Access this past course AU $90/$145

Philosophy and Love

Lecturer: Emmalea Russo

Originally Taught: Winter School 2022

“How can we kiss and think?” asks contemporary poet Lisa Robertson in 3 Summers. In this class, we’ll explore philosophical and poetic inquiries into (romantic/erotic) love, thinking about how love and philosophy (the love of wisdom…) relate to and illuminate one another. Paying special attention to the language used to describe and evoke love’s strange shades, we’ll ask: how might thinking begin with eros? How might eros take thinking to a kind of limit? What is the difference between wisdom and information? What do distance and proximity have to do with philosophy and love? Can philosophy account for love? Throughout the course, we’ll relate these questions to contemporary experience, asking how love and philosophy might morph under digital conditions, pandemic, dating apps, and more.

We’ll begin with Plato’s erotic dialogues and go on to read various philosophical/poetic/epistolary texts by Roland Barthes, Anne Carson, bell hooks, Sappho, Byung-Chul Han, Georges Bataille, Ovid, Marie de France, and others.

  1. Eros and Speaking
  • Plato, The Symposium
  • Plato, Phaedrus
  • “An Introduction to the Philosophy of Love” in Eros, Agape, and Philia by Alan Soble
  1. Eros and Writing

Excerpts from:

  • If not, winter: The Fragments of Sappho
  • Eros the Bittersweet by Anne Carson
  • A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes
  • All About Love by bell hooks
  1. Love Letters and Courtly Love

Excerpts from:

  • The Art of Love by Ovid
  • The Romance of the Rose
  • The poetry of Marie de France
  • The letters of Heloise and Abelard
  1. Eroticism, Philosophy, and Silence

Excerpts from:

  • Erotism: Death and Sensuality by Georges Bataille
  • The Erotic Phenomenon by Jean-Luc Marion
  • Blind Date: Sex and Philosophy by Anne Dufourmantelle
  1. Love, Philosophy, Information, and The Internet

Excerpts from:

  • The Agony of Eros by Byung-Chul Han
  • Why Love Hurts by Eva Illouz