Confucius Views On Friendship

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The early Confucian thinkers place great emphasis on the concept of Ren (Goodness). To him, Ren is the foundational virtue that everyone ought to work towards. It is inevitable, then, that many of their views revolve around this concept of Ren, friendship included. Confucius holds the view that friendship is grounded in commitment to the good. He believes that friends should be trustworthy and that they should do the best they can for their friends, through which they are showing Ren. This brings us to the question of whether the commitment to the good is a necessity or merely a matter of choice. Considering Confucius’ views, I stand with the view that this commitment is not a necessity. Rather than being a necessity, it reflects two individuals’…show more content…
While this commitment can contribute to a lasting friendship, it is not a necessity. Firstly, it is merely a common goal shared by individuals. One can simply replace that common goal with another one for example, a love for soccer or something more character-based – dedicating time for friends. The common goal is a constant which bridges the variables – friendship and something else together. Confucius’ view on friendship seems to be one that is grounded in character-building and aimed towards the ultimate goal of Ren, but there are many more aspects of friendship that are not covered. Indeed, when both parties involved in a friendship is upright and good in character, theoretically speaking, there exist less chances for conflicts in terms of morality, for they both share similar moral views (assuming they are both exemplifying Ren). Confucius also mentioned the importance of Xin in friendship, and that, I believe, is part of the commitment that friends make towards one another. Xin is important, and can be said to be a foundation of human relationships, but ultimately, it is still the person himself that we choose to have Xin in, and not us choosing the person because of Xin (or Ren for that…show more content…
Similar to Confucius, Kapur believes that friendship is based on the disposition of “benevolence” and “justice”. Not only do these moral values form part of the friendship, but these also justify “special treatment of friends” (Grunebaum, 1993). Should there not be these factors involved, there is no real friendship at all. While it is not uncommon for many to associate friendship with the unspoken promise that we ought to treat our friends well, and want the best for them, the basis of friendship is not and should not be that of morals. In contrary to that being the necessary “promise” that ties friends together, the commitment friends have towards each other (as a person) is the underlying “promise” friends make upon entering the friendship. After all, we make friends not solely because they uphold certain moral values, but because of whom they are as a person (their whole being). Additionally, it makes no sense for friendship to be based much on morality, for it is tough to keep track of whether our friends are doing their part (in terms of benevolence) in the friendship (Grunebaum, 1993). This idea seems to point towards a more utilitarian point of view, where it appears as though the friendship is forged because both parties are in a “contract” to do good for each other. This undermines the value of friendship itself, reducing it to mere benefits each can gain from
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