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Brink (1999) criticizes Whiting’s account of friendship as tooimpersonal because it fails to understand the relationship offriendship itself to be intrinsically valuable. (For similarcriticisms, see Jeske 1997.) In part, the complaint is the same asthat which Friedman (1989) offered against any conception offriendship that bases that friendship on appraisals of thefriend’s properties (cf. the 3rd paragraph of above): such a conception of friendship subordinates our concern forthe friend to our concern for the values, thereby neglecting whatmakes friendship a distinctively personal relationship. GivenWhiting’s understanding of the sense in which friends sharevalues in terms of their appeal to the intrinsic and impersonal worthof those values, it seems that she cannot make much of the rebuttal toFriedman offered above: that I can subordinate my concern for certainvalues to my concern for my friend, thereby changing my values in partout of concern for my friend. Nonetheless, Brink’s criticismgoes deeper:

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Of course, Aristotle (and Annas) would reject this reading: friends donot merely have such similarities antecedent to their friendship as anecessary condition of friendship. Rather, friends can influence andshape each other’s evaluative outlook, so that the sharing of asense of value is reinforced through the dynamics of theirrelationship. One way to make sense of this is through theAristotelian idea that friends function as a kind of mirror of eachother: insofar as friendship rests on similarity of character, andinsofar as I can have only imperfect direct knowledge about my owncharacter, I can best come to know myself—both the strengths andweaknesses of my character—by knowing a friend who reflects myqualities of character. Minor differences between friends, as when myfriend on occasion makes a choice I would not have made, can lead meto reflect on whether this difference reveals a flaw in my owncharacter that might need to be fixed, thereby reinforcing thesimilarity of my and my friend’s evaluative outlooks. On thisreading of the mirroring view, my friend plays an entirely passiverole: just by being himself, he enables me to come to understand myown character better (cf. Badhwar 2003).[]

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Friendship essentially involves a distinctive kind of concern for yourfriend, a concern which might reasonably be understood as a kind oflove. Philosophers from the ancient Greeks on have traditionallydistinguished three notions that can properly be called love:agape, eros, and philia. is a kind of love that does not respond to the antecedent value ofits object but instead is thought to create value in thebeloved; it has come through the Christian tradition to mean the sortof love God has for us persons as well as, by extension, our love forGod and our love for humankind in general. By contrast, and philia are generally understood to be responsive to themerits of their objects—to the beloved’s properties,especially his goodness or beauty. The difference is thateros is a kind of passionate desire for an object, typicallysexual in nature, whereas originally meant a kind of affectionate regard or friendly feelingtowards not just one’s friends but also possibly towards familymembers, business partners, and one’s country at large (Liddellet al., 1940; Cooper, 1977a). Given this classification of kinds oflove, philia seems to be that which is most clearly relevantto friendship (though just what philia amounts to needs to beclarified in more detail).

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