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Friends and Lovers: the philosophy of personal relationships

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This two-day course provides an overview of both historical views of love and friendship and also the modern philosophical discussion. We will study examples from literature, film and real life to bring the philosophy of personal relationships alive.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous experience required. All welcome.

Content of Course

Day 1:

Session 1: Classical views of love of friendship and love

Session 2: The Romantic Ideal – now and then

Day 2:

Session 1: What makes a friend? The structure of relationships

Session 2: Different types of love: what can we love and how do we love?

Teaching method(s)

Each session will combine lectures and tutor-led discussion.

Learning outcomes

  • Read and understand basic philosophical texts on friendship and love;
  • Critically evaluate various philosophical positions on the subject;
  • Understand the historical perspective of writings on friendship and love;
  • Consider how their own and other modern views fit into this perspective.


Core Readings


Vernon, M., 2006. The Philosophy of Friendship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Milligan, T., 2011. Love (The Art of Living series) Durham: Acumen.

Web Sources

Stanford Encylopaedia of Philosophy (entries on Aristotle, Love and Friendship)

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.

Student support

If you feel you have specific requirements to enable you to study with us, please contact our Student Support Team by email or by phone 0131 650 4400 to arrange a confidential discussion. Giving us this information will enable us to make arrangements to meet your requirements for studying in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010.