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Friendship (Vices and Virtues) [Kindle Edition]

A. C. Grayling
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description




A central bond, a cherished value, a unique relationship, a profound human need, a type of love. What is the nature of friendship, and what is its significance in our lives? How has friendship changed since the ancient Greeks began to analyze it, and how has modern technology altered its very definition? In this fascinating exploration of friendship through the ages, one of the most thought-provoking philosophers of our time tracks historical ideas of friendship, gathers a diversity of friendship stories from the annals of myth and literature, and provides unexpected insights into our friends, ourselves, and the role of friendships in an ethical life.


 


A. C. Grayling roves the rich traditions of friendship in literature, culture, art, and philosophy, bringing into his discussion familiar pairs as well as unfamiliar—Achilles and Patroclus, David and Jonathan, Coleridge and Wordsworth, Huck Finn and Jim. Grayling lays out major philosophical interpretations of friendship, then offers his own take, drawing on personal experiences and an acute awareness of vast cultural shifts that have occurred. With penetrating insight he addresses internet-based friendship, contemporary mixed gender friendships, how friendships may supersede family relationships, one’s duty within friendship, the idea of friendship to humanity, and many other topics of universal interest.






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Review

'An intelligent, loving tribute to the virtues, values and varieties of friendship.'-Iain Finlayson, The Times -- Iain Finlayson The Times "'Friend' is a much devalued word today...In Friendship the noted British scholar A.C. Grayling tries to restore some of the term's richness." -Micah Mattix, The Wall Street Journal -- Micah Mattix Wall Street Journal "A philosophical inquiry into friendship with a historical perspective ... [offers] some fresh ways of looking at and thinking about a very familiar topic."-Kirkus Reviews Kirkus Reviews "A masterly investigation into one of the supreme, though often neglected, virtues of the well-lived life. A.C. Grayling dazzlingly illuminates the richness of friendship as it has been conceived and practised in the Western world since antiquity."-Simon May, author of Love: A History -- Simon May Praise for A. C. Grayling: "If there is any such person in Britain today as The Thinking Man, it is A. C. Grayling. He provides generous help for the ethically challenged, the philosophically perplexed, and the culturally confused."-The Times The Times 'A superb, enlightening tour - and a friendly one - through friendship's literary and philosophical landscape.' - Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer -- Sarah Bakewell "Precise and rigorous."-Glenn Altschuler, Psychology Today website -- Glenn Altschuler Psychology Today "Wearing his impressive intellect lightly, Grayling offers an accessible exploration of ideas about friendship through the ages, from Ancient Greek thinkers through to the present day - grounded in experiences from his own life. In a refreshing break from the tradition of analytical philosophy, he goes beyond abstract, logical arguments to offer valuable insights for our lives. With social media stretching the definition of 'friend' to near meaninglessness, this is a timely and thought-provoking read."-Juanita Coulson, The Lady -- Juanita Coulson The Lady "Grayling's scholarship goes forward at a gallop, but his exuberance and commitment captures the reader."-Illtyd Harrington, Camden New Journal -- Illtyd Harrington Camden New Journal "Elegant ... Grayling has taken a subject that is hiding in plain sight and given it the loving attention it deserves."-Joe Queenan, Barron's -- Joe Queenan Barron's

About the Author

A. C. Grayling is founder and master, New College of the Humanities, London. A multitalented and prolific author, he has written over thirty books on philosophy and other subjects while regularly contributing to The Times, Financial Times, Observer, Literary Review, and other publications. He lives in London.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 360 KB
  • Print Length: 243 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0300175353
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (15 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EZ22C7I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #287,835 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

A.C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy and Master of the New College of the Humanities, London. He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society. He has written and edited many books, both scholarly and for a general readership, and has been a regular contributor to The Times, Financial Times, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Economist, Literary Review, New Statesman and Prospect, and is a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programmes, including Newsnight, Today, In Our Time, Start the Week and CNN news. He is a former Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society, Patron of the UK Armed Forces Humanist association, Patron of Dignity in Dying, a former Booker Prize Judge, a Fellow of the Royal Literary Society, a member of the human rights group IHEU represented at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva; and much more.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A friend indeed 28 Sept. 2013
By Hande Z TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
`If I have to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country' so said E M Forster. What is it about friendship that places loyalty to friends above patriotism? That is the subject of inquiry in A C Grayling's latest book. He traces the contemplations about friendship from the time of Socrates, through the medieval period, the Renaissance, and the modern era. Plato laid the groundwork and, building from his teacher, Socrates, held that mutual utility is the foundation of friendship. Aristotle agreed with Plato regarding many of the attributes of a good friend. However, he differed crucially with Plato that friendship is founded on mutual utility. Aristotle believed that friendship is a value to be desired in itself, and that it is a necessary constituent of the good life.

