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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 47, Issue 4, December 2007

Patricia C. Flynn, R.S.M.
Pages 417-424

Honesty and Intimacy in Kant’s Duty of Friendship

The relationship between intimacy and honesty seems a paradoxical one. While intimate relationships would seem to demand a high level of honesty, this same intimacy might make us more likely to shield the other or protect ourselves through benevolent lying or the withholding of information. It would seem that honesty may not always be the best policy in intimate relationships. The purpose of this article is to examine the tension between honesty and intimacy in Kant’s duty of friendship, and it will highlight the limitations of Kant’s expectations of friendship. At the same time I will use Kant’s own appeal to the autonomy of moral agents to delineate an appropriate role for the obligations of honesty and self disclosure in friendship.

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