesis, a ‘lived’ friendship of ‘omni-temporal’ dispositions, and embodied and habitual patterns. I end this article by proposing a dialectic between the disjunctive and conjunctive aspects of time that does not accord any kind of a priori privilege to the one over the other. (shrink)
One of the major purposes of this article is to show that friendship was one of Nietzsche's central concerns and that he shared Aristotle's belief that it takes higher and lower forms. Yet Nietzsche's interest in friendship is overlooked in much of the secondary literature. An important reason for this is that this interest is most evident in the works of his middle period, and these tend to be neglected in commentaries on Nietzsche. In the works of the (...) middle period, Nietzsche suggests that there is a close connection between friendship and selfhood, contending that an individual's friendships reflect something about his or her identity. Following Aristotle, he believes that friendship can make a significant contribution to self-knowledge and self-improvement, which are both closely associated with his notion of self-overcoming. Nietzsche encourages individuals to adopt an aesthetic approach to the self: they should refashion themselves by consolidating their strengths, minimising their weaknesses and developing themselves in new directions. The works of the middle period suggest, however, that not only can friendship foster self-overcoming, but that the talent for friendship is one of the marks of a higher human being. Recognising this requires some reconsideration of Nietzsche's putative individualism and the belief that he holds great individuals to be utterly independent and indifferent to the judgements of others. It also requires a revision of the common interpretation that he is unremittingly sceptical about pity and other forms of fellow-feeling. Yet while Nietzsche generalises about friendship in the works of the middle period and contrasts its superior and inferior forms, he remains sensitive to its particularity. He never adopts a wholly formulaic approach to this relationship, but recognises that difference and responsiveness to particularity are among its central characteristics. (shrink)
What unites friends and distinguishes them from others? Is the preference we give to friends rationally and morally justifiable? This collection of new essays on the philosophy of friendship considers such questions.
My aim in this paper is to demonstrate the relevance of the Aristotelian notion of civic friendship to contemporary political discussion by arguing that it can function as a social good. Contrary to some dominant interpretations of the ancient conception of friendship according to which it can only be understood as an obligatory reciprocity, I argue that friendship between fellow citizens is important because it contributes to the unity of both state and community by transmitting feelings of (...) intimacy and solidarity. In that sense, it can be understood as an important relationship predicated on affection and generosity, virtues lacking from both contemporary politics and society that seem to be merely dominated by Post-Enlightenment ideals. For Aristotle, friendship is important for society because it generates concord, articulating thus a basis for social unity and political agreement. (shrink)
Among the tasks of modern political philosophy is to develop a favored conception of the relations among modern citizens, among people who can know little or nothing of one another individually and yet are deeply reciprocally dependent. One might think of this as developing a favored conception of civic friendship. In this essay I sketch two candidate conceptions. The first derives from the Kantian tradition, the second from the 1844 Marx. I present the two conceptions and then describe similarities (...) and differences. My approach is both taxonomic and programmatic. My taxonomic goal is to provide an initial sketch of the conceptual territory. My programmatic goal is to provide reasons to think that the conception derived from Marx is both appealing and feasible. (shrink)
It is sometimes held that modern institutionally-focussed conceptions of social justice are lacking in one essential respect: they ignore the importance of civic friendship or solidarity. It is also, typically simultaneously, held that Aristotle’s thought provides a fertile ground for elucidating an account of civic friendship. I argue, first, that Aristotle is no help on this score: he has no conception of distinctively civic friendship. I then go on to argue that the Kantian distinction between perfect and (...) imperfect duties is more useful than talk of civic friendship in capturing the non-institutional demands of social justice. (shrink)
Contemporary appeals for a deepening of civic friendship in liberal democracies often draw on Aristotle. This paper warns against a certain kind of attempt to use Aristotle in our own theorising, namely accounts of civic friendship that characterise it as similar in some way to Aristotelian virtue friendship. The most prominent of these attempts have focused on disinterested mutual regard as a basic ingredient in all Aristotelian forms of friendship. The argument against this is that it (...) inadequately accounts for the idea of a virtue friend as another self, which we find in Aristotle’s thought. When we attend closely to that, we see that civic friendship is different in a fundamental way from virtue friendship because virtue friends are keenly committed to the moral improvement of one another. It is argued that Aristotle does not see civic friendship in the same way. However, if this argument about the differences between the forms of friendship cannot be accepted, the paper argues that we should not draw on Aristotle for an understanding of civic friendship because any similarity it might have to virtue friendship would license illiberal interventions in the lives of citizens in service of some idea of moral improvement. A seeming connection between Aristotelian civic friendship and thick conceptions of citizenship is replaced with a connection between it and thinner conceptions. (shrink)
Introduction -- The problem of Socrates : Kierkegaard and Nietzsche -- Kierkegaard : Socrates vs. the God -- Nietzsche : call for an artistic Socrates -- Plato's Socrates -- Love, generation, and political community (the Symposium) -- The prologue -- Phaedrus' praise of nobility -- Pausanias' praise of law -- Eryximachus' praise of art -- Aristophanic comedy -- Tragic victory -- Socrates' turn -- Socrates' prophetess and the daemonic -- Love as generative -- Alcibiades' dramatic entrance -- Alcibiades' images of (...) socrates -- Alcibiades' praise of Socrates' virtues -- Aftermath -- The incompleteness of the Symposium -- Self-knowledge, love, and rhetoric (Plato's Phaedrus) -- The setting -- Non-lovers (Lysias' speech and Socrates' first speech) -- Souls and their fall -- Lovers and their ascent -- Prayer to love -- Contemporary rhetoric and politics -- A genuine art of rhetoric -- Writing -- Prayer to Pan -- Who is the friend? (the Lysis) -- Joining the group -- Getting acquainted -- Seeking a friend -- Are friends the ones loving, the ones loved, or both? -- Are likes friends? -- Are unlikes friends? -- Are those who are neither good nor bad friends to the good? -- Are the kindred friends? -- Who might friends be? -- Friendly communities -- Socratic philosophizing -- Socrates' youthful search for cause -- Socrates' second sailing and the ideas -- Piety, poetry, and friendship. (shrink)
Widespread misanthropy, understood as the disposition to reject society, is at once a permanent source of instability and injustice, and yet also a valuable support of cherished liberal practices, such as toleration. We must seek therefore to ‘civilise’ the misanthropic temper. Michel de Montaigne provides an instructive case study in this context, for he successfully moderated his misanthropy by his conviviality and friendship. The non-conditional character of Montaignean friendship functions to moderate rational misanthropic antipathy and thereby suggests a (...) striking reinterpretation of civic friendship. Montaigne may seem an unpromising ally for contemporary defenders of civic friendship, but in fact his essays provide a valuable resource for the political theory of community. (shrink)
Mark Vernon links the resources of the philosophical tradition with numerous illustrations from modern culture to ask what friendship is and how it relates to sex, work, politics and spirituality. Unusually, he argues that Plato and Nietzsche, as much as Aristotle and Aelred, should be put center stage. Their penetrating and occasionally tough insights are invaluable if friendship is to be a full, not merely sentimental, way of life for today.
