The Freud Museum

Events Archive

1 May 2012 - 10 July 2012
Tuesday 6.30pm - 8.30pm

What do we do when we fall in love? The Philosophy of Love

Evening Class

This course will look at the nature of love in general, and particularly of romantic love, through the ideas of philosophy.

The theme of high art, an ennobling ideal, a triumphantly compulsive passion -- erotic love is seen as all of these. It is also often dismissed as just a literary concoction, a glorified evolutionary strategy, dressed-up lust, or neuronal excitations in the brain.

What can philosophy tell us about the question of how far falling in love is ‘natural’ and universal or a local European construction, how much it is physical or in the mind, spontaneous or conventional, animal or transcendent? We will look at Plato, Schopenhauer, Freud, Sartre, and other philosophers, and also at Courtly Love, Shakespeare and Donne, and the history, anthropology and neuroscience of erotic love.

A ten week course being held on Tuesday evenings at the Freud Museum London from 1 May until 10 July (no class 5 June), 6.30pm – 8.30pm

No prior knowledge will be assumed and you will be guided by an experienced tutor with many years’ teaching experience.

Jane O’Grady did a BEd in English at Homerton College, Cambridge, a BA in philosophy at UCL, and studied the topic of sincerity for a philosophy PhD at Birkbeck College. She teaches Philosophy of Psychology at City University, and is Philosophy Obituarist for the Guardian, as well as writing articles and reviews for various newspapers, magazines and websites. With A J Ayer she co-edited A Dictionary of Philosophical Quotations. She has written Introductions to John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty and The Subjection of Women, and to Plato’s Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Symposium (Wordsworth), and 16 entries in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. At the moment, she is writing a book on being in love, which embraces philosophy, psychology, anthropology and literature.


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