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Author: A. C. Grayling

Synopsis: An entertaining and provocative investigation of friendship in all its variety, from ancient times to the present day 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. From the Author&colon A conversation with Anthony Grayling Q:  How important is friendship in the twenty-first century? A:  Friendship has always been central to human existence, and although it is no longer a matter of leaguing together to bring down a woolly mammoth, it remains an indispensable psychological and social platform for good lives. In some ways the new media of communication and social networking has overextended the notion of friendship” to a shallow simulacrum to that relationship, but they also make it possible for people to be together in new ways, and to nourish the bonds in which friendship consists. Q:  Can friendship ever be bad for us? A:  It is all too possible to have toxic friends; it too often happens that people can do unwise or bad things in the name of friendship; having the wrong people as friends can be destructive; so yes friendship can be bad for us. But it is far more often good for us, because we could not even begin to flourish fully unless we had friends. Q:  Can only humans be friends? A:  There is empirical evidence of connections very like friendships among chimpanzees; many people regard their pets, especially dogs, as friends though here companion” is a more accurate term. In general it would seem that the focal case of friendship is the conscious, chosen, self-aware human relationship that implies a rich network of factors about trust, obligation, pleasure, and mutual concern. "About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.


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