Sept 25 Colloquia – Nick Riggle: “Beauty and Love”

Nick Riggle (New York University) will be giving his talk on Friday September 25, 2015 in BUCH A202 at 3pm.

TITLE:
Beauty and Love

ABSTRACT:
The recent literature on love focuses largely on a kind of response, attitude, or relation we have exclusively to persons. But there is a long tradition in aesthetics according to which beauty is the object of love, where love is a kind of attitude or response we can have to a range of non-persons: flowers, places, music, poetry, and so on. If there is such a thing as “aesthetic love” then there would seem to be important implications for the general theory of love. How, if at all, is love a unified phenomenon across the ethical and aesthetic domains? In this paper, I develop a way of making sense of the view that beauty is the object of love and explore its broader implications. In developing this view, I focus first on understanding the claim that beauty warrants an emotion. Understanding what unifies beautiful properties (or “beauties”)—e.g., smoothness, simplicity, warmth, clarity—helps us characterize the representational content of this emotion. I then take up the question of whether there is any reason to think of this emotion as a species of love and argue that there is. I end by using the theory of aesthetic love to characterize its interpersonal counterpart—the thread connecting aesthetic and interpersonal love is, in a sense, the love of life.

This event is open to the public, faculty, staff and students.