Love and respect : virtue friendship in Plato's Phaedrus and Kant's Metaphysics of morals

White, Glenavin Lindley
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This paper argues, first, that, while philosophical treatments of friendship in the western tradition have typically taken Aristotle's account of virtue friendship as their starting point, we can already find, in Plato's Phaedrus, an account of friendship which comes close enough to Aristotle's in its most philosophically interesting features to be meaningfully called a virtue friendship, but with some intriguing differences, and that a close examination of this earlier account of Plato's has insights to offer us about both the moral significance of friendships of this kind, and, potentially, Plato's own philosophy. It then argues that another, perhaps even more overlooked, account of virtue friendship can be found in Kant's Metaphysics of Morals, offering us a picture of the moral significance that this kind of friendship can have across very different ethical systems, and also, perhaps, an illuminating perspective from which to approach Kant's own conception of virtue.