Recovering Intellectual Love
The introduction traces the development of intellectual love from its first major expression in Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics,through its adoption and adaptation in eighteenth-century moral and natural philosophy, to its emergence as a British Romantic tradition. While most scholarly work treats Romantic-era theories of love as idealized and illusory, I show how this distinct tradition of intellectual love was integral to broader debates about the nature of life, the biology of the human body, the sociology of human relationships, the philosophy of nature, and the disclosure of being. I situate this history of intellectual love within the contemporary context of ‘the affective turn’ in the humanities and social sciences, as well as recent work in aesthetic theory associated with the Frankfurt School.
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