In our reading this week, we learned more about some of the philosophers’ perspectives on how to cultivate that fertile ground for engaging in meaningful friendships. Many philosophers seem to agree that friendship is not about being knowledgeable or following a specific prescription for being a true friend. Vernon’s summary of Socrates’ position entails the following:
Then the individuals have the opportunity not only to learn about the limitations of the beliefs that they hold true but also about the flaws in their character and the vulnerabilities of their temperaments. These are, after all, far deeper sources of delusion than mere rational confusion (p. 255).
In a similar vein, Vernon interprets soul friendship in the light of John Keats “negative capability” as the “ability to live life without certainty, but with an expectant open-heartedness” (p. 254).
In this week’s reading material, the following philosophers discuss their views on this topic: Socrates, Plato, Emerson, Aristotle. 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. In at least 350 words total, please answer each of the following, drawing upon your reading materials and your personal insight:
- In your own understanding of the ethics of friendship, to what extent do you personally value the ability to learn about the limitations of your beliefs, the flaws in your character, and the vulnerabilities in your temperament? Do you consider this an obligation of the friend? What is your own understanding of the “ability to live life without certainty, but with an expectant open-heartedness” in terms of friendship and do you concur that it is the ethical approach to cultivating true friendship? If not, based on what you learned in this course, what is?
Cicero (2014). De Amicitia – On Friendship (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_cic_friendship.htm
Vernon, M. (2010). The Meaning of Friendship. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.