The Philosophers’ Funnel of Love

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WHAT IS LOVE? Peruse the latest discussions among professional philosophers and you’re likely to come away with the impression that gay men and lesbians are not the ones to ask. Love, it seems, is for straight people.

Take two examples from books that came out in just the past year: Pascal Bruckner’s The Paradox of Love (2012) has many virtues, but they do not stretch to examining same-sex relationships. Turn to the copyright page and you find brutal confirmation. The anonymous provider of Library of Congress shelving data has decided that “the paradox of love” can safely be cataloged under “man-woman relationships.” Faramerz Dabhoiwala’s The Origins of Sex (2012) examines the sexual and sentimental revolutions of the Enlightenment, the period when the boundaries of modern love were staked out. This is territory well and often explored by gay and lesbian scholars, yet there’s barely a whiff of homosexuality in 452 pages.

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