Date of Completion


Embargo Period



friendship, Aristotle, identity, value

Major Advisor

Paul Bloomfield

Associate Advisor

Donald Baxter

Associate Advisor

Joel Kupperman

Associate Advisor

Michael P. Lynch

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


I defend the claim that friendships are wholes with friends as parts. Given an account of the identity between parts and wholes, friendships turn out to involve friends literally sharing identity via this whole, while remaining distinct from each other. Identity and difference are often taken to be incompatible, but metaphysical considerations have shown that this is not strictly so when considering the relationship of parts to whole. Something like Aristotle’s claim that friends are ‘other selves’, then, turns out to be neither metaphorical nor contradictory (even though ‘self’ and ‘other’ seem prima facie incompatible) but straightforwardly descriptive. I show how a parts/whole theory of friends and friendship sheds light on several longstanding issues in the philosophy of friendship, including why and how friends value each other, ways that shared perspectives and values ground friendships, and the role virtue plays in friendship.