Author Michael Bugeja writes: “‘Friending really appeals to the ego, where friendships appeal to the conscience” (p. 107). Yet, many scientists are hopeful that people understand the difference between “friending,” forming virtual links, and “befriending,” forming real connections.
In this week’s reading material, the following philosophers discuss their views on this topic: Aristotle, Kuhn, Turkle, Greenfield, Bugia, Smallwood, Block, and Teilhard. Make sure to incorporate their views as you answer each discussion question. Think about how their views may be similar or different from your own. Please answer both of the following questions:
- Present your viewpoints about whether scientists are correct in stating that most people do see differences between virtual friending and real befriending. Is this an important distinction?
- After reviewing the Stanford piece, how do online friendships stand up, ethically speaking?
The prompts below are suggested themes for continued dialogue during the week. You are not required to respond to these, but may find the prompts to be helpful to the dialogue.
- Do you think that friending as a concept was already in the culture and in social life, as a different term, before Internet friending was created?
- To what extent do you believe that friending appeals to the ego? Is it about popularity? A genuine social interest and connection? Other?
- Can friending transform into friends? Does that require in-person contact? Or other modes of virtuality?
- Is friendship more engaged in terms of matters of conscience, ethics, genuine emotion, as compared to friending?
- Do you see friending as a form of creating trust between people online? What type of measurement is it to you? Is it a preliminary to closeness?
- If you are very comfortable with online social networking, to what extent and in what degree is social networking a friendship community?
- Vernon, The Meaning of Friendship:
- Chapter 4: Friending Online
- Bennet, Helm. (2013). “Friendship (Links to an external site.).” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/friendship/