The Art of Friendship
This paper will analyze certain claims and arguments in Tony O’Connor’s “O Friend, Where Art Thou?: Derridean Deconstruction and Friendship.” The essay will then attempt to show that its author’s recent work, Kindness and the Good Society: Connections of the Heart, can provide some of the desired empirical evidence to supplement Derrida’s deconstructive critique of traditional concepts of friendship. In doing so, the paper will extend and deepen a key notion from the kindness book, that of aesthetic humanism. Drawing on the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, on whom Tony O’Connor has also written well, the essay will conclude by outlining the tasks of an ontology of friendship as a means of countering certain of Derrida’s deconstructive criticisms.