Contrary to many "political" interpretations, of "Brave New World" and "1984" this paper stresses that the evil of totalitarian government is not simply in the presence of great and arbitrary power, but in the particular ways that such power erodes love and friendship, the bases of social life. The crisis represented by the destruction of all possibility of love and friendship is placed in the context of Dostoevsky's meditations on "The Grand Inquisitor," and reflections by noted political theorists (...) on the character of modern politics. (shrink)
The philosophers of antiquity had much to say about the place of friendship in the good life and its role in helping us live virtuously. Augustine is unusual in giving substantial attention to the dangers of friendship and its potential to serve as an obstacle (rather than an aid) to virtue. Despite the originality of Augustine’s thought on this topic, this area of his thinking has received little attention. This paper will show how Augustine, especially in the early (...) books of the Confessions, carefully examines the potential of friendship to lead us astray. In particular, friendships may prove an impediment to virtue by: derailing our practical reasoning (rather than aiding it); fostering vices (rather than virtues); and misdirecting our love. Augustine’s investigation of the murky depths of friendship shows an original philosopher and keen observer of the human condition at work. (shrink)
On the shared-ends account of close friendship, proper care for a friend as an agent requires seeing yourself as having important reasons to accommodate and promote the friend’s valuable ends for her own sake. However, that friends share ends doesn't inoculate them against disagreements about how to pursue those ends. This paper defends the claim that, in certain circumstances of reasonable disagreement, proper care for a friend as a practical and moral agent sometimes requires allowing her judgment to decide (...) what you are to do, even when you disagree with her judgment (and even when her judgment is in fact mistaken). In these instances, your friendship can make it the case that you may not act on your own practical and even moral judgments because, at those times, you have a duty as her close friend to defer to her judgments. As a result, treating your friend properly as a responsible agent can require that you assist her in committing what may in fact be serious moral wrongs. (shrink)
This paper examines Kant ’s accounts of friendship and marriage, and argues for what can be called an ideal of “moral marriage ” based on Kant ’s notion of moral friendship. After explaining why Kant values friendship so highly, it gives an account of the ways in which marriage falls far short, according to Kant, of what friendship has to offer. The paper then argues that many of Kant ’s reasons for finding marriage morally impoverished compared (...) with friendship are wrong-headed. The paper further argues that a few of Kant ’s views about friendship are false. The main point is that, when we slightly revise Kant ’s account of friendship and jettison Kant ’s misguided notions about marriage, we see that marriages can aspire to much of the same moral richness as friendships. Finally, the paper argues that this friendship model of marriage does not obscure the important ways in which marriages and friendships differ. (shrink)
In this paper, I describe some of what I take to be the more interesting features of friendship, then explore the extent to which other virtues can be reconstructed as sharing those features. I use trustworthiness as my example throughout, but I think that other virtues such as generosity & gratitude, pride & respect, and the producer’s & consumer’s sense of humor can also be analyzed with this model. The aim of the paper is not to demonstrate that all (...) moral virtues are exactly like friendship in all important respects, but rather to articulate a fruitful model in which to explore the virtues. Section 2 explores the relational nature of friendship, drawing on Aristotle’s discussion of friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics. Section 3 catalogues four motivations for taking seriously the friendship model of virtue. Section 4 applies the friendship model in depth to the virtue of trustworthiness. (shrink)
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)
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.
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 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)
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)
Aristotle’s account of friendship has largely withstood the test of time. Yet there are overlooked elements of his account that, when challenged by apparent threats of current and emerging communication technologies, reveal his account to be remarkably prescient. I evaluate the danger that technological advances in communication pose to the future of friendship by examining and defending Aristotle’s claim that perfect or character-friends must live together. I concede that technologically-mediated communication can aid existing character-friendships, but I argue that (...) character-friendships cannot be created and sustained entirely through technological meditation. I examine text-based technologies, such as Facebook and email, and engage a non-text based technology that poses the greatest threat to my thesis—Skype. I then address philosophical literature on friendship and technology that has emerged in the last decade in Ethics and Information Technology to elucidate and defend my account by contrast. I engage Cocking and Matthews (2000), who argue that friendship cannot be created and sustained entirely through text-based contact, Briggle (2008), who argues that friendship can be created and sustained entirely through text-based contact, and Munn (2012), who argues that friendship cannot be created and entirely sustained through text-based contact but can be created and sustained entirely in immersive virtual worlds. My account discusses a certain kind of friendship, character-friendship, and a certain kind of technology, Skype, that these accounts do not. Examination of these essays helps to demonstrate that character friendship cannot be sustained entirely by technologically-aided communication and that character-friends must live together. (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)
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.
