Seminar: Philosophy of Friendship

We all have friends and we tend to regard friendship as an important good. This seminar undertakes a philosophical examination of the nature and value of friendship. Two main questions will animate the course: What is a friend? And, why are friends valuable? We will examine different types of friendships and the features that characterize and sustain them. Many philosophers have argued that the best kind of friendship is one in which the friend is loved for her own sake; we will investigate whether this is truly possible or whether all friendships are ultimately instrumental. We'll also examine how the partiality inherent in friendship conflicts with the demands of standard moral theories. Finally, drawing on examples from literature and film, we will consider whether one has to be a good person in order to be a good friend.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 16

Prerequisites: One prior course in Philosophy.

Instructor: Gartner

Distribution Requirements: REP - Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

Typical Periods Offered: Fall

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Spring