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A Necessary Conflict: Eros and Philia in a Love Relationship

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  • Nature Of Love
  • Eros
  • Philia


In this paper the author analyzes the interaction between eros (erotic love) and philia (friendly love) in modern romantic relationships. The different ends of eros and philia conflict with each other. Firstly, eros' concern for unity overrides philia's concern for beneficence toward the beloved. Secondly, philia's emphasis on sharing and intimacy reduces the distance and tension on which eros thrives. After criticizing a standard "Socratic" solution of this conflict, the author proposes an alternative one, whereby eros and philia are seen as having different natures: philia is the context within which eros is the main disposition and their mutual conflict is in fact a necessary condition for a romantic relationship to flourish.

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