The Concept of Love in 17th and 18th Century Philosophy

The Concept of Love in 17th and 18th Century Philosophy


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"Love is joy with the accompanying idea of an external cause." Spinoza's definition of love manifests a major paradigm shift achieved by seventeenth-century Europe, in which the emotions, formerly seen as normative "forces of nature," were embraced by the new science of the mind.This shift has often been seen as a transition from a philosophy laden with implicit values and assumptions to a more scientific and value-free way of understanding human action. But is this rational approach really value-free? Today we tend to believe that values are inescapable, and that the descriptive-mechanical method implies its own set of values. Yet the assertion by Spinoza, Malebranche, Leibniz, and Enlightenment thinkers that love guides us to wisdom-and even that the love of a god who creates and maintains order and harmony in the world forms the core of ethical behavior-still resonates powerfully with us. It is, evidently, an idea Western culture is unwilling to relinquish.This collection of insightful essays offers a range of interesting perspectives on how the triumph of "reason" affected not only the scientific-philosophical understanding of the emotions and especially of love, but our everyday understanding as well.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789058676511
Publisher: Leuven University Press
Publication date: 11/15/2008
Series: Copublished with Eötvös University Press, Budapast Series
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Herman De Dijn is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, K.U. Leuven.

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