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Philosophy of Love


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to:

  • BA students in Philosophy, who have successfully completed their first year, and who have also completed at least 10 EC’s of the mandatory components of their second year, including Philosophy of Mind, or Concepts of Selfhood.

  • Pre-master’s students in Philosophy who are in possession of an admission statement, and for whom this course is part of their programme.


This course investigates the ways in which the phenomenon of love affects all other philosophical concerns, including ontological, political, ethical and epistemological issues. It takes its starting point in the well-known Greek tri-partition between Eros, Agape and Philia in order to raise the question of whether love should be characterised in terms of its object.

It then examines the interactions between love and faith in Christian thought (Augustine, Paul), love and judgment (Nietzsche, Phenomenology) and the constructive and constructed character of love (Rougemont, Foucault).

Course objectives

This course aims to provide the students with a detailed view of:

  • the history of the concept of love in Western philosophy;

  • the current state of the debate around love;

  • the implications of the experience of love for epistemology, ethics, aesthetics and ontology.

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of:

  • the history of the debates surrounding love (including cognitive and non-cognitive approaches, theological, psychological, phenomenological and ontological approaches);

  • the metaphysical importance of love;

  • the relations between the philosophical and psychological views of love.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • critically understand, comment and interconnect specialized texts and theories relative to love;

  • critically engage with some of the latest secondary literature on love;

  • present a consistent and comprehensive view of the current problems of the field and explore possible avenues of research.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars.

Class attendance is required.

Assessment method


  • One classroom presentation (20%);

  • Final paper on a question taken from a list of five (80%).


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of the two subtests. Class participation is a mandatory requirement for taking the test.


The resit will be a thoroughly demanding survey take-home exam covering the entirety of the course materials, and including a text commentary, a series of short questions and an argumentative essay. The mark for the resit will replace all previously earned marks for subtests. No separate resits will be offered for subtests.

Class participation and completion of practical assignments such as the oral presentation is a mandatory requirement for taking the resit. Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination cannot take the resit.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

A reading schedule (including shorter texts) and syllabus will be made available on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.

General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga.


Not applicable.