Philosophy of friendship

by | Nov 22, 2021 | Assignment

The study of the philosophy of friendship provides us with an  opportunity to explore the concept of dissimulation and its vital role  in friendship.

Novelist Marcel Proust believed that friendship was only bearable if  we wear masks of good manners. This makes a deep and honest friendship  very challenging. He believed that the greatest honesty meant  acknowledging that real friendship could never really be fully given or  received. Similarly, Immanuel Kant noted:

“For everyone has his weaknesses, and  these must be kept hidden even from our friends’ so that humanity should  not be offended thereby. Even to our best friend, we must not discover  ourselves as we naturally are and know ourselves to be, for that would  be a nasty business” (p. 85).

Yet, some philosophers believe that when we do experience those  powerful moments of truth and honesty between close friends, and  completely let our guards down, it is a moment of great clarity and  insight. In those honest moments, a friend becomes another self. One may  feel as close to a friend as one does to oneself. Most philosophers  recognize this phenomenon, including the French writer Michel de Montaigne, who described this friendship as becoming ‘one soul in two bodies.

Aristotle took it further to mean that only in friendship can we truly discover ourselves. Similarly, philosopher Giorgio Agamben shares, “The friend is not another I, but an otherness immanent in self-ness,  a becoming other of the self.” Vernon adds: “It’s implying that a close  friend is another part of you and that you can only fully become who  you are in who they are too” (p. 87).

In this week’s reading material, the following philosophers discuss  their views on this topic: Aristotle, Kant, Montaigne, Nietzsche, and  Schopenhauer. Make sure to incorporate their views as you answer each  discussion question. Think about how their views may be similar or  different from your own. With two seemingly dichotomous understandings of the nature of friendship, how exactly can both conceptions be true? Is a certain amount of feigning actually necessary in order to achieve a meaningful connection in a friendship?  What are the ethical implications of such behavior in friendship?

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