Week 5 Events

Please Note: This week’s Discussion Group will take place in Usher’s
Reading and Film Group
Monday, 13th February; 7 pm, The New Amphion, Teviot Row House (Map)
Reading: Susan Bordo’s Anorexia Nervosa: Psychopathology as the Crystallization of
(Next week’s film: “The Look of Silence” (2014), Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer (IMDb) )
Discussion Group
Tuesday, 14th February; 7 pm, Usher’s, West Nicolson Street (Map)
Topic: Liberty
Academic Support Office Hours
Wednesday, 15th February; 3.00 pm until 5.00 pm, Dugald Stewart Building (DSB), Room 3.01.

Guest Lecture

Thursday, 16th February; 6.15 pm, David Hume Tower, Lecture Theatre B.

Speaker: Prof. Komarine Romdenh-Romluc, University of Sheffield

Title: “Being in love with Merleau-Ponty
Abstract: What is love? One might be tempted by the view that love is a type of feeling, and to be in love is to feel a certain kind of way. If this were true, it seems to follow that no-one could be mistaken about whether or not they were in love. But this seems wrong. People are regularly confused about such matters. How, then, should we understand love? In this talk, I will explore Merleau-Ponty’s account. Merleau-Ponty argues that love is a way of perceiving, and interacting with, the world. Perception, for him, does not present the perceiver with ‘neutral’ information about entities. It immerses her in a rich world of things that ‘invite’ her to act. It does this in part because it has an affective dimension – things literally look scary (inviting us to run away), foreboding (demanding that we avoid them), enticing (drawing us into them), and so on. To be in love, for Merleau-Ponty, is to perceive one’s beloved as demanding certain kinds of loving behaviour. It also ‘lights up’ other parts of the world, so that the cafe where we always meet is infused with a welcoming glow, the noisy children invite affection rather than annoyance, and the time between the loved one’s visits become an interminable wait when I lose interest in all my usual pursuits. It is also to act in ways that are in line with these perceptions of the world. On this view, love becomes a thread woven through the fabric of one’s life; a certain ‘style’ of perceiving and acting. Merleau-Ponty then tells us that real love is one that concerns a person’s whole being, whilst illusory love is such that it only touches us at a superficial level. To the person concerned, they can sometimes appear the same. Sometimes, it is only when reflecting on the patterning of one’s life that one can tell if one has really been in love.