Religious Studies | Friendship, Benevolence, and Love
R300 | 23408 | Stalnaker


This course examines the closely related ideas of friendship,
benevolence, and love.  Participants will read several mostly
classic works, in various genres, by men and women from different
cultures and eras (Western and East Asian, ancient and modern).  The
class is thus an experiment in cross-cultural understanding, and
aims to refine reflection on some of the most important and
potentially fulfilling aspects of human social and religious life.
Questions we will pursue include:  What are the varieties of love
and friendship?  Is romantic or erotic love a uniquely Western
construction or preoccupation?  How does familial love relate to
other forms?  Are benevolence and compassion for others natural to
human beings?  Could true benevolence require actions that appear to
be cruel?  How can personal vices and corrupt social arrangements
deform friendship, benevolence, and love?  Is it possible to have a
friendship with God?  With the Dao?