'Friendship may seem to be both too familiar yet too elusive and ambiguous a topic to consider on its own out of the context of novels or biographies. However, Mark Vernon convincingly refutes this notion and reconsiders the contributions of philosophers from Aristotle and Plato to Nietzsche and Emerson. The result is a wise and accessible discussion of the perils and promise of friendship, providing a beacon of hope to encourage us through the many confusions in our personal lives and suggesting its wider political and spiritual implications. This is definitely philosophy for next Monday morning and it deserves to reach a wide general readership.' - Ray Pahl, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Kent at Canterbury, and author of On Friendship 'Friendship is a subject which has been much neglected by recent philosophy. Mark Vernon's engaging and accessible yet thorough book rediscovers the rich contributions philosophers of the past have made to the subject and shows how these discussions are more relevant today than ever. It is also of much more than theoretical interest, as it illuminates in surprising ways a facet of life important to everyone. Everyone will learn something of value by reading this book, whether their primary interest lies with friendship or philosophy. The Philosophy of Friendship revivifies and sets the agenda for its eponymous subject.' - Julian Baggini, Editor of The Philosopher's Magazine and author of What's it all about? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life 'Mark Vernon is the best kind of friend of friendship, who is well aware of how its variations and transmutations elude any individual or ideological appropriation. His treatment is wide-ranging and open-ended, exemplary both in lucidity of exposition and in range of sympathy. He is at once celebratory and common-sensical, appreciative of friendship's aspirings and perceptive of its fallings short, respectful of its indebtedness to ethical tradition, and hopeful of its fecundity in social innovation. Readers will place themselves variably within the spectrum of possibilities that he displays, but with an enhanced sense of the alternatives that one's own choices leave open to others.' - Anthony Price, Birkbeck College, London, UK Reviews of the hardback edition 'A history of the idea of friendship through the works of various thinkers from Plato to Nietzsche. It's genuinely useful, lucid, informative and wise.' - The Independent, Books of the Year 2005 'A wonderfully thoughtful and timely reflection on the importance of friendship in helping us become honest, courageous and wise.' - Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian 'A very readable mix of self-help and technical philosophy, this inquiry explores the potentially detrimental effects of dissimulation, sexuality and the workplace on friendship, as well as looking more generally at the political and ethical issues. Ultimately, Vernon argues that in its purest form friendship is a way of life. Indeed, like Socrates, he believes philosophy and friendship have much in common: they are both founded upon the love that seeks to know'. - PD Smith, The GuardianReseña del editor:
A tremendous burden is being placed on friends. Individuals want friends more than family. Couples want to marry a friend - a very novel idea. And at the social level, politicians, sociologists, even bishops realise that in the anonymity of the networked age, friendship is increasingly important to care, commitment and belonging. Friendship, we believe or hope, is elastic enough to connect us across the web of complex lives, and strong enough not to snap. But is it? For whilst many are turning to friendship, few are asking what they are turning to. In this new, accessible philosophy of friendship, Mark Vernon examines the love called friendship upon which so much happiness depends. He links the resources of the philosophical tradition with numerous illustrations from modern culture to ask about friendship and sex, work, politics and spirituality. Unusually, he argues that Plato and Nietzsche, as much as Aristotle and Aelred, should be put centre stage. Their penetrating and occasionally tough insights are invaluable if friendship is to be a full, not merely sentimental, way of life for today.
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