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Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 16, Issue 2, Fall 2009

Lawrence Quill
Pages 32-43
DOI: 10.5840/pcw200916216

After Philia? Friendship, the Market, and Late Modernity

This paper offers some critical thoughts concerning the concept of "civic" or "political" friendship within commercial societies. In response to Badhwar's suggestion (2008) that the "free market" provides the best opportunities for political friendship, I argue that civic philia cannot be reduced to a form of "market-friendship." This was already apparent to early advocates of the market who recognized the fragility of friendship under capitalism. Subsequent attempts to address this dilemma bring into focus the deficiency of market friendships and the concept of friendship more broadly. In conclusion, I argue that Kant's attempt to circumscribe friendship for the sake of "civility" contains the seeds of friendship's renewal.