This article draws out two implications for cosmopolitan or global friendship from an examination of a recent work on civic friendship in the domestic sphere: (1) Insofar as it is the case that civic friendship, as defined by Schwarzenbach (On civic friendship: Including women in the state. Columbia University Press, New York, 2009) is necessary for justice in the state, it is also the case that the absence of global justice can be partially explained by the (...) absence of what might be called cosmopolitan friendship. (2) If we consider the practicalities of civic friendship, we find that cosmopolitan friendship is an even more difficult and demanding project than we might have imagined. (shrink)
In “Friendship Amongst the Self-Sufficient: Epicurus” (this Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, June 2001), Andrew Mitchell explores the Epicurean view of the relationship between self-sufficiency and friendship by contrasting it with the views of Aristotle and the Stoics. Epicurus, Aristotle, and the Stoics do indeed have interestingly different views on friendship that are well worth comparing. Yet Mitchell’s characterization of Aristotelian friendship is misleading, his account of Stoic friendship is inaccurate, and his interpretation of Epicurean (...)friendship is curiously imaginative but ultimately rather strange. (shrink)
Philosophical interest in friendship has revived after a long eclipse. This is largely due to a renewed interest in ancient moral philosophy, in the role of emotion in morality, and in the ethical dimensions of personal relations in general. Some of the main questions raised by philosophers are the following: Is friendship only an instrumental value, i.e., only a means to other values, or also an intrinsic value - a value in its own right? Is friendship a (...) mark of psychological and moral self-sufficiency, or of deficiency? How does friendship-love differ from the unconditional love of agape, and how - if at all - is it related to justice? Can the particularist, partialist perspective of friendship be reconciled with the universalist, impartialist perspective of morality? Is friendship morally neutral, or does friendship at its best require a good character? These questions are discussed here with reference to the following philosophical traditions. (shrink)
William James' main argument in “The Will to Believe” against evidentialism is that there are facts that cannot come to be without a preliminary faith in their coming. James primarily makes this case with the argument from friendship. I will critically present James' argument from friendship and show that the argument does not yield a counter-example to evidentialism and is in the end unsound.
Friendship, as understood here, is a distinctively personal relationship that is grounded in a concern on the part of each friend for the welfare of the other, for the other's sake, and that involves some degree of intimacy. As such, friendship is undoubtedly central to our lives, in part because the special concern we have for our friends must have a place within a broader set of concerns, including moral concerns, and in part because our friends can help (...) shape who we are as persons. Given this centrality, important questions arise concerning the justification of friendship and, in this context, whether it is permissible to “trade up” when someone new comes along, as well as concerning the possibility of reconciling the demands of friendship with the demands of morality in cases in which the two seem to conflict. (shrink)
Before and during the times of Confucius and Aristotle, the concept of friendship had very different implications. This paper compares Confucius’ with Aristotle’s thoughts on friendship from two perspectives: xin 信 (fidelity, faithfulness) and le 乐 (joy). The Analects emphasizes the xin as the basis of friendship. Aristotle holds that there are three kinds of friends and corresponding to them are three types of friendship. In the friendship for the sake of pleasure, there is no (...) xin; in the legal form of friendship for the sake of utility, xin is guaranteed by law; and in the moral form of friendship for the sake of utility, xin is guaranteed by morality; in the friendship for the sake of virtue, xin is an indispensable part. Both thinkers believe friends can bring joy to human life. According to Confucius, it is the joy of rendao 仁道 (benevolence), whereas for Aristotle, it is the joy of Reason. There are many commonalities and differences between the two. The commonalities reveal some inner links between Confucian rendao and Aristotelian Reason. It seems that the differences between rendao and Reason are the differences between moral reason and logical reason. The comparative study is helpful for us to understand the two masters’ ethics, politics and philosophy. (shrink)
Friendship, as a unique form of social relationship, establishes a particular union among individual human beings which allows them to overcome diverse boundaries between individual subjects. Age, gender or cultural differences do not necessarily constitute an obstacle for establishing friendship and as a social phenomenon, it might even include the potential to exist independently of space and time. This analysis in the interface of social science and phenomenology focuses on the principles of construction and constitution of this specific (...) form of human encounter. In a “parallel action,” the perspective of social science focuses on concrete socio-historical constructions of friendship in different time periods. These findings are confronted with the description of principles of the subjective constitution of the phenomenon of “friendship” from a phenomenological perspective. The point of reference for the study is the real type of the symbolically established and excessively idealized form of friendship intended for eternity which was especially popular in eighteenth century Germany. Analogous to the method of phenomenological reduction, three different levels of protosociological reduction are developed for the exploration of the unique social phenomenon of friendship. (shrink)
Problems with representing friendship in painting and the novel and its more successful displays in drama reflect the fact that friends seldom act as inspiringly as traditional images of the relationship suggest: friends' activities are often trivial, commonplace and boring, sometimes even criminal. Despite all that, the philosophical tradition has generally considered friendship a moral good. I argue that it is not a moral good, but a good nonetheless. It provides opportunities to try different ways of being, and (...) is crucial to the processes through which we establish our individuality. (shrink)
In this article we argue that the worries about whether a consequentialist agent will be alienated from those who are special to her go deeper than has so far been appreciated. Rather than pointing to a problem with the consequentialist agent's motives or purposes, we argue that the problem facing a consequentialist agent in the case of friendship concerns the nature of the psychological disposition which such an agent would have and how this kind of disposition sits with those (...) which are commonly thought proper to relations of friendship. To the extent that we are right, then, the rejoinders which indirect consequentialists have offered to the problem of alienation are ill directed and so do not succeed in meeting the real problem. In articulating what we see as the source of the alienation problem which friendship poses for consequentialism, we also hope to clarify the general distinction between dispositions and motives and to show how certain kinds of guiding internalized normative dispositions help us to define and therefore distinguish between various types of relationships. Undertaking this task may also help to identify some of the crucial issues for an adequate moral psychology of friendship and its place in any plausible ethical theory. (shrink)
