Reason, Love, and Mental Health

Philosophy Research Archives 5:333-355 (1979)


This essay is a defense of Platonic eudalmonism. Plato identified human excellence with mental health, mental health with psychic harmony, psychic harmony with the rule of reason, and he conceived reason to he the synergetic union of the power to know and the power to love. Plato believed that virtue is a constitutent of eudaimonia, that, therefore, it is its own reward. Plato was right on all these counts but one. He misunderstood the nature of the love that is a constituent of reason. That love is not the eras of the Symposium. It is what I call'undemanding love'. In this essay I describe the structure of undemanding love and I explain its connections with reason, mental health, and the moral excellence that is characteristic of a rational being.

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