The Human Embrace: The Love of Philosophy and the Philosophy of Love: Kierkegaard, Cavell, Nussbaum

Synopsis

Starting from Soren Kierkegaard's insight that fully accepting the human condition requires one to live with the persistent temptation to escape from it, Ronald Hall finds similar concerns reflected in the work of two modern-day philosophers, Stanley Cavell and Martha Nussbaum, who equally find in a philosophy of love and marriage the key to understanding how humans may achieve happiness in the acceptance of their humanity.

All three thinkers follow a "logic of paradox" in showing how success in the human quest to be human depends crucially on the struggle humans experience with the ever-present opportunities to pursue alternative paths. What Kierkegaard called "living existentially" can be achieved only after confronting and refusing the possibilities of living in "aesthetic, " "ethical, " or even "religious" denial of one's true humanity.

By creating this dialogue between the nineteenth-century Danish thinker and two eminent twentieth-century philosophers, Hall reveals the continuing relevance of Kierkegaard's thought to our own age and its cogency as an interpretation of the human predicament.