Summer 2024 - PHIL 467W E200

Seminar II (4)

Philosophy of Friendship

Class Number: 4132

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Wed, 5:30–8:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Two 300-division PHIL courses.



May be repeated for credit. Writing.


Selected Topics: Philosophy of Friendship
[Note: this course is to be taught concurrently with PHIL 824.]

Philosophers have variously named friendship the greatest good of human life; they’ve called friends "other selves". Some have found it difficult to articulate the phenomenon of friendship, as illustrated by the aporia with which Plato’s Lysis concludes, or Montaigne’s famous phrase describing his own friendship with La Boétie: “Parce que c'était lui; parce que c'était moi.” As a kind of relationship, friendships seem distinctive. They are exclusionary; not everyone can be a friend, but why? At the same time, friendship seems to come with its own special obligations, both moral and epistemic. The goal of this course will be to survey some of what philosophers, past and present, have written about friendship, its nature, its duties, its effects, its value.


This course may be applied towards the Writing Requirement (and the upper division Writing Requirement for Philosophy majors)


  • Participation 15%
  • Presentation 20%
  • Semi-weekly Reading Responses 30%
  • Term Paper 35%


Written work for this course will be submitted via Turnitin, a third party service licensed for use by SFU. Turnitin is used for originality checking to help detect plagiarism. Students will be required to create an account with Turnitin, and to submit their work via that account, on the terms stipulated in the agreement between the student and Turnitin. This agreement includes the retention of your submitted work as part of the Turnitin database. Any student with a concern about using the Turnitin service may opt to use an anonymous identity in their interactions with Turnitin. Students who do not intend to use Turnitin in the standard manner must notify the instructor at least two weeks in advance of any submission deadline. In particular, it is the responsibility of any student using the anonymous option (i.e. false name and temporary e-mail address created for the purpose) to inform the instructor such that the instructor can match up the anonymous identity with the student.



Alexander Nehamas, On Friendship, ISBN 978046508292.

Additional readings will be made available via course website.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at   More details on our website: SFU Philosophy

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.