Philosophy and Love: From Plato to Popular Culture
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Philosophy and Love introduces readers to philosophical reflections on love from Plato to the present. Bringing philosophy together with popular cultural analysis, Linnell Secomb provides an interesting and engaging account of theories of love throughout history. Along the way, reflections on same-sex desire, cross-cultural love, and internet romance are considered against the ideas of Nietzsche, Beauvoir, Irigaray, Derrida, and Fanon, and other contemporary cultural commentators on the human condition. The work also looks at cultural productions of love ranging from Sappho to Frankenstein by focusing on archetypal stories of love and love gone wrong. Philosophy and Love reveals an ethics and politics of love that discloses the paradoxes, conflicts, and intensity of human love relations.
on paradox. In loving her partner as a god what the woman worships is at least in part his freedom and transcendence. Yet, in binding him to her she undermines this transcendence. ‘This is the torture of impossible love,’ Beauvoir writes, ‘the woman wants to possess the man wholly, but she demands that he transcend any gift that could possibly be possessed: a free being cannot be had’ (ibid.: 668). Moreover, woman’s servility also creates a paradox. She hopes to serve her idealised Simone de
Welfare states, charitable organisations, and overseas aid all provide a faint glimmer of the Levinasian requirement that we prioritise the needs of the other. While these are too often inadequate, while they may be motivated in part by a concern to secure us against destitution in our own unpredictable futures, and may require some sort of reciprocity such as gratitude or attempt by the needy to attain self-sufficiency, they nevertheless rest on an element of responsibility for the other.
erotic love but also of love of life more broadly. Orlando does not restrict herself to one sexual identity or to one form of sexual desire but creates a hybridity of sexualities, subjectivities and erotics. She plays between and experiences all the pleasures available within multiple expressions of love: . . . she found it convenient at this time to change frequently from one set of clothes to another. Thus she often occurs in contemporary memoirs as ‘Lord’ So-and-so, who was in fact her cousin;
marriage is not resolution, conclusion or closure, and nor does it end the relation, for Orlando and Shelmerdine’s relationship continues in its own idiosyncratic way. Instead, this marriage is a radical indirection that extends the detours, divergences and deviations of love, making of it not completion and closure but a permanently circuitous reaching for more and openness to the future: Together they ran through the woods, the wind plastering them with leaves as they ran, to the great court
Good. (ibid.: 171) While Diotima-Socrates’ speech has generally been read as a valorisation of mind over body, and of philosophic love of knowledge over embodied passion, this interpretation obliterates the metaphor of birth, and the significance of Eros in the dialogue. Socrates does not construe Sapphic and Platonic Erotics 17 the acquisition of knowledge as a process of transmitting ideas and concepts from the mentor to the disciple, but as a nurturing that encourages the recognition of