The Philosophy of (Erotic) Love
Edited by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins; foreword by Arthur Danto
What does philosophy know of love? From Plato on, philosophers have struggled to pin love to the dissecting table and view it in the cold light of logic. Yet, as Arthur Danto writes in the foreword to this volume, "how incorrigibly stiff philosophy is when it undertakes to lay its icy fingers on the frilled and beating wings of the butterfly of love."
Love, elusive and philosophically intractable as it is, has long fascinated philosophers. In this collection of classic and modern writings on the topic of erotic love, Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins have chosen excerpts from the great philosophical texts and combined them with the most exciting new work of philosophers writing today.
“A feast for the intellect. The book is equally a delight for the mature scholar’s philosophical reflection on a subject that interests all human beings as it is for the beginning student’s use in the philosophy classroom as topical reader.”
—Canadian Philosophical Reviews
“[The book] is suitable for undergraduates, graduates students, and scholars. Alone or with other texts, it is ideal for courses in the philosophy of (erotic) love. With other texts ..., it would work well in courses in the philosophy of personal relations. It could supplement a traditional text in introduction to philosophy or ethics.”
—Teaching PhilosophySee all reviews...
“Stunning! This brilliant interdisciplinary collection is as provocative, enchanting, and richly rewarding as its topic. Unrivaled in scope and richness, blending classic and contemporary readings on love, here is a wellspring of insights for scholars, students, and general readers alike.”
—Mike W. Martin, author of Self-Deception and Morality
“In the end one loves one’s desire and not what is desired.”
“Free love? As if love is anything but free!”
“I know of no more frequently cited word than love . . . Shouldnt this support the suspicion, along with rump-shaped hearts on bumper stickers . . . that in our language there may be no more bankrupt a word? Still these days bankruptcy does not prevent one from continuing to do very profitable business.”
“Love is a kind of war, and no assignment for cowards.”
“Every man carries within him the eternal image of woman . . . Even if no woman existed, it would still be possible to deduce from this unconscious image exactly how a woman would have to be constituted physically.”
“Love as a virtue? The passion that makes fools of us all and has led to the demise of Anthony, Cleopatra, young Romeo, Juliet and King Kong? Love is nice but it is not a virtue. Maybe it is not even nice.”
—Robert C. SolomonSee fewer reviews...
The result is a broadly conceived, comprehensive, and important work, nearly as stimulating and provocative as love itself. It examines the mysteries of erotic love from a variety of philosophical perspectives and provides an impressive display of the wisdom that the world's best thinkers have brought, and continue to bring, to the study of love.