Friendship and the Structure of Trust

Mark Alfano

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


In this paper, I describe some of what I take to be the more interesting features of friendship, then explore the extent to which other virtues can be reconstructed as sharing those features. I use trustworthiness as my example throughout, but I think that other virtues such as generosity & gratitude, pride & respect, and the producer’s & consumer’s sense of humor can also be analyzed with this model. The aim of the paper is not to demonstrate that all moral virtues are exactly like friendship in all important respects, but rather to articulate a fruitful model in which to explore the virtues. Section 2 explores the relational nature of friendship, drawing on Aristotle’s discussion of friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics. Section 3 catalogues four motivations for taking seriously the friendship model of virtue. Section 4 applies the friendship model in depth to the virtue of trustworthiness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom Personality to Virtue
EditorsAlberto Masala, Jonathan Webber
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780198746812
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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