Young Philosophers:
What’s the Point of Friendship?
July 22

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“Life has never been normal,” wrote C. S. Lewis in an address to students at the outset of World War II. If we are waiting for a better time to pursue truth, goodness, and beauty, we may never get started. In the Young Philosophers series, Gutenberg College opens its (virtual) doors to high-school-age participants for thoughtful online discussion of important ideas.

Human beings really want to have friends. We even seem to need them, as loneliness can be debilitating (and sometimes deadly). And if a person has no friends at all, we take this as a sign that something is seriously wrong. We count our “friends” on social media and revel in the status of “BFF.” But what exactly makes friendship so vital to us? Is it merely insurance against loneliness, or does it have some larger purpose in our lives? Aristotle says that we need friends for a good and virtuous life, but he also claims that many of our friends don’t actually help with this. In this session of Young Philosophers, we will look at Aristotle’s classic take on friendship, compare it with our own experiences, and try to figure out 1) why we need friends and 2) what makes a friend a good friend.

Attendee Requirements: High-school age
Maximum Attendees: 12


Register Here for Zoom Attendance


Naomi Rinehold, Ph.D.

Leading this session of Young Philosophers will be Dr. Naomi Rinehold. Naomi is Gutenberg’s student services administrator. She earned a B.A. in History at Campbellsville University in Kentucky and then spent eight years teaching in Argentina—first ESL students at a rural school and then teenagers at Buenos Aires International Christian Academy. After returning stateside, she earned a B.A. in philosophy at the University of Oregon and then moved to Knoxville where she earned an M.A. and, in 2019, a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Tennessee.