Friday, May 02, 2008
Honesty in Friendship
Solove at the Co-Op writes: "[P]eople might not be pleased to know precisely where on one's relationship matrix they stand. Jack might think he's good friends with Jill, but Jill might classify him as merely a distant acquaintance whom she merely wants to associate with for the purpose of climbing hills." And why is this a problem? Shouldn't we have an ethic of being honest with people about how we feel about them? Wouldn't we avoid more pain in the long term if we didn't string people along with false gestures of friendship, only to betray them after reliance?
Some have criticized my work on friendship and the law -- especially my most recent "Friends as Fiduciaries" -- because my proposals might encourage people to be brutally honest when no friendship exists to ensure that no legal duties follow from otherwise ambiguous relations.
I think it is true that having legal duties flow from friendship might (at the margin) lead to this sort of honesty but I don't think it is a bad thing. Aristotle might have been right that most tension in relationships comes from people not thinking of each other with the same degree of intimacy, so I'm all for an ethic of honesty in friendship.
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Posted by: LOL | Oct 2, 2008 8:13:49 PM