The philosophy of love and sex

Course Dates: 24/02/22 - 31/03/22
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
At first, the philosopher and the lover seem unnatural bedfellows. The philosopher’s lucidity talks past the lover’s intoxication. But could they be companions? What wisdom can the philosopher take from the lover?
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Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £39.00

Course Code: HP129

Thu, eve, 24 Feb - 31 Mar '22

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

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What is the course about?

In the ancient Greek myth, when Eurydice dies, her lover Orpheus goes to the underworld to try and retrieve her. It is Orpheus’s yearning for his love that prompts him to make this subterranean journey. Likewise, love may also send us to the depths, it may make us look into ourselves and others more profoundly than we have done before. It is when one falls in love, or loses love, one might begin to ask ‘Is friendship worth more or less than eros?’, ‘Is love a choice or a feeling?’, and ‘Are passion and compassion compatible?’ This course is for anyone asking themselves such questions.

What will we cover?

Can lovers be friends?
Do grown children have duties to their parents?
Is anything between consenting adults ok?
Does selling sex corrupt the value of intimacy?
Is friendship the most perfect form of love?
Does defining love degrade it?
Does one have duties towards one’s own body?
Should feminists not get married?
Can there be such a thing as “good pornography”?
We will turn to ideas from Judith Butler, Bell Hooks, Nietzsche, Aristotle, Simone De Beauvoir, Georges Bataille, Anne Sabo, Skye Cleary and Angela Carter and others to help us build our own philosophy of love and sex.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

1. Students will finish the course with a more intimate knowledge of their own beliefs and ideas around love and sex.
2. Students will leave with foundational skills about how to have a philosophical conversation and what makes it different from other types of conversation.
3. Students will have a grasp of the main ideas of key concepts from the philosophy of love and sex.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is suitable for all levels: those who have had experience of philosophy and those who are starting out.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Sessions take the form of facilitated discussions. The first part of each class is exploratory, with time given by the tutor/facilitator for learners to feel their way around topics and philosophical ideas and extend their understanding. The second part focuses on a text from a philosopher to unpack and debate. The tutor will offer and suggest reading prior to and after the class, though it isn’t compulsory to do it.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

A pen and notebook for recording ideas.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Visit City Lit's website at for full details of other philosophy courses on offer.

Andrew West

Andy West is in his mid-thirties and still doesn't have any decent answers to life’s main philosophical questions. He hopes that by asking his students ‘Do we have freewill?’ and ‘How do we know if we exist?’ then he will get closer to finding out if he has freewill or if he really exists. He taught philosophy to children for six years and has spent the last few years teaching in prisons. He joined the the City Lit in 2018. He’s currently writing a book for Picador about teaching philosophy in prisons, due to be released in February 2022. He has written for The Guardian, 3AM Magazine, Boundless and Bloomsbury Academic Publishing. Find him on twitter @AndyWPhilosophy

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.