I take friendship to be a practical and emotional relationship marked by mutual and (more-or-less) equal goodwill, liking, and pleasure. Friendship can exist between siblings, lovers, parent and adult child, as well as between otherwise unrelated people. Some friendships are valued chiefly for their usefulness. Such friendships are instrumental or means friendships. Other friendships are valued chiefly for their own sakes. Such friendships are non-instrumental or end friendships. In this paper I am concerned only with end friendships, and (...) the challenge they pose to consequentialism. (shrink)
This essay discusses the goods of friendship as they are articulated by Confucius, Mencius, and Aristotle. It is argued that since Confucius and Mencius tend to conceive personal relationships in hierarchical terms, they do not directly address the goods of symmetrical friendships. Using Aristotle’s account of friendship, I argue that friendship is necessary for the cultivation of virtue outside the family. This is supported by discussing the virtues of generosity, trust, and wisdom as they develop within family (...) life and then are refined in friendships. Lastly, as Confucius, Mencius, and Aristotle agree that the good friendship is necessarily a virtuous one, I consider what value aesthetic friendships have. (shrink)
The importance of friendship in the later work of Michel Foucault is increasingly being recognized, but the relationship between friendship and Foucault's concept of 'life as a work of art' is not well understood. Friendship, traditionally associated with 'masculine' virtue, can be seen to undergo significant change in connection with the emergence of modern sexuality. I suggest that Foucault's work alerts us to the fact that friendship is a key site for challenging the stability of the (...) modern gender regime and the institution of heterosexuality that underlies it. By drawing on insights from Nietzsche, Heidegger and Derrida, I elaborate upon the significance of both friendship and the work of art in Foucault. I argue that the intrinsic connection of the aesthetic with beauty is central to Foucault's 'aesthetics of existence'. A focus on beauty enables us to see how friendship can be understood in terms of the work of art. Key Words: art beauty Derrida finitude Foucault friendship heterosexuality masculinity Nietzsche. (shrink)
Noting the apparent strangeness of looking to Nietzsche for insight on friendship has become a topos of recent scholarship. Ruth Abbey remarks: "The idea that Nietzsche could contribute to an understanding of friendship seems odd, if not misguided."1 In a similar vein, Richard Avramenko writes: "To ask of Nietzsche sage wisdom regarding friendship seems somehow misguided, like turning to Henry VIII for marriage advice or to Jean-Jacques Rousseau for tips on parenting."2 The appearance that Nietzsche has nothing (...) to say about friendship, and was not interested in friendship, has survived Kaufmann's observation that "few philosophers have written more eloquently in praise of friendship than Nietzsche; and while he .. (shrink)
T. M. Scanlon has cited the value of friendship in arguing against a ‘teleological’ view of value which says that value inheres only in states of affairs and demands only that we promote it. This article argues that, whatever the teleological view's final merits, the case against it cannot be made on the basis of friendship. The view can capture Scanlon's claims about friendship if it holds, as it can consistently with its basic ideas, that (i) (...) class='Hi'>friendship is a higher-level good consisting in appropriate attitudes to other goods and evils in a friend's life, (ii) these goods and evils have agent-relative value, i.e. more value than similar states of strangers, and (iii) the attitudes constituting friendship have less value than their objects. Given these independently plausible claims, the teleological view can agree with Scanlon that, e.g., it is wrong to betray a friend in order to promote more friendships among other people. (Published Online August 21 2006). (shrink)
Until now it has been impossible to read the full story of the relationship between Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. Their dramatic rupture at the height of the Cold War, like that conflict itself, demanded those caught in its wake to take sides rather than to appreciate its tragic complexity. Now, using newly available sources, Ronald Aronson offers the first book-length account of the twentieth century's most famous friendship and its end. Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre first met in (...) 1943, during the German occupation of France. The two became fast friends. Intellectual as well as political allies, they grew famous overnight after Paris was liberated. As playwrights, novelists, philosophers, journalists, and editors, the two seemed to be everywhere and in command of every medium in post-war France. East-West tensions would put a strain on their friendship, however, as they evolved in opposing directions and began to disagree over philosophy, the responsibilities of intellectuals, and what sorts of political changes were necessary or possible. As Camus, then Sartre adopted the mantle of public spokesperson for his side, a historic showdown seemed inevitable. Sartre embraced violence as a path to change and Camus sharply opposed it, leading to a bitter and very public falling out in 1952. They never spoke again, although they continued to disagree, in code, until Camus's death in 1960. In a remarkably nuanced and balanced account, Aronson chronicles this riveting story while demonstrating how Camus and Sartre developed first in connection with and then against each other, each keeping the other in his sights long after their break. Combining biography and intellectual history, philosophical and political passion, Camus and Sartre will fascinate anyone interested in these great writers or the world-historical issues that tore them apart. (shrink)
Reasons of intimacy, i.e. reasons to care for friends and other intimates, resist categorization as either subjective Humean reasons or as objective consequentialist reasons. Reasons of intimacy are grounded in the friendship relation itself, not in the psychological attitudes of the agent or in the objective intrinsic value of the friend or the friendship. So reasons of intimacy are objective and agent-relative and can be understood by analogy with reasons of fidelity and reasons of prudence. Such an analogy (...) can help us to understand which objective agent-relative reasons we have and which, such as deontological constraints, we do not have. (shrink)
