After Friendship

Journal of Philosophy of Education 50 (4) (2016)
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The loss of friendship can be a frequent occurrence for children as they explore their social worlds and navigate their way through the demands of particular relationships. Given that friendship is a relationship of special regard, and associated with a particular partiality to our friends, the ending of friendship and the subsequent interactions between former friends, can be difficult areas for schools to deal with. Whilst there has been considerable research on the formation and maintenance of friendship, a consideration of what happens after friendship has had surprisingly limited attention. Much of our current understanding of issues on moral behaviour fails to fully address the positioning of former friends in our moral thinking particularly as regards matters arising from the priority of attachment. Recent empirical research seems to indicate that the memory of prior encounters has a far greater influence on future reciprocal exchanges than previously accepted. This paper considers suggests that this view of memory can be played out in two contrasting ways. First, a prudential view suggests that as our former friends were previously given access to our intimate secrets and confidences, self-interest would seem to indicate that we treat them well. Secondly, a residual duties view suggests that some obligations remain after the friendship has ended based on the history of the relationship. Finally, I then draw out some of the implications this may have for schools and the education of children.



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Mary Healy
University of Roehampton

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