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Can Virtual Friendship Be Genuine Friendship Essay

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Can virtual friendship be genuine friendship as articulated by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics?
Aimee Muscat
University of Malta


Aristotle defines friendship as a single soul dwelling in two bodies. With the introduction of online social networking, the way we form friendships has changed considerably over the past decade. The purpose of this paper is to give an insight, on the various views there are, on whether social media can provide us with a friendship based on virtue as described by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics.

Keywords: Aristotle, Friendship, Nicomachean Ethics




Can virtual friendship be genuine friendship as articulated by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics?
Twenty years ago, computers were mainly used for science, engineering, and business. Until relatively recently computers were not a common household object. It is clear that this increase in technology has had an effect on our everyday social interaction. This new technology is causing people to become socially isolated from their peers and is preventing them from forming genuine social relationships. However according to Katz and Aspden new technology, especially the internet, helps people connect with each other. It allows individuals to form groups of people, on the basis of common interests, rather than convenience. As stated by Barbro Fröding and Martin Peterson, social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are playing a major role in the social interactions of today’s world. Such websites/applications offer people the opportunity to reinvent themselves since, similar to electronic mail, provide more time to think before expressing oneself. Often, in face to face interactions, people do not have time to evaluate their words before speaking. However electronic mail or online wall posts can be edited and manipulated until they give off the right impression.

On the other hand this may also be a negative factor. Many people attempt to forge (form) relationships over the internet without a face to face interaction or at least a phone conversation. In this way, a person may fake his/her personality and it is impo...

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