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. (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)
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)
It has become commonplace to hold the view that virtual surrogates for the things that are good in life are inferior to their actual, authentic counterparts, including virtual education, virtual skill-demanding activities and virtual acts of creativity. Virtual friendship has also been argued to be inferior to traditional, embodied forms of friendship. Coupled with the view that virtual friendships threaten to replace actual ones, the conclusion is often made that we ought to concentrate our efforts on actual friendships (...) rather than settle for virtual replacements. The purpose of this paper is to offer a balanced and empirically grounded analysis of the relative prudential value of actual and virtual friendship. That is, do actual and virtual friendships differ when it comes to enhancing our subjective well-being? In doing so, I will discuss a number of presuppositions that lie behind common criticisms of virtual friendship. This will include, among other considerations, their potential for replacing actual friendship, as well as the possibility for self-disclosure, trust, sharing and dynamic spread of happiness in virtual worlds. The purpose is not to arrive at a firm, normative conclusion, but rather to introduce a number of considerations that we should take into account in our individual deliberations over which role virtual friendships ought to have in our unique life situations. (shrink)
In Otherwise than Being, Levinas writes that the alterity of the Other escapes “le flair animal,” or the animal’s sense of smell. This paper puts pressure on the strong human-animal distinction that Levinas makes by considering the possibility that, while non-human animals may not respond to the alterity of the Other in the way that Levinas describes as responsibility, animal sensibility plays a key role in a relation to Others that Levinas does not discuss at length: friendship. This approach (...) to friendship addresses a gap in Levinas’ work between the absolute Other for whom I am responsible and the “brother” who is my political equal. (shrink)
There is an ongoing debate about the value of virtual friendship. In contrast to previous authorships, this paper argues that virtual friendship can have independent value. It is argued that within an Aristotelian framework, some friendships that are perhaps impossible offline can exist online, i.e., some offline unequals can be online equals and thus form online friendships of independent value.
Certain relationships generate associative duties that exhibit robustness across change. It seems insufficient for friendship, for example, if I am only disposed to fulfil duties of friendship towards you as things stand here and now. However, robustness is not required across all variations. Were you to become monstrously cruel towards me, we might expect that my duties of friendship towards you would not be robust across that kind of change. The question then is this: is there any (...) principled way of distinguishing those variations across which robustness of the disposition to fulfil duties of friendship is required from those across which it is not? In this paper I propose a way of answering this question that invokes distinctions concerning how we value friends and friendships, and how persons and friendships possess value – distinctions that are central to the project of specifying not only the limits of robustness, but also the source of duties of friendship and associative duties more generally. (shrink)
According to some scholars, Mary Astell’s feminist programme is severely limited by its focus on self-improvement rather than wider social change. In response, I highlight the role of ‘virtuous friendship’ in Astell’s 1694 work, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies. Building on classical ideals and traditional Christian principles, Astell promotes the morally transformative power of virtuous friendship among women. By examining the significance of such friendship to Astell’s feminism, we can see that she did in fact aim (...) to bring about reformation of society and not just the individual. (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.
