Conditions Of Love

Overview

?A gracefully argued and compassionate work. . . . Armstrong does for philosophy what Adam Phillips does for psychoanalysis: removes our fear of it: demonstrates its fascinations. Conditions of Love works like a loving conversation; the reader is attracted, amused, encouraged to respond, left fulfilled and eager for more.? ?Independent on Sunday
?What is it to love another person?? This is to raise one of the deepest, and most puzzling, questions we can put to ourselves. Love is a central theme in the ...

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Overview

“A gracefully argued and compassionate work. . . . Armstrong does for philosophy what Adam Phillips does for psychoanalysis: removes our fear of it: demonstrates its fascinations. Conditions of Love works like a loving conversation; the reader is attracted, amused, encouraged to respond, left fulfilled and eager for more.” —Independent on Sunday
‘What is it to love another person?’ This is to raise one of the deepest, and most puzzling, questions we can put to ourselves. Love is a central theme in the autobiography we each write as we try to understand our lives; but we may feel that we become only more confused the more we reflect upon it. Love is closely connected with our vision of happiness; yet there is no one we are more likely to hurt, or be hurt by, than the person we love. If love is something we all want, why is it so hard to find and harder to keep? Love is one of humanity’s most persistent and most esteemed ideals, but it is hard to say exactly what this ideal is and how—if at all—it relates to real life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this meditative but somewhat murky philosophical account of love, Armstrong aims to develop a "mature conception" of the emotion by exploring a different love-related theme in each chapter of this slim volume. He critiques Plato's "myth of original unity," suggesting that the right attitude may more important than the right person; contemplates Stendahl's beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder theory of "crystallization"; and ponders love's relationship to charity, the meaning of life and, much too briefly, sexuality. In general, the goal seems to be a gathering of miscellaneous and diverse ideas from thinkers, novelists, and artists from Augustine to Freud put to service towards a study of our most powerful emotion. Armstrong calls this approach "pandoxist," which at its best is breezy and refreshing, and at its worst seems to be an excuse for not examining views critically enough. Armstrong's primary focus is on long-term romantic love (i.e., between sexual partners), but he often veers into discussing fraternal, parental, divine, and altruistic love, and he takes a page from Wittgenstein to argue that there is no one essence uniting all the ways we use the word love. Unlike, say, Ted Cohen's Jokes, a philosophical study of jokes that is itself funny, this book is neither romantic nor sexy. But it is an interesting perspective on the problem of love-one that ultimately feels more personal than philosophical. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Armstrong, research fellow in the philosophy of art at the University of Melbourne and director of the Aesthetics program at the Monash Centre for Public Philosophy in Australia, has written a very charming and thoughtful little book on the topic of love. Drawing from a number of philosophical and literary sources, including Goethe, Dante, Socrates, Plato, St. Augustine, and Jane Austen, he considers why we seldom find romantic love sufficient and seek something more satisfying and enduring. In doing so, he recognizes that our greater desire is for deep, emotionally satisfying relationships that bind us to friends, family, and also lovers. In relatively brief chapters, Armstrong touches on such aspects of love as infatuation, romance, the special relation between sexuality and love, and the recognition of the importance of the "other" in relationships. His writing style is clear, precise, and open and his references well chosen. In all, this is a book that should be welcome in most libraries. Highly recommended.-Terry Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Que. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393331738
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2003
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,420,475
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The romantic vision 1
2 'Love is really x' 8
3 Love's evolution 13
4 Why love has a history 20
5 The perfect union 32
6 Love as education 41
7 Recognition 49
8 A creative eye 55
9 Possession 60
10 Imagination 71
11 Infatuation 76
12 Blind cupid 83
13 Imagination (again) 94
14 Categories 98
15 Conflict and interpretation 103
16 The good of the other 108
17 Charity 113
18 Love and the meaning of life 118
19 Incommensurable desires 128
20 Sexuality 135
21 Love's increase 141
22 Maturity 146
Index 161
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