SCC The Fruits of Friendship Contrary Effects & Emotional Condition Discussion


Bacon wrote in a much older English style, do your best to decipher his language enough so that you answer these questions in your own contemporary voice.

1. What is the first fruit of friendship? (pp. 202-3) Summarize how Bacon illustrates its importance. (pp. 203-4)

2. What are the two contrary effects of the first fruit of friendship, and what is the “manifest image” of this in nature? (pp. 204-5)

3. What is the second fruit of friendship? (p. 205)

4. What point makes the second fruit of friendship complete? (pp. 205-6) What two dangers does one run if one takes counsel “by pieces.”? (p. 206)

5. What is the last fruit of friendship? What are some of its many kernels? (p. 207)

put each answer under each question

the required book is

Plato, Five Dialogues, Second Edition (Hackett Publishing) ISBN: 978-0-87220-633-5

Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, Third Edition (Hackett) ISBN: 978-0-87220-192-7

Michael Pakaluk, ed., Other Selves: Philosophers on Friendship (Hackett) ISBN:978-0-87220-113-2

Bacon Notes

Francis Bacon lived in England during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James – the same period that gave us the works of Shakespeare and the King James Bible. So, the English of his chapter on friendship is similar to what we find in those very famous works and takes a little more time to decipher. Read slowly and you’ll get more out of it.

After an introductory paragraph which expresses how difficult it can be to live without friends, the chapter is organized around three fruits of friendship.

The first fruit of friendship is having someone to whom we may open our hearts – to share our “griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions,” etc. Bacon illustrates the importance of this fruit by producing numerous examples of the value that great emperors, kings, princes, and other sovereigns have placed on it.

The two contrary effects of the first fruit of friendship are that it doubles our joy and cuts our grief in half. We find this manifest in the ordinary course of nature with respect to bodies: Where two bodies are working together, they are capable of stronger action; but, on the other hand, where two bodies are working together, violence can hurt them less.

The second fruit of friendship is having someone to help us organize and clarify our thoughts. It is completed by the counsel of the friend – the advice, caution, and encouragement that only one who truly cares for us can provide. However, one must beware of taking counsel “by pieces” – that is, looking to several people to give counsel. This is dangerous in two ways: (1) someone other than a friend may have their own agenda when they give counsel; and (2) someone other than a friend may not know you well enough to give counsel that fits you.

The third fruit of friendship is the help a friend provides by taking a part in all one’s actions and occasions. Some examples (or kernels) of this fruit include a friend functioning as a deputy, praising or defending you to other people, asking favors for you, and so on.



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