Facebook Itself

The Profile and Self

Facebook Friends

Social Networking

Activity and Passivity






facebook and philosophy

Facebook and Philosophy

Ed. by D.E. Wittkower. Chicago & La Salle, IL. Open Court Publishing Company, 2010. 285 pp. ISBN 978-0-8126-9675-2.
A Review by Matt Bridgewater
Bowling Green State University









Facebook Friends

The first two articles of the third section, “Facebook Friends: BBFs, Creepers, That Hawt Guy from Last Night, and Mom,” analyze what being a friend is about on Facebook. Both Craig Condella and Matthew Tedesco analyze “friendship” by drawing on Aristotle (in the former) and utilitarianism and the philosophy of Shelly Kagan (in the latter). Condella wonders whether Facebook makes us better people/friends (119) while also adding ironic comments like “Whereas time spent with a friend is never really time wasted, time-wasting seems to be part and parcel of the Facebook experience” (119). Tedesco explores different possibilities for “reconciling the moral requirement of impartiality with the partiality of relationships like friendship” (131) while also wondering whether “the Facebook friendship is really a friendship at all?” (133).

Maurice Hamington’s article “Care Ethics, Friendship, and Facebook” also discusses the concept of friendship on social networking sites like Facebook, but brings in “care ethics” to ask “can [Facebook] help me be a more ethical person?” (136). While Facebook connects people, does it “facilitate more caring in the world or does it inhibit caring? Or neither?” (137). Hamington concludes that “Postmodernism challenges traditional categories and Facebook may be unwittingly engaging in a postmodern revolution of friendship” (143).

Chris Bloor’s “What are Friends For?” draws on Heidegger to claim that our society today “is characterized by the drive for efficient manipulation of resources—whether of time, energy, money, or people” (148). This is significant because “our society is organized around efficiency, not purpose or meaning” (148). His article finally draws attention to how “Maintaining an authentic self while making use of powerful and efficient technologies to ease social interaction offers us a challenge” (157), and to “be suspicious of how much we welcome the fruits of technological advance into our lives” (156).