In the first volume, Singer begins by studying love as appraisal and bestowal as well as imagination and idealization. He then examines the contrasting views of Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Ovid, Lucretius, Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and Martin Luther. After having described the nature of erotic idealization, Singer analyzes the religious idealization in Judeo-Christian concepts of eros, philia, and nomos. Medieval Catholicism sought to combine these four ideas of love in the "caritas synthesis." Luther repudiated that attempt on the grounds that love exists only in God's agapastic bestowal of unlimited goodness upon humanity and all of nature. In relation to the different modes of theorizing, Singer explores the humanistic implications of each.
Irving Singer's trilogy The Nature of Love has been called "majestic" (New York Times Book Review), "monumental" (Boston Globe), "one of the major works of philosophy in our century" (Noûs), "wise and magisterial" (Times Literary Supplement), and a "masterpiece of critical thinking [that] is a timely, eloquent, and scrupulous account of what, after all, still makes the world go round" (Christian Science Monitor).
With a new preface by the author
About the Author
Irving Singer is Professor of Philosophy at MIT. In addition to his two trilogies, The Nature of Love and Meaning in Life, he is the author of many other books, including the recent Philosophy of Love: A Partial Summing-Up, and four books on film aesthetics, Reality Transformed: Film as Meaning and Technique; Three Philosophical Filmmakers: Hitchcock, Welles, Renoir; Ingmar Bergman, Cinematic Philosopher: Reflections on His Creativity; and Cinematic Mythmaking: Philosophy in Film, all published by the MIT Press.
"Majestic."—New York Times Book Review
"Wise and magisterial."—Times Literary Supplement
"One of the major works of philosophy in our century."—No