Is love still a part of the good life?

Eva Illouz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aristotle has thought about love as an important part of Eudaimonia, the good life, but surprisingly enough it was Plato who provided us with the most significant elaboration for why love would be a part of the good life. In his famous Symposium Phaedrus opens the dialogue with the claim that Eros is the oldest of gods. The lover, says Phaedrus, wants to earn the admiration of the beloved, by showing bravery in war and in the battlefield, since nothing shames a man more than to be seen by his beloved committing an inglorious act. A handful of lovers being watched by their own beloved would be an invincible army and would defeat the whole world. Lovers find in themselves the most sublime impulse to sacrifice, for the sake of being admired by their beloved. (Achilles sacrificed himself for the revenge of his lover Patrocles, and Alcestis sacrificed and gave her own life to let her husband Admetus live). In short, and in the conclusion of Phaedrus’s speech, love is the most honored and powerful god in helping man gaining honor and blessedness.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Good Life beyond Growth
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781134885176
ISBN (Print)9781138687882
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Hartmut Rosa and Christoph Henning; individual chapters, the contributors.


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