The Lecture

by Jason Stotts

Tonight Allan Gotthelf gave his lecture “Love and Philosophy: Aristotelian vs. Platonic” here at DU. The lecture was amazing – everything I could have hoped for from a world-ranked Aristotelian and Objectivist. I think he did an excellent job of laying out the fundamental distinction between the two schools and showing the consequences of this. He also did a great job of incorporating Rand into the discussion and showing how she’s both similar to, and different from, Aristotle.

Here’s some important points that I got, although since they’re out of context they may not be as meaningful:

* Love of others is an expression of self love.
* The driving force of love is one’s pride and love of himself.
* Love requires an enormous commitment such that one could not truly love two people (in a romantic sense) because it would be impossible to have this level of commitment with two people.
* The basis of Love is “Sense of Life” which is an expression of one’s fundamental character.

Below are a couple good quotes from the lecture:

A good man is his own best friend and therefore would have the greatest affection for himself. (NE IX.8)

All love for others is an extension of the love one has for oneself. (NE IX.4)

The self-sufficient man will need someone to love…[for] it is both a most difficult thing, as some of the sages have said, to attain a knowledge of oneself, and also a most pleasant thing…And so, as when we wish to see our own face, we do so by looking into the mirror, in the same way when we wish to know ourselves we can obtain that knowledge by looking at the one we love. For the one we love is, as we say, another self. If, then, it is pleasant to contemplate oneself, and it is not possible to do this without having someone else whom one loves, the self-sufficient man will need someone to love. (MM II.15)

Love is a response to values. It is with a person’s sense of life that one falls in love – with that essential sum, that fundamental stand or way of facing existence, which is the essence of a personality. One falls in love with the embodiment of the values that formed a person’s character, which are reflected in his midest goals or smallest gestures, which create the style of his soul – the individual styel of a unique, unrepeatable, irreplaceable consciousness. It is one’s own sense of life that acts as the selector, and responds to what it recognizes as one’s own basic values in the person of another. It is not a matter of professed convictions (though these are not irrelevant); it is a matter of much more profound, conscious and subconscious harmony. (The Romantic Manifesto – Ch. 2)

There’s more to come on this later, but I must get some sleep…

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