Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2012

Department 1



Friendship is often conceived of as a freely chosen intrinsic good, yet friendship gives rise to special obligations that can act against ethical regard for others. Philosophers who recognize the significance of special obligations, such as Diane Jeske in Rationality and Moral Theory: How Intimacy Creates Reason, argue that special obligations are an undeniable feature of friendship and give rise to conflicts between friends and others to whom one has responsibilities. I argue that friendship can pose insoluble problems of special obligation, not just because obligations to friends can conflict with other obligations we have, but because friendship can challenge obligations we have to ourselves or to a conception of life that we hold precious. We must accept this as a risk of friendship and regard such dissonance as a sign of strength in friendship as well as a threat.


Philosophy Senior Thesis