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The Philosophy of (Erotic) Love

Edited by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen Higgins

Foreword by Arthur C. Danto

xii, 524 pages, 6 x 9
Cloth ISBN 978-0-7006-0479-1, $45.00
Paper ISBN 978-0-7006-0480-7, $19.95

Book Cover ImageStand still, and I will read to thee
A lecture, Love, in love's philosophy.

--John Donne

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.

In the end one loves one's desire and not what is desired.--Friedrich Nietzsche

Free love? As if love is anything but free!--Emma Goldman

I know of no more frequently cited word than love . . . Shouldn't 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.--William Gass

Love is a kind of war, and no assignment for cowards.--Ovid

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.--Carl Jung

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. Solomon

Contributions from: Plato, Sappho, Theano, Ovid, Heloise and Abelard, Andreas Capellanus, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Baruch Spinoza, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, G.W.F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Stendhal, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Carol Jung, Karen Horney, D. H. Lawrence, Emma Goldmann, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone deBeauvoir, Philip Slater, Shulamith Firestone, Irving Singer, Martha Nussbaum, Jerome Neu, Louis Mackey, Amelie Rorty, Elizabeth Rapaport, Kathryn Pauly Morgan, Robert Nozick, Annette Baier, William Gass, Larry Thomas, Ronald de Sousa, Robert C. Solomon.

"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

ROBERT C. SOLOMON is Quincy Lee Centennial Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. Among his most important publications are Love: Emotion, Myth, and Metaphor; About Love: Reinventing Romance for Our Times; and The Passions.

KATHLEEN M. HIGGINS is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of The Music of Our Lives and Nietzsche's Zarathustra.


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