Ethics, Politics and Society: Friendship and Partiality

People usually are disposed to favor friends over strangers, but how does this partiality reconcile with morality, which requires impartial concern for all? On many accounts, the basis of friendship is the recognition of an individual"s attractive and admirable traits -- but traits may disappear, so there is tension between this idea and the ideal of unconditionally enduring love and friendship. If putting a thumb on the scale in favor of one"s friends and family members is acceptable in some contexts, what about partiality to fellow members of one"s own community, nation, ethnic or racial group? Richard Arneson presents an account of friendship that addresses some of these issues while recognizing that others may remain vexing and yet unsolved.

Group(s): Baker Institute