Document Type

Contribution to Book

Source Publication

Thinking About Friendship: Historical and Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives

Publication Date



Damian Caluori


Palgrave Macmillan



First Page


Last Page





In the spirit of exploring fresh perspectives, I offer this investigation into the aesthetic aspects of personal relationships with a focus on friendship.1 Glossing the aesthetic aspects of friendship, as we too often do, impoverishes our understanding of the value and meaning of friendships, relationships which give shape and content to our lives, which animate our lives or, as Nancy Sherman (1993) puts it, relationships which structure the good life. The friendships we forge and those we forgo, the loves we cultivate and those we lose, these varying and variable relations broaden (or impoverish) our experiences, intensify (or diminish) our feelings, and help (or hinder) our self understanding and self creation. I wish to explore here how friendships are aesthetic expressions and impressions in and of our lives, as form and color are aesthetic expressions and impressions in and of paintings. I do so by pursuing an analogy between art and friendship as well as by investigating some of the aesthetic aspects of friendship: how cultivating and enjoying friendship invites creative and relatively free expressions of self, the ways aesthetic taste factors into with whom we are friends, and the manner in which friendships can help to harmoniously round out a life.