Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

History and Philosophy

First Advisor

Kate Mehuron, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jill Dieterle, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Peter Higgins, Ph.D.


In this essay, I argue for an adaptation of Plato and Kierkegaard’s conceptions of love based on a style of analysis I call “existential analysis.” The existential analysis requires our conceptions of things to exclude any reference to view-from-nowhere concepts. Plato and Kierkegaard both make use of view-from-nowhere concepts in their theories of love. I argue that specific features of each of these theories–namely the pursuit for infinite beauty, the Absolute Paradox, and the other-self–can be removed from their respective view-from-nowhere concepts and reinterpreted to serve as a possible foundation for a future conception of love generally understood. Although Plato assumes infinite beauty cannot be found in the material world, he neglects to consider the depth of the developing personality of those we love. Kierkegaard’s Absolute Paradox and other-self can be adapted to meet our criteria. The Absolute Paradox can inform a kind of caution toward too readily assuming that we are acting in love. The other-self as a concept can be reinterpreted as the kind of person we love to such a degree that our self-understanding would be unimaginably different without their existence.

Included in

Philosophy Commons