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Eros, Agape and Philia

Readings in the Philosophy of Love

Alan Soble

330 pages
Paragon House

For centuries, popular writers and respected scholars have written about and analyzed the phenomenon of love without exhausting its potential for contemporary debate. By representing the three major traditions in the philosophy of love–Platonic eros, Christian agape, and Aristotelian philia–editor Alan Soble has not only examined the intellectual problem of what “love” is, but has designed a dialogue among the three traditions in genuine philosophical style.

“Eros is acquisitive, egocentric or even selfish; agape is a giving love. Eros is an unconstant, unfaithful love, while agape is unwavering and continues to give despite ingratitude. Eros is a love that responds to the merit or value of its object; while agape creates value in its object as a result of loving it... Finally, eros is an ascending love, the human’s route to God; agape is a descending love, God’s route to humans... Philia is caught between eros and agape.”–From the Introduction to Eros, Agape and Philia


  • What is the state of love today as seen through the eyes of Plato, Aristotle, and Paul?
  • How do relations between the sexes illustrate the difficulties of love?
Author Bio
ALAN SOBLE, Ph.D., has taught "Philosophy of Sex and Love" as an undergraduate course over 50 times during his academic career. He has written three scholarly books on sexuality and one devoted to love as well as edited numerous teaching anthologies and an encyclopedia to be used in philosophy of sex and love courses. Dr. Soble is founder of The Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love. He now teaches at Drexel University in Philadelphia.