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Uniting Love and Obligation: Becoming an Expert at Life

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Title: Uniting Love and Obligation: Becoming an Expert at Life
Author: Ellman, Isaac
Advisor: Macbeth, Danielle; Allen, Benjamin W.
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Philosophy
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: This essay will aim to present a fundamentally bodily way of being in the world that unites loves and obligation. First, this essay will present the mismatch of love and obligation as an intuitive problem of everyday living. Then, philosophical writings of Nietzsche, Aristotle, and Kant will be discussed as examples of works that confront the problem of the mismatch of love and obligation. We will see that the noble way of being in the world, as discussed by Nietzsche, does not involve a mismatch, but is no longer accessible to us. Kant's reconciliation of this mismatch, in the giving up of inclination for duty, is unsatisfactory because it requires reflective mediation. Aristotle achieves a unity in his discussion of phronesis, but he is not sensitive to today's issues of multiplicity of context. In addition, Aristotle loses individualization in his uniting of love and obligation, so we ought to write a new story to achieve this unity. We will look to the expert coper in the context of a craft who both achieves a unity of love and obligation and avoid problems associated with Aristotle's philosophy. Then, we will see that by conceiving of language as craft, it will allow for the possibility of becoming an expert at language. Because language is the form of the world that shows up to us conceptual beings, achieving expertise at language will allow us to achieve expertise in everyday living, outside of the context of a craft, and unite love and obligation in our daily life. We will see that expert speech is equivalent to Buber's notion of I-You speech (as opposed to I-It speech) which involves bodily confronting another individual with one's whole being. When we speak as an I for a You, we will regain immediacy of being in the world, unite love and obligation, and become an expert at life.
Subject: Love -- Philosophy
Subject: Language and languages -- Philosophy
Subject: Life
Subject: Responsibility -- Philosophy
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Ellman, Isaac. "Uniting Love and Obligation: Becoming an Expert at Life". 2012. Available electronically from

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