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Nonetheless, questions can be raised about precisely how to distinguish romantic relationships, grounded in , insofar as each involves significant interactions between the involved parties that stem from a kind of reciprocal love that is responsive to merit.
If you benefit your friend because, ultimately, of the benefits you receive, it would seem that you do not properly love your friend for his sake, and so your relationship is not fully one of friendship after all.
Badhwar (2003, 65–66) seems to think so, claiming that the sexual involvement enters into romantic love in part through a passion and yearning for physical union, whereas friendship involves instead a desire for a more psychological identification.
Yet it is not clear exactly how to understand this: precisely what kind of “psychological identification” or intimacy is characteristic of friendship?
Given this centrality, important questions arise concerning the justification of friendship and, in this context, whether it is permissible to “trade up” when someone new comes along, as well as concerning the possibility of reconciling the demands of friendship with the demands of morality in cases in which the two seem to conflict.
Friendship essentially involves a distinctive kind of concern for your friend, a concern which might reasonably be understood as a kind of love.
(For further discussion, see Section 1.2.) In philosophical discussions of friendship, it is common to follow Aristotle (, Book VIII) in distinguishing three kinds of friendship: friendships of pleasure, of utility, and of virtue.