Neera K. Badhwar
University of Oklahoma
Philosophical interest in friendship has revived after a long eclipse. This is largely due to a renewed interest in ancient moral philosophy, in the role of emotion in morality, and in the ethical dimensions of personal relations in general. Some of the main questions raised by philosophers are the following: Is friendship only an instrumental value, i.e., only a means to other values, or also an intrinsic value - a value in its own right? Is friendship a mark of psychological and moral self-sufficiency, or of deficiency? How does friendship-love differ from the unconditional love of agape, and how - if at all - is it related to justice? Can the particularist, partialist perspective of friendship be reconciled with the universalist, impartialist perspective of morality? Is friendship morally neutral, or does friendship at its best require a good character? These questions are discussed here with reference to the following philosophical traditions.
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