While humanists have pondered the subject of love to the point of obsessiveness, philosophers have steadfastly igred it. The word philosophy means love of wisdom, but the absence of love from philosophical discourse is curiously glaring. In The Erotic Phemen , Jean-Luc Marion attends to this dearth with an inquiry into the concept of love itself.Marion begins with a critique of Descartes' equation of the ego's ability to doubt with the certainty that one exists. We encounter love, he says, when we first step forward as a lover: I love therefore I am, and my love is the reason I care whether I exist or t. This philosophical base allows Marion to probe several manifestations of love and its variations, including carnal excitement, self-hate, lying and perversion, fidelity, the generation of children, and the love of God. Throughout, Marion stresses that all erotic phemena stem t from the ego as popularly understood but instead from love.
Jean-Luc Marion is professor of philosophy at the University of Paris-Sorbonne Paris IV, and the John Nuveen Distinguished Professor in the Divinity School and professor in the Committee on Social Thought and the Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, including On Descartes' Metaphysical Prism, also published by the University of Chicago Press. Stephen E. Lewis is assistant professor of English at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is the translator of Jean-Luc Marion's Prolegomena to Charity and Jean-Louis Chretien's Hand to Hand: Listening to the Work of Art.