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On Friendship: Derrida, Foucault, and the Practice of Becoming

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image of Research in Phenomenology

The aim of this paper is to question Derrida's approach to the theme of friendship and to set out an alternative reading drawn from the work of Foucault on the care of the self. Derrida's treatment of friendship as aporetic, though faithful to a long tradition of writing on friendship, depends on the use of a formal language that, I argue, exacerbates the difficulties inherent in the theme of friendship. Moreover, it is not clear that the experience of friendship always displays the temporal form given to this aporetic structure. In contrast, Foucault's work suggests that friendship emerges from the complex system of relations that condition who we are and how we can act. Friends are those with whom we work on the historical conditions of our existence, and those with whom we share the practice of becoming who we are.


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