Thinking Out Loud Podcasts

The Ethics of Friendship

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Are friendships optional? Are they necessary to live the good life? Is there a universal need to give and receive affection? Where do our feelings about friendships come from? Why do we treat our friends the way we do? Are friendships more "disposable" than they used to be? How do friendships come to be? How much is it by choice? How much is it by chance? Does it require willful action? What are friends for? What are the motives for making and keeping friends? How can we know if a friendship is "true"? What do we expect from friendship? How do expectations differ? Are friendships meant to last forever? What are the ethics of ending a friendship? Is friendship an investment? Is it ethical to end a friendship with unequal investment, "an unbalanced account"? Is it ethical to just fade away? Must we know and must we give a reason for ending a friendship? How do we reconcile the need to grow and to be free with the expectations of friendship? Can we ever fail to profit from our friendship "investment" so long as we see friendship as its own reward without any further expectations?


Listen to the podcast:

Click to download in MP3 format (6.9MB)

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TOL Mission Statement


We engage together in, and record for broadcast, our earnest philosophical dialogues, so that we may:


  1. Enhance our understanding of life and the world in which we live.
  2. Stimulate intellectual curiosity and philosophical exploration in ourselves and others.
  3. Strengthen our intellectual skills of critical thinking and sound reasoning.
  4. Provide a forum for a diversity of thought from a broad spectrum of independent thinkers.
  5. Connect with and form a network among thoughtful and caring individuals, everywhere.
  6. Enjoy the pleasures of intellectually stimulating and philosophically insightful company.
  7. Promote the pursuit of wisdom in everyone.


TOL Guiding Principles


Civility - Treat everyone with respect. Use helpful, not hurtful language. Listen carefully and patiently when someone else is speaking.

Sincerity - Honest opinions and innocent questions are more valuable than "scoring points" or "looking smart". Strive for intellectual honesty.

Soundness - Favor sound reasoning over emotional rhetoric or sophomoric obfuscation.

Succinctness - Strive to be brief and to the point using understandable language. Speak loud and clear so others can hear.


TOL Rules of Discourse


Wait to be called on before speaking: Please don't just jump in. Restrain your enthusiasm. Hold that thought. Wait your turn.

One speaker at a time: No side conversations, comments, or noises please. They will be picked up by the recorder.

Address ideas, not individuals: Refrain from one-on-one debates, exchanges, or cross-examination. Focus on the message not the messenger.

Limit your time: Avoid the temptation to preach, teach, or lecture. Remember, others are waiting for their turn as well.

Yield to the moderator: - Always gracefully return the microphone back to moderator. Let the moderator determine who speaks next.


TOL Tips & Techniques


Listen carefully to what is being said and look for:


Assumptions that need to be examined.

Terms that need to be defined.

Inconsistencies that need to be resolved.

Distinctions that need to be made.

Patterns and relationships that emerge.


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