Friendship for the Flawed: A Cynical and Pessimistic Theory of Friendship

Southwest Philosophy Review 36 (1):199-209 (2020)
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When considering the value of friendship, most philosophers ignore the negatives. Most assume that humans need friends to flourish, and some argue that friendships can be good, no matter the risks entailed. This makes conversations about the value of friendship one-sided. Here, I argue that Cynics and Pessimists have an important view on friendship, despite it being ignored. They hold that: (a) friendship is unnecessary for flourishing, and (b) friendship presents ethical risks, especially to one’s own self-sufficiency. I defend these views. Then I conclude with reflections on why Cynics and Pessimists actually make great friends. By helping people to focus on vulgar human nature and the flaws that humans have, they create an unpretentious basis for friendship.

Author Profiles

Glenn Trujillo
Vanderbilt University (PhD)
Glenn "boomer" Trujillo
University of Texas at El Paso


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