Phil 4240 Philosophy of Friendship and Love

Dr. Janet Donohoe

Spring 2012



1.  Learning Outcomes:  The aim of this course is to examine critically the historical theories of friendship and love through examining important primary philosophical texts; to explore what it means to love and how such notions of love and friendship have changed through the centuries; to grasp the value and meaning of friendship and love as social and personal elements; to recognize the historical nature of definitions and questions of friendship and love.  By the end of the semester students will be able to:


2.  Requirements:  The requirements for the class are fivefold.


                a)            attendance and class participation                                                  10%

                b)            response papers                                                                                   15%

                c)             in-class midterm exam                                                                       25%

                d)            one 3000-3600 word paper (including rough draft)                      25%

                e)             final exam                                                                                            25%


In order to meet these requirements, it will be necessary to attend class regularly and to do the assigned reading.  It will be evident if you have not done the reading and this will not be beneficial to your success in the course.  Papers absolutely will not be accepted after the due date unless you have discussed it with me prior to the due date. You must turn in a rough draft of your final paper.  If you do not turn in a rough draft, you will not be allowed to turn in a final draft of the paper and will receive a zero for this part of your grade. 


Primarily, your term paper should be focused on a text or texts that we have discussed in class.  The goal is for you to express your own understanding and analysis of a text or texts.  If you want to do research into secondary sources, the best way to do so is to consult the Philosopher’s Index to see what kinds of articles might have been published that would be pertinent to your issue.  I would highly recommend that you not rely on the Web to get information on your issue.  Web sources are notoriously unreliable and can often be overly simplistic in their presentation of any philosophical view.  Scholarly articles and books are the best sources to consult.  Be sure that if you consult any secondary sources you cite those sources.  Failure to do so can have dire consequences. 


The Department of English and Philosophy defines plagiarism as taking personal credit for the thinking of others as it is presented in electronic, print, and verbal sources.  The Department expects that students will accurately credit sources in all assignments.  Plagiarism is grounds for failing the course and may result in further consequences of being expelled from the University.


3.  Availability:  I am available outside of class during office hours, or by appointment.  If there are questions or problems, do not hesitate to see me.


Hours:  MWF 9:00-10:00 a.m.; MF 12:00-1:00 pm

Office:  TLC 2230

Phone:  678-839-4743




4.  Reading List:  The book listed below should be available in the book store.  The articles listed will be available through the library electronic reserves (Docutek).


Plato                       Symposium


Course reserves include:


Aristotle                 excerpts from Nicomachean Ethics

Buber                     “The Friend as Thou”

DeBeauvoir          “The Woman in Love”

Foucault                                excerpts from The History of Sexuality Vol. 2

Friedman               “Feminism and Modern Friendship: Dislocating the Community”

Kierkegaard          “Don Juan’s Secret”

Nussbaum             “Constructing Love, Desire and Care”

Nussbaum             “The Speech of Alcibiades”

Nietzsche               “Agape as Resentment and Supression”

Rich                        “Compulsory Heterosexuality”

Scheler                   “Agape as Superabundant Vitality: A Response to Nietzsche”

Schopenhauer      “The Metaphysics of Love of the Sexes”




1/9                          Introduction.  Discussion of themes

1/11                        Definitions and Questions  (1st response paper due on “What is Love?”)

Part I: Plato and the Greeks

1/13                        Plato       Symposium

1/16                        MLK Day—No Classes

1/18                        Symposium

1/20                        Symposium

1/23                        Symposium

1/25                        Nussbaum             “The Speech of Alcibiades” (2nd response paper due)

1/27                        “Alcibiades”

1/30                        “Alcibiades”


Part II: Romantic/Erotic Love

2/1                          Kierkegaard          “Don Juan’s Secret” (3rd response paper due)

2/3                          “Don Juan’s Secret”

2/6                          DeBeauvoir          “The Woman in Love”

2/8                          “The Woman in Love”

2/10                        “The Woman in Love”

2/13                        Schopenhauer      “The Metaphysics of the Love of the Sexes”

2/15                        “The Metaphysics of the Love of the Sexes”

2/17                        “The Metaphysics of the Love of the Sexes”

2/20                        Midterm Exam

Part III: Agape

2/22                        Aquinas excerpts from “The Summa Theologica

2/24                        Summa

2/27                        Summa

2/29                        Nietzsche “Agape as Ressentiment and Suppression” (4th response paper due)


3/2                          “Agape as Ressentiment and Suppression  (Last Day to Withdraw with a W)

3/5                          “Agape as Ressentiment and Suppression”

3/7                          Scheler “Agape as Superabundant Vitality: A Response to Nietzsche”

3/9                          “Agape as Superabundant Vitality”

3/12                        “Agape as Superabundant Vitality”

Part IV: Friendship

3/14                        Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics Books VII and IX (5th response paper due)

3/16                        Nicomachean Ethics

3/19-3/23              Spring Break

3/26                        Nicomachean Ethics

3/28                        Friedman               “Feminism and Modern Friendship: Dislocating the Community”

3/30                        “Feminism and Modern Friendship”


Part V: Love, Sex, and Sexuality

2                              Nussbaum             “Constructing Love, Desire, and Care”

4                              “Constructing Love, Desire, and Care” (rough draft due)

6                              Foucault                                History of Sexuality

9                              History of Sexuality

11                           History of Sexuality

13                           Rich        “Compulsory Heterosexuality”

16                           “Compulsory Heterosexuality” (final paper due)

18                           “Compulsory Heterosexuality”

20                           Review


Final exam is scheduled for Wednesday, April 25, 2012 from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.