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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Seminar - Loving Recognition: a proposal for the practical efficacy of love as a public virtue

5th February 2018, 13:00 to 14:00, Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study, Professor Nigel Rapport (University of St Andrews)


Aldous Huxley observed: ‘From solitude in the womb we emerge into solitude among our fellows, and return again to solitude within the grave. We pass our lives in the attempt to mitigate that solitude, but propinquity is never fusion’. Professor Rapport takes Huxley’s statement to be an ontological truth. He asks: Given the solitudinous nature of the human condition, how best to imagine a moral society? He suggests that a moral society is one where the irreducible distance between individuals translates neither into indifference nor into stereotypification; human beings are recognized as individuals and not in terms of external collective categories and classes of purported belonging (concerning nationality, ethnicity, religion, class, gender, and so on). A proposal is made that love might function as that public virtue which both extends recognition towards the human other and at the same time recognises the others’ absolute distinctiveness. Love might play the foundational social-structural role of effecting a universal social integration where any and every human being—‘Anyone’—is accorded a place while at the same time being afforded the symbolic space to come into its own.

Places are limited
and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should register online in advance to reserve a place. Places will be confirmed within 48 hours of receipt (subject to availability).

Contact for more information about this event.