Friends and Lovers: The Philosophy of Personal Relationships

This two-day course provides an overview of both historical views of love and friendship and also the modern philosophical discussion. We will study examples from literature, film and real life to bring the philosophy of personal relationships alive.

  • Read and understand basic philosophical texts on friendship and love;
  • Critically evaluate various philosophical positions on the subject;
  • Understand the historical perspective of writings on friendship and love;
  • Consider how their own and other modern views fit into this perspective.

Friends and Lovers: The Philosophy of Personal Relationships

Room G38, Paterson's Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh
Start date
2 days
Day(s) and Times(s)
Wed 19 & Thu 20 July, 10.00am – 3.00pm
Elizabeth Drummond Young
Room G38, Paterson's Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh
Time of Day

Day 1:

  • Classical views of love of friendship and love
  • The Romantic Ideal – now and then

Day 2:

  • What makes a friend? The structure of relationships
  • Different types of love: what can we love and how do we love?

Each session will combine lectures and tutor-led discussion.


Vernon, M., 2006. The Philosophy of Friendship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Milligan, T., 2011. Love (The Art of Living series) Durham: Acumen.

Web Sources

Stanford Encylopaedia of Philosophy (entries on Aristotle, Love and Friendship)

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided.

If you feel you have specific requirements to enable you to study with us, please contact our Student Support Team by email or by phone 0131 650 4400 to arrange a confidential discussion. Giving us this information will enable us to make arrangements to meet your requirements for studying in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010.