The two dominant contemporary moral theories, Kantianism and utilitarianism, have difficulty accommodating our commonsense understanding of friendship as a relationship with significant moral implications. The difficulty seems to arise from their underlying commitment to impartiality, to the claim that all persons are equally worthy of concern. Aristotelian accounts of friendship are partialist in so far as they defend certain types of friendship by appeal to the claim that some persons, the virtuous, are in fact more worthy of (...) concern than are other persons. This article argues that we can preserve the underlying impartiality of Kantianism and utilitarianism, while also preserving a certain partiality with respect to our friends: the partiality of commonsense only seems objectionable if we fail to understand the true grounds, nature, and implications of such partiality. Neo-Aristotelian partiality should be rejected in favor of commonsense partiality. (shrink)
Based on a modern reading of Aristotle’s theory of friendship, we argue that virtual friendship does not qualify as genuine friendship. By ‘virtual friendship’ we mean the type of friendship that exists on the internet, and seldom or never is combined with real life interaction. A ‘traditional friendship’ is, in contrast, the type of friendship that involves substantial real life interaction, and we claim that only this type can merit the label ‘genuine (...) class='Hi'>friendship’ and thus qualify as morally valuable. The upshot of our discussion is that virtual friendship is what Aristotle might have described as a lower and less valuable form of social exchange. (shrink)
In this article, I offer a brief account of some of Kierkegaard’s key concerns about friendship: its “preferential” nature and its being a form of self-love. Kierkegaard’s endorsement of the ancient idea of the friend as “second self” involves a common but misguided assumption: that friendship depends largely upon likeness between friends. This focus obscures a vitally important element, highlighted by the so-called “drawing” view of friendship. Once this is emphasized, we can see a significant aspect - (...) though by no means all - of Kierkegaard’s worry as misplaced. However, the “drawing” view also enables us to begin to see what a “Kierkegaardian” friendship might look like. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to question Derrida's approach to the theme of friendship and to set out an alternative reading drawn from the work of Foucault on the care of the self. Derrida's treatment of friendship as aporetic, though faithful to a long tradition of writing on friendship, depends on the use of a formal language that, I argue, exacerbates the difficulties inherent in the theme of friendship. Moreover, it is not clear that the (...) experience of friendship always displays the temporal form given to this aporetic structure. In contrast, Foucault's work suggests that friendship emerges from the complex system of relations that condition who we are and how we can act. Friends are those with whom we work on the historical conditions of our existence, and those with whom we share the practice of becoming who we are. (shrink)
I take friendship to be a practical and emotional relationship marked by mutual and (more-or-less) equal goodwill, liking, and pleasure. Friendship can exist between siblings, lovers, parent and adult child, as well as between otherwise unrelated people. Some friendships are valued chiefly for their usefulness. Such friendships are instrumental or means friendships. Other friendships are valued chiefly for their own sakes. Such friendships are noninstrumental or end friendships. In this paper I am concerned only with end friendships, and (...) the challenge they pose to consequentialism. In an end friendship, one loves the friend as an essential part of one's system of ends, and not solely, or even primarily, as a means to an independent end - career advancement, amusement, philosophical illumination, or greater happiness in the universe. In such love, one loves the friend for the person she is, i.e., for her essential rather than incidental features. These include both her character traits - the fundamental intellectual, psychological, moral, and aesthetic qualities that constitute an individual's personality - and her unique perspective on herself and others: her view of the important and unimportant, her interest in herself and others. Thus in end friendship the friend cannot be replaced by another, for no other can have her essential features. Nor can she be replaced by a more efficient means to one's ends, or abandoned on their achievement, for it is not as a means that one 2 loves her. It is this necessary irreplaceability that most obviously marks off end friendship from means or instrumental friendship, in which the friend is replaceable.i Hence to love a friend as an end is to place a special value on her - to believe that her value is not outweighed, say, simply by the greater needs of others - or the needs of a greater number of others ("Sorry dear, there are more drowning on this end").ii End friendship (hereafter simply "friendship") is a cardinal human value.. (shrink)
Epicurus is strongly committed to psychological and ethical egoism and hedonism. However, these commitments do not square easily with many of the claims made by Epicureans about friendship: for instance, that the wise man will sometimes die for his friend, that the wise man will love his friend as much as himself, feel exactly the same toward his friend as toward himself, and exert himself as much for his friend's pleasure as for his own, and that every friendship (...) is worth choosing for its own sake. These claims have led some scholars to assert that Epicurus inconsistently affirms that friendship has an altruistic element. I argue that the Epicurean claims about friendship can be reconciled with egoism and hedonism in psychology and ethics. Friendship is valuable because having friends provides one with security more effectively than any other means, and having confidence that one will be secure in the future either is identical to ataraxia, or the grounds on which one has it. (shrink)
The main purpose of this article is to underline the crucial significance of laughter, a hitherto neglected matter in the study of the Zhuangzi. It aims to show that focusing on laughter is beneficial in order to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of some of the most philosophically relevant problems in the Zhuangzi since a careful analysis of the role of laughter may reveal a great deal of debate concerning such issues as life, death, friendship, social relations, and ritual (...) in this text. This article discusses then the positive role that laughter plays in the Zhuangzi in contexts traditionally governed by the rules of seriousness, formality, and circumspection, from both an anthropological and a philosophical perspective. (shrink)
Critics have persistently charged that indirect consequentialism, despite the best efforts of its defenders, ultimately fails to appropriately account for friendship in the face of the alienation generated by the harsh demands of consequentialism. Robert F. Card has recently alleged that the dispositional emphasis of indirect consequentialism renders its defender incapable of rejecting problematic friendships that are seriously suboptimal. I argue that Card's criticism not only fails to undermine indirect consequentialism, but in fact provides considerations that both help us (...) to better understand the theory and ultimately weigh in favor of it over Card's own brand of sophisticated consequentialism. (shrink)
