Love and Philosophy: Aristotelian vs. Platonic
Mar 12, 1988
The theme of this lecture is that a person's view of love–and his romantic choices–depends on his metaphysics (his fundamental view of man and existence). Dr. Gotthelf will illustrate this theme with a discussion of the contrasting conception of love of the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. A central feature of the talk will be a definition of "Aristotelian love", a conception of the nature and source of love which has remained largely unnoticed in the history of philosophy. (While aimed at a general audience, this part of the lecture will offer a new interpretation of the theory of friendship and love in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.) Dr. Gotthelf will show that Platonic love and Aristotelian love represent two antithetical approaches to love, expressing two basically different views of man and existence. After identifying the role of self-esteem in love, he will demonstrate that a number of apparently different view of love and sex are actually version of either the Platonic or Aristotelian view. Spotlighted here will be the essentially Platonic character of a promiscuous attitude towards sex, and the essentially Aristotelian character of the view of love and sex of Ayn Rand.