Love: A New Understanding of an Ancient Emotion (Paperback)

Love: A New Understanding of an Ancient Emotion By Simon May Cover Image

Love: A New Understanding of an Ancient Emotion (Paperback)


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What is love's real intent? Why can love be so ruthlessly selective? How is it related to sex, beauty, and goodness? And is the child now the supreme object of love?

In addressing these questions, Simon May develops a radically new understanding of love as the emotion we feel towards whomever or whatever we experience as grounding our life--as offering us a possibility of home in a world that we supremely value. He sees love as motivated by a promise of
ontological rootedness, rather than, as two thousand years of tradition variously asserts, by beauty or goodness, by a search for wholeness, by virtue, by sexual or reproductive desire, by compassion or altruism or empathy, or, in one of today's dominant views, by no qualities at all of the loved

After arguing that such founding Western myths as the Odyssey and Abraham's call by God to Canaan in the Bible powerfully exemplify his new conception of love, May goes on to re-examine the relation of love to beauty, sex, and goodness in the light of this conception, offering among other things a
novel theory of beauty--and suggesting, against Plato, that we can love others for their ugliness (while also seeing them as beautiful).

Finally, he proposes that, in the Western world, romantic love is gradually giving way to parental love as the most valued form of love: namely, the love without which one's life is not deemed complete or truly flourishing. May explains why childhood has become sacred and excellence in parenting a
paramount ideal--as well as a litmus test of society's moral health. In doing so, he argues that the child is the first genuinely modern supreme object of love: the first to fully reflect what Nietzsche called the death of God.

Readers will find Love Excitingly new, yet immediately recognizable--that's the paradox at the very heart of love, and it is what Simon May has achieved. --Los Angeles Review of Books
Simon May is visiting professor of philosophy at King's College London. His other books include Love: A History, Nietzsche's Ethics and his War on Morality, The Power of Cute, Thinking Aloud, a collection of his own aphorisms (a Financial Times Book of the Year), and How To Be A Refugee: One Family's Story of Exile and Belonging. His work has been translated into ten languages.
Product Details ISBN: 9780197650530
ISBN-10: 0197650538
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: May 6th, 2022
Pages: 304
Language: English