Simon Keller and Sarah Stroud have both argued that the demands of being a good friend can conflict with the demands of standard epistemic norms. Intuitively, good friends will tend to seek favorable interpretations of their friends’ behaviors, interpretations that they would not apply to strangers; as such they seem prone to form unjustified beliefs. I argue that there is no such clash of norms. In particular, I argue that friendship does not require us to form beliefs about our (...) friends in the biased fashion suggested by Stroud and Keller. I further argue that while some slight bias in belief-formation might be permitted by friendship, any such bias would fall within the bounds of epistemic propriety. (shrink)
Aristotle's emphasis on sameness of character in his description of the virtuous friend as "another self" figures centrally in all his arguments for the necessity of friendship to self-knowledge. Although the attribution of the Magna Moralia to Aristotle is disputed, the comparison of the friend to a mirror in this work has encouraged many commentators to view the friend as a mirror that provides the clearest and most immediate image of one's own virtue. I will offer my own reading (...) of Aristotle's theory of friendship, suggesting that the friend constitutes "another self" not as a mirror image but rather as a partner in moral perception. (shrink)
The individual and social formation of a human self, from its emergence in early childhood through adolescence to adult life, has been described within philosophy, psychology and sociology as a product of developmental and social processes mediating a linguistic and social world. Semiotic scaffolding is a multi-level phenomenon. Focusing upon levels of semiosis specific to humans, the formation of the personal self and the role of friendship and similar interpersonal relations in this process is explored through Aristotle’s classical idea (...) of the friend as ‘another self’, and sociologist Margaret Archer’s empirical and theoretical work on the interplay between individual subjectivity, social structure and interpersonal relations in a dynamics of human agency. It is shown that although processes of reflexivity and friendship can indeed be seen as instances of semiotic scaffolding of the emerging self, such processes are heterogeneous and contingent upon different modes of reflexivity. (shrink)
In my thesis, I examine the role of character friendship for the agent’s moral development in Aristotle’s ethics. I contend that we should divide character friendship in two categories: a) character friendship between completely virtuous agents, and, b) character friendship between unequally developed, or, equally developed, yet not completely virtuous agents. Regarding the first category, I argue that this highest form of friendship provides the opportunity for the agent to advance his understanding of certain virtues (...) through the help of his virtuous friend. This process can be expressed in two ways. In the first way, I take character friendship in (a) as a relationship that is based on mutual relinquishing of opportunities for action or giving up external goods based on each agent’s needs. This process helps the agents develop their character in certain virtues which have remained slightly underdeveloped than others due to nature (NE 1144b4-7), or development (Politics 1329a9ff). This means, for instance, that if agent A is wealthy and his friend B is a middle class worker and they win the lottery together, A will relinquish his share of money to his friend so that he will be able to practice the virtue of magnificence; a virtue that his previous financial condition prevented him from developing appropriately. The second process is rather different and new in scholarly debate concerning Aristotle’s theory of moral development. I suggest that the completely virtuous agent is able to further develop his character through a process I will describe as interpretative mimesis. In this process, the agent receives the form of his friend’s action and is able to apply this pattern of behavior in a situation that he thinks is appropriate. I have to highlight though the fact that he does not just ape his friend’s action. Instead, he interprets the action based on his skills and abilities and the demands of the situations he faces. Thus, this pattern works as an extra epistemological tool in the agent’s hand in new and challenging moral situations. Now, case (b) comes on the opposite side of the majority of scholars’ view on character friendship. They think that Aristotle reserves character friendship only for completely virtuous agents. I argue that this is not the correct approach, and that less than completely virtuous agents can take part in character friendships as well. This view has the advantage of making character friendship in (b) a tool in Aristotle’s hands for his agents of lower moral level to develop their understanding of virtue and its applications. I propose that the route of moral development in case (b) resembles the one in the second process of case (a). Namely, the agent receives the form of his friend’s action and uses it as a pattern in some new situation he has to face. I will not name the process though as “interpretative” or any kind of mimesis. The reason for this is that Aristotle gives us textual evidence (NE 1172a9-14) for an imitative method of moral development only for the second process of case (a). I will take case (b) then as a pattern guide application of my friend’s action which we could call pre-interpretative mimesis period of the agent’s moral development. If my arguments are correct then character friendship is much more valuable than scholars thought. Our friends turn out to be examples of good action who guide us through the sweaty and painful path that is called virtue. And this path never stops; even if we have become “moral heroes”; or, put it differently, “masters” of practical wisdom. (shrink)
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)
Nietzsche criticizes the shared suffering of compassion as a basis for ethics, yet his challenge to overcome compassion seeks not to extinguish all fellow feeling but instead urges us to transform the way we relate to others, to learn to share not suffering but joy. For Schopenhauer, we act morally when we respond to another’s suffering, while we are mistrustful of the joys of others. Nietzsche turns to the type of relationality exempli!ied by friendship, understood as shared joy, in (...) order to help him to articulate his ethical ideal for human beings. (shrink)
"Friendship, that pervasive, everyday, and subtle matter of our most intimate personal life, has rarely been accorded its due. Michael Pakaluk has retrieved the thoughts of our greatest thinkers on the subject and collected them into a handsome and handy volume.... A splendid book!" --M. M. Wartofsky, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Baruch College, City University of New York.
