Philosophical Questions on Friendship

Philosophical Questions on Friendship

Spring Semester
Dr. Elisabeth Oppenheimer
Office Hours: Wednesday 12.00- 14.00


Course Description:

Friendship has since antiquity been a topic of philosophical interest. In a world in which most of us have Facebook friends, a renewed philosophical reflection on friendship seems required. This course intends to make the students familiar with the major texts about friendship (Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, Derrida …) and with the wide array of questions about it. Topics that will be discussed: how do we define friendship in comparison to other human relations; are there different kinds of friendships; can friendship be explained by a “need” in human nature; what does it mean that my friend is my “alter ego”; the contribution of friendship to human happiness; the tension between ethical norms and friendship; does friendship have a “political” meaning?



Minor assignments during the semester: 20%.

Mid-term Requirement: 20 % of the final grade.

Final in-class exam: 60 % of the final grade.



Obligatory. Three unexcused absences are permitted. Any additional absence will affect the final grade and may result in failure of the course.


Additional requirements:

Cell phones should be turned off during class. Use of computers is permitted only for academic goals.

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