Philosophy and Love: From Plato to Popular Culture

Philosophy and Love: From Plato to Popular Culture

Linnell Secomb

Language: English

Pages: 184

ISBN: 0253219477

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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.













prioritising the other within the ethical relation over the feminine other of the erotic relation. DISPLACING THE FEMININE WITH THE ETHICAL OTHER Writing in the late 1940s in response to Levinas’s early work, Time and the Other (first published in 1947), Simone de Beauvoir is the first feminist philosopher to take issue with Levinas’s account of the feminine other. In a long footnote in The Second Sex Beauvoir quotes Levinas at length and argues that his description of the feminine as ‘mystery’

erotic is that he distinguishes between the lover and the beloved and assigns a sex to each role – the lover is male and the beloved is female. As a consequence the subjectivity of the woman in the erotic relation is undermined and she is at the mercy of the lover: . . . to define the loving couple as a male lover and a beloved woman already assigns them to a polarity that deprives the female lover of her love. As object of desire . . . the woman is no longer she who also opens partway onto a

own subjectivity and freedom which cannot be given them by the colonisers, no matter how well-intentioned (ibid.: 30). While Fanon remains oriented mainly toward the experience of black love of whiteness, Australian Aboriginal artist, Tracey Moffatt, elaborates this story tracing the consequences of black–white colonial love. Implicitly referencing the 1950s’ Australian film Jedda, which portrays the attempted and failed assimilation of the ‘adopted’ Aboriginal daughter into a white colonial

does not require love and, on the other hand, many unsanctioned relationships are founded on love. For Warner, the love argument facilitates an occlusion of the state and its regulatory role that create ‘invidious distinction[s]’ and ‘harmful consequence[s]’ for those who are excluded from marriage. Warner writes: ‘Even though people think that marriage gives them validation, legitimacy, and recognition, they somehow think that it does so without invalidating, delegitimating, or stigmatising

discussion of conditional and unconditional hospitality reveals that conditional hospitality is, in the end, no hospitality at all for the generosity must be reciprocated or the host lauded for this minimal act of welcome. Real hospitality would be unconditional and would not require acknowledgement or exchange but this puts at risk the control exercised by the host. In discussing this paradox, Derrida points out that the costs may be especially significant for woman. In Levinas’s formulation it

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