Schopenhauer, Love, and Compassion

October 17, 2013 - October 18, 2013
Ghent University


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Call For Abstracts


Schopenhauer, Love, and Compassion

An international conference on Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy of love and compassion, and its contemporary relevance.

17th-18th October 2013                                                                                          

Ghent University, Belgium

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) offers a stunningly original and highly complex account of love. What we call romantic love, Schopenhauer sees as propelled by our sexual drives and interests, which are manifestations of the will-to-life of the human species. The real purpose of romantic love is ultimately biological: to produce and raise children. What we consciously think what is happening to us when we are in love, is illusory and ultimately irrelevant. Yet, although Schopenhauer undermines romantic love, and despite his critique of Christian faith, he also tells us that‘all love (agape, caritas) is compassion’, and that compassion with all living beings is the very basis of morality. He argues that this kind of selfless love may ultimately lead to redemption and resignation, since it ‘sees through’ the deception of individuality.

The goal of this conference is to investigate the relation and tensions between these two distinct types of love (eros and agapè) in Schopenhauer’s philosophy, and discuss its striking complexity and current relevance.

Keynote speakers:

Christopher Janaway (University of Southampton)

Simon May (King’s College London)

Gudrun von Tevenar (Birkbeck College, University of London)

Organised by: Prof. Dr Bart Vandenabeele, Violi Sahaj, Mahdi Shamsi, GARG (Ghent Aesthetics Research Group)

Abstracts of 500-1000 words are invited. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

·      Love, emotions and sex

·      Conscious and unconscious love

·      Love, desire and suffering

·      Compassion, resignation and redemption

·      Love, compassion and art



Submission details:

Please ensure that your abstract is prepared for blind review, and is sent in PDF or RTF format only. The deadline for abstract submissions is 11th March 2013. Successful participants will receive a notification of acceptance by 8th April 2013. The conference format will be 20 minute presentations followed by 10 minute discussions.

Please send your abstracts to: and


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