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Liberty, Equality, and Utility

James O. Grunebaum

Publication Year: 2003

In Friendship, James O. Grunebaum introduces a new conceptual framework to articulate, explain, and understand similarities and differences between various conceptions of friendship. Asking whether special preference for friends is morally justified, Grunebaum answers that question by analyzing a comprehensive comparison of not only Aristotle’s three well-known kinds of friendship—pleasure, utility, and virtue—but also a variety of lesser-known friendship conceptions from Kant, C. S. Lewis, and Montaigne. The book clarifies differences about how friends ought to behave toward each other and how these differences are, in part, what separate the various conceptions of friendship.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix

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1. Preference for Friends

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pp. 1-29

A PREFERENCE FOR FRIENDS over nonfriends is at the core of friendship.1 For example, someone who professes friendship for another person but who acts in no special way toward her in comparison to others or who acts toward her only with what morality requires, but no more, is not considered her friend. ...

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2. The Structure of Friendship

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pp. 31-74

THE SEARCH FOR ANSWERS to questions about the moral justifiability of preferring friends to nonfriends and of any special friendship responsibilities must recognize that there are many different conceptions of friendship. In the preceding chapter, five distinct ideal conceptions of friendship were introduced,...

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3. Internal Justifications

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pp. 75-105

SHOWING PREFERENCE for friends is something internal to friendship. Friends care for each other, wanting their “other self ” to thrive and flourish.1 Moreover, friends desire to be the one who promotes the other’s well-being.2 ...

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4. External Justifications

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pp. 107-155

THE CLASSIC EXAMPLE of preference for friends dates back to the Stoics, was revived in the eighteenth century by William Godwin, and was recently made popular by Bernard Williams.1 Its skeleton reads like this: If two people are in mortal danger and it is only possible to save one, is it morally permitted to save...

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5. Conclusions: Friendships and Preferences

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pp. 157-168

MORALLY JUSTIFYING preference for friends is complicated not only by the existence of a variety of different conceptions of friendship, each with its own internal expectations about how friends treat each other, but also by one’s ignorance of which moral principle is the right one to use. ...


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pp. 169-183

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 185-189


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pp. 191-192

E-ISBN-13: 9780791486870
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791457177
Print-ISBN-10: 0791457176

Page Count: 202
Publication Year: 2003