The philosophy of love

ABC Radio National’s The Philosopher’s Zone just had an edition on how philosophers through the ages have made sense of that most intense of human emotions, love.

The guest on the show is philosopher Dr Linnell Secomb who’s the author of the new book Philosophy and Love from Plato to Popular Culture (ISBN 0748623671).

Secomb talks about how love has been understood by thinkers through the ages, from Socrates to Bartes, but also looks at how it has been represented in pop culture, arts and literature.

I particularly liked the discussion about the significance of love in the Frankenstein books and films:

I think what you’re raising there is this really interesting issue of how difference and sameness affects the love relation as well, and in the book I reflect on that quite a bit in different ways. But it’s the creature’s difference, his monstrosity that frightens people and undermines the possibility of love.

But I wonder also whether this sense that love works better between people who have a lot in common also undermines the possibility of the sort of adventure of discovering otherness, or discovering difference, and this is something that Nietzsche talks about and I bring Nietzsche together with the Frankenstein story because Nietzsche has really interesting little reflections on both love and friendship.

But what he seems to be indicating is that for him, a more genuine or authentic love would involve a search for the beyond, you know, beyond our own experience, so that we’d be challenged by the difference of the other. So this is something that I wanted to point out in that chapter as well.

Link to audio and transcript of TPZ on love.

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