What are good friendships based on

That translates into nearly 5 million adults who are, in effect, friendless. I am fortunate to be able to claim at least four friends, of both genders, who stretch back nearly 40 years, and a number of other more recent ones that are close and durable. But I have also lost enough to understand that friendships are difficult, and the closer they are the more difficult they become. With friends, if you annoy them too much, they can just drop you.

What are good friendships based on

The Nature of Friendship Friendship essentially involves a distinctive kind of concern for your friend, a concern which might reasonably be understood as a kind of love.

Philosophers from the ancient Greeks on have traditionally distinguished three notions that can properly be called love: Agape is a kind of love that does not respond to the antecedent value of its object but instead is thought to create value in the beloved; it has come through the Christian tradition to mean the sort of love God has for us persons as well as, by extension, our love for God and our love for humankind in general.

Given this classification of kinds of love, philia seems to be that which is most clearly relevant to friendship though just what philia amounts to needs to be clarified in more detail. For this reason, love and friendship often get lumped together as a single topic; nonetheless, there are significant differences between them.

As understood here, love is an evaluative attitude directed at particular persons as such, an attitude which we might take towards someone whether or not that love is reciprocated and whether or not we have an established relationship with her.

Consequently, accounts of friendship tend to understand it not merely as a case of reciprocal love of some form together with mutual acknowledgment of this lovebut as essentially involving significant interactions between the friends—as being in this sense a certain kind of relationship.

Nonetheless, questions can be raised about precisely how to distinguish romantic relationships, grounded in eros, from relationships of friendship, grounded in philia, insofar as each involves significant interactions between the involved parties that stem from a kind of reciprocal love that is responsive to merit.

Clearly the two differ insofar as romantic love normally has a kind of sexual involvement that friendship lacks; yet, as Thomas asks, is that enough to explain the real differences between them? Badhwar65—66 seems to think so, claiming that the sexual involvement enters into romantic love in part through a passion and yearning for physical union, whereas friendship involves instead a desire for a more psychological identification.

What are good friendships based on

Yet it is not clear exactly how to understand this: For further discussion, see Section 1. In philosophical discussions of friendship, it is common to follow Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics, Book VIII in distinguishing three kinds of friendship: Although it is a bit unclear how to understand these distinctions, the basic idea seems to be that pleasure, utility, and virtue are the reasons we have in these various kinds of relationships for loving our friend.

That is, I may love my friend because of the pleasure I get out of her, or because of the ways in which she is useful to me, or because I find her to have a virtuous character. Given the involvement of love in each case, all three kinds of friendship seem to involve a concern for your friend for his sake and not for your own.

There is an apparent tension here between the idea that friendship essentially involves being concerned for your friend for his sake and the idea of pleasure and utility friendships: If you benefit your friend because, ultimately, of the benefits you receive, it would seem that you do not properly love your friend for his sake, and so your relationship is not fully one of friendship after all.

For this reason, most contemporary accounts, by focusing their attention on the non-deficient forms of friendship, ignore pleasure and utility friendships.

Middle School Friendship Activities

In philosophical accounts of friendship, several themes recur consistently, although various accounts differ in precisely how they spell these out. Although many accounts of friendship do not analyze such mutual caring any further, among those that do there is considerable variability as to how we should understand the kind of caring involved in friendship.

That is, friends must be moved by what happens to their friends to feel the appropriate emotions: However, see Velleman for a dissenting view. A central difference among the various accounts of mutual caring is the way in which these accounts understand the kind of evaluation implicit therein.

Most accounts understand that evaluation to be a matter of appraisal: Other accounts, however, understand caring as in part a matter of bestowing value on your beloved: Rather, through the friendship, and through changes in your friend over time, you may come to change your evaluative outlook, thereby in effect subordinating your commitment to certain values to your commitment to your friend.

Of course, within friendship the influence need not go only one direction: Indeed, that friends have a reciprocal effect on each other is a part of the concern for equality many find essential to friendship, and it is central to the discussion of intimacy in Section 1.

For more on the notion of caring about another for her sake and the variety of philosophical accounts of it, see the entry on love. The question facing any philosophical account is how that characteristic intimacy of friendship is to be understood.

On this point, there is considerable variation in the literature—so much that it raises the question whether differing accounts aim at elucidating the same object. It might be asked whether one or another of these types of friendship ought to take priority in the analysis, such that, for example, cases of close friendship can be understood to be an enhanced version of acquaintance friendship, or whether acquaintance friendship should be understood as being deficient in various ways relative to ideal friendship.

Nonetheless, in what follows, views will be presented roughly in order from weaker to stronger accounts of intimacy. To begin, Thomas ; ; ; claims that we should understand what is here called the intimacy of friendship in terms of mutual self-disclosure: I tell my friends things about myself that I would not dream of telling others, and I expect them to make me privy to intimate details of their lives.

Such a bond of trust is what institutes the kind of intimacy characteristic of friendship. Similar ideas can be found in Annis It is not the sharing of private information nor even of very personal information, as such, that contributes to the bonds of trust and intimacy between companion friends.

1 Corinthians 15:33

At best it is the sharing of what friends care about that is relevant here. See also Alfano,who emphasizes not just trust but trustworthiness to make similar points.

So Telfer and White, in appealing to such shared sense of value, are offering a somewhat richer sense of the sort of intimacy essential to friendship than Thomas and Annis. Once again there are weaker and stronger versions.What are good friendships based on? That’s what my essay is going to be about.

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