Friendship and the self

Ethics 108 (3):502-527 (1998)


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.

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Jeanette Kennett
Macquarie University

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Citations of this work

Loneliness and the Emotional Experience of Absence.Tom Roberts & Joel Krueger - 2021 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 59 (2):185-204.
Friendship and the Structure of Trust.Mark Alfano - 2016 - In Alberto Masala & Jonathan Webber (eds.), From Personality to Virtue. Oxford University Press. pp. 186-206.
Friendship and Epistemic Norms.Jason Kawall - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):349-370.
Lost Without You: The Value of Falling Out of Love.Pilar Lopez-Cantero & Alfred Archer - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3-4):1-15.

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