Philosophy and Friendship

Philosophy and Friendship

Sandra Lynch
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 224
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Philosophy and Friendship
    Book Description:

    This book explains the persistence of friendship today in the light of the history of philosophical approaches to the subject.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-7947-8
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. PART I Identity and Difference in Philosophical Conceptions of Friendship
    • Chapter 1 Approaching the Kaleidoscope of Friendship
      (pp. 3-23)

      Friendship, Cicero tells us, ‘is a kaleidoscope and complicated thing’.¹ We might add a fascinating thing; a kind of love perhaps and an enigma to us. Unlike love, which, on some accounts, is regarded as involuntary, friendship maintains an element of freedom of choice. In common with love, it involves a relationship between two beings and so draws us into the mystery of the difficult notion of the individual in himself or herself. The history of the philosophical literature on friendship reveals a changing semantic paradigm in relation to this notion. We are curious about friendship because as social creatures...

    • Chapter 2 The Friend as Another Self
      (pp. 24-53)

      The taxonomies of friendship examined in Chapter 1 explain the development of relations between friends on the basis of their mutual need, advantage, tastes and pleasures, commitment to notions of the good or commitment to moral and intellectual principles. This chapter examines how we perceive the other as friend; the nature of the attraction between us; what we see ourselves as having in common. It considers the nature of the choice we make in befriending another person: whether we are helpless before the force of our desires and affinities; whether likes or opposites attract; and whether friendship is a form...

    • Chapter 3 The Other Self as Friend
      (pp. 54-92)

      Cicero believed that human beings find it hard to make light of power and will cast friendship aside in the interests of attaining power and influence. His most scathing commentary on this tendency is that those who engage in this kind of defection from the duties of friendship assume that their behaviour will not be open to serious criticism; such men take it that others will assume that only an extremely important reason could have led them to cast friendship aside. Cicero presents power, influence, manipulation and weakness as factors both intimately related and antithetical to the practice of friendship....

  6. PART II Friendship as an Ethical Relationship
    • Chapter 4 Re-Imagining the Possibility of Friendship
      (pp. 95-126)

      The last chapter argued that the possibility of friendship rests on our acceptance of a fiction – or what Derrida argues is an illusion – of connection, despite the impossibility of any complete or sustained connection between friends. Despite the fragility of the fiction, its power and pleasure help us to accept and forgive our friends’ shortcomings and to make sacrifices on our friends’ behalf. Sándor Márai, in his novel Embers, takes the concept of - forgiveness in friendship to its limits. He presents friendship as an ethical relation founded on duty born of loyalty to the preference that initially generated the...

  7. PART III The Relationship between Friendship and Self-Understanding
    • Chapter 5 Seeing Oneself as Friend
      (pp. 129-164)

      Intimate engagement between friends provides a unique context for the development of relations with others and for understanding of the self. The tension between our sense of connection with a friend and our recognition of our separateness from the friend within a relationship of choice is likely to present us with dilemmas. The liking, care and concern we have for a friend, which are expressive of our connection, must be balanced by a concern for the self as a separate individual, especially in situations in which these concerns come into conflict. Kant notes in his discussion of friendship that ‘if...

    • Chapter 6 Friendship in Contemporary Life
      (pp. 165-196)

      Chapter 5 argued that the ability to take account of the perceptions and expectations of others is crucial to the development of a coherent or stable conception of self, and that this ability is affected by the kinds of dispositions and attitudes we develop as a result of experience: the formative events in our psychological past; the patterns of salience and habits of thought and response we develop. Our emotions are important conduits for registering and communicating value in this regard. They are intelligent evaluative interpretations, which reveal particular dispositions, attitudes and thoughts to others and to ourselves. The previous...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 197-202)
  9. Index
    (pp. 203-206)