The Philosophy of (Erotic) Love / Edition 1

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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.

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.

"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.

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Editorial Reviews

Thirty-nine selections are grouped into four sections, two of which comprise established writings on love, from Plato and Sappho to some modern feminists and critics of love. The other two consist of new essays by contemporary thinkers--many of them solicited for this volume; some discuss the texts presented in the first two sections, while others represent new attempts to define and understand love. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700604807
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 3/28/1991
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 524
  • Sales rank: 417,814
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword, Arthur C. Danto

Introduction, Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins


-Plato, from Symposium

-Sappho, Poems

-Theano, Letter on Marriage and Fidelity

-Ovid, from The Art of Love

-Augustine, from The City of God

-Heloise and Abelard, Letters

-Andreas Capellanus, from On Love

-William Shakespeare, Thirteen Sonnets

-John Milton, on Marriage and Divorce

-Baruch Spinoza, from Ethics

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from the Second Discourse, Emile, and New Heloise

-G.W.F. Hegel, a Fragment on Love

-Arthur Schopenhauer, from World as Will and Idea

-Stendhal (Henri Beyle), from On Love

-Friedrich Nietzsche, Selections


-Sigmund Freud, On the University Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love, On Narsissicm: An Introduction, and "Civilized" Sexual Morality and Modern Nervous Illness

-Carl Jung, Marriage as a Pscyhological Relationship

Karen Horney, Love and Marriage

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Poems

-Emma Goldman, On the Tragedy of Women's Emancipation, and Marriage and Love

-Denis de Rougemont, from Love in the Western World

-Jean-Paul Sartre, from Being and Nothingness

-Simone de Beauvoir, from The Second Sex

-Philip Slater, from The Pursuit of Loneliness

-Shulamith Firestone, from The Dialectic of Sex


-Irving Singer, from The Nature of Love

-Martha Nussbaum, The Speech of Alcibiades: A Reading of Plato's Symposium

-Jerome Neu, Plato's Homoerotic Symposium

-Louis Mackey, Eros into Logos: The Rhetoric of Courtly Love

-Amelie Rorty, Spinoza on the Pathos of Idolatrous Love and the Hilarity of True Love

-Elizabeth Rapaport, On the Future of Love: Rousseau and the Radical Feminists

-Kathryn Pauly Morgan, Romantic Love, Altruism, and Self-Respect: An Analysis of Beauvoir


-Robert Nozick, Love's Bond

-Annette Baier, Unsafe Loves

-William Gass, Throw the Emptiness out of Your Arms: Rilke's Doctrine of Nonpossessive Love

-Laurence Thomas, Reasons for Loving

Ronald de Sousa, Love as Theater

Robert C. Solomon, The Virtue of (Erotic) Love

Source Notes and Acknowledgments

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