Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Simon Blackburn - Lust (Oxford University Press, 2004) ***

I was so thrilled with Simon Blackburn's "Trust", that I also bought "Lust", one book in a series by various philosophers on the seven deadly sins.

The British philosophy professor gives us his best: short chapters each looking at one aspect of 'lust', each time with a different approach, as the essay is a collection of lectures given on the subject. He talks about Plato's view, about Diogenes' public copulations, or the Christian panic of Augustine, who  so abhorred of physical lust that "he preferred the idea that in paradise children might have begotten by purely spiritual love", but he also talks about the biology of lust, and the surprising ways of nature, as well as about the evolutionary aspects of it and the pyschological ones. He compares desire to lust, he discusses prostitution and pornography, skimming through the books of literature and philosophy, illustrating the whole with drawings, paintings and statues, quoting famous philosophers such as Hume and Hobbes, as well as a whole panoply of unknown authors, moralists, feminists and other people with an opinion, in an overall erudite, literate and amusing book.

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