Dialogue Education

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  • Page 3 - Video Presentation What is a friend?
  • Page 4 - Defining terms
  • Pages 5 to 6 - The Nature of Friendship
  • Page 7 - Friendship in Religion
  • Pages 8 to15 - Plato on Friendship
  • Pages 16 to17 - Aristotle on Friendship
  • Page 20 - Types of Friendship
  • Page 21- Interspecies Friendships
  • Page 22 – Video Presentation on Friendship
  • Page 23 - Video Interview with Philosopher Mark Vernon talking about Friendship
  • Page 24 - Bibliography

Click on the image below for You Tube Presentation on Friendship

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  • Friendship is a term used to indicate co-operative and supportive behaviour between two or more people. In this sense, the term points to a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, and affection and respect along with a degree of rendering service to friends in times of need or crisis. Friends will welcome each other's company and exhibit loyalty towards each other, often to the point of altruism. Their tastes will usually be similar and may converge, and they will share enjoyable activities. They will also engage in mutually helping behaviour, such as exchange of advice and the sharing of hardship. A friend is someone who may often demonstrate reciprocating and reflective behaviours. Yet for many, friendship is nothing more than the trust that someone or something will not harm them.

The Nature of Friendship

  • Value that is found in friendships
  • is often the result of a friend
  • demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:
  • the tendency to desire what is best for the other,
  • sympathy and empathy,
  • honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one's counterpart
  • mutual understanding.

The Nature of Friendship

  • In a comparison of personal relationships, friendship is considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association can be thought of as spanning across the same continuum. The study of friendship is included in sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and zoology.

Friendship in Religion

  • Friendship is considered one of the central human experiences, and has been sanctified by all major religions. The Epic of Gilgamesh, a Babylonian poem that is among the earliest known literary works in history, chronicles in great depth the friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The Greco-Roman had, as paramount examples, the friendship of Orestes and Pylades, and, in Virgil's Aeneid, the friendship of Euryalus and Nisus. The Abrahamic faiths have the story of David and Jonathan. Friendship played an important role in German Romanticism. A good example for this is Schiller's Die Bürgschaft. The Christian Gospels state that Jesus Christ declared, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."(John 15:13).

Plato on friendship

  • Platonic love (Latin: Amor Platonicus), is
  • a deep and spiritual connection between two
  • individuals, within such relation does not exist
  • any form of sexual connection or element.
  • At the same time, this interpretation is a
  • misunderstanding of the nature of the
  • Platonic ideal of love which, from its origin, was that of a chaste but deep love transcending mortal life. In its original Platonic form, this love was meant to bring the two people closer to wisdom and the Platonic Form of Beauty. It is described in depth in Plato's Phaedrus and Symposium. In the Phaedrus, it is said to be a form of divine madness that is a gift from the gods, and that its proper expression is rewarded by the gods in the afterlife; in the Symposium, the method by which love takes one to the form of beauty and wisdom is detailed.

Platonic Love

  • The term amor platonicus was coined as early
  • as the 15th century by the Florentine scholar
  • Marsilio Ficino as a synonym for amor socraticus.
  • Platonic love in this original sense of the term is examined in Plato's dialogue the Symposium, which has as its topic the subject of love or Eros generally. Of particular importance there are the ideas attributed to the prophetess Diotima, which present love as a means of ascent to contemplation of the Divine. For Diotima, and for Plato generally, the most correct use of love of other human beings is to direct one's mind to love of Divinity. In short, with genuine Platonic love, the beautiful or lovely other person inspires the mind and the soul and directs one's attention to spiritual things.
  • One proceeds from recognition on another's beauty, to appreciation of Beauty as it exists apart from any individual, to consideration of Divinity, the source of Beauty, to love of Divinity. The spiritual ideas of Platonic love — as well as the fundamental spiritual emphasis of all of Plato's writings — has been de-emphasised over the last two centuries.
  • Plato emphasized chastity in the case of
  • homoerotic attraction, but suggested
  • that recognition of beauty in a person of the same sex may still serve the aim of inspiration. Indeed, in some ways homoerotic attraction may have served Plato's illustrative purposes better than heterosexual love, since in the latter case issues of procreation complicate the picture.

Friendship of Utility

  • Friendships of utility are relationships formed without regard to the other person at all. Buying merchandise, for example, may require meeting another person but usually needs only a very shallow relationship between the buyer and seller. In modern English, people in such a relationship would not even be called friends, but acquaintances (if they even remembered each other afterwards). The only reason these people are communicating is in order to buy or sell things, which is not a bad thing, but as soon as that motivation is gone, so goes the relationship between the two people unless another motivation is found. Complaints and quarrels generally only arise in this type of friendship.

Friendship of Pleasure

  • At the next level, friendships of pleasure are based on pure delight in the company of other people. People who drink together or share a hobby may have such friendships. However, these friends may also part--in this case if they no longer enjoy the shared activity, or can no longer participate in it together.

