Spring 2024

Love and Friendship

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-201


Nicholas Gooding (Section 01)


This course will look at philosophical discussions of love and friendship from Ancient Greece up until the present day. Our reading will not be confined, however, to philosophy as ordinarily or narrowly conceived; we will also read poets, cultural critics and political activists. The course will be organized around the following themes: (1) The nature of love/friendship: What are love and friendship? What are the bases on which we come to develop friendships or fall in love? (2) Love/friendship and morality: What do we do when the demands of love and loyalty seem to conflict with those of morality? We will also consider feminist critiques of the modern notion of romantic love, asking whether it implicitly embodies patriarchal norms. (3) Love/friendship and the self: How do love and friendship shape one’s identity and self-conception?  (4) Civic love and political friendship: What role does friendship have in a just and flourishing political community? How has love functioned as an animating ideal of radical critique and political imagination?

The readings for the course will include work from throughout the history of philosophy (including Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Montaigne, Kant, and Simone de Beauvoir), as well as more recent essays and speeches (e.g., by Neera Badhwar, bell hooks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rae Langton, and Amia Srinivasan).

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Gooding. 

How to handle overenrollment: Priority given to majors

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: an emphasis on written work and readings, class discussion, and oral presentations.

PHIL 201 - LEC

Section 01
M 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM WEBS 220
W 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM WEBS 220


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 20242024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2024