Plato Freud: Two Theories of Love

Overview

What is love? Why do we idealize those whom we love? How do we choose whom to love? Are some kinds of love better than others? Each age returns to these questions with renewed perplexity. Gerasimos Santas examinees the two greatest theoretical architectures of love, side by side. It provides a thorough critical description and comparison of these theories, allowing a sophisticated dialogue to emerge between the two thinkers.

In the first half of the book Professor Santas ...

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Overview

What is love? Why do we idealize those whom we love? How do we choose whom to love? Are some kinds of love better than others? Each age returns to these questions with renewed perplexity. Gerasimos Santas examinees the two greatest theoretical architectures of love, side by side. It provides a thorough critical description and comparison of these theories, allowing a sophisticated dialogue to emerge between the two thinkers.

In the first half of the book Professor Santas reconstructs and explains Plato's theories of eros and philia: erotic love, familial love and friendship. He attempt to show that Plato's was a unified theory in which erotic love has a special connecion with creativity and beauty. He then discusses Freud's notion of love as distinct from, though based on, his general theory of sexuality. He discusses in detail Freud's explanations, before and after narcissism, of idealization and choice of beloved. Freud too, it emerges, had a unified theory of love: all love has its origins in the libidinal instincts of infancy and childhood.

The book concludes by showing that, despite Freud's claim that his theory of love is 'Platonic', the two theories are instructively different.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631159148
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/16/1991
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Abbreviations xii
1 The Study of Love 1
Introduction 1
Questions about Love 3
Terms of Love: Eros, Philia, Agape 7
Limits of This Study 9
2 Plato's Theory of Eros in the Symposium 14
Introduction 14
Some Preliminary Speeches: Eros all Good, Eros Good and Bad, Eros a Cosmic Force 15
The Speech of Aristophanes: Eros as Desire to Unite with One's Other Half 18
The Speech of Agathon: Good and Beautiful Eros is Eros of Beauty and Goodness 22
The Speech of Socrates: Introductory 25
The Deficiency and Egoistic Models of Desire Applied to Eros 26
Generic Eros: Desire for the Good to be One's Own Forever 32
Specific Eros: Desire to Create Offspring in Beauty for the Sake of Immortality 34
The Ladder of Love: From Eros of a Beautiful Body to Eros of Beauty Itself 40
Beauty, Immortality and the Good 43
3 Passionate Platonic Eros in the Phaedrus 58
Introduction 58
Pleasure, Rationality and Eros as Human Madness 59
Eros as Divine Madness 62
The Phaedrus and the Symposium 69
Philosophic Eros in the Phaedo and the Republic 72
4 Plato on Friendship and Familial Love 81
Introduction 81
Friendship in the Lysis: Like to Like and Opposite to Opposite 81
What is Neither Good nor Bad is Friend to the Good 84
Friendship and Familial Love in the Republic 89
Friendship as Sharing Knowledge and Desire for the Good 91
5 Freud's New Theory of Sexuality 97
Introduction 97
The Old and the New Concepts of Sexuality 100
What is Sexual? 102
Psychosexual Development and the First Appearance of Love 107
Normal Sexuality 110
6 Freud's Theory of Love 116
Introduction 116
The Central Thesis: All Love is Sexual in Origin 117
The Main Characteristics of Love: Exclusive Attachment and Overvaluation 119
Explanations of the Choice of Love-Object 122
Narcissistic Models of Object-Choice 127
Freud's Explanations of Overestimation 133
Narcissistic and Egoistic Love 137
Familial Love, Friendship, and Sublimation 139
Love, Happiness, and Civilization 144
7 The Two Theories of Love Compared 153
Introduction 153
Freud's Own Comparisons to Plato 154
The Function of Love in Plato and Freud 157
The Origin of Love in Plato and Freud 162
Sublimation and the Ladder of Love 169
Choice and Overestimation 172
Plato and Freud 177
Epilogue: More Questions About Love 185
Bibliography 189
Index 194
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