Seminar 2020

Friendship In The Age of Social Media
Can Macmurray Show Us the Way?

“Equality and freedom are constitutive principles of friendship, but they are also ideals to be achieved in friendship. It is the mutual intention to treat one another as equals and to be free in relationship that makes us friends; and the presence of the intention in the relationship means that it is already, to some extent, realized. Yet it is never completely realized, not merely because we fail to achieve it, but also because it ‘grows by what it feeds on’. Each partial or temporary realization creates new possibilities of further and fuller realization.” (Conditions of Freedom, 1949 [1993], p.52)

Saturday October 24th 10am-4pm UK BST (UTC+1)
Online using Zoom – Register for free using Eventbrite from 13th July – Click Here

Social Media is now very much part of most of our lives, and with the pandemic has become even more central – not least with moving our own Seminar online. However, most of us are also pretty much novices with using social media, lacking good practice and therefore prone to mistakes and misunderstandings.

Can the practical philosophy of John Macmurray, with it’s emphasis on agency and relationships, help us to be better users of social media? And also enable us to offer effective criticism of the failings of social media, both in the way that the various platforms are designed, and the way that they are used and mis-used.

Is social media inherently destructive of full personal relationships, or can social media help us to develop better relationships? What are the limitations and possibilities of social media in the context of friendship and community as understood by Macmurray? We have had thousands of years to learn to be meet and befriend one another; hundreds of years to learn to be good letter writers; and decades to learn to be good telephone users, building up a body of experience and good practice, as well as knowledge of bad practice, to call on. What does the future hold for social media? What is the place of social media alongside letter writing, using the telephone and face-to-face meetings? With social media being so easy to use (including writing emails) are we beguiled into thinking that good practice is hardly necessary?