Lust: The Seven Deadly Sins

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Oxford University Press, Feb 12, 2004 - Psychology - 192 pages
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Lust, says Simon Blackburn, is furtive, headlong, always sizing up opportunities. It is a trail of clothing in the hallway, the trashy cousin of love. But be that as it may, the aim of this delightful book is to rescue lust "from the denunciations of old men of the deserts, to deliver it from the pallid and envious confessor and the stocks and pillories of the Puritans, to drag it from the category of sin to that of virtue." Blackburn, author of such popular philosophy books as Think and Being Good, here offers a sharp-edged probe into the heart of lust, blending together insight from some of the world's greatest thinkers on sex, human nature, and our common cultural foibles. Blackburn takes a wide ranging, historical approach, discussing lust as viewed by Aristophanes and Plato, lust in the light of the Stoic mistrust of emotion, and the Christian fear of the flesh that catapulted lust to the level of deadly sin. He describes how philosophical pessimists like Schopenhauer and Sartre contributed to our thinking about lust and explores the false starts in understanding lust represented by Freud, Kinsey, and modern "evolutionary psychology." But most important, Blackburn reminds us that lust is also life-affirming, invigorating, fun. He points to the work of David Hume (Blackburn's favorite philosopher) who saw lust not only as a sensual delight but also "a joy of the mind." Written by one of the most eminent living philosophers, attractively illustrated and colorfully packaged, Lust is a book that anyone would lust over.
 

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User Review  - m.gilbert - LibraryThing

I think I like Lust much more than Pride, although the former seems to be loaded with these glib philosophical turds and whatnot (which I like, by the way). Still, I like Blackburn, especially when he's not singin' too much David Hume and that appears to be the case here. Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
Desire
13
Excess
21
Two Problems from Plato
29
Stiff Upper Lips
41
The Christian Panic
49
The Legacy
65
What Nature Intended
69
Hobbesian Unity
87
Disasters
93
Substitutions
103
Evolution and Desire
111
Overcoming Pessimism
127
Farewell
133
NOTES
135
INDEX
143

Some Consequences
73
Shakespeare versus Dorothy Parker
79

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About the author (2004)

Simon Blackburn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. He was Edna J. Doury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, and from 1969 to 1990 was a Fellow and Tutor at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is the author of The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy and the best-selling Think and Being Good, among other books.

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