Explain Aristotle’s theory of friendship.

This paper is meant to help you think deeply about the nature of friendship and its relation to social media, in light of ethical theory. This assignment will help you demonstrate competence on the following learning targets:

#11. I can apply one of the main normative ethical theories to real life problems.
#12. I can formulate a philosophical argument for my own view on at least one applied ethics topic.

Write a philosophical essay that explains and applies Aristotle’s theory of friendship.

Please structure your paper in three sections, as explained below. Please include a very brief introductory paragraph. In this paper, you are not necessarily arguing for your own personal views about friendship. Instead, you are arguing for a certain interpretation of Aristotle’s theory of friendship, and how it applies to social media. Your introduction should include a thesis statement to this effect.

I want you to exert the effort in reading Aristotle himself, until you understand his view. So, you should not search for or look at any other resources (online or otherwise) about Aristotle on friendship. It is easy to find websites and articles about Aristotle on friendship. Don’t look for them or use them. (Your paper will be automatically scanned by Turnitin.com to see how closely it resembles online resources, as well as other papers.)

1. Explain Aristotle’s theory of friendship.
In Books VIII and IX of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle describes and compares three different kinds of friendship: utility friendship, pleasure friendship, and friendship based on the good–what he calls “true” friendship or friendship of virtue.

Your first task is to demonstrate a thorough understanding of what these three types of friendship have in common and how they differ. To do this, you need to compare and contrast:

The nature of each and how they each are formed,
How they each end (if ever),
What sorts of activities the various kinds of friends will likely engage in together,
And most importantly, the purpose or goal of each kind of friendship.
Book VIII, Chapters 3-6 and 13; and Book IX, Chapters 3, 8-10 and 12 will be particularly important for this portion of your paper. You should provide your own examples of each kind of friendship, so that I can assess the depth of your understanding.

2. Apply Aristotle’s theory of friendship to social media.
Spend some time reflecting on social media (e.g., Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Tinder, etc.) and ask yourself:

Are these platforms conducive to the formation and maintenance of friendships in Aristotles terms?
If so, which kinds of friendship do they support, and how do they support them?
If not, which kinds of friendships are they not conducive to and why not?
What are the implications with respect to the relationship between our quest for happiness (in the sense of eudaimonia) and our use of social media?
As you respond to this prompt, you need to build an argument. This means you need to clearly state a claim (or several claims–whatever is required by the prompt), then support that claim with specific references to the text, and with well thought-out examples about your own experience using social media (or, if you don’t use it, your experience with other people who do).

3. Compare and Contrast section #2 with how utilitarianism or Kantianism would apply to friendships and social media.
Select one of the other normative ethical theories we have studied — either utilitarianism or Kantianism. Compare and contrast what you think this theory might say about friendship and social media with Aristotle’s theory of friendship and how it applies to social media. Here are some questions to get you thinking:

Could a utilitarian or Kantian accept Aristotle’s theory of friendship?
What would a utilitarian or Kantian say about whether social media is conducive to friendships? If it can support friendships, what types of friendships, and which social media platforms?
Justify your answer by reference to what you have learned about these ethical theories.

Length: At least 600 words. Longer is okay, but try not to go over 1000 words.
Format: Please use 12pt font and 1-inch margins.
Structure: Use section headings. I recommend using sections that correspond to the prompt above. Also, use paragraph breaks: one main thought per paragraph. This makes your paper easier to read and understand.
Sources: Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics.
Citations: Make sure sure you include a citation anytime you reference someone else’s writing or idea (this includes paraphrasing). Also include a corresponding bibliography or Works Cited list. I do not care which citation style you use. Just make sure your citation style is clear and consistent, and provides enough details to find the exact quote or passage. References and citations do not factor into the assignment word count.
Audience: Imagine you are writing your essay for one of your friends who has not taken a philosophy class. Define all technical terms and use plenty of examples.
Style: This is a piece of academic writing. Avoid excessive informality and use of contractions. However, feel free to refer to yourself with the word “I.”

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