Volume 45, 2020
Grounding Deep Friendships
Reconciling the Moralized and Aestheticized Views
The aim of this paper is to offer an account of the grounding of deep friendships within the context of virtue ethics. While drawing on Aristotle’s justification of so-called character friendships, it goes some distance in reconciling Aristotle’s highly moralistic view with a prevalent counterview according to which we are drawn toward close friends for reasons that are essentially aesthetic, amoral, and irrational. It is argued that there are resources within Aristotelian virtue ethics (not exploited by Aristotle himself) that enable us to overcome some of the difficulties of his exclusively moralistic view and bring it into better harmony with common-sense conceptions; yet preserving the claim that vicious people cannot form truly deep friendships. The paper aims at an ‘individuality-adjusted moralized view’ of the grounding of deep friendships: a conciliatory view that yet remains closer to an amendment of the moralized view than to a middle-ground synthesis.