FYS Endeavor - 2021-2022


Jess Laforet


Friendship is a universal experience for humans that has been studied by philosophers for centuries. Although the modern world is far more technologically advanced than ancient civilizations, many of the teachings of ancient philosophers are still relevant today. Throughout history, there have been several beliefs held consistently by multiple scholars across different cultures and time periods. For example, Aristotle, Confucius, Montaigne, and Cicero all agreed that lesser forms of friendship that are based on pleasure or utility are destined to fail. Additionally, despite most relationships shared between people aligning more with the idea of having several acquaintances rather than a singular individual that shares your mind and heart, most renowned philosophers agree that humans have the potential to experience true friendship based on goodwill and virtue.

This essay attempts to answer the question of whether or not true friendship based upon goodness and virtue is possible in 21st century America. By analyzing the parallels between the teachings of famous philosophers and the themes of modern social movements, books, and art, this essay intends to determine why the philosophical notions of friendship have not been particularly successful in American society. Additionally, this paper aims to provide a potential solution to the lack of goodwill in 21st century America that has been responsible for thousands of people’s suffering for generations.