The Good in Articulation: Describing the Co-constitution of Self, Practice, and Value

In Soraj Hongladarom & Jeremiah Joven Joaquin (eds.), Love and Friendship Across Cultures. Springer Singapore. pp. 99-114 (2021)
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This paper elaborates a neo-Wittgensteinian, philosophical-anthropological alternative to classically Aristotelian approaches in the philosophy of friendship. On the classic approach, the value of friendship, as a practice, and the value of particular friendships within the life of any given individual, are each subordinated to the ur-value of individual flourishing. That is, it starts with a value that it sees as frustrated or fulfilled by social practice. The alternative, meanwhile, moves from the articulation of social practice to the values these practices frame. I will argue that the alternative is descriptively and prescriptively superior when what’s at issue is the status of a social practice like friendship. By acknowledging the co-constitution of self, practice, and other, the alternative gives one the latitude to recognize and philosophize about relationships that tend to fall out of contemporary accounts of love and friendship as these are actually lived; produces descriptions and questions that are truer to lived experiences of friendship; and respects one of the most basic norms of friendship—that is, a friend’s irreducible particularity to oneself—without having to provide a self-defeatingly instrumentalist or reductionist argument for it.

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Carlota Salvador Megias
University of Bergen


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