In Friendship, Francesco Alberoni offers a wide-ranging analysis of intimacy. Traversing disciplines, he untangles the meanings of friendship from family and friendly relations, from love and passion and the everyday experiences of coupledom. Friendship is the just relationship. Rather than based on exchange, it is an encounter between two intimates that repudiates the logics of the market, the depersonalizing norms of modern bureaucracy and the objectives of collectivities whether they be couples or social movements. Intimate and just, friendship partakes of the world while resisting its dehumanizing drift. Marrying philosophical poetics with social science sensibility, Alberoni shows that the extent to which we live up to the ideals of friendship marks our capacities to realize the republican virtues in concrete everyday life.
A central bond, a cherished value, a unique relationship, a profound human need, a type of love. What is the nature of friendship, and what is its significance in our lives? How has friendship changed since the ancient Greeks began to analyze it, and how has modern technology altered its very definition? In this fascinating exploration of friendship through the ages, one of the most thought-provoking philosophers of our time tracks historical ideas of friendship, gathers a diversity of friendship stories from the annals of myth and literature, and provides unexpected insights into our friends, ourselves, and the role of friendships in an ethical life. A. C. Grayling roves the rich traditions of friendship in literature, culture, art, and philosophy, bringing into his discussion familiar pairs as well as unfamiliar--Achilles and Patroclus, David and Jonathan, Coleridge and Wordsworth, Huck Finn and Jim. Grayling lays out major philosophical interpretations of friendship, then offers his own take, drawing on personal experiences and an acute awareness of vast cultural shifts that have occurred. With penetrating insight he addresses internet-based friendship, contemporary mixed gender friendships, how friendships may supersede family relationships, one’s duty within friendship, the idea of friendship to humanity, and many other topics of universal interest.
On Friendship by Alexander Nehamas
Publication Date: 2016-05-03
An eminent philosopher reflects on the nature of friendship, past and present Friends are a constant feature of our lives, yet friendship itself is difficult to define. Even Michel de Montaigne, author of the seminal essay "Of Friendship," found it nearly impossible to account for the great friendship of his life. Why is something so commonplace and universal so hard to grasp? What is it about the nature of friendship that proves so elusive? In On Friendship, the acclaimed philosopher Alexander Nehamas launches an original and far-ranging investigation of friendship. Exploring the long history of philosophical thinking on the subject, from Aristotle to Emerson and beyond, and drawing on examples from literature, art, drama, and his own life, Nehamas shows that for centuries, friendship was as much a public relationship as it was a private one-inseparable from politics and commerce, favors and perks. Now that it is more firmly in the private realm, Nehamas holds, close friendship is central to the good life. Profound and affecting, On Friendship sheds light on why we love our friends-and how they determine who we are, and who we might become.
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