Grayling examines the different kinds of friendship. He considered the friendship between men, and that between women; he considered the friendship between the old and the young; and friendships with and without a sexual content. In all of these, he gathers the ostensible features that one might associate with a good friendship. He explores the circumstances that enable friendship to bloom. Quoting Plutarch, he writes, `The soul suitable for many friendships must be impressionable, and versatile, pliant, and changeable. But friendship requires a steady, constant and unchangeable character, a person that is uniform in his intimacy.'

Throughout the length of his inquiry, Grayling finds a case for the quality that makes one a friend. It is the very specialness of friendship that implies that a friend is special. However, to be special means that we must be set the `special' apart from others - 'A friend to all is a friend to none'. This raises a serious question - can we truly have friends if we are to love one another equally?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well researched 3 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very good historical account, but less enjoyable than his New Scientist articles used to be. However, well worth reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A friend indeed 28 Sept. 2013
By Hande Z - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
`If I have to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country' so said E M Forster. What is it about friendship that places loyalty to friends above patriotism? That is the subject of inquiry in A C Grayling's latest book. He traces the contemplations about friendship from the time of Socrates, through the medieval period, the Renaissance, and the modern era. Plato laid the groundwork and, building from his teacher, Socrates, held that mutual utility is the foundation of friendship. Aristotle agreed with Plato regarding many of the attributes of a good friend. However, he differed crucially with Plato that friendship is founded on mutual utility. Aristotle believed that friendship is a value to be desired in itself, and that it is a necessary constituent of the good life.

Grayling examines the different kinds of friendship. He considered the friendship between men, and that between women; he considered the friendship between the old and the young; and friendships with and without a sexual content. In all of these, he gathers the ostensible features that one might associate with a good friendship. He explores the circumstances that enable friendship to bloom. Quoting Plutarch, he writes, `The soul suitable for many friendships must be impressionable, and versatile, pliant, and changeable. But friendship requires a steady, constant and unchangeable character, a person that is uniform in his intimacy.'

Throughout the length of his inquiry, Grayling finds a case for the quality that makes one a friend. It is the very specialness of friendship that implies that a friend is special. However, to be special means that we must be set the `special' apart from others - 'A friend to all is a friend to none'. This raises a serious question - can we truly have friends if we are to love one another equally?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing.... 19 Jan. 2014
By MarkOD - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A thorough treatment of the historical perspectives in this area, but relatively brief on the contemporary situation and the day to day issues that we all have to deal with - a great opportunity lost to provide a more complete treatment of this fascinating subject.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 5 April 2014
By C. Avery - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book never achieves what it sets out to do; it never gets to the heart of friendship. And as such, I would not recommend this book to anyone who has not already spent a great deal of time contemplating and reading about Friendship elsewhere. This book is only really useful in its ability to refer the reader to other writers who have addressed Friendship.

On an a more personal note, I was bothered by Grayling's discussion on Christianity and Friendship. His analysis struck me as philosophically uncharitable. But perhaps this was to be expected from someone described as the "Fifth Horseman of New Atheism."
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but in the end a little short of fully satisfying 16 Nov. 2013
By sj - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good summary of classical works regarding friendship but seems to skip lightly over recent contributions, particularly light with regard to friendships between the sexes. Mr Grayling spends significant time worrying over the distinction between sexual relationships and friendships but doesn't seem to get to the core of friendship itself.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done! 3 Dec. 2013
By Kirk S. Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's surprising just how deep this book actually is. There's more to friendship than meets the eye, and Prof. Grayling manages to make the subject clear in an easy-to-read manner.
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