'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
"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
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
'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
“Precise and rigorous.”–Glenn Altschuler, Psychology Today website
(Glenn Altschuler Psychology Today
“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
From the Author
A conversation with Anthony Grayling
Q: How important is friendship in the twenty-first century?
A: Friendship has always been central to human existence, and although it is no longer a matter of leaguing together to bring down a woolly mammoth, it remains an indispensable psychological and social platform for good lives. In some ways the new media of communication and social networking has overextended the notion of friendship” to a shallow simulacrum to that relationship, but they also make it possible for people to be together in new ways, and to nourish the bonds in which friendship consists.
Q: Can friendship ever be bad for us?
A: It is all too possible to have toxic friends; it too often happens that people can do unwise or bad things in the name of friendship; having the wrong people as friends can be destructive; so yesfriendship can be bad for us. But it is far more often good for us, because we could not even begin to flourish fully unless we had friends.
Q: Can only humans be friends?
A: There is empirical evidence of connections very like friendships among chimpanzees; many people regard their pets, especially dogs, as friendsthough here companion” is a more accurate term. In general it would seem that the focal case of friendship is the conscious, chosen, self-aware human relationship that implies a rich network of factors about trust, obligation, pleasure, and mutual concern.