Thursday, 21 April 2011

Friendship and the problem of self-love

Professor John Lippitt, a philosopher at the University of Hertfordshire has just given a public lecture on ‘friendship’ at the Trinity University in San Antonio, USA.

The lecture, which was attended by over 100 people, was part of a series on what philosophy can teach us about friendship. Professor Lippitt was the only scholar from outside north America to be invited.

He chose the theme of ‘Kierkegaard, Friendship and the Problem of Self-love’ as he is currently working on a monograph on the Danish Christian philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard’s views of love and friendship.

In his talk, he discussed some of the philosopher’s key concerns about how friendship is often a form of disguised self-love and how friendship is linked to ‘love of the neighbour’.

“You often hear self-help gurus talk about how important it is to ‘love yourself’”, said Professor Lippitt. “But Kierkegaard thinks it is crucial to grasp that this can be done well or badly. He has much to teach us about the importance of trust, hope and forgiveness in the way we relate both to our friends and ourselves.”

Probably best known for his work on Kierkegaard, Professor Lippitt is also co-editing, along with George Pattison, the Oxford Handbook of Kierkegaard. His books include Humour and Irony in Kierkegaard's Thought (2000) and the Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Kierkegaard and Fear and Trembling (2003). Other interests include the virtues, the philosophy of love and friendship, the relation between philosophy and theology, and the relevance of philosophy to psychotherapy.

Read more about Professor Lippitt's research

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