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Friendship and Epistemological Viewpoints and Possible Problems From Partiality

In recent years, analytical philosophers have shown increased interest in friendship and its influence on epistemology. They mainly seek to examine friendship concerns and disputes about bias that lack clear objectives regarding morality concerns. Several fundamental ethical theories emphasize impartiality and fair treatment as essential moral and ethical goals by adopting preconceived interpretations. Nonetheless, friendship and other intimate relationships between people often promote bias and unequal treatment. Friends typically worry more about what transpires to their friends than to strangers. They are more driven to promote their friends’ interests to those of strangers. Friends naturally have outstanding obligations to people they care about, like defending their personality when wrongly accused. As a result, because friendship inherently includes partiality, conflict arises between friendship and morality’s fundamental components and dispositions. The differences in viewpoints and reasoning between friends or lovers and epistemology cause problems since both parties have a strong bias toward their side, affecting their assessment of the other group’s principles. This article delves into the relationship between epistemology and friendship viewpoints and the possible strengths and problems between them.

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Friends, in particular, have a predetermined and prejudiced image of their loved ones, which adversely affects their epistemic interpretation of their friends’ actions (Stroud, 2015). The first point of distinction is the cognitive processes that friends participate in when they arrive at new information about their friends. What distinguishes them in this area is that they spend more effort fighting or reducing the effect of adverse facts than they usually would if the involved party were a non-friend. First, friends are more likely than strangers to examine and challenge the provided facts tainting their friend’s character by devoting more time and attention than they would to situations involving strangers. Close friends, for instance, are more inclined to question themselves about the integrity of the individual presenting the information in a bid to reject the provided facts (Stroud, 2015). Friends may doubt the person’s veracity, fairness, and integrity. They may also consider them generally vicious or against their vindicated loved one in particular. The friend firmly believes that the wrongdoing of their friend must be untrue without a thorough analysis and research of the case. As a result, their minds biasedly disregard such potential discrediting information when the involved is a friend.

Secondly, the locus of divergent epistemic practices is common in situations involving friends. When contrasted to a disinterested party, friends typically reach different judgments and make distinct deductions. When the narrative involves a friend, they spend more effort creating alternate and less incriminating reasons for the stated behavior (Cyr, 2020). Friends are less likely than non-friends to think that their friend behaved dishonorably or of being an evil person. Friendship seems to change the processes friends use to absorb new knowledge and influence their judgment.

The precise moment at which the outstanding friend’s unique behaviors diverge from a neutrality standpoint will differ from case to case, depending on the resources accessible to them to assimilate the data in the issue. Typically, friends will attempt to dismiss the facts given and find a reason not to think their friend did something evil at all. If that is not possible, they may accept the basic facts and advance to the interpretative level. They attempt to put a new gloss on what their friend did and classify that activity under a less tarnishing viewpoint (Stroud, 2015). If this proves difficult, they may connect the conduct to a new personality characteristic than the apparent ones, assuming they could not do so with good conscience. In such a scenario, they may attempt to bury the lousy characteristic in an enormous virtue and are compelled to regard their conduct as simply a part of their personality. If this final strategy fails, they may restrict their classification of the vice to a personality defect that is insignificant to their friend’s personality, rather than rendering it the central aspect of their friend’s character.

The most apparent path to a cognitive explanation of the excellent loved one unique method of developing credence illustrates the richness of knowledge and evidence they possess about their friends. The individualized viewpoint serves as the foundation for their various judgments about their friend’s behavior (Jollimore, 2011). This approach regards the friend’s disparate epistemic conducts as a mere mirror of their diverse evidential positions compared to strangers. Based on this viewpoint, it is common, from an evidentialist standpoint, for friends to reach the wrong judgment about their friends considerably slower than they would do about a stranger (Goldberg, 2018). Friends have more significant proof of their partner’s character and behaviors than outsiders, who must evaluate the cognitive equilibrium and the more damaging factors provided to them. When it comes to their loved ones, different views are entirely epistemically acceptable between friends. The findings are just mere applications of the indicative approach. The direct experience between friends offers information that enables them to consider an alternative and correct interpretation of the accusations and deduce potential explanations for their friend’s behavior.

Personalized judging of accusations against friends, on the other hand, may cloud the judgments between friends and obscure the light of the accusation by viewing the friend according to a predetermined profile. Regardless, the adoption of conclusions and deductions seems to be misaligned with the substantial pressure from the factors friends evaluate. Excellent friends usually tend to focus on aspects that invalidate harmful wrongdoings and concentrate on potential theories that portray their friends positively (Jollimore, 2011). Friends refuse to believe inadequately supported statements by facts that would otherwise lead to reasonable conclusions to an impartial observer. There is also a difficulty with the evidentialist validation of views about friends. Friends are considered justified in rejecting negative interpretations of their loved one’s behavior because of their rich understanding of their friend’s personality. Friends reject the knowledge of their friend’s negative character, which is tainted, and instead focus on their positive character traits. It is unclear that opinions or views about the friend’s personality provide proof in the aspect that can provide epistemic rationale.

Friendship necessitates epistemic prejudice, defined as a logical unjustifiable deviation from cognitive impartiality. Doxastic attitudes that contradict the norms established by conventional epistemological models are a necessary component of friendship. As a result, we may infer that friendship necessitates epistemic bias, which can negatively affect friends, like character degeneration. On the other hand, friendship may be excellent in shedding light on potential causes for their friend’s conduct due to prior knowledge of their personality and morality. Friendships create partiality among friends, obscuring their personal views and may result in character deterioration, creating problems. While it may seem impossible for friends to consider their loved one’s behavior impartially, failure to do so may result in harmful long-term consequences.

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Cyr, S. (2020). Love and rationality. Stance: an international undergraduate philosophy journal, 13(1), 12 23.

Goldberg, S. C. (2018). Against epistemic partiality in friendship: Value-reflecting reasons. Philosophical Studies.

Jollimore, T. (2011). Love’s vision. Princeton University Press.

Stroud, S. (2006). Epistemic partiality in friendship. Ethics, 116(3), 498-524.

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