Expanding Networks and Minimizing Connections


Research indicates that there are millions of people addicted to the Internet (p. 104). This addiction is similar to a shopping addiction, where more is considered better. People often compulsively collect friends.

In your text, Vernon maintains that the Internet certainly brings more people into our lives, but it is best suited for sustaining friendships, rather than creating them. He writes: “Virtuality may feel liberating, as free as a planet whirling through space. But we are persons, and embodied persons, too. Intimacy ultimately depends for its flourishing on contact in the real world, face to face” (p. 121).

 In this week’s reading material, the following philosophers discuss their views on this topic: Aristotle, Kuhn, Turkle, Greenfield, Bugia, Smallwood, Block, and Teilhard. Please do not use people or place names which may identify someone.  Please do not share links to others’ Facebook or other social media sites. Evaluate/Assess your own enactment of Internet friendship, or that of someone you know (child, friend). Do you primarily use the Internet to collect new friends, maintain your friendships, or both? Apply ethical considerations regarding the intersection of the Internet and friendship. To what extent is it possible to cultivate true intimacy online in a way that one might experience in person? How does our consumeristic society impact our approach to online friendships?  

Vernon, The Meaning of Friendship: Chapter 4: Friending Online

Bennet, Helm. (2013). “Friendship (Links to an external site.).” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/friendship/