The Sensual and the Spiritual: Western Conceptions of Love as Expressed Through the Works of Søren Kierkegaard
This paper examines the dualistic and paradoxical nature of erotic love in Western culture. A major influence in the West, Christianity divides the world into two components: the sensual and the spiritual. Though both are mutually exclusive, in the Christian view the sensual is deplorable and the spiritual is lauded. However, this presents a complication for romantic relationships because erotic love includes elements of both the sensual and the spiritual. Dutch philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) explores this dualism and paradox in three of his writings: Either/Or, I & II, Philosophical Fragments, and Works of Love. As a major philosopher in the Western canon and a staunchly religious Christian, Kierkegaard is an optimal philosopher to cite in order to dissect this problem. Though the paradox of erotic love is taken as a given in Western culture, it is probable that other cultures do not view love in the same manner. An in-depth exploration of love in Western culture will provide the tools for comparison with the love philosophies of other cultures.
Dr. James Anderson
Department of Research Advisor:
Educational Policy Studies
Year of Publication: