Friendship is perhaps best described as a state of mutual benevolence between two or more people. Many tend to understand this state strictly through feelings of care or affection, though it is perhaps better understood as the result of a decision or commitment. When taken as a decision, friendships more clearly represent a deep commitment to each party’s benefit. And while finding pleasure or utility in friendships is also quite common, the possibilities of committed reciprocity seem to far outweigh the ethical limitations of such aims. Only relationships dedicated to mutual cultivation and welfare – contradistinguished here from associations pursued principally for exclusively subjective purposes – can provide the basis for long-term concord and peace between two or more people. Those who engage in talk and behavior benefiting their friends, and do so regardless if such talk and behavior is beneficial to themselves, represent this ideal of friendship. Whereas those who only engage...
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