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On Love: A Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century




On Love: A Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century

Luc Ferry

ISBN: 978-0-745-67017-1 April 2013 Polity 200 Pages


All the great ideals that gave life meaning in earlier societies - God, the nation, revolution, freedom, democracy - are in disarray today, questioned by many and rejected by those who have lost faith in them. But there is another value, rooted in the birth of the modern family and in the passage from traditional to modern marriage, that has transformed our lives in profound and often unrecognized ways: love. It affects not only our personal lives but many aspects of our social and collective life too, from art and education to politics.

In this book Luc Ferry shows how the quiet rise of love as the central value in modern societies has created a new principle of meaning and a new definition of the good life that requires a completely different kind of philosophical thinking. It forms the basis for a new philosophy for the twenty-first century and a new kind of humanism for the modern world - not a humanism of reason and rights, but a humanism of solidarity and sympathy. The ideal that this new humanism realizes is no longer that of nationalisms and revolutions, of the perpetrating of organized violence in the name of deadly principles that are pursued over and above humanity. Rather, it is about preparing and ensuring a future for those we love most: our future generations.
  • Contents
  • Preface by Claude Capelier
  • Introduction: A brief history of the meaning of life
  • Chapter 1 - The revolution of love
  • A new principle of meaning
  • Chapter 2 - Politics at the dawn of a new era
  • From the revolution of love to care for the fate of
  • future generations
  • Chapter 3 - On the spiritual in art and education
  • Conclusion - Death, the only objection? Love, a utopia?
"Highly recommended - Ferry challenges readers to consider love as no longer lurking on the periphery of philosophic consciousness, but instead as providing a new definition of the good life."

"On Love is thrilling - fireworks of ideas, flashing sabres, and a hell of a good gallop."
Times Higher Education

"The great value of Ferry's work lies in his vitality of thought. His celebration of love guarantees that philosophy will remain alive and well throughout the 21st century. And that, to many of us, is something to cherish."
Wichita Eagle

"With his usual clarity, rigour, and intelligence, Luc Ferry in his new book tackles the daunting topic of love, its history in modern culture and society, and its role and benefits for the present and the future. For Ferry, love offers not only the possibility of surpassing the broken ideals of the past, but of founding a new humanism in the century ahead. Highly recommended."
Richard J. Golsan, Texas A&M University

"With great clarity and an extraordinary sense of historical synthesis, Luc Ferry traces the genealogy of love in the West, right up to its contemporary status where it has triumphed as the apotheosis of our civilization."
Pascal Bruckner, Le Nouvel Observateur