True Friends, True Selves


What is it to be or to have a true friend? Views on this question within the history of philosophy appear to differ. Aristotle suggests that friendship of the best kind, arguably that which best approximates the notion of true friendship, is a relationship in which friends love one another for their own sakes and regard one another as second selves. Cicero also explains friendship at its finest as involving a transference of one’s natural feelings for oneself to one’s friend. However there are conceptions of friendship that celebrate difference and the profound separateness between self and other as the crucial element in friendship. Underlying these latter conceptions is the concept of an encounter with oneself in friendship in which a tension between care for a friend and identification with the other is juxtaposed to self-awareness, self-regard and autonomy. This paper explores the notion of truth in the context of those tensions.


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