Friendship of the Good

  • Friendships of the good are ones where both friends enjoy each other's characters. As long as both friends keep similar characters, the relationship will endure since the motive behind it is care for the friend. This is the highest level of relationship, and in modern English might be called true friendship.
  • The English term dates back as far as Sir William Davenant's Platonic Lovers (1636). It is derived from the concept in Plato's Symposium of the love of the idea of good which lies at the root of all virtue and truth. For a brief period, Platonic love was a fashionable subject at the English royal court, especially in the circle around Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles I. Platonic love was the theme of some of the courtly masques performed in the Caroline era—though the fashion soon waned under pressures of social and political change.


  • Aristotle argues that friends can be
  • viewed as second selves. Just as
  • virtuous behaviour improves oneself,
  • friends can improve each other--this is the importance of friendship, and the reason it may be regarded as a type of virtue. The success or failure of a friend can be like one’s own success or failure.


  • Aristotle divides friendships into three types, that of utility, that of pleasure and that of the good. Two are inferior to the other because of the motive; friendships of utility and pleasure do not regard friends as people but what they can give in return.

Types of Friendship

  • Best friend (or close friend): a person(s) with
  • whom someone shares extremely strong interpersonal ties with as a friend.
  • Acquaintance: similar to a friend, but sharing of emotional ties aren't present. An example would be a co-worker with whom you enjoy eating lunch, but would not look to for emotional support.
  • Romantic friendship: the very close but non-sexual friendship shared between two friends, often involving physical contact such as hugging, holding hands, and even cuddling.
  • Soulmate: the name given to someone who is considered the ultimate, true, and eternal half of the other's soul, in which the two are and forever were meant to be together.
  • Pen pal: a person who shares a "postal" relationship with another and regularly writes via "snail mail". They may or may not have met each other in person and may share either love, friendship, or simply an acquaintance between each other.

Types of Friendship

  • Internet friendship: a widely debated and form of
  • friendship or romance which takes place over the Internet.
  • Comrade: means "ally", "friend", or "colleague" in a military or (usually) left-wing political connotation. This is the feeling of affinity that draws people together in time of war or when people have a mutual enemy or even a common goal. Friendship can be mistaken for comradeship. Former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges wrote:
  • We feel in wartime comradeship. We confuse this with friendship, with love. There are those, who will insist that the comradeship of war is love — the exotic glow that makes us in war feel as one people, one entity, is real, but this is part of war's intoxication. [...] Friends are predetermined; friendship takes place between men and women who possess an intellectual and emotional affinity for each other. But comradeship – that ecstatic bliss that comes with belonging to the crowd in wartime – is within our reach. We can all have comrades.[2] As a war ends, or a common enemy recedes, many comrades return to being strangers, who lack friendship and have little in common.
  • Casual relationship or "Friends with benefits": the sexual or near-sexual and emotional relationship between two people who don't expect or demand to share a formal romantic relationship. In the U.S., this is considered "a fling".

Types of Friendship

  • Boston marriage: a term used in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to denote two women that lived together in the same household independent of male support. Relationships were not necessarily sexual. It was used to quell fears of lesbians after World War I.
  • Blood brother or blood sister: may refer to people related by birth, or a circle of friends who swear loyalty by mingling the blood of each member together.
  • Open relationship: a relationship, usually between two people, that agree each partner is free to have sexual intercourse with others outside the relationship. When this agreement is made between a married couple, it's called an open marriage.
  • Roommate: a person who shares a room or apartment (flat) with another person and do not share a familial or romantic relationship.
  • Imaginary friend: a non-physical friend created by a child. It may be seen as bad behaviour or even taboo (some religious parents even consider their child to be possessed by an evil spirit), but is most commonly regarded as harmless, typical childhood behaviour. The friend may or may not be human, and commonly serves a protective purpose.
  • Spiritual friendship: the old Buddhist ideal of kalyana-mitra, that is a relationship between friends with a common interest, though one person may have more knowledge and experience than the other. The relationship is the responsibility of both friends and both bring something to it.

Interspecies Friendship and animal Friendship

  • Friendship as a type of interpersonal relationship is found also among animals with high intelligence, such as the higher mammals and some birds. Cross-species friendships are common between humans and domestic animals. Less common but noteworthy are friendships between an animal and another animal of a different species, such as a dog and cat.

Click on the image below for You Tube Presentation on Friendship

  • You will need to be connected to the internet to view this presentation.
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You Tube Interview with Philosopher Mark Vernon talking about Friendship.

  • Click on the image to the left for You Tube Presentation on Friendship


  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
  • Cicero, Laelius de Amicitia
  • David Hein, "Farrer on Friendship, Sainthood, and the Will of God" (in Captured by the Crucified: The Practical Theology of Austin Farrer, edited by David Hein and Edward Hugh Henderson. New York and London: Continuum/T. & T. Clark, 2004. 119–48)
  • John von Heyking and Richard Avramenko (eds.), Friendship and Politics: Essays in Political Thought. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008.
  • Wikipedia-Friendship-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendship
  • Wikipedia- Nichomachan Ethics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicomachean_Ethics#Books_8_and_9:_Friendship

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