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Singer book takes new look at love

It's springtime, when everybody's fancy is supposed to turn to love, and Professor Irving Singer is happy to oblige with the publication of a new book on that topic.

He has followed two previous works--Meaning in Life: The Creation of Value and his three-volume philosophical/historical study, The Nature of Love--with a different perspective on these subjects, The Pursuit of Love, published by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

As Dr. Singer, professor of philosophy, notes in his introduction, "Love is not merely a contributor-one among others-to a meaningful life. In its own way it may underlie all other forms of meaning."

His publisher describes The Pursuit of Love as Professor Singer's exploration of "the distinction between wanting to love and wanting to be loved."

"He examines love as merging and love as acceptance of another's uniqueness and autonomy. And he discusses attempts by various thinkers to differentiate between phenomena such as passion and reason, love and civilization, and animal and human love."

Dr. Arnold H. Modell, professor of clinical psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, calls the book "a unique achievement... a work of great wisdom" that demonstrates "the relation between love, value and meaning."

Alan Soble, author of The Structure of Love, says that Professor Singer, "clearly the Stephen Hawking of the metaphysics and history of love," has provided "an engaging picture of the meanings and kinds of love we pursue, enjoy-or suffer."

The Pursuit of Love has been nominated for the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize given by Phi Beta Kappa.

But there is more.

Another book, to be published in the fall by Prometheus Books, contains two interviews with Professor Singer, 20 essays by others on his philosophy, and his response, "A Reply to my Critics and Friendly Commentators." This book is entitled The Nature and Pursuit of Love: The Philosophy of Irving Singer.

And finally, on a separate topic, Professor Singer has written a new introduction for George Santayana's 1935 novel, The Last Puritan. This new critical edition of the American philosopher's only novel is scheduled to be published in the fall by the MIT Press.

When he hasn't been writing, Professor Singer has been busy lecturing. Over IAP this year, he gave six public lectures to faculties of philosophy and of literature at four Spanish universities.

A version of this article appeared in the May 4, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 31).

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