The Jowett Society (Friday - Week 2, TT19)

Philosophical Society

We naturally think of love as discriminatory – you love your partner more than strangers, your friends more than your adversaries, and your home team over opponents.  Indeed, most philosophers – influenced by the Greeks – have worked hard to carve out a theory of when and why we are permitted to be so partial in our affections.  Universal love, if we can even understand it, seems only like an option for saints or hippies... not a realistic or practical ethical framework for most of us.  In this talk, I'll offer a philosophical defense of the Love Imperative, which features in various manifestations in many religiously motivated approaches to morality.  I'll look specifically at one Christian understanding, defend it from some difficult objections, and indicate how it might be the basis for a mainstream philosophical approach to ethics. This talk draws in part from a book manuscript I am currently working on that develops an intellectualist conception of love and argues for key applications in moral theory, epistemology and philosophy of religion.

After the talks all are invited to socialise and continue discussion over drinks in the Ryle Room. If you would like to join for dinner after the drinks reception, please email