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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In the Judeo-Christian tradition that has shaped much of Western thought, we find an insistence on love as a requirement. Many points of philosophical interest arise from this injunction to love, irrespective of whether one is a religious believer. This chapter begins by asking if it makes sense to suppose that love can be commanded, and moves on to examine various “demandingness” objections to the commandment to love one’s neighbor. The chapter then considers, and rejects, the possibility of purely a secularized interpretation of the Christian ethic that dispenses with the religious framework altogether. The concluding section looks at how various religious conceptions of love connect up with certain fundamental assumptions about the nature of the cosmos we inhabit and the meaning of human life.

Keywords: neighbor, commandment, demandingness, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, Christianity, meaningful life

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