This paper will address the political and ethical ramifications of Derrida's concern for friendship in relation to his concerns with the future of democracy, rights of hospitality and cosmopolitics. The questions addressed read as follows: Is there a way we can get beyond this stance which not only consolidates a friendship of the ‘perhaps’ with a friendship of the promise, but also implicates their consolidation with the very future of what we today call democracy? Is there a (...) way in which we can substantiate something more than a romanticized call for a future integration of friendship and democracy while avoiding the pitfalls of on one hand, substantiating a model of friendship for politics or, on the other, offering a disguised and naïve return to a metaphysics of friendship as the saving grace of social unity? Through a close reading of the conclusion to Politics of Friendship as well as his concerns with friendship in Spectres of Marx and Rogues: Two Essays on Reason it will be argued that Derrida's insistence on the future of friendship is bound up with the notion of an ethical promise to the thought of friendship as the condition for its political and ethical relevance. (shrink)
A familiar objection to restrictive consequentialism is that a restrictive consequentialist is incapable of having true friendships. In this paper I distinguish between an instrumentalist and a non-instrumentalist version of this objection and argue that while the restrictive consequentialist can answer the non-instrumentalist version, restrictive consequentialism may still seem vulnerable to the instrumentalist version. I then suggest a consequentialist reply that I argue also works against this version of the objection. Central to this reply is the claim that a restrictive (...) consequentialist is capable of true friendship if the value she aims for is not merely seen as a function of her self-regarding desires, but includes as a central constituent a form of objective value often referred to as 'flourishing' or 'self-realization'. (shrink)
Friendships have always been one of the most valuable assets in the lives of human beings, and friendships were of utmost importance to Spinoza. There are different kinds of friendship but for Spinoza genuine friendship can only occur among those who pursue the truth. In this paper I will (1) point out what Spinoza means by the truth, (2) show how friendships are possible even though there is tension in our lives between our desire to preserve ourselves and (...) our desire to preserve others, (3) differentiate two kinds of friendship, and (4) see what if anything is missing from his account of friendship. (shrink)
Presents the author's reflections on Derrida's philosophical insights concerning the interrelationships among friendship, fidelity, human finitude, and mourning, and the implications of these insights for "relationalizing" Heidegger's conception of finitude.
Liberal political theory sees justice as the "first virtue" of a good society, the virtue that guides individuals' conceptions of their own good, and protects the equal liberty of all to pursue their ends, so long as these ends and pursuits are just. But ever since Marx's declaration that "liberty as a right of man is not founded upon the relations between man and man, but rather upon the separation of man from man...,"i liberal society has been frequently criticized for (...) falling seriously short of the conditions of a good society.ii A prominent recent criticism of this sort has been voiced by "communitarians," who charge that the primacy of rights in liberalism reveals a failure to appreciate the value of friendship and community, and tends to undermine their possibility.iii My aim in this paper is to defend liberal political theory, understood as the theory that justifies a polity of individual rights and justice, against this charge.iv My main argument will be directed at the assumption that there is an inherent tension between rights and justice on the one hand, and familial love and friendship on the other. According to the communitarian, two or more individuals constitute a community when they share a common conception of the good, and see this good as partly constitutive of their identities or selves.v Such "constitutive community," in Michael Sandel's words, may be a close friendship or family relationship, or an intermediate association such as a neighborhood organization, or a comprehensive political community. The communitarian charges that in making justice the first virtue of social institutions, liberalism undermines community at all levels, and this for two reasons. First, liberalism demands that we revise or surrender our conceptions of the good - including our attachments and commitments to family and friends - if they should turn out to be unjust. But this demand, the communitarian claims, requires attitudes 2 that are inconsistent with these attachments and commitments.. (shrink)
Aristotle distinguishes three types of friendship: virtue or character friendship, advantage friendship, and pleasure friendship. He also holds that the civic relation is a friendship, but it is unclear to which of the three types it belongs. There appear to be two candidates. It is either a character friendship, or an advantage friendship. I argue that it cannot be a character friendship, since that would entail that citizens have active goodwill toward one (...) another, and Aristotle claims that such goodwill can exist only among a few relatively rare character friends. However, if the relation is not a character friendship, Aristotle’s claim that the city is more than alliance for security and exchange becomes puzzling. I argue that Aristotle’s view is that the civic friendship is a special type of advantage friendship in that one of its advantages is that it makes character friendships possible. This explains why rulers and citizens should want their fellows not only to act virtuously, but also to be virtuous. (shrink)
It has been argued that friendship in the Confucian tradition is ultimately reducible to family relationships and, since all family relationships in the Confucian world are hierarchical, friendship (thus conceived and patterned as a family relationship) would also be hierarchical. In opposition to this view, it also has been argued that among the five primary relationships discussed by Confucians, friendship is the only one that could be non-hierarchical, and because of that, friendship is considered dangerous among (...) Confucians. I argue that that while there may be some prima facie plausibility in each of the above-mentioned interpretations in that each accommodates a particular kind of or aspect of friendships, they are problematic in that they fail to recognize the nuanced complexity of Confucian friendship. In this paper, I will develop three separate critical analyses against the above-mentioned positions and develop an alternative reading. (shrink)
It is often held that Plato did not have a viable account of interpersonal love. The account of eros—roughly, desire—in the Symposium appears to fail, and, though the Lysis contains much suggestive material for an account of philia—roughly, friendship—this is an aporetic dialogue, which fails, ultimately, to provide an account of friendship. This paper argues that Plato's account of friendship is in the Phaedrus. This dialogue outlines three kinds of philia relationship, the highest of which compares favourably (...) to the Aristotelian notion of love for another ‘for their own sake’. In contrast to the account of eros in the Symposium, this gives Plato an account of interpersonal love that meets some of the requirements laid down by Gregory Vlastos (1973) for a satisfactory account of interpersonal love. (shrink)