The ubiquity of online social networks has led to the phenomena of having friends that are known only through online interaction. In many cases, no physical interaction has taken place, but still people consider each other friends. This paper analyzes whether these friendships would satisfy the conditions of Aristotle’s highest level of friendship–what he calls perfect friendship. Since perfect friendship manifests through a shared love of virtue, physical proximity would seem to be unnecessary at first glance. However, (...) I argue that the nature of online interaction may preclude us from fully recognizing the virtues and vices in others to the degree necessary for perfect friendship to occur. As such, online friendships face significant obstacles against moving beyond utility or pleasure, and this has important repercussions for online interaction more generally. (shrink)
This paper seeks to examine the plausibility of the concept of ‘Civic Friendship’ as a philosophical model for a conceptualisation of ‘belonging’. Such a concept, would hold enormous interest for educators in enabling the identification of particular virtues, attitudes and values that would need to be taught and nurtured to enable the civic relationship to be passed on from generation to generation. I consider both of the standard arguments for civic friendship: that it can be understood within the (...) Aristotelian typology as either a form of utility friendship or as a form of virtue friendship. I argue that civic friendship may not be the most appropriate model and that attempts to resolve the problems through looking on it as a political metaphor leave it unable to fulfil the function for which it was originally designed in Ancient Greece. Finally, I emphasize the need to carefully consider which particular metaphors we choose for civic relationships and how we subsequently use them. (shrink)
In a special issue of “Ethics and Information Technology” (September 2012), various philosophers have discussed the notion of online friendship. The preferred framework of analysis was Aristotle’s theory of friendship: it was argued that online friendships face many obstacles that hinder them from ever reaching the highest form of Aristotelian friendship. In this article I aim to offer a different perspective by critically analyzing the arguments these philosophers use against online friendship. I begin by isolating the (...) most common arguments these philosophers use against online friendship and proceed to debunk them one by one by pointing out inconsistencies and fallacies in their arguments and, where needed, offering empirical findings from media and communication studies that offer a more nuanced view on online friendships. I conclude my analysis by questioning the correctness of the application of the Aristotelian theory of friendship by the critics of online friendship: in my view, the critics are applying the Aristotelian theory to online friendships in a rather narrow and limited way. Finally, I conclude my thesis by proposing that in the rapidly changing online landscape, a one-size-fits-all application of the Aristotelian theory on friendship is not sufficient to accurately judge the multitude of relationships that can exist online and that the various positive and valuable elements of online friendships should also be acknowledged and analyzed. (shrink)
Unlike mainstream Cyrenaics, the Annicereans deny that friendship is chosen only because of its usefulness. Instead, the wise person cares for her friend and endures pains for him because of her goodwill and love. Nonetheless, the Annicereans maintain that your own pleasure is the telos and that a friend’s happiness isn’t intrinsically choiceworthy. Their position appears internally inconsistent or to attribute doublethink to the wise person. But we can avoid these problems. We have good textual grounds to attribute to (...) the Annicereans a doctrine of “non-hedonic habits,” which allows them to abandon psychological hedonism while still maintaining hedonism regarding well-being. (shrink)
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)
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)
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)
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)
: 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.
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)
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)
In South Africa there is widespread recognition amongst university educators that the new outcomes‐based education system can prevent instrumental thinking, particularly in view of OBE's agenda to encourage critical learning. However, what these educators do not necessarily take into account is that many students are not always ready to deal with critical learning because of the apparent persistence of instrumental thinking at some universities in South Africa. Simply put, many students seem to be quite willing to be taught about some (...) of the ends of education, rather than the reasons behind these ends. With this idea of desired student learning in mind, in this article, I argue that it has become necessary to fulfil the promise of democratic justice on the African continent through educating for friendship, rather than perpetuating uncritical modes of learning which could further extend the violation of human dignity on the African continent. Reflecting on several moments in my classroom pedagogy and conversations with colleagues at different universities, I firstly argue that critical learning cannot be blind to prescriptiveness, since students have to be made attentive in some way to the public realm of a democratic post‐apartheid South Africa and post‐colonial Africa. In short, they have to be taught what it means to be democratically just. Thereafter, I argue that teaching students about democratic justice can entail critical learning and, hence, be non‐instrumental, provided that university educators become more responsible educators. Finally, I examine how actions can potentially fulfil the democratic justice project, the success of which is so desperately needed on the African content. (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)