Friendship and Happiness From a Philosophical Perspective
This chapter explores the relationship between friendship and happiness from a philosophical perspective, recognizing that philosophical concepts inform the psychological literature. It argues for a similarity between happiness and friendship which is related to the role of intentionality in each phenomenon, since both are characterised by an uncertain mix of desire and expectation on one hand which impacts upon the possibilities for satisfaction on the other. The etymology of the word happiness suggests the sense in which our happiness is not entirely under our control and is therefore in a complex relationship with affect; while the achievements of friendship are taken to include the capacity to respect difference and an expectation that we will experience disappointment as well as pleasure, given that some conflict will arise. Friendship provides a unique context within which we can appreciate both our similarities and differences from others, our potency and yet our limitations and vulnerability in relations with others. In this sense friendship is connected both with positive affect and with Aristotelian eudaimonia, which associates happiness with the good things of life, with flourishing and good fortune but also goes beyond the immediate satisfactions of life to consist in having what is valuable for its own sake.
KeywordsFriendship Happiness Aristotle Intentionality Pleasure
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