Undercover marketing targets potential customers by concealing the commercial nature of an apparently social transaction. In a typical case an individual approaches a marketing target apparently to provide some information or advice about a product in a way that makes it seem like they are a fellow consumer. In another kind of case, a friend displays a product to you, and encourages its purchase, but fails to disclose their association with the marketing firm. We focus on this second type of (...) case and argue that the constitutive dispositions of friendship that provide for the development and maintenance of intimacy also render friends especially vulnerable to undercover marketing techniques and so to the exploitation of friendship for commercial ends. We show how this is corrupting both of the friendship and the commercial agent. (shrink)
Critics of commercial societies complain that the free-market system of property rights and freedom of contract tends to commodify relationships, thus eroding the bonds of personal and civic friendship. I argue that this thesis rests on a misunderstanding of both markets and friendship. As voluntary, reciprocal relationships, market relationships and friendship share important properties. Like all relations and activities that exercise important human capacities and play an important role in a meaningful life, market relations and activities are (...) essentially structured and supported by ethical norms and, in turn, support these norms. The so-called norms of the market, such as instrumentality and fungibility, come in varying degrees and characterize not only market, but also nonmarket, relationships, including friendship. Furthermore, although market relationships are primarily instrumental, the individuals involved are not. The virtues of markets have their counterparts in friendship, as do their vices. For these and other reasons, market societies are not only not inimical to friendship, they create a more secure matrix for civic and personal friendship, as well as for other important values such as art, science, or philosophy, than any other developed form of society. Key Words: commercial societies • friendship • moral norms • virtues • vices. (shrink)
Since the mid?1960s in advanced and rapidly advancing economies, there has been a rising tide of clinical depression and dysphoria, a decline in mutual trust, and a loosening of social bonds. Most studies show that above a minimal level, income is irrelevant to one's sense of well?being, but companionship and social support increase well?being. Since shopping and consumption are increasingly solitary activities, and watching television is not genuinely sociable, the increased time devoted to these activities may be responsible for rising (...) levels of depression. Advanced societies are likely to increase ?utility? if they maximize friendship rather than the getting and spending of wealth. (shrink)
Aristotle famously argues that friendship can serve as a normative model for the practice of citizenship, and this view has been widely accepted by neo-Aristotelians. Liberals, however, are quick to reject both Aristotle's view of friendship and his view of citizenship. Does this mean that the concept of friendship is politically irrelevant for liberalism? This essay suggests, on the contrary, that the concept of friendship is far from obsolete, even for liberals. Specifically, communicative constraints derived from (...) the norms of friendship, as interpreted by Ralph Waldo Emerson, could serve to promote the modest instrumental purposes of liberal citizenship-personal freedom, social justice, and civil peace-while simultaneously allowing the practice of liberal citizenship to develop in noninstrumental directions, enriched rather than strained by the multicultural realities of most modern societies. (shrink)
In this essay, Leonard Waks examines John Dewey's account of listening, drawing on Dewey's writings to establish a direct connection in his work between listening and democracy. Waks devotes the first part of the essay to explaining Dewey's distinction between one-way or straight-line listening and transactional listening-in-conversation, and to demonstrating the close connection between transactional listening and what Dewey called “cooperative friendship.” In the second part of the essay, Waks establishes the further link between Dewey's notions of cooperative (...) class='Hi'>friendship and democratic society with particular reference to machine-age technologies of mass communication. He maintains that while these technologies provide the means for extending communications throughout modern industrial nations, they simultaneously undermine the conditions fostering face-to-face listening-in-conversation. It remains an open question, Waks concludes, whether new educational arrangements incorporating interactive digital communication technologies will embody and promote transactional listening-in-conversation and revitalized democratic community. (shrink)
Does shame have a limited moral role because it is associated with a loss of self-respect or is it an important emotional support for socially beneficial behaviours? Aristotle supports the latter position. In his ethical theory, he famously claims that shame is a semi-virtue essential in the habituation of moral norms. He clarifies this role in the Rhetoric’s lesser-known distinction between true and conventional shame, which implies human beings make subjective evaluations of those appropriated cultural norms. Importantly, he locates this (...) potential for ethical assessment in friendship and not in public discourse, as he thinks it would be shameless to publicly evaluate moral rules. The article ends by exploring potential critiques to his position and argues that Aristotle’s approach makes shame indispensable for moral progress, even though we might want to consider some limited role for shameless public protest. (shrink)
The relationship between intimacy and honesty seems a paradoxical one. While intimate relationships would seem to demand a high level of honesty, this same intimacy might make us more likely to shield the other or protect ourselves through benevolent lying or the withholding of information. It would seem that honesty may not always be the best policy in intimate relationships. The purpose of this article is to examine the tension between honesty and intimacy in Kant’s duty of friendship, and (...) it will highlight the limitations of Kant’s expectations of friendship. At the same time I will use Kant’s own appeal to the autonomy of moral agents to delineate an appropriate role for the obligations of honesty and self disclosure in friendship. (shrink)
Our primary focus is the concept of intimacy, especially in the context of adult American male relationships. We begin with an examination of comradeship, a nonintimate form of friendship, then develop an account of the nature and value of intimacy in friendship. We follow this with discussions of obstacles to intimacy and of Aristotle's views. In the final section, we discuss the process of men attaining intimacy.
This essay examines two stories in Zhuangzi chapter 6 that provide detailsabout the formal, substantive, and applied features of friendship between daoadepts. Using a template of seven characteristics, dao adept friendship is thencompared with ren adept friendship, described in the Analects and theMencius. It is argued that dao living contains features of friendship that arecomparably robust. As unconventional as dao adept living may be, friendshipis not lacking but integral to such a life.
