I like her (primarily) because she’s pleasant/entertaining.
I like her (primarily) because she’s useful.
I like her (primarily) because she’s good.
Aristotelian Friendship II: character and the types of friendship
What makes “character friendships” possible?
Making a positive judgment about (or response to) the friend’s “good character”
Wishing good things to the friend for the friend’s sake, not (primarily) for your own sake
Relative equality of goodness of character (friend as “another self”)
Relative equality of other traits (e.g., wealth)
Being of the right ages (not “young people” or “older people”) and temperaments (not “sour”)
Time (see 1 above)
“Living together” -- a jointly-constructed life; a “shared journey”; agreement about the Good (see 1 and 3)
Selectivity – we can’t have a large number of this type of friendship (see 1 and 7)
Aristotelian Friendship III: lingering questions
What does it mean to like someone “for themselves”?
Can’t “bad people” be good friends?
What if my previously good friend goes bad?
Is Aristotle confusing “why I like you” and “how I like you”?
If friendship is a necessary part of a good life, then aren’t all my friendships motivated by a form of self-interest?
Can people who never/rarely meet face to face have a “shared life”?
Montaigne: A Paean to a Treasured Friend
Essais (Essay 28, “Of Friendship”)
Focused on a “true and perfect” friendship between him and the recently deceased Etienne de La Boétie
But also accidental (“because it was he; because it was I”)
A prescriptive account masquerading as a memoir of a sui generis connection?
Montaigne: How Our Friendship Felt I:
“The very discourses that antiquity has left us on this subject seem to me weak compared with the feelings I have.”
It “seized my whole will, led it to plunge and lose itself in his; which, having seized his whole will, led it to plunge and lose itself in mine, with equal hunger, equal rivalry. I say lose, in truth, for neither of us reserved anything for himself, nor was anything either his or mine”.
“For this perfect friendship I speak of is indivisible: each one gives himself so wholly to his friend that he has nothing left to distribute elsewhere; on the contrary, he is sorry that he is not double, triple, or quadruple, and that he has not several souls and several wills, to confer them all on this one object.”
“In friendship it is a general and universal warmth, moderate and even, besides, a constant and settled warmth, all gentleness and smoothness, with nothing bitter and stinging about it.”
Montaigne: How Our Friendship Felt II:
contrast to familial, romantic, and/or erotic sentiments
“harmony” v “complete fusion”
friendship with another, friendship with oneself
Montaigne: lingering questions:
How is your friendship related to “common” friendships?
Is the ideal of fusion compatible with recognizing my friends’ distinctiveness from me?
Three contemporary philosophical questions about friendship
Are there particular obligations that we have to our friends (and they to us)?
Does friendship license, or justify, certain kinds of partiality (e.g., epistemic or moral) on the friends’ parts?
Is friendship a semi-public good? (And if so, then what follows?)
Friendship and Obligation
(reference reading: Michael E. Meyer, “Rights Between Friends?” The Journal of Philosophy 89, No. 9 (Sept 1992))
What are the “norms” of friendships?
Do any of those norms give rise to actual obligations?
Are they internal to the friendship relationship itself, or are they simply particular instances of more general obligations?
When we talk about obligations between friends, then aren’t we adopting a fundamentally “calculating” stance?
Even worse: when we talk about obligations between friends, then aren’t we adopting a fundamentally adversarial, atomistic, individualistic stance that will make it impossible for us to have genuine friendships, let alone to enjoy them?
(cf. Michael Sandel’s criticism)
Friendship and Partiality
(reference reading: Sarah Stroud, “Epistemic Partiality and Friendship” Ethics 116 (Apr 2006))
The general “problem”: personal relationships seem both to justify and to require partial treatment. But our best epistemic theories, and our best moral theories, look askance at partiality.
In the epistemic case: It is a legitimate demand of our friends that we form (and examine) our beliefs about them differently than we form (and examine) beliefs about non-friends?
(e.g., when presented with unflattering information about a friend, how should we, as friends, respond?)
Friendship as a Semi-Public Good
(reference authors: Marilyn Friedman, Ferdinand Schoeman)
If we acknowledge that friendships are generally good things, then is “society” obligated to design or promote policies that encourage and strengthen (the possibility for) friendships? What are the dangers of having “society” involved in what is often seen as a purely “private” relationship?
Friendship, marginalized groups, and political empowerment
Friendship and testimonial privilege
Speculations about the future of the philosophy of friendship
Further connections between questions of epistemic partiality and questions of behavioral partiality
More “archaeological”/historicized philosophizing about friendships
Further connections between friendship and Friendship -- what can philosophers contribute to and learn from a course such as this one?
I’m finished talking. Thanks for sitting still! What are your questions?