This article examines the origins of and philosophical justifications for Aristotelian friendship (philia) and early Confucian filial piety (xiao). What underlying assumptions about bonds between friends and family members do the philosophies share or uniquely possess? Is the Aristotelian emphasis on relationships between equals incompatible with the Confucian regard for filiality? As I argue, the Aristotelian and early Confucian accounts, while different in focus, share many of the same tensions in the attempt to balance hierarchical and familial associations with (...) those between friends who are on the same footing. (shrink)
We consider the moral and social ingredients in physicians' relationships with patients of diminished capacity by considering certain claims made about friendship and the physician's role. To assess these claims we look at the life context of two patients as elaborated examples provided in two novels: Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) by Marge Piercy, a radical feminist; and It's Hard to Leave While the Music's Playing (1977) by I. S. Cooper, a prominent physician-researcher. At issue is how (...) the doctor-patient relationship should be structured. In question is whether the physician's friendship and professional expertise, together with the diminished capacity of the patient, authorize medical paternalism. From our examination, we find compelling insights against appealing to friendship both in good doctor-patient relationships and in more typical, not-so-good ones. (shrink)
In the following essay I explore the hermeneutical significance of Gadamer’s writings on the relational, and thus ethical, components of understanding. First, I look at his discussion in Truth and Method of the significance of the “I-Thou” relation for interpretation. I then turn to his 1985 essay on Aristotle’s notion of friendship, “Friendship and Self-Knowledge: Reflections on the Role of Friendship in Greek Ethics.” My interest is to think about the implications of these writings for his theory (...) of hermeneutics in general. I conclude that both motifs indicate the importance of openness to the other that leads to a deeper realization of our solidarity with the other. (shrink)
I once attended a writing conference for aspiring authors of books for children, at which one speaker enraged the audience by making the pronouncement that, in his view, parents were disqualified to be authors of children's fiction. His reason: parents have to protect themselves from the reality of their children's pain and so wouldn't be able to write about childhood traumas with sufficient awareness and honesty. To this the audience, largely composed of mothers, shot back that parents are especially qualified (...) to write for children, for precisely the opposite reason: they live with children in a relationship of great intimacy and so know children in a way that non-parents 1 do not. But, assuming, as I am inclined to do (as myself a writer of books for children who is also a parent), that the parents are correct here, or at least correct in asserting that they have a distinctive avenue of access to children on which they can draw to enrich the writing of their books, what ethical problems, if any, arise? If children do indeed provide their author-parents with "material," is this material the parents are entitled to use? If the children grow up themselves to be authors some day, will they be able to draw on their own childhoods -- and their relationships with parents and siblings -- to craft their own novels, or memoirs? (Flannery O'Connor is quoted as saying that no author need ever be at a loss for subject matter to write about: "All you need is a childhood.") Can friends write about friends, while still remaining friends and being true to the expectations and obligations of friendship? In this essay I want to highlight -- and then partially seek to dissolve, or resolve -- the particular tensions that arise between the obligations of friendship (or family relationships) and the necessity for an author (of either fiction or memoirs) to draw on her own life -- that is to say, her own relationships with friends and family -- in her work.. (shrink)
This paper offers some critical thoughts concerning the concept of "civic" or "political" friendship within commercial societies. In response to Badhwar's suggestion (2008) that the "free market" provides the best opportunities for political friendship, I argue that civic philia cannot be reduced to a form of "market-friendship." This was already apparent to early advocates of the market who recognized the fragility of friendship under capitalism. Subsequent attempts to address this dilemma bring into focus the deficiency of (...) market friendships and the concept of friendship more broadly. In conclusion, I argue that Kant's attempt to circumscribe friendship for the sake of "civility" contains the seeds of friendship's renewal. (shrink)
First I investigate the concept of friendship in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, books eight and nine. Next, I touch on some of the distinctively Christian aspects of the concept of friendship in Thomas Aquinas’s though, with particular attention to the virtue of caritas as friendship with God. Having by these means gained some perspective on the problem, I describe the new direction taken by Macmurray’s interpretation of friendship, and especially the question of friendship with God.
This paper describes some of the experiences of working with teenage girls' friendship groups at 'Hilltop', a large urban comprehensive school in the north of England. Working between and within multiple friendship groups in a variety of spaces and places raises ethical and moral responsibilities for the feminist researcher. This paper explores the ethical dilemmas raised when confronted with oppressive behaviour when 'hanging out' with groups of teenage girls, as well as the implications this has for the researcher's (...) feminist 'politics of intervention'. Finally, I call for a (re)politicisation of the geographies of children and youth. (shrink)
Nietzsche and Rie is about the intellectual partnership of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Paul Rie (1849-1901). Robin Small combines biography with philosophy to give the first full-length account of a friendship that made major contributions to modern thought before it ended in intellectual differences and a painful breakdown of personal relations. Drawing on a wealth of original scholarship, Small presents an absorbing and often dramatic story, shedding valuable new light on of one of the most important of modern thinkers.
In this article I examine a recent development in online communication, the immersive virtual worlds of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). I argue that these environments provide a distinct form of online experience from the experience available through earlier generation forms of online communication such as newsgroups, chat rooms, email and instant messaging. The experience available to participants in MMORPGs is founded on shared activity, while the experience of earlier generation online communication is largely if not wholly dependent on (...) the communication itself. This difference, I argue, makes interaction in immersive virtual worlds such as MMORPGs relevantly similar to interaction in the physical world, and distinguishes both physical world and immersive virtual world interaction from other forms of online communication. I argue that to the extent that shared activity is a core element in the formation of friendships, friendships can form in immersive virtual worlds as they do in the physical world, and that this possibility was unavailable in earlier forms of online interaction. I do, however, note that earlier forms of online interaction are capable of sustaining friendships formed through either physical or immersive virtual world interaction. I conclude that we cannot any longer make a sharp distinction between the physical and the virtual world, as the characteristics of friendship are able to be developed in each. (shrink)
This review essay on Janice Raymond's A Passion for Friends, sympathetic to the author's inquiry into the institutional contexts of female friendship, criticizes as unnecessary its rejection of feminist separatism and of the "lesbian continuum" and formulates a possible connection of its account of sources of passionate friendship among women to the new research on women and violence.
Rousseau's Julie, ou La Nouvelle Héloïse is two novels in one: a story of wifely virtue and a counterstory of women's friendship. Whereas the virtue story exemplifies what feminist readers since Mary Wollstonecraft have considered to be the most oppressive of Rousseau's prescriptions for women, the friendship counterstory questions the ethical foundations and social manifestations of the model of patriarchal authority that Rousseau ordinarily defends. In this essay, I read the novel with an eye for both stories and (...) the tension between them. (shrink)
Simone Weil wrote in her notebooks that “Friendship, like beauty, is a miracle.” This paper investigates her discussions of friendship in the larger context of her understanding of the mediation of opposites, modeled on the Pythagorean and Platonic models of mathematics. For Weil, friendship was not only miraculous, butalso a key to understanding the relationship of the divine to the human. Convinced that friendship and love create equality between parties where none exists naturally, Weil concluded that (...)friendship “is full of marvelous meanings with regard to God, with regard to the communion of God and man, and with regard to men.”. (shrink)
We take our bearings from Francesco Negri — Although many persons attribute the origin of letter writing to various causes, I however believe that one to be closer to the truth that we have received, handed down by memory, from the ancient stories of Turpilius: namely, that the letter was invented for no other purpose than that we should make absent friends once more present [absentes amicos presentes redderemus] and that by regarding [intuentes] their letters we mightfor a time restore (...) the friendship interrupted by intervals of time and space; for since friendship is accustomed to making its foundation in daily companionship,when this thing is missing it seems indeed to weaken not a little.and hear in this passage the resonance of Aristotle:Is it then the same way with friends as with lovers, for whom seeing [to horon] the beloved is their greatest contentment, and the thing they choose over the other senses, since it is especially through seeing that love is present and comes to be present, so that for friends, too, living together [suzèn] is the most choiceworthy thing? For friendship is a sharing in common [koinònia]. (EN 1171b29–33)The audible connection with Aristotle is faint. Negri’s work is securely placed against the background of the increasing formalization of the art of letter writing in the Middle Ages and its Renaissance development, in which he figured prominently. The genealogy that he proposes, whose forebear is an all but forgotten Roman playwright, belongs to an account of literary tradition in which Cicero is the exemplary figure. Nonetheless, it is in St. Jerome that he finds the likely source of his attribution. (shrink)
In its first part, the paper explores the challenge of conceptualizing the Thomist theological virtue of hope in Aristotelian terms that are compatible with non-Thomist and even atheist metaphysics as well. I argue that the key concept in this endeavor is friendship—as an Aristotelian virtue, as relational value in Thomist theology, as a recognized value in supportive care and as a kind of ‘personal hope.’ Then, the paper proceeds to examine the possible differences between hope as a virtue and (...) hope as an experience reported by people, terminal patients in particular. With the clinical problem of hope at the end of life in mind, the paper concludes with two meta-ethical questions—about the overridingness of .. (shrink)
This article examines four contributions made by Plato’s Lysis to a philosophy course on friendship. These contributions are: first, the dialogue’s portrayal of the messy variety of friendships in ordinary life; second, the tension between what it clarifies about friendship through argument and what it reveals through setting and the behavior of its characters; third, how the dialogue focuses attention on aspects of friendship that often receive little attention in contemporary life—how friends talk with each other and (...)friendship as a vehicle of moral cultivation; fourth and finally, the connection Plato recognized between friendship and the pursuit of philosophy. Friendship is not merely another topic for philosophy to investigate. The pursuit of wisdom is both enhanced by and exemplified in friendships of character. Philosophy has need of friendship, and friendship, as it deepens, inclines to philosophy. (shrink)
Levinas scholarship in English has come a long way since his major philosophical works were translated some 35 years ago. Almost all the writings appear in English, and it is not a great exaggeration to say that the major theses have been explained and the major problems exposed. The task now is to make this seeming point of arrival into a new beginning. For students interested in exploring new directions in Levinas studies, a reading of Maurice Blanchot could prove immensely (...) rewarding. Companions since they first encountered one another at Strasbourg when each was not yet 20 years old, Levinas and Blanchot remainedfriends until Levinas’s death in 1996 and Blanchot’s in 2003. While we can only imagine the significance the friendship had for each of them, for the rest of us it proved what Jacques Derrida called “a grace, a blessing for our times.”. (shrink)
This paper defends a broadly Aristotelean account of character friendship that maintains that the impersonal value of acquiring a virtuous character is the ultimate basis for our reasons for caring about friends. This view of friendship appears to conflict with the entrenched intuition that viewing our connections to particular friends as merely contingent occasions for the cultivation of virtue is alienating and undesirable. I argue that far from being an alienating feature of character friendships, a focused appreciation of (...) the contingent nature of friendships represents a morally sound attitude of honest self-acceptance. On my account, honest selfacceptance is an impersonal value—an ideal that anyone has a reason to cultivate. Although the ideal is impersonal, its content specifi es that we appreciatively acknowledge the particular contributions that friends make to the development of virtue. (shrink)
The foundation of humanist friendship and its purpose lay in the sharing of the Christian faith accompanied by the love of classical letters. The ideas of Erasmus concerning friendship are best developed in his Adagia, and thus in relationship to the ancient proverbs on the subject. The approval given by him to the classical, humanistic ideal of noble, virtuous, equal, and lasting friendship contrasts with Thomas More’s traditional conception of friendship which derived directly from Christian sources. (...) More held that the experience of friendship is a partial anticipation of the secure friendship of heaven, where we may hope that all will “be merry together”—not just our friends in this life but our